2009 Yamaha Grizzly 550 FI EPS Review
Yamaha brings power steering to new 500-class quad

There is a new 500-class utility quad on the market and it’s a real bear – a Grizzly, to be precise.

ATV.com got a chance to spend some time on the brand new 2009 Yamaha Grizzly 550 FI EPS in the beautiful San Bernardino National Forest and there is an awful lot to like about Yamaha’s latest off-road creation.

As mentioned in the 2009 Yamaha ATVs: First Look article, the Grizzly 550 fills what Yamaha considered a pretty big hole in its utility quad lineup between the Grizzly 450 IRS and the Grizzly 700 FI.

The Grizzly 550 shares a lot in common with its big brother. Yamaha isn’t shy about mentioning that the Grizzly 700 FI is the top selling big bore utility ATV, and it is a great machine to try and emulate. The chassis for the 550 is based on the 700, and most of the features and styling are also borrowed Yamaha’s flagship utility ATV.

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2008 Yamaha YFZ450 Project
Creating a motocross racer with a graphic theme

It seems these days that manufactures are stepping up more than ever to deliver more powerful ATVs, giving consumers the ability to simply buy quads that are ready to race right out of the crate.

Manufactures like Suzuki, Yamaha, Kawasaki, Honda and, most recently, KTM are all offering sport ATVs that claim to be race ready. They do this by adding more horse power, cutting down on weight and adding features like extended A-arms, aftermarket handlebars and more aggressive tires.

As good as these modern-day race quads are, there is no shortage of changes consumers can make to enhance the thrill of a factory-based machine. We decided to modify and build up one of the originators of the ‘out of the box race ATVs’ – the Yamaha YFZ450.

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2009 Suzuki QuadSport Z400 Preview
Sport quad updated with fuel injection

Suzuki has redesigned its race-bred QuadSport Z400 for 2009 with several features from its big brother, the QuadRacer LT-R450.

Key among the new features is Suzuki’s fuel-injection system, which has a 36mm throttle body and a 12-hole injector.

Also new is the Engine Control Unit, equipped with a 16-bit CPU and a 96-kilobyte ROM unit. According to Suzuki, the system is programmed to offer improved traction, by selecting the optimum injection volume, injection timing and ignition timing based on throttle position, engine rpm and other data.

The Z400 also features new styling, including sharp fenders, overall slim design and removable headlight, all based off the R450.

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2009 Can-Am Outlander 400 EFI Review
Race-bred features add to this utility quad

Can-am, a new name that takes its origin from a vintage dirt bike that turned heads in the 1970s, is a company dedicated to racing. This direction, though, doesn’t stop it from recognizing that the utility market is bigger than the racing one and probably always will be. That’s where the Outlander series of ATVs comes in.

Can-Am’s entry-level utility quad is the Outlander 400 EFI. It is powered by a 400cc Rotax V-twin engine, which the company claims is the most powerful in its class. The engine is electronically fuel injected, which means there is no choke and starting is aided by a computer that precisely mixes the right amount of gas and air based on altitude and air temperature. While this system is not particularly unique in and of itself, in the 400cc market it is. In large part this is because Can-am’s engines have to do duty in various chassis styles. Also, the demands of racing are a bit higher than those of the trail rider or sportsman. This bleed-over of technology is a bonus at this end of the price ladder.

For 2009 the base Outlander remains largely unchanged, except for new decals and revised colours. Also, the skid plate is now a high-density polyethylene, which is actually an improvement. As much as I like steel under me I’ve learned that the polyethylene is tough, weighs less and, oddly, it’s slippery – meaning it slides off rocks rather than grates and sticks like steel does.

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KYMCO introduces two new ATVs for 2009
OEM releases its first side-by-side vehicle

KYMCO USA of Spartanburg, SC introduced a pair of new off-road vehicles for 2009 at its first annual dealer meeting.

Both the UXV 500 and MXU 375, according to KYMCO, are designed to appeal directly to consumers who are more closely considering the pocketbook when purchasing a new ATV or UTV.

With the UXV 500, KYMCO made the leap into the burgeoning side-by-side market. The vehicle, which will have a base MSRP of just under $8,000, is powered by a 498.5cc 4-stroke DOHC liquid-cooled engine that pumps out 33 horsepower and has a towing capacity of 1,200 pounds. You can also carry an additional 420 pounds in the cargo bed.

“The UXV 500 brings the side-by-side utility everyone wants into a price range that everyone can afford,” says Bruce Ramsey, KYMCO USA sales and marketing vice president. “When we unveiled it at our annual dealer meeting, it truly impressed the crowd. The UXV is definitely one of the best received products KYMCO has ever released.”

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2008 Polaris Sportsman 500 EFI X2 Review
A versatile ATV that could satisfy just about anyone

As we rode the latest 2008 Polaris Sportsman 500 EFI X2 through rain-swollen trails on a wet day in central Minnesota, we couldn’t help but admire how far Polaris ATVs have come since the first 1980s prototypes. Like the first 1986 Trail Boss production models, the 2008 X2 shares features that changed ATV industry.

Until Polaris came along, ATVs sported motocross type foot-shift transmissions and foot pegs. Not only was Polaris’ first Trail Boss a new product for the Minnesota-based company, it was a new concept for the ATV industry.

Two decades ago Polaris fought to get attention for its unique vision of ATVing, cajoling ATV writers to ride its product. The vehicle made the rounds of farm shows and sports shows. While it was a ‘different’ ATV, history would list the 1986 Polaris Trail Boss as a groundbreaking vehicle. Instead of foot pegs, the Trail Boss featured floorboards with ample room for farmers wearing work boots. The engine was a proven reliable 250cc 2-stroke that Polaris used in its snowmobiles and Textron used in EZ-Go golf carts. It was a versatile motor that worked well with Polaris’ constantly variable transmission. This offshoot of a snowmobile drive system was dubbed the PVT – Polaris Variable Transmission.

