Yamaha dishes out the perfect recipe for outdoor thrills.

Story Peter Pap

Recreational Offroad Vehicles are very popular and Yamaha’s new YXZ1000R SS is a stand-out. Powered by a three-cylinder, 998cc four-stroke engine, it is now available with Yamaha’s all-new Sport Shift technology – a 5-speed sequential shift transmission boasting an advanced automatic clutch system and steering mounted paddle shifters that eliminate the need for a clutch pedal and gearstick. The paddle shift system is linked to the Yamaha chip-controlled throttle and does away with a manual clutch. It also allows for full throttle shifting without lifting a foot off the accelerator. 

The Yamaha is easy to drive fast and to slide on the limits of stability with absolute confidence as there are huge reserves of mechanical grip at hand. Thanks to the beadlock rims you can safely push hard without the worry of popping the tyres off. It’s easy to select 2WD, 4WD and 4WD full Diff-Lock mode for more challenging terrain with the twist of a dial on the console. 

The new launch system is activated simply by holding both paddles in when stopped, then raising the revs and releasing the levers to let the YXZ slingshot away. Even after the drivetrain is punished all day it proves bulletproof – it still rockets off the line. 

On tracks with really tight and narrow sections, bumps, trees and drop-offs, the Yamaha really impresses. The ride is smooth over bumpy, uneven terrain. Instead of the suspension bouncing the vehicle off the track, it is incredibly compliant thanks to the new Fox 2.5 Podium X2 shocks, which provide low and high speed compression and rebound adjustment with a massive 411mm travel at the front and 432mm at the rear. The Yamaha floats through rough terrain while carving the straightest of paths, instead of being bounced off-course, allowing you to unleash an addictive ferocity of acceleration. 

The brakes are powerful and have good pedal feel, allowing you to balance the vehicle and also brake to the apex. The paddle shifters make perfect sense when you barely have time to take your hands off the steering wheel. The gearbox automatically selects first gear when you come to a stop or slow speed, so if you forget to downshift and you’re in a tight corner or stop, you can just fire off in first gear. 

Another useful feature is the electric speed-sensitive steering, which is perfectly calibrated, reducing steering effort at low speed in the tight corners and increasing load at high speed, aiding smooth driving. 

The Yamaha has a great cabin and features instruments similar to motorcycles. They are easy to read and operate. The driver’s seat has sliding adjustment and the steering wheel is tilt-adjustable for perfect fit. 

There is a CAMS-approved race package (pictured above) for those wanting to compete. It costs $14,000 on top of the recommended retail price of $32,999, and includes features such as a stronger roll cage with side nets, race seats, larger fuel tank, quick-release steering wheel and protection for underbody and mechanical components.

The Yamaha is one potent package. It gives drivers the confidence to push hard, and won’t bite if you make a mistake. You won’t need any more power, as it will reach a top speed of 130km/h pretty quickly, which is more than enough, and with optional larger tyres can exceed 150km/h. The paddle shifters, suspension package and electric speed sensitive steering are key in making the Yamaha a thrilling machine.

The Yamaha is not cheap, but is well worth the price for the thrills it offers. You could no doubt find an excuse to swap this for your ute or ATV. It has the added safety of a roll cage, two seats, a tray at the back big enough to carry items or optional toolbox, and the capability of accessing areas where even some 4WDs would struggle. 

In the same way Ferraris create a special engaging feeling and have a charm that makes them desirable, so too does the Yamaha in the dirt, the performance so accessible and the chassis so forgiving. 

You just need to find some other jobs for it around the property or no work will ever get done.

For more information, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.au.

This story excerpt is from Issue #113

Outback Magazine: June/July 2017