20) to get rid of bucking. On the YXZ
we went with last month’s El Centro
settings—up front 17 clicks out on
rebound, LSC 3.0 out and HSC 2. 5
out, while rear settings were R13 and
LSC/HSC 2. 5. This equals 5 clicks freer
rebound and one full turn softer on both
compression adjusters. This softened
overall ride while retaining whoop
So the Maverick has the smoothest
ride but the slowest desert trail speeds,
the Yamaha has the fastest trail speeds
but harshest ride, while the Polaris has
the best “baby bear” combination of
trail performance and ride quality. Let
your right foot and backside decide.
WHICH 1000 HANDLES BEST?
The Yamaha YXZ1000R. Not only
does the YXZ track straight at the
highest trail speeds and gobble whoops
best, it turns the best as well. The
inside front tire pulls the car around
tight turns in 4WD, and it has the best
turning manners in 2WD as well, with
engine braking setting up slides and
precise steering out of corners. It has
a great combination of straight-line
stability and cornering prowess, despite
having the longest wheelbase and most
weight. It works better the more you
hammer it, but the flip side is that the
YXZ1000R is hardest to drive because
of the manual clutch.
Polaris takes second here with a
great combination of cornering prowess
and the second-best stability at speed.
The RZR XP’s on-demand 4WD does a
great job of minimizing push diving into
corners, and it engages the front diff to
pull the car out of turns, but it doesn’t
ever feel as positive as the Yamaha’s
4WD system. It is second fastest
through deep whoops, but starts to
wander and buck as it reaches its limit.
The suspension, 29-inch Bighorns, and
long 90-inch wheelbase provide great
cornering manners and predictability.
The Maverick turns in better than
the Polaris and is a blast to drift out of
turns. Its very effective EBS and short
83.4-inch wheelbase make it corner
effortlessly, and it feels very planted in
turns once you dial in the suspension.
The tighter the trails get, the more fun
the Can-Am is, but it has the slowest
whoop speeds and least straight-line
stability due to the comparative lack of
travel. Great throttle response and EBS
make it a great woods weapon too.
WHICH IS MOST FUN IN DUNES?
Yamaha. The YXZ1000R is a total
blast to drive in big bowls and dunes,
where it can really stretch its legs and
lungs. It rips and will spend all day in
second and third happily carving sand,
and the sloping hood and secure cabin
Can-Am’s Rotax V-twin displaces 976cc via two 91mm pistons riding
on a 75mm stroke and massive 12:1 compression. A fly-by-wire
throttle operates a 54mm EFI throttle body and two VDO injectors to
make 101 horsepower. Despite pre-canisters and dual exhausts, the
exhaust note in the cab is very loud.
Yamaha goes even more short stroke with its 998cc triple with
three 80mm pistons, a 66.2mm stroke, 11.3:1 compression and
three 41mm EFI throttle bodies. Like the YFZ450R, ignition coils are
integrated into the plug wires and bolted to the engine. The dry-sump
motor has an external oil tank with internal baffles.