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2008 Kawasaki KFX450R Review
Adding Two More Wheels to Tested Kawasaki Technology

2008 may very well be remembered as the Year of the Kaw for much of the ATV racing and sport community as Kawasaki’s new 2008 KFX450R quad attacks the 450cc class ATV arena with tested two-wheeled championship winning engine technology. All this is wrapped in a nicely packaged yet attractively priced race-ready quad.

Straight out of the box, the KFX450R is a serious threat to the rest of the racing competition because of its state of the art race technology combined with proven reliability and power. Designed and engineered to race, this late comer to an already competitive class of ATV racing has made clear its intention to be taken seriously.

The KFX450R is not just for racing either. Its super light weight and precision handling make it a dream to ride, and Kawasaki gives you the stability and control you’ll need to own the trail like no other quad before it. It clearly gives new meaning to the term ‘point and shoot’ when you come out of a corner and nail the throttle.

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2008 Polaris Sportsman 400 H.O. Review
Big value in a small package

The 300 class is the price point and power level at which many adult ATV buyers make their first purchase. Some riders never choose to buy anything bigger and brand loyalty starts to grow with the first purchase, so the quality of an OEM’s offering at this level is critical.

In model year 2006 Polaris released an all-new ATV called the Hawkeye. The Hawkeye initiated Polaris’ head-long charge into the 300cc market commanded by Honda. In typical Polaris fashion, the Hawkeye came with an independent rear suspension, rubber-belt CVT, clever styling, all-wheel drive and single lever hydraulic-disc brakes. Another critical asset was the price tag. Without a low sticker price, Polaris would’ve stood no chance at growing its sales in this market. Delivering all of the high-end features that the Hawkeye had at a competitive price was a coup for Team Polaris.

Polaris eliminated the Hawkeye name for 2008 to expand its Sportsman lineup. But the company is continuing its march into the 300-400cc class with a Sportsman 400 H.O. that is built on the original Hawkeye platform. The 400 H.O. has all the features and advantages of the Hawkeye, including a low retail cost of $5,599.

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2008 Suzuki KingQuad 400 Review
Baby of King Quad family still provides plenty of fun

Suzuki has completed the re-vamping of its sport-utility ATV lineup with the 2008 KingQuad 400.

The 400-class of sport-utes seems to have lost its marketing luster in comparison to other, higher-powered segments. It is undeniable that most OEM development dollars are being poured into bigger-bore and sportier ATVs and UTVs. In fact, Suzuki’s smallest KingQuad gets much of its design heritage from the Eiger – Suzuki’s elder 400cc sport-utility model. However, 400s are still very popular with consumers and this is an arena that Suzuki needs to stay competitive in.

Have they done it? Join me on a trip through the snow-covered forests of Northern Minnesota and see.

Nuts and Bolts

The facts indicate that Suzuki’s aim with the new 400 is:

  1. Leverage the marketing cachet of the resurgent KingQuad brand.
  2. Invest development dollars only where they really count.
  3. Keep the retail cost down.
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2008 Honda TRX700XX Review
A sport quad for the utility ATVer

It’s been a while since Honda has introduced a completely new ATV. Like most of you, ATV.com heard rumblings about a new big bore sport quad with independent rear suspension a while ago, so when Honda invited us to test out its brand new TRX700XX we jumped at the chance.

After hopping on a flight to Las Vegas, Honda drove ATV.com and some other media types about two hours southwest to the Dumont Dunes, which are about 30 miles north of Baker, Calif.

Far from being just a beefed up version of the very successful TRX450, Honda’s new machine is brand spanking new from the ground up. People are going to want to make comparisons to Yamaha’s Raptor 700 or the Polaris Outlaw 525, but this is a unique ATV and it’s difficult to pigeonhole it into one category or class.

At first glance, this seems like a vehicle that could appeal to a lot of people, thanks to some unique features that we’ll go over in detail shortly. Honda, however, surprised us a little when it said the key target group for the 700XX is utility quad owners who are looking for more sport.

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2008 Honda FourTrax Rincon Review
High tech and high performance in a reliable package

Like it so carefully does in all its business areas, Honda makes every move in the ATV market deliberate, calculated and intended to strengthen its position as the ATV sales leader.

Historically, Big Red’s success has been based on its overwhelming market strength in the 300cc to 500cc engine classes. In the 1990s, several quad builders decided they could not surpass Honda solely by competing head-to-head in the company’s strongest market. Instead, these competitors—notably Polaris and later Yamaha–decided to forge new opportunities by building ATVs with larger-displacement mills, automatic transmissions and independent rear suspensions.

In typical Honda fashion, Big Red bided it’s time before firing back with the release of its first big-bore, IRS ‘Rincon’ in model year 2003. In model year 2006, Honda increased the Rincon’s displacement and added electronic fuel injection. The 2008 version continues to have Honda’s most powerful engine, along with a plethora of innovative features delivering reliable high-technology performance.

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2008 Suzuki KingQuad 750 Review
Big fun and big power in abundance with this monster machine

This year marks Suzuki’s 25th anniversary of producing the industry’s first ATVs, having begun making these machines when ATCs, otherwise known as three-wheelers, still dominated the off-road market. Suzuki is rightfully proud of being the ‘First on Four Wheels,’ and the company is celebrating by expanding its King Quad lineup.

At the top of the food chain is the 2008 KingQuad 750. While many ATV ride reviews take place in temperate conditions, we ran the newest KingQuad smack dab in the middle of a northern Minnesota cold snap.

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2007 Yamaha Raptor 700R SE Review
Special Edition sport quad stakes a claim in big bore sport class quads

The Imperial Sand Dunes Recreational Area in southern California is a great place to test the true grit of Yamaha’s big bore Raptor Sport ATV. Sand dunes are a completely different terrain than riding on a track or in the trails and conditions can vary greatly from day to day, requiring versatility and dependability.

The South Dunes of the ISDRA provided ideal conditions for what is one of the best sport class quads we’ve tested to date, as the Yamaha Raptor played king of the hill at Gordon Wells’ Test Hill. It went almost entirely unchallenged when it competed against other stock quads of all sizes. It also made quick work of just about every other ATV it ran against at the sand drags above Dune Buggy Flats. The biggest challenges seemed to come from some slightly modified 450cc race based quads.

