No, we don’t actually have one for ourselves to review……. However, what we can do is summarize what the rest of the world thinks so far. The YXZ has been in owner’s hands for about a month now, and the feedback has been interesting.
What we can agree on:
Initial quality appears good. While there have been a few isolated complaints of relatively minor issues, most agree that these units are well thought out and well put together. This has been widely expected from Yamaha, known for their high quality and good fit/finish. We did get to at least sit in one of these machines, and agree with this assessment. While the doors may not be to the highest aftermarket standards, they are very nice for OEM equipment. The main driver interfaces (wheel, shifter, peddles) all have a positive feel. Overall, considering this is a brand new platform for Yamaha, we think they are off on the right foot in this department and will only get better.
This thing is fun to drive. Of course it is. If you can’t have fun with a 5-speed manual and 10,000+ rpm in a mini sand rail, you are in the wrong sport.
It handles well. Reports are that the rear sway bar is quite stiff, and combined with a standard front sway bar makes this thing stay flat. The YXZ is a ride that you can throw into the corners with confidence. It’s clear that this is a chassis designed to go fast.
They’re fast in stock form, but not as fast as the turbos from either Polaris or Can-Am. The YXZ has some long legs upstairs, but acceleration is more comparable to the NA Maverick and XP1K.
What we’re not sure about yet:
Is the manual transmission really better? While it is definitely fun, many owners are saying that it is indeed much more work to drive. While this would seem obvious to some, there has been some evidence of buyer’s remorse from people who bought these things to do tight trail, rock, or mud work. Many of these owners have been left wishing for a lower first gear for low speed riding. Dyno results are also showing that the efficiency gains over the CVT design aren’t as dramatic as previously hoped.
Is the suspension too stiff? There have been complaints, mostly about the rear suspension, being too stiff. However, most agree that it works much better at higher speeds. Since that appears to be what the YXZ was designed for, we’re not going to assign any fault here, however some owners may want to opt for some shock tuning work.
Dependability!!! Yamaha, you’ve been hanging your hat on this attribute, but we are concerned. About a month in the wild and there is roughly half a dozen cases of burnt clutches being discussed already. The number is growing. Reason for concern? Yes. Should everyone panic? Probably not, but c’mon….. The video below has caught everyone’s attention lately and shows a YXZ becoming stranded during a water crossing due to a failed clutch. However, the video also captures that the driver was slipping the clutch as if he was preparing his left leg for some sort of stair-stepping competition. Sure, maybe some of these things can be blamed on the driver……but surely that isn’t the case for all of them. Early indications are that Yamaha will not be replacing these under warranty. Yeah, it’s a wear item, we get it……but denying warranty on a failed clutch with under 200 miles? Lame. Parts are also on backorder by the way, hope you didn’t want to drive your $22k SxS anytime soon.
How big is this problem in the scheme of things? Probably not a death blow to the YXZ. As frustrating as it may be, we have to remember Polaris’ broken reverse chains, Can-Ams flying clutches, and Arctic Cat’s bent a-arms (because apparently you aren’t supposed to jump a SxS with 18” of suspension travel???). All of these items get addressed eventually, but it’s a sad realization that the almighty Yamaha couldn’t even get it right the first time.
So here’s the “too long, didn’t read” version:
The Yamaha YXZ is a fun, high quality SxS that is designed for going fast. Everything from the transmission to the sway bars and suspension tuning suggests this thing was designed to run at speed. If you want one to throw giant tires on it and go mud bogging or rock crawling, you’re gonna have a bad time. If you’re in the dunes, desert, or open trails the YXZ is badass, but isn’t without bugs.
Yamaha, if you’re listening, get somebody working overtime to crank out some clutch plates please.
Aftermarket, we need better parts STAT.
Owners, let us know your thoughts on this issue in the comments, on the SXS Blog Facebook Page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org