The 2011 Raptor 700 features sport tuned, fully adjustable piggyback shocks that provide 9.1 inches of travel up front and 10.1 in the back – much appreciated when going through whooped out dunes! Further cushioning the ride is a long, plush YFZ-style seat that is awesome for long rides and is one of the most comfortable stock ATV seats we have had the pleasure of sitting on.
While the Raptor 700R is extremely comfortable for a sport ATV, some tradeoffs had to be made for those nice ergos. Handling is great for straight, high-speed trails and dunes; however, it doesn’t feel as sharp in the corners as its brothers – the YFZ450R and YFZ450X. It feels a bit top heavy when taking corners with speed, which can be attributed to its somewhat narrower stance and tall height. That being said, the Raptor 700 isn’t intended to be ridden as aggressively as a YFZ. This machine is ideally suited to open terrain where going fast and having fun is priority No. 1.
In our experience, the dunes are where the Raptor 700 is most at home. With its plush suspension and what seems like endless amounts of torque, the Raptor 700 can really shred the sand. The 686cc fuel-injected engine features a forged lightweight piston, connecting rod and crankshaft that produce a hard-hitting powerplant that can get you going quick. It’s a fantastic engine for the desert.
The engine also features dual counterbalances that keep vibrations to a minimum. This was a great improvement from the previous carbureted Yamaha Raptor 660 as we did feel less vibration while riding the machine. We also noticed a smoother and lighter thumb throttle that didn’t fatigue your thumb after riding a full day.
Yamaha designed a sport-minded five-speed transmission that is paired with a reverse gear that can come in handy should you find yourself in a tight spot. We used reverse several times out in the dunes as the loose sand wanted to swallow the Raptor’s rear tires when starting off slowly. Even though we were running stock tires in the dunes we found the Raptor handled itself admirably as the tires hooked up fairly well in the sand. In our opinion, the stock rubber allows for better steering than paddle tires would and we were still able to break the back end loose when we wanted.
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