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2008 Kawasaki KFX450R Preview
Team Green offers race-ready sport quad

Kawasaki is making a hard push into sport ATV racing, and the KFX450R is designed to make it as easy as possible for the average rider.

The company says its racing quad doesn’t require extensive modifications to compete on the track and has been designed to include everything riders need to win races.

“This is race-ready right out of the box,” Kawasaki’s Jeff Quilty told ATV.com.

Powered by a 449cc, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke engine, the KFX450R produces more torque in the low and medium rpm ranges to improve hole-shot acceleration. The use of fuel injection helps ensure that the engine’s performance remains consistent, and Kawasaki says it is virtually unaffected by changes in temperature or altitude. The machine also comes with the only reverse gear in its class.

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2008 Can-Am DS 450 EFI Preview
BRP delivers the lightest sport quad available on the market

In 2001, Can-Am engineers were asked to build the lightest racing quad possible without sacrificing power. After six years of work, they responded with the DS 450 EFI.

Can-Am claims the DS 450 EFI has the lowest weight, lowest unsprung weight, most mass centralization and the highest power in its class. To achieve this, the frame, engine and suspension have been completely redesigned.

One of the key features of the lightweight aluminum frame is that it has no welds. Frame components are held together with aluminum fasteners called lock-bolts—the same technology used to attach the wings of an Airbus A380 aircraft. Can-Am says its new frame weighs 5.3 pounds less than the nearest competitor.

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2008 Honda TRX700XX Preview

Honda has taken a significant step in 2008 with the introduction of its TRX700XX.

Powered by a 686cc SOHC liquid-cooled, fuel-injected, 4-stroke engine, the TRX700XX is Honda’s biggest sport ATV ever, but it certainly isn’t an industry first. The fact that it has independent rear suspension is how Honda plans to make a splash.

“You’re not really going to find an independent rear suspension in a big-bore sport class anywhere else,” Nick Smirniw of Honda Canada told ATV.com. “One of the limitations with sport ATVs typically is that the chain, because they are generally using a motorcycle engine, is off-set to one side, which means that you couldn’t actually put an IRS system in place.”

With the chain off-set to one side, the arms would be different sizes, which would lead to poor stability. To resolve this issue, Honda centered the chain drive, which allows for equal-length arms.

Thanks to the independent rear suspension, Honda says the TRX700XX is more agile than other big-bore sport ATV machines. It also has an impressive 10.5 inches of ground clearance.

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2007 Arctic Cat 700 EFI Review
This cat will hunt, and then some

Arctic Cat designs its sport-utility ATVs with hunters in mind—it’s just that simple. The affinity is a natural one, because the company’s design center is located in rural northwestern Minnesota, and they often test their vehicles in the wild and scenic Beltrami Island State Forest. The team at Cat will steal the hearts of many sportsmen with the tremendous hunting capability built into its 700 EFI 4×4. Using this vehicle as a platform, I constructed a concept hunting-quad showcasing some of the best Arctic Cat iron, while also adding a handful of non-Arctic Cat hunting accessories.

Under the seat

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2008 Polaris Sportsman 500 EFI Review
Latest of the big-bore 4-strokers continues the innovation

Polaris ignited the big-bore ATV wars in the mid-1990s with the release of the Sportsman 500. At the time, the long-travel independent rear suspension, big-bore (for the time) 4-stroke engine, full floorboards and other features were revolutionary. The success of this initial 500 began a tidal wave of ATVs with large displacement mills and automatic transmissions that is still cresting throughout the industry. Polaris continues its tradition of innovation with its Sportsman 500 EFI.

Polaris successfully integrated fuel injection into the tried-and-true Fuji 500 HO powerplant in the 2006 model year. The 500 mill still provides good power, and any mechanical issues should have been eliminated long ago. Polaris wrings out every last drop from the 500 in the powerband. Low-end and mid-range are both good but not spectacular. On the top end, this Polaris pulls away from the Honda Rubicon and the Arctic Cat 500 Auto, under a comparison test. I was not able to analyze cold starting, but the fuel injection seemed flawless at all speeds. Polaris is due to redesign its engines for this class—the question is not if, but when, we will see it happen. For now, the 500 EFI is still a solid package and provides plenty of power for all types of trail riding and utility usage.

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2008 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI Review
Rugged and tough yet powerful and smooth, this machine can take a beating

ATV.com recently headed to the hills of northern California to test the 2008 Polaris Sportsman 800 EFI HO, on a guided ride with the Glende Polaris dealership in Chico, Calif.

The terrain was a mixture of relatively smooth fire trails and rocky, technical climbs and descents with plenty of fallen trees thrown in for good measure—an adequate test for any ATV.

The Sportsman 800 is built like a tank and tips the scales at a hefty 770 pounds, which is more than 50 pounds heavier than Arctic Cat’s 950cc Thundercat 4X4. Polaris says the added heft is the result of designing a rugged vehicle that can take a beating.

Though the ruggedness and durability add considerable weight, it’s a compromise Polaris was willing to make because the ride is smooth and the handling good so that you don’t really feel the additional pounds.

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2007 Kymco Mongoose 90 Preview
2007 Kymco Mongoose 90 Preview: If you are looking for an ATV for your child but the introductory 50cc models seem a little too tame Kymco has an option to consider with its Mongoose 90.
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2007 Kymco Mongoose 50 Preview
2007 Kymco Mongoose 50 Preview: Kymco is tapping into the youth ATV market with its Mongoose 50 4T a low displacement ATV is meant for riders at least six years old.
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2007 Suzuki Quadracer R450 Review
Race-ready, right out of the box

For those looking for an ATV that is ready to race right out of the box, Suzuki offers its Quadracer R450.

Suzuki says the concept of the Quadracer R450 is unique, in that the consumer doesn’t have to bolt on a laundry list of aftermarket parts before being able to compete on the racetrack.

