2011 Yamaha Raptor 700R & YFZ450R Special Edition Review [Video]
Yamaha adds aggressive graphics and GYTR goodies
Story by Jeff M. Vanasdal, Photography by Adam Campbell, Apr. 01, 2011
As a longtime ATV rider and racer, there are few places we’d rather play than in the seemingly limitless off-road Mecca that is the Imperial Sand Dunes, otherwise known as Glamis. As luck would have it, Yamaha invited us down to Glamis for its annual Raptor 700R and YFZ450R Special Edition press event.
If you’ve ever ridden the Raptor 700R or the YFZ450R you’d know that these are already two of the industry’s best sport quads. Yamaha, however, aims to give its customers who want stand out from the crowd a little bit more without having to hit up the aftermarket. This is where the Special Edition models come in. Yamaha outfits these units with cool graphics and some GYTR accessories which completely set them apart from their non-SE siblings.
2011 Yamaha YFZ450R SE
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This year, Yamaha chose to go with fire engine red rear fenders matched with jet black fenders up front on the YFZ. We really liked how the red popped with the contrasting black plastic, which gave it a nice sporty look. Yamaha also designed a special ghost/bones graphics kit that features metallic ink, which gives it a trick-looking effect with the black and red plastic. To go along with the new plastic, Yamaha chose to powdercoat the frame, swingarm, and A-arms black to match the overall theme of the ATV. The 2011 YFZ450R SE also comes with black rolled lip wheels that not only add additional style to the ATV, but also add strength to the wheels.
Yamaha further enhanced the YFZ with the addition of several GYTR parts and accessories. One of the coolest things we have yet to see from another manufacturer that Yamaha added to its SE models is the quick release Zues Style pins that allow you to remove the plastic with no tools. Just this little accessory alone can save time and make the YFZ450R much easier to maintain.
In addition to styling, the 2011 YFZ450R SE was also given an upgrade in the protection department. It comes stock with an aggressive-looking black GYTR front bumper and heel guards. Not only does the GYTR front bumper look mean match well with the styling, but it is also easy to grip when lifting the front end.
It should be noted that Yamaha also gave its narrower YFZ450X the same SE treatment as the YFZ450R.
2011 Yamaha Raptor 700R SE
Yamaha chose to go with an all-black themed Raptor 700R SE, named the “Black Ghost.” As the name implies, the black metallic plastic features a ghost-looking theme that catches your eye. A sliver and black gripper-like seat cover was added to match the theme of the ATV.
To add more protection, the same black GYTR front bumper and rolled edge wheels that are found on the YFZ450R SE has also been added to the Raptor 700 SE. The Raptor 700 SE also features a rear disc wave brake rotor that is designed to reduce heat and brake fading.
Once we got familiar with new looks of both the YFZ450R SE and the Raptor 700 SE it was time to go rip up the infamous Glamis Sand Dunes. The weather was in our favor this year, as the temperature was in the mid 70s with the Southern California sun shinning down on us. The dunes this year were a little different than what we experienced at last year’s SE event. The wind in the dunes has a major effect on the shape of the dunes. Luckily the wind was gracious enough to make some sharp lips for us to catch some good air.
The Yamaha YFZ450R is a race proven machine that has won numerous races and championships. It only makes since to have a Special Edition model that boasts a trick-looking aggressive theme that marries well with the machine’s impressive performance. We had a blast carving the dunes on the YFZ450R SE. Handling is great whether you’re on the ground or flying through the air. Its race-friendly ergonomics makes it very easy to hang off to one side or the other when cornering. This was our machine of choice if we wanted to catch some big air or ride aggressively through the dunes.
As for the Raptor 700R SE, it not only looks great, but with its powerful 686cc liquid-cooled engine it has plenty of torque to get you through the dunes fast! We were very impressed by the how The Raptor 700 SE rides. A combination of the 9.1 inches of travel up front and 10.1 inches in rear along with a very plush seat makes the Raptor 700 ride like a Cadillac. Even though we love riding aggressively on the Yamaha YFZ450R SE , after three days of riding we found ourselves just wanting to cruise the dunes on the Raptor because of its smooth, powerful ride.
We have long been big fans of both the Yamaha YFZ450R and the Raptor 700R, but there are things we prefer about each. If you are a rider that likes to go fast but doesn’t make many sharp aggressive turns than you would more than likely have a blast on the Raptor 700R on or off the dunes. But, if you’re the type who likes to ride aggressively and craves high-revving, dune carving action, the YFZ450R SE might the choice for you.
Both the Yamaha YFZ450R SE ($8,949) and the Raptor 700 SE ($8,999) are great ATVs to rip up the Glamis Dunes and we were happy to see the new Special Edition styling.
If it were up to us and we had to choose just one ATV between the YFZ450R SE and the Raptor 700R SE to ride the dunes, the Raptor 700 SE would be the victor because of its combination of smooth suspension, power, and plush ride.