I knew the 2019 Raptor 700 SE and YFZ450R SE were going to be at the Yamaha press event before I got there but the idea of riding one in completely unfamiliar terrain was a bit daunting. As we pulled in Tuesday afternoon we were greeted with this awesome sight:
I have a Raptor at home so the machine itself didn’t intimidate me. The combination of the fact I haven’t really ridden it on what could be classified as a real ride for a few years and the fact that I’m a complete rookie in the sand definitely did though.
After getting situated, Matt from Supertrax said something to me like “You are good for sport quad ride in the morning right?” To which I replied “of course.” There it was, I was committed. Inside I was excited to ride the 2019 Raptor 700 SE but I still had my reservations.
The Morning of the Ride
Wednesday morning we woke up around 7 to get some breakfast from the Bama GrillMaster and were off to get geared up to ride.
A few minutes into the desert I felt right at home on the 700. The Raptor has huge torque and is very forgiving if you find yourself in the wrong gear. It is almost like an automatic in second and third. The revs will lug so low you think it will stall and a quick stab of the throttle will stand it up any time you want. I had a blast on the Raptor.
The Raptor and YFZ are two very different platforms but you can tell they share the same DNA. The YFZ is wider, more planted and less forgiving with the occasional bad timing shift. The Raptor is heavier up top and a little narrower but the additions of reverse and bottom end grunt keep me happy that I picked the Raptor for my stable.
In parting, I’m grateful for the opportunity to get out in the sand with these legends of the off-road industry and was pleasantly surprised I wasn’t stiff as a board the next day from riding. The comfort, power and broad range of the Raptor make it the king of the sport quad segment for me.