When it comes to racing pedigree, it’s hard to argue with Suzuki’s success. Three of the top four finishers on the 2007 WPSA SuperQuad Pro 450 final standings rode Suzuki ATVs, including Doug Gust.

Gust, who won the WPSA SuperQuad Pro 450 class in 2006 and finished fourth in 2007, worked with a team us Suzuki engineers to come up with the R450.

ATV.com wanted to see what the sporty machine could do in person, and Wayne Wilkes of Columbia PowerSports Center in Columbia, SC facilitated a ride. Wilkes took us to Carolina Adventure World in Fairfield County, SC and we hit the ATV trails for a little while to warm up.

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2007 Suzuki KingQuad 450 Review
Riding with the King

On a surprisingly hot November day, ATV.com visited Carolina Adventure World to test out the Suzuki KingQuad 450.

After meeting Columbia PowerSports Center owner Wayne Wilkes at his store in Columbia, SC, we hit the road with three 2007 KingQuads in tow. The 2007 models are mechanically identical to the 2008 vehicles—the only difference being that 2007 was the last model year Suzuki offered the KingQuad in black.

After about a 45 minute drive north, we reached Carolina Adventure World in Fairfield County, SC. It is a privately owned facility with 100 miles of ATV trails and plenty of other things to do. But we were there to ride.

With Wilkes leading the way, we hopped on the quads and drove towards the trails. All the trails were well marked and we started off on some of the easier routes to get used to the vehicles.

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2005 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon Review
Made strictly for the trails and tundra in Canada, eh

The Laurentian mountains of Quebec are a majestic natural setting that has inspired many an artists’ rendering. But the tree-filled site about an hour north of Montreal was also deemed ruggedly suitable enough for Honda to launch and test its new Canadian Trail Edition Rubicon ATV. As Warren Milner, ATV product planer for Honda Canada explains, the Canadian Trail Edition is more than just a stick-on badge. It represents two years of study and testing culminating in a unique coil over shock design that is new from the ground up—and available only in Canada.

The Honda Rubicon model is being used as the platform for these new 2005 Canadian-only editions. In addition the TRX500FG and the TRX400FG are both equipped with Honda’s onboard GPS based navigation system and they both carry the reputation that the Rubicon has gained over the past model years with its Hondamatic transmission that utilizes variable hydraulic pressure and mechanical torque amplification to power the driveshafts. Now add to that a distinctive set of red shocks and you have the CTE.

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2008 Suzuki KingQuad 450 Review
Suzuki raises the bar with this sport utility machine

In recent years, a new engine class has developed in the sport utility ATV market. The 450cc class is where features and cost are supposed to find their best balance. Suzuki has targeted this segment with its King Quad 450—the ‘little brother’ to the King Quad 700, with many of the same amenities but a smaller engine and a lower price tag. When Suzuki developed the 450, the company took the opportunity to redesign the chassis and suspension. In doing so, it improved upon an already very good design and raised the bar for this class.

Just the facts

The King is powered by a 454cc, single overhead cam, single cylinder, liquid-cooled 4-stroke fuel-injected engine, which turns a rubber v-belt CVT transmission that has an exclusive engine-braking design. The CVT powers a low-high gearbox that in turn transmits power to the drive shafts. The King is equipped with independent suspension at all four corners and adjustable springs with five pre-load settings. There is a rear sway bar. Push-button four-wheel-drive capability is standard along with an easy to use locking differential switch. The 2007 450 King has the same 30 Watt, bumper-mounted headlights as the 700 King Quad, but does not have the 700’s 40-watt handlebar-mounted headlight. The engine starts with a push of the button on the left hand control, and will not start unless the ATV is in neutral or in a forward gear with the front brake being applied. The 450 is equipped with an LCD display in a size that seems to have become a standard for most Japanese ATV manufacturers.

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The King returns for 2007
Suzuki KingQuad has power to spare

Suzuki is a solid player in the ATV business, producing sport-ute bikes that do everything well. The company reserves its KingQuad moniker for very special models, and 2007 is no exception. We have been visiting various US state and national forest trails in north-central Minnesota to evaluate the latest beast from the inventors of the 4-wheeled ATV, and came away impressed—in fact, exhilarated. The fuel-injected 2007 KingQuad 700 delivers handfuls of smooth power and is loaded with useful features for the trail rider or hunter. It also comes at an exceptional price.

The biggest, newest offering from Suzuki is a Tour de Force of some of the best design engineers in the business. The KingQuad is powered by a fuel-injected single-cylinder 695cc dual-overhead cam, wet sump engine. Plasma-spray coated cylinders improve the longevity of this package. The v-belt CVT transmission has engine-braking built in with low and high forward gears plus reverse. Suspension is provided by double-A-arm front and rear with a rear swaybar cleverly hidden in front of the rear diff. The KQ has disc brakes in front and an enclosed fluid-shear brake in the rear. First introduced by Kawasaki, this style of rear brake is one of those nice technology progressions that ATV enthusiasts have been enjoying in recent years. The KingQuad has two bumper-mounted and one handlebar-mounted headlights and a rear-mounted 4.6 gallon gas tank. First impressions reveal best-in-class fit and finish. Everything from the body plastic to the electrical panel under the seat is very clean and well thought out.

Take it to the trails

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2007 Argo Avenger Review
2007 Argo Avenger Review: There is something in an off roader s soul that yearns for the freedom of crossing land without limits. An ATV satisfies this need by carrying us down trails with power and speed that we could never achieve on our own. Our desire to subdue nature is sated with a feeling of accomplishment when the combination of hellip
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2006 Honda FourTrax Rincon Review
Automotive-like features make this machine a joy to ride

In 2003, Honda introduced the Rincon, an ATV that development-wise took a slightly different approach. With its automotive-style automatic transmission, Honda’s first fully independent rear suspension and simple and easy-to-operate 4WD system, the Rincon was a treat to the newcomer and veteran alike.

Simplicity of operation is what the Rincon offered as well as offroad performance. This conclusion, apart from being my own assessment when I first rode it, is what Honda staff (during the initial launch in 2003) also stressed the Rincon’s role in the Honda lineup.

