WHO’S BETTER IN THE DUNES?
Jumpers will prefer the YFZ450R
over the 700R in dunes, as it’s
easier to maneuver in the air and the
suspension soaks up landings better.
The Raptor is a better all-around duner,
as its wide powerband is great for
wheelies and busting bowl slides. The
forgiving engine, plush suspension
and Cadillac-like cockpit make duning
more comfortable and fun, although the
narrow stance and tall engine make it
more of a handful in steep dune faces.
The heavier flywheel mass makes it feel
sluggish in the air, but the Raptor flies
well and doesn’t bottom too harshly
on jumps. The YFZ450R demands
more from the rider, but rails bowls and
jumps better. It can’t provide as plush
a ride on dune chop as the 700R, no
matter which clickers you spin. Also, it’s
harder to go from sitting to standing on
the YFZ-R, as it’s more cramped in the
WHAT ABOUT TRACKS & TRAILS?
The YFZ450R rules MX or WORCS
WHICH HAS THE BETTER SUSPENSION?
tracks and many trails with its 50-inch
on the 450R makes it turn sharper
and maneuver in the air better than
the 700R. The Raptor doesn’t handle
poorly; it’s that the YFZ450R does most
everything better and quicker, but with
more input from the pilot.
That depends on your definition of
“better.” Both have high-end Kayaba
piggyback shocks with adjustable
preload, rebound, and high- and low-speed compression damping, and the
YFZ-R has a Kashima coating for a long
life. The YFZ450R has 11 inches of rear
travel and 9. 8 inches in front, and the
damping and spring rates are stiffer
to prevent bottoming at the hands of
Chad Wienen or Walker Fowler. The
700R has 10.1 inches of rear travel and
9.1 in front, and the shocks are tuned
more for a plush ride than soaking up
landings from giant MX or dune jumps.
Of course, spinning clickers can and will
soften the YFZ-R and stiffen the 700R.
In dunes and most other situations, the
Raptor ride is much more comfortable.
having a 44mm throttle body and the
YFZ-R having a 42mm body, but that’s
all they share. The Raptor has a SOHC
top end with four valves, a 102mm
bore and long 84mm stroke, wide-ratio
transmission, and an old-school clutch
with no quick-change cover or perch.
The DOHC YFZ450R has a 95mm
piston and short 63.4mm stroke, 11.6:1
compression (versus 9.2:1), and five
titanium valves, plus the racing clutch
has a quick-adjust perch and quick-change magnesium cover. It also takes
more rider effort to go fast on an MX
track or GNCC course on the YFZ-R.
WHAT ABOUT HANDLING?
The MX-width YFZ450R has the
crisper handling. It’s 3. 3 inches wider
and sits 2 inches lower than the 700R,
plus it’s 18 pounds lighter, so the 450R
will carve donuts around the 700R,
especially on an MX track. It also has
an inch more travel, front and rear,
and shock settings are much stiffer
on the YFZ-R. The 450R is better in
deep sand whoops and on off-camber
obstacles too. Also, the smaller flywheel
The short-stroke YFZ450R engine has DOHC directly opening five
Ti valves, and the 11.6:1 (the ’ 14 has 11.8:1) engine hits hard but
requires high-octane (91+) fuel. It has a close-ratio transmission and a
quick-change clutch cover.
Both the YFZ450R (left) and 700R have Kayaba piggyback shocks
with high- and low-speed compression adjusters, plus rebound and
preload, but the longer 450R shocks have a Kashima coating for a
longer oil life. The 450R has 9. 8 inches of front travel, while the 700R
has 9.1 inches that’s tuned more for comfort than speed.
A long stroke and SOHC with rocker arms give the 686cc Raptor
engine a higher CG, but a wide powerband and matching wide-ratio
transmission let it lope along in any gear, all day long. Its sedate,
9.2:1 compression lets it burn low-octane fuel without pinging.
Both the 700R and 450R have external oil tanks, but the Raptor’s
sits in front of the engine, while the YFZ-R’s is actually attached to the
ignition cover. Check out the reverse linkage below the shifter—while
in first, turn the knob on the right front fender and push down on the