rev range and revs to the moon. The
Yamaha has a long-stroke engine that
makes massive torque and revs slower,
so it tends to hook up better and put
each power stroke to the ground. In
high-traction conditions, the Raptor
wheelies when dumping the clutch into
third gear, and it does second-gear
Which makes the better all-around trail machine, the Kawasaki KFX450R or the Yamaha Raptor 700R? We took to the woods, desert, dunes
and closed course to find out. The KFX is more fun to jump, and its suspension resists bottoming better.
HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The 2013 Yamaha Raptor 700 is only
$7699, while the Kawasaki KFX450R is
$8299. The 700R with high-end shocks
is $8099, while the Honda TRX700XX
is $8499. Can-Am’s DS450 starts
at $7799 and goes to $9699 for the
DS450X mx, while Honda’s TRX450ER
is $7799. Yamaha’s YFZ450 starts
at $6899 and jumps to $8599 for the
WHAT’S NEW FOR 2013?
Kawasaki didn’t change anything but
graphics for 2013. Dual-rate springs
are stock on all three piggyback KFX
shocks, and the rear shock has high-and low-speed compression adjusters.
Yamaha changed the front-end
styling to make the 700 (and 700R)
look more aggressive and give taller
riders more room, and Yamaha worked
with Maxxis to give the new rear tires a
better feel while sliding and the fronts
more steering precision. The rear brake
caliper now has twin pistons for more
power, and the Raptor 700 is now
assembled at Yamaha’s factory in
WHICH IS FASTER?
The Yamaha, but not by much. The
Kawasaki has higher compression and
revs quicker, but it tends to spin the
rear tires more. Its short-stroke engine
makes good, usable power across the
WHO HAS BETTER DELIVERY?
Yamaha has a great engine package
that’s easier to ride than the Kawasaki.
The slower-revving Raptor engine
hooks up and hauls, and it also revs
high before demanding an upshift.
Spacing of the transmission gears is
excellent, and the Raptor starts easier
than the KFX, which wants to be in
neutral to light quickly. The KFX450R
Brakes are excellent on both machines, but Yamaha worked with Maxxis to get more turning
and braking traction than the Kawasaki’s Dunlops. Both have excellent removable parking
brakes, should you decide to race.