The Rincon, they said, was meant to appeal to new people coming into the sport—and the company accomplished this by making the bike safe, comfortable, but above all easy to ride, in a way that left any new buyer simply accepting that all ATVs must be this user-friendly. That’s the reason that several of the key features of the Rincon mimic automobile functions that are familiar to most adults. The shift lever is placed as it would be in a car and the tranny uses three long gears that shift smoothly and without any harsh bumps or having to search for neutral.

Specifications FourTrax Rincon GPScape
Model:TRX680CGA (Camo)/TRX680FGA
Engine:675cc liquid-cooled OHV single cylinder four-stroke
Transmission:Automatic with hydraulic torque converter. Three forward gears, one reverse
Suspension:Front: independent double-wishbone with 6.9 inches of travel
Rear: independent double-wishbone with 8 inches of travel
Brakes:Front: dual hydraulic 180mm disc
Rear: single hydraulic disc
Tires:Front: 25×8-12 radial
Rear: 25×10-12 radial
Length:83.2 inches
Width:47.5 inches
Seat Height:34.5 inches
Ground Clearance:10 inches
Wheelbase:50.8 inches
Dry Weight600 pounds
Fuel Capacity:4.5 gallons* (includes 1.1 gallon reserve) *US gallon
Pricing:TRX680FGA Red or OliveC$11,699 MSRP
TRX680CGA Camo C$11,999 MSRP

But despite what seems like a dumbed-down approach to ATV design, the experienced rider would find little to quibble with. Fact is, easy is easy, whether you’re a newbie or a veteran. Now three years on, it’s safe to say that Honda achieved its goal, and the sales prove it.

Still, there is always room for improvement and that’s why Honda had us back up in Quebec showing off the tweaks that it had engineered into the 2006 Rincon. First, they’ve pumped up the power—by increasing the bore from 100mm to 102mm they have added 36cc of displacement. A new higher lift camshaft increases the response in the upper torque range and overall produces a noticeable horsepower difference from the existing 650cc plant. The key change, though, has to be the addition of a new fuel injection system that Honda calls PGM-FI (programmed fuel injection). This system eliminates the manual choke, automatically compensates for altitude, up to 12,000 feet, and also compensates for starting temperature. These main changes, along with a host of smaller ones, represent the fine-tuning of the Rincon for 2006. Some of the others include a new reusable urethane air filter, dual front 180mm disc brakes and new valving in the rear suspension that smoothes out the shock action compared to the previous unit.

For this latest introduction, we rode from Lac Sacacomie, Que. (about 2.5 hours northeast of Montreal) in late November. This was also the location of the initial launch which was held in June of 2003. Looking back at the bugs of June or considering the cold of November, I’ll take November anytime. In fact, we were fortunate to have sunny conditions and a crisp -5 Celsius temperature that (dressed properly) didn’t hinder our party at all. There are more than 1,000 kilometres of maintained ATV trails in the system we rode, which is deep in the Laurentian Mountains. The majority of these trails are of the old logging road variety and what keeps them really interesting is the constant rise and fall of over 1,000 feet in altitude as you ride between the numerous lakes that dot the area. These elevations also make for frequent and beautiful waterfalls along the roads that tend to follow the same courses as the streams that connect the lakes.

In 2004, the Rincon was upgraded with a GPScape model, a feature now carried through the 2006 units. This GPS was integrated into the meter assembly and featured a digital compass, travel direction, compensating clock and storage for up to 100 waypoints. Riding in the Quebec bush, I found this built-in GPScape feature of the Rincon very handy. I say handy because despite the fact that I own two hand-held GPS units, I’ve learned that having to stop, pull the unit out of my pocket, power it up and refer to it is very annoying. The GPScape, by comparison, is always on (powered by the ATV) its simple functions get you to and from where you are going easily—the compass is always showing you which way you’re headed. Best of all, you can refer to it without having to stop, remove your gloves, undue your jacket and wait for a handheld to power up. But most importantly, you can never forget it back at the camp because its part of the bike.

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Electric ATVs: A Consumer's Guide
We've been hearing an awful lot about electric ATVs in recent months. For most of us, though, electric off-road vehicles are still part of the great unknown
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ATV Food Plot Accessories
Grooming equipment attachments can go a long way to helping hunters hit their marks

Quality deer management is all the rage among white tail deer hunters. Providing highly nutritious forage for deer will increase their antler size, help them survive high-stress conditions and hopefully help you fill the trophy space on your wall.

Even a small food plot only a half-acre in size can noticeably improve deer hunting. ATV accessory manufacturers have caught on to this booming market and there are more ATV and UTV implements available today than ever before. Food plot packages are available for small, medium and large food plot acreages—some are ‘one-pass’ designs that can make putting in a plot a snap. Here is a selection of some makes and models on the market.

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Kids and ATVs
Kids and ATVs: Off road riding is a great family activity. It s a chance for young people to learn new skills and develop self confidence and parents find exploring the out of doors a wonderful way to spend time with their kids.
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How To Keep Your ATV Young
Nothing is better than riding and enjoying a brand new ATV, but we can't simply get a new one each year. So how can you keep your ATV young?
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How To Choose the Right ATV
With a little research, you can go into a dealership fully armed with the info you need to choose the right ATV for your needs.
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Pro Armor Releases Doors for Kawasaki Teryx
Aluminum doors bolt directly on to your Teryx

Pro Armor has recently released its doors for the Kawasaki Teryx. These doors are all aluminum construction to save weight and ensure strength and durability for any type of riding or racing.

The doors are direct bolt on to your Teryx and feature a multi-point mounting system which Armor says makes them the strongest and best design on the market. These doors also feature Pro Armor’s automotive-grade slam latch that is integrated into the doors.

“These doors not only make your ride look that much better with the state of the art design but also keep you protected from the elements while out riding,” Pro Armor says in a release.

Retailing for $649.95, the doors are available in powder coated black. Visit ProArmor.com for more information.

