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50th Anniversary Raptor on the prowl

50th Anniversary Raptor on the prowl

50th Anniversary Raptor on the prowl

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One of the fiercest competitors and most consistently innovative companies on the world recreational vehicle scene turns 50 this year and Yamaha Motor is promoting its rich history by releasing 50th anniversary models of each of its flagships. Yamaha diverged into two separate and distinctly different companies – one making all things musical, the other all things motorised and recreational, with many spin-off high tech businesses such as the company’s US$1,000,000 VTOL UAV. Both sides of the company enjoy a world class reputation and both have achieved significant status in the historical development of their chosen endeavours. Yamaha’s piano teaching methods changed the world and the company’s ingenious teaching guitar threatens to play a groundbreaking role in the democratisation of music too. On the motorised side of things, the company makes almost everything, from four wheeled lightweight hunting and camping vehicles, through to the ultimate roadgoing race bike, Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP championship winning bike for the last few seasons. Rossi’s bike displaces 990cc and produces 220+ horsepower and weighs in around 150 kilograms. But when we saw the new 50th anniversary 700 Raptor, we figured it deserves a mention on account of being one of the prettiest recreational weapons we’ve ever seen. With all the attitude of an exocet missile, the Raptor 700 beastie has a fuel-injected four-valve 700cc motor, and it weighs … wait for it … 180 kilograms. The engine is tuned for responsiveness and it’s a single cylinder, so likely to be putting out just a fraction of the power of Rossi’s engine. But it does have a razor-sharp fuel-injected motor with so much mid-range that you can pull high speed roosts for 100 metres at a time when you find the right conditions.

One of the fiercest competitors and most consistently innovative companies on the world recreational vehicle scene turns 50 this year and Yamaha Motor is promoting its rich history by releasing 50th anniversary models of each of its flagships. Yamaha diverged into two separate and distinctly different companies – one making all things musical, the other all things motorised and recreational, with many spin-off high tech businesses such as the company’s US$1,000,000 VTOL UAV.

Both sides of the company enjoy a world class reputation and both have achieved significant status in the historical development of their chosen endeavours. Yamaha’s piano teaching methods changed the world and the company’s ingenious teaching guitar threatens to play a groundbreaking role in the democratisation of music too.

On the motorised side of things, the company makes almost everything, from four wheeled lightweight hunting and camping vehicles, through to the ultimate roadgoing race bike, Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP championship winning bike for the last few seasons.

Rossi’s bike displaces 990cc and produces 220+ horsepower and weighs in around 150 kilograms. But when we saw the new 50th anniversary 700 Raptor, we figured it deserves a mention on account of being one of the prettiest recreational weapons we’ve ever seen. With all the attitude of an exocet missile, the Raptor 700 beastie has a fuel-injected four-valve 700cc motor, and it weighs … wait for it … 180 kilograms. The engine is tuned for responsiveness and it’s a single cylinder, so likely to be putting out just a fraction of the power of Rossi’s engine. But it does have a razor-sharp fuel-injected motor with so much mid-range that you can pull high speed roosts for 100 metres at a time when you find the right conditions.

The versatile Raptor ATV is now available in Yamaha’s unique 50th Anniversary yellow and black colour scheme which is a nod to Yamaha’s racing heritage and a bygone era when champion riders like Kenny Roberts and Bob Hannah won on yellow and black machines.

Yamaha launched Yamaha Blue and Racing White models of the fuel injected, liquid cooled 700cc machine earlier this year.

The new model Raptor has been met with ‘rapturous’ reviews from the press. It features electric start, which fires the four-stroke dry sump engine into life and a five speed box means there’s a gear for every situation, with a reverse gear to further boost versatility.

The chassis features a mix of high tensile steel and lightweight aluminium for the perfect rigidity balance. Together with a new aluminium swingarm, plush, long travel suspension and wide radial tyres the Raptor offers quick and responsive handling.

Braking from the dual hydraulic twin piston, 160mm disc front brakes is fierce, and the rear disc brake now incorporates a bar operated, maintenance free parking brake.

Sleek bodywork wraps up the slick package that bristles with trick bits such as the YZ-inspired seat, an R1-style LED tail-light, oval muffler, LED indicator lights and wide, high-grip footpegs. Main features:

    Fuel injection for instant power, no carb fiddling (especially at different atmospheric levels) and no choke lever application 44mm big bore Mikuni throttle body optimises new engine’s output. Long nose, 12 hole fuel injector for efficient fuel atomisation Fuel injection system diagnostic tool connector for convenient engine management Compact cylinder head design reduces weight and increases combustion efficiency. Needle roller bearing rocker arms improve fuel consumption and torque New forged piston with 9.2:1 compression ratio for light weight and durability Carburised Chrome-Moly alloy rod and enlarged crankshaft pin diameters to allow increased displacement and torque Twin engine balancer system to reduce vibration YZ/WR auto decompression for easy starting, less weight and increased power Compact, low friction camchain tensioner for reduced friction and low weight All aluminium cylinder with ceramic composite coating for low weight and increased cooling and wear resistance Dry sump reduces engine height and concentrates mass for improved handling Increased engine mounting points (four) for reduced vibration Foam filter for quick and easy servicing Trick stainless two-into-one pipe with oval silencer Wide ratio five speed box with reverse gear for ease of operation Increased clutch capacity improves gear shifting

Chassis

    High tensile front frame and gravity cast aluminium main frame mates to a die cast aluminium swingarm to offer perfect rigidity balance and weight reduction Trick new mudguards increase rider mobility Lightweight grab bars front and rear Double aluminium/steel wishbone suspension features forged aluminium steering knuckle with quick replace lower ball joint for optimum suspension, reduced weight and easy maintenance New Kayaba front suspension units feature dual rate springs and new design damper for sports riding Two-piston front brake calipers for awesome braking performance Piggyback rear SOQI shock features compression and rebound damping, new gas-oil damper, aluminium cylinder and chamber with remote reservoir for plush action and less weight Eccentric axle chain adjuster for quick and easy servicing New maintenance free parking brake works with smaller rear disc that reduces weight and increases ground clearance New radial Dunlop tyres feature changed tread pattern and wider rear (900mm) for increased traction 11 litre plastic fuel tank with integral fuel pump pressure regulator for fuel injection system Smaller and more stylish multi-reflector dual headlights Smart YZF-R1 style LED tail light Compact ECU for weight reduction LED indicator lights for weight reduction, legibility, maintenance and power saving

About the Author
Mike Hanlon After Editing or Managing over 50 print publications primarily in the role of a Magazine Doctor, Mike embraced the internet full-time in 1995 and became a "start-up all-rounder" – quite a few start-ups later, he founded Gizmag in 2002. Now he can write again.   All articles by Mike Hanlon
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