Yamaha can do no wrong at the moment - from superbikes and supernakeds to super-value retros, their range of ‘crossplane philosophy’ vehicles are as popular as they are diverse. Which brings us neatly to the tuning fork brand’s latest CP release – the YXZ1000R, Yamaha’s first sports ‘side-by-side’.
‘Hold on,’ I hear you say, ‘two too many wheels.’ Well, yes, but there’s no denying this 998cc triple-powered buggy would look amazing parked up in your dream garage next to an R1-M.
Designed purely for having as much off-road fun as is humanly possible, the YXZ1000R is 110bhp of hardcore giggles. With a top speed of around 80mph, a heady 10,500rpm rev limit, switchable two and four-wheel drive, and the ability to take flight over lumps, bumps and jumps thanks to 17 inches of suspension travel from four Fox shocks, the YXZ is far from a toy.
Whereas other vehicles in this market have auto transmission, Yamaha have brought bike know-how on board to give the YXZ an excellent five-speed sequential box, which you can bash your way through via the rally-car style, one-up five-down dashboardmounted stick. Although you can give the gearbox plenty of aggression, it’s a different story when it comes to steering. Expert care needs to be taken when balancing the crazy the torque-rich power delivery from that snowmobilederived engine with those long-travel shocks; too vicious with the steering inputs or carry any brake into a corner, you’ll load up those massive coilovers and send yourself barrel-rolling through the air. Believe me…
As a recreational vehicle, the YXZ1000R is a hoot and gives you all the mud-plugging thrills of riding off-road but with a slightly larger safety margin. As it’s not road legal, the £17,398 price tag is a little extreme for something that serves no purpose other than for putting a grin on your face, however dealers Thorney Motorsport (www.thorneymotorsport.co.uk) offer a full day YXZ experience, including a four-race programme, for just £499.