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Kawasaki Updates Mule Line
Fuel injection and electric power steering for 4000 Series

Kawasaki has given its entire Mule line of side-by-side utility vehicles a face lift for 2009.

The entire 10-vehicle family, from the compact 2WD Mule 600 to the flagship 4010 Mule Trans 4X4 Diesel, has all received upgrades for the new model year.

4000 Series

Kawasaki’s new 4000 Series Mules replace the previous generation 3000 Series and each features new truck-like styling and digital fuel injection (DFI). On each of the 4010s, Kawasaki has also included electric power steering (EPS).

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2015 Utility ATVs Buyer's Guide
2015 Utility ATVs Buyer's Guide: Modern Utility ATVs are more capable than ever before and remain a favorite for anybody that prefers to straddle the seat of a four wheeler rather than sit in one and buckle up. We've highlighted every model we could find from the 2015 model year.
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Yamaha YFZ450R Project: Budget MX Racer
Yamaha YFZ450R Project: Budget MX Racer: We had a dealer outfit a 2014 Yamaha YFZ450R with a few accessories to see how easily and affordably we could build a race ready machine.
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Mud Riding and Honda ATVs
Mud Riding and Honda ATVs: Graham Adams lives and breathes mud riding and has built a YouTube following with his mud themed videos. He tells us what damage he's done to his ATVs over the years and why they've all been Hondas.
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2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 Project: Giveaway
The ultimate ATV Christmas gift

After building it up with thousands of dollars in parts and accessories from GYTR and others and taking it out for a final test ride, it was finally time to pick a winner of ATV.com’s Yamaha Raptor 700 Project ATV. We reached our hand into a very large figurative hat and the lucky winner was chosen – Dewayne Hughes of Ware Shoals, South Carolina.

We called up a very surprised Dewayne and told him he won the contest. Though we weren’t entirely sure he believed us, we finally convinced him when we pulled up in our truck loaded with his awesome new ride.

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2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 Project: Final Testing and Set Up
We take the completed project out for a spin

As a way to thank our loyal readers, ATV.com is building up and giving away a 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700. We’ve teamed up with Yamaha and some of the biggest names in the industry for this project and one of our lucky readers will take home the finished product.

When we set out to give one lucky reader a 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700, we didn’t realize just how lucky the winner would really be. Not only are we giving away a great ride, but the winner will also be treated to some really trick GYTR components, as well as great OMF Performance wheels, Maxxis Tires, and Pro Taper bars and grips. To top it all off, we are also including a complete set of Fly Racing Kinetic Inversion riding gear!

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2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 Project: Control and Traction
Tires and wheels and handlebars...oh my!

As a way to thank our loyal readers, ATV.com is building up and giving away a 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700. We’ve teamed up with Yamaha and some of the biggest names in the industry for this project and one of our lucky readers will take home the finished product.

The last time we had a great deal of action on what we would have considered as a powerful sport quad was almost two years ago. The market has become quiet and getting to push the thumb throttle on a Yamaha Raptor 700 brings back memories of our racing days. The 2013 Raptor 700 has a belly full of rage and getting the power out of the motor is really easy. The only problem we found with that much power is making it contact the earth beneath it and motivating the entire ATV forward without exploding the tires.

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Where Have All The Sport ATVs Gone?
A look at the erratic past, present and future of Sport ATVs

A quick look at the modern ATV landscape reveals quite a different picture than just a few short years ago. Before the economic crisis took a strong hold, seven manufacturers offered ‘race-ready’ 450cc Sport ATVs – most of which were new or recently updated. Since the 2009 model year only two manufacturers have even offered an updated model and several others have seemingly abandoned the class entirely.

While it may appear that the very future of this class is on shaky ground, we’re not quite that pessimistic. But before we look at what the future may hold, it makes sense to look at the recent history of Sport ATVs to see what we can learn.

In The Beginning

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2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 Project: GYTR Power and Protection
New exhaust, nerf bars, bumper and graphics

As a way to thank our loyal readers, ATV.com is building up and giving away a 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700. We’ve teamed up with Yamaha and some of the biggest names in the industry for this project and one of our lucky readers will take home the finished product.

While the 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 is piles of fun right out of the box – you can read our review of the stock machine here – you can always make something better. In our experience, the most logical place to look for ways to improve or enhance Yamaha ATVs is through GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing).

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Best Implements and Attachments for Your ATV and UTV
While ATVs and UTVs are our favorite toys for outdoor fun, they can be incredible work vehicles if you’ve got the right implements and attachments. And we’re not talking about lightweight jobs here. In fact, some of these implements can take over a lot of the work a small tractor would normally handle.
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Choosing a Work Vehicle: ATV Vs. UTV
Choosing a Work Vehicle: ATV vs. UTV: It s already been established that ATVs and UTVs are very useful tools around the farm or worksite. Now it s time to decide if an ATV or UTV suits your needs best.
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ATVs and UTVs Are Useful Tools for Farmers and Landowners
A good four-wheeler just makes things easier

It may not seem like it at times, but ATVs and UTVs have long been closely associated with farmers and landowners, and for good reason. While modern high-powered, sport-specific machines seem to dominate the headlines of most off-road publications, this industry can thank much of its growth to four wheelers that help get the work done.

Sure, it’s cool to see the Moore Brothers flinging their sport quads 30 feet into the air or a sport-tuned UTV tearing up the dunes, but to ignore the utility of these machines is to miss half the picture.

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2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Project – Giveaway
Robert Gallagher wins ATV.com's Raptor 125 contest

After months of prep work and thousands of entrants, Robert Gallagher of Zanesville, Ohio was announced as the lucky winner of ATV.com’s 2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Project.

To enter the contest, Gallagher simply filled out a questionnaire and got signed up for the ATV.com newsletter. It was absolutely free to enter.

Gallagher takes home a Raptor 125 decked out with aluminum accessories from Yamaha’s GYTR line, DRD Exhaust, Tusk Handlebar Risers, Tag Handlebars, and Spider Grips.

Already an owner of a YFZ450, Gallagher was excited about adding another machine to his garage.

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Yamaha Raptor 125 Project – Performance
We add a DRD exhaust and new tires and wheels

ATV.com and Yamaha are teaming up to give away a 2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 to one of our readers. This is the third article in a four-part series on the newest Raptor. Click here for the more information on the Yamaha Raptor 125 Contest.

Since we upgraded our Project Raptor 125 with protection products from GYTR, aimed at making our machine more durable and longer lasting, we have been busy working on the next stage of upgrades. Record-breaking rainfall has kept us off the trails longer than we expected, but we’ve finally had a chance to see how our changes affect the performace.

Trail Ready Raptor

With GYTR skid plates, nerf bars, bumper, grab bar, and shock covers installed it was time to determine the destiny of our machine. We suspect that most individuals will purchase this machine for trail riding, so our modifications were chosen to make the little 125 a more capable trail machine.

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Yamaha Raptor 125 Project – Protection
GYTR helps toughen up our project Raptor

ATV.com and Yamaha are teaming up to give away a 2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 to one of our readers. This is the second article in a four-part series on the newest Raptor. In future articles we’ll improve power and handling to make this machine even more fun and functional. We’ll also compare it to another 125cc sport quad in a head-to-head shootout. Click here for the more information on the Yamaha Raptor 125 Contest.

Yamaha’s 2011 Raptor 125 was a perfect machine to bring to the market. It offers true sport performance and quality that we suspect will have it being handed down from generation to generation of young riders.

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Yamaha YFZ450R MX Project – Part 4
Our project quad goes to the races

In the previous installment of our Yamaha YFZ450R MX project we installed a variety of GYTR goodies, as well as a GPR steering stabilizer. The GYTR parts provided improved looks and protection, while the GPR stabilizer gave our project quad better handing under rough conditions.

In this final installment of our series we wrap up our build and take it to Earlywine Racing Indoor Motocross Track in Maysville, Ky. for a little racing. Unlike most indoor tracks, Earlywine’s fantastic indoor facility features six passing lanes. This provides racers with many lines to choose from and it is wide enough to have an exciting race. Also, as the weather is getting colder here in the Midwest it only made since to make the trek down to an indoor facility if we wanted to have any chance of staying out of the snow.

On the way to Kentucky we stopped in to see our friends at Idol Speed in Greenfeild, Ind. While we were there Idol Speed installed and set up its QuadShot device on our project Yamaha YFZ450R in hopes to getting us better holeshots. The Idol Speed QuadShot device works similar to a dirtbike’s holeshot device – it compresses the front suspension on the starting gate and releases once the racer enters the first turn.

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Yamaha YFZ450R MX Project – Part 3
We add GYTR power and flair to our motocross racer

Yamaha’s YFZ450R comes straight from the factory just itching to race. With its wide stance, excellent power, and comfortable ergonomics, it’s got a fantastic foundation. With a few tweaks, however, it can be a champion.

In our previous installment, we looked to improve traction with a set of awesome Maxxis SYHP Razr MX tires and ITP T9 Pro Series Trac-Loc wheels. This time we’ll focus on power and protection.

We decided to call up our good friends at GYTR. Fortunately for us GYTR was glad to help with the build and soon sent over a couple of boxes filled with goodies, including a front bumper, grab bar, racing lanyard, nerf bars, and a full exhaust system. We also received a Dynojet Power Commander and a GPR Steering Stabilizer. All of these products are available through Yamaha’s official website.

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Yamaha YFZ450R MX Project – Part 2
Maxxis SYHP Razr MX tires and ITP T9 Pro Series Trac-Lock Wheels

One of the most important things when riding is getting good traction. Whether you’re just a trail rider or a racer you need to be able to get from point A to point B, and without traction you will be left in the dust no matter how built-up the rest of your ATV is.

As we have had our Yamaha YFZ450R MX Project for several weeks now, we thought it was time to change out the tires and try out something different. Our good buddies at Maxxis and ITP sent out a set of wheels and tires to put them to the test.

ITP sent us a set of rear T9 Pro Series Trac-Lock rear wheels. These wheels feature an outer bead lock ring and an inner reinforcing ring. The ITP T9 Trac-Lock wheels are made to be tough with .190 aluminum wall construction. The outside bead lock ring comes into play when sliding around rough corners on the track and it also adds some styling to the wheels. Often times with stock wheels, if the tire catches a rut just right the tire can come off the bead. There is nothing more embarrassing than crossing the finish line with a floppy tire, even if you are lucky enough to make it that far.

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Yamaha YFZ450R MX Project – Part 1
Building an A Class killer

As ATV.com’s resident sport quad aficionado, we’re always excited when a manufacturer comes out with something new. When Yamaha introduced its YFZ450R for the 2009 model year we were extra stoked as we’d been racing on the original YFZ450 for several years.

We were lucky enough to be one of the first to have tested the YFZ450R when it was first introduced. We’ve ridden it out in sand dunes in Southern California and on numerous motocross tracks, but we’d never really had a chance to enter it into real race settings. That’s all about to change.

Yamaha recently loaned us a 2010 YFZ450R for some long term testing and we’ve decided to jump on the opportunity and use the YFZ for a motocross project. This article will mark the first of a series on racing and modifying the 2010 Yamaha YFZ450R to be competitive in the local AMA district 15 MX in the A Class.

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ATVing on a Budget – Five Quads for Under $5,000
Four-wheel fun that won't break the bank

While it looks as though the economy is beginning to rebound, most of us don’t have a lot of extra money lying around to pick up a new off-road funster. To help ease your financial burden but still keep you on the trails, we’ve put together a list of five ATVs you can pick up for under $5,000.

Of course, these aren’t the most powerful, accessory-clad four-wheelers available – you’ll still have to pony up big bucks for those – but these are fun, functional ATVs from major manufacturers with strong dealer networks.

Keep in mind that all of these prices are 2010 MSRPs. If you shop around you’ll find that you can save some significant money off the MSRP, especially if you’ve got cash in hand or are looking at a model that’s been sitting on the showroom floor for quite a while. This is still very much a buyer’s market!

Arctic Cat 300 DVX – $3,999 (2010 pricing)

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Yamaha Grizzly 550 Project
Three simple bolt-ons make a tougher Grizzly

The Yamaha Grizzly 550 is such a capable, nimble handing, and fun-to-ride ATV we’ve managed to rack up a lot of time on it. We have conquered a lot of rugged terrain on the machine, but one day while grinding over some rocks in a creek bed we managed to rip the front mounting holes out on our machine’s stock rear chassis skid plate. Fortunately, we were able to re-secure the skid plate, but we knew it would need to be replaced before our next outing.

Like most 4x4s, the Grizzly is equipped with plastic skid plates. They’re light weight and offer sufficient protection for most trail obstacles, but as we have learned, large jagged rocks are a formidable match. We wanted to continue riding our Grizzly wherever the trail led us, but we knew if we were going to play in the rocks some upgrades in undercarriage protection would be a good idea. With tough conditions in mind, we decided to add a small handful of accessories to our Grizzly to make it more durable and improve its overall capability in the worst trail conditions.

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2010 Santor Design Co. LT-R450 Projects
Dressing up two LTRs for the Dealer Expo

In addition to writing for ATV.com, I also operate a graphics company called Santor Design Co. Each year SDC puts together an ATV project for the International Powersports Dealer Expo. In fact, it was at the 2008 Dealer Expo where I first met ATV.com’s editorial staff.

When we put together an ATV for the show, we feature a theme that is unique and different than just a regular race ATV you see throughout the show. For the 2008 show we designed a “Whisky Runner” YFZ, which you can read about here. A year later we were given space in the Maier Plastic booth and designed a YFZ450 with a “ Stripper kit” that featured two girls on the gas tank with fish nets wrapped around the plastic.

This year at SDC we decided to start with a different base model. Instead of using a YFZ as our canvas we choose not one, but two Suzuki LT-R450s. These two quads belong to two Team Santor riders, Landon and Derek Glass. Both of these LTRs were ridden before we started the build, which was a new experience for us. It would have been nice to bring home two new ATVs and strip them down the first few minutes we had our hands on them, but we decided to save a little money and literally get our hands dirty with this build. One LTR was built to be featured in the Kenda Tires booth and the other was destined for Blingstar’s booth. Both will be ridden hard throughout the 2010 race season.

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TPR Yamaha YFZ450R Project: Ride Review
We put TPR's latest project to the test

Our ride review for the Tarantula Performance Racing project Yamaha YFZ450R took place over the span of two days, at two different test tracks and with two test riders. The quad performed well for both riders, one of whom competed in 2009 in the Pro ranks of the NEATV-MX series, while the other is a novice rider who has competed locally in Ohio.

If you missed it, check out ATV.com’s first story detailing the months-long process of building the TPR project YFZ450R. For this story, we’ll skip most of the product details by jumping right in and explaining how they improved the new Yamaha’s stock performance.

Saddle Up!

The ergonomics and controls on a race quad are more important than most people think. A lot of riders ignore the angle of their levers, handlebar pitch and foot peg height to their own detriment. Comfort is one key to riding fast and avoiding fatigue.

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TPR Yamaha YFZ450R Project
The YFZ-R gets an MX makeover

Tarantula Performance Racing’s latest project took Yamaha’s new YFZ450R and improved its track-ready prowess ten-fold.

TPR is well known for its part in producing the Spyder Quad, a tarantula-themed custom Suzuki LTR450 that made its debut with Douglas Wheel Technologies at the 2008 Indianapolis Dealer Expo. But the Spyder Quad, with all its industry-leading aftermarket additions, was destined to be a show piece that, to this day, has never hit the track.

This season, TPR took a different approach with the Tarantula Performance Racing project Yamaha YFZ450R. TPR built the YFZ-R to debut its new line of Race Safer Pro combination nerf bar and heel guards, but the TPR crew also wanted this quad to perform on the track and not just be another show queen.

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Yamaha Raptor 250 Project – Giveaway
Joe Shinsky wins ATV.com's Raptor 250 contest

Some times in life the odds are stacked against you – be it winning the lottery or even in some cases getting struck by lightning. For Joe Shinsky it was a combination of both. Joe was the lucky winner of ATV.com’s Project Yamaha Raptor 250 Giveaway. He couldn’t believe it; he was shocked that he of all people was the lucky one to be given such a tricked out ATV for FREE! Who could blame him? More than 5,000 people entered the contest and he was the lucky winner.

Joe hails from Northern Ohio and is 19 years old. He has been riding ATVs almost his whole life. He still has home videos of his dad walking along side of him riding his first ATV – an ATC 70. He has since honed his riding skills and now rides a limited edition 2008 Yamaha Raptor 250. Yes, Joe already has a Raptor 250, which he now plans to use a practice bike.

Sunday, September 6 was the day we scheduled to drop off the Project Raptor 250. Me and my girlfriend, Olivia Shuff (who also test rides for the site) loaded up and headed out east to Ohio. We planned to meet up with Joe at the Maumee State Forest, which is located about 30 minutes east of Toledo. The plan was to have Joe rip it around the trails for a quick photo and video shoot. It sounded like a pretty simple plan, but it certainly didn’t turn out that way.

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Yamaha Raptor 250 Project – Overview
You can win this modified monster!

If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll know that ATV.com has been busy building up a Project Yamaha Raptor 250 that one of our lucky readers will get to take home.

Though the Raptor was already head and shoulders ahead of the rest of its 250cc sport quad competition, we thought it would be fun to outfit it with a variety of bolt-on accessories and replacement parts to boost the performance and give it a new look.

Our goal was to build a machine that just about anybody with basic set of tools and a little knowhow could duplicate for themselves at home without pulling their hair out from frustration. Also, since the Raptor 250 has a reasonable sticker price to begin with, we wanted to keep the budget within reason. The end result certainly isn’t a full-on race quad, but it is a machine that has more power, improved handing and comfort, added protection and a much bigger “Wow” factor than what you’ll find on the showroom floor.

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