2021 Yamaha YXZ Buyer’s Guide

Yamaha was the first manufacturer to really shake things up in the UTV transmission department when they released their YXZ1000R pure-sport side-by-side. A quick look at the YXZ and you’ll realize that Yamaha wanted to do something different and tap into a part of the market that was previously left out. Pure-sport UTVs at that time all had CVT transmissions and Yamaha recognized that there was a considerable market for a manual transmission UTV. Today, the YXZ has a loyal fan base and its overall design philosophy has made it a very popular trail rig. If you’re in the market for a manual transmission UTV, keep reading below for a full buyer’s guide to the 2021 YXZ1000 lineup.


2021 Yamaha YZX1000R

The YXZ1000R is the original model that was released. It’s 64 inches wide and has a 90.5 inch wheelbase. It features a high-revving 998cc inline three-cylinder engine paired to a 5-speed sequential shift transmission with a manual foot clutch. This was, and still is, a unique configuration in the UTV marketplace. Yamaha also included selectable 2wd/4wd and differential lock. This machine is a much more involved experience for the driver, especially when compared to something like a Polaris RZR that has an automatic CVT transmission and a 4wd system that engages and disengages on its own.

Yamaha also decided to go a different route in the suspension department. While most pure-sport UTVs have a trailing-arm rear suspension, the YXZ utilizes dual A-arms at all four corners. Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 shocks are standard equipment, providing 16.2 inches of front wheel travel and 17 inches of rear wheel travel. You’ll find hydraulic disc brakes, front and rear, as well as 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires on 14 inch aluminum wheels. Ground clearance is a respectable 13.2 inches. Along with aggressive styling, you also get half doors, bucket seats, LED headlights and taillights, and a digital driver information display, inspired by Yamaha’s supersport motorcycles. Another interesting feature of the YXZ is a rear mounted radiator to help reduce heat in the cabin. The YXZ1000R is available in Team Yamaha Blue and has an MSRP of $19,499.


2021 Yamaha YZX1000R-SE

Yamaha also offers YXZ1000R SE, that provides a few more features than the standard YXZ. This model is currently a carryover from 2020, as Yamaha hasn’t released a 2021 model. Yamaha may release it later in the year or they may simply keep the 2020 model on the market for 2021. Honda has done this in the past with some of their ATVs, so it’s not unheard of. The YXZ1000R SE is a great machine and has the same 998cc inline three-cylinder engine and 5-speed manual transmission with foot clutch. It has selectable 2wd/4wd with differential lock and maintains the same width and wheelbase as the standard YXZ at 64 inches and 90.5 inches respectively.

The suspension is a dual A-arm setup, front and rear. It utilizes Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 adjustable shocks at all four corners. Front wheel travel checks in at 16.2 inches, while rear wheel travel is just a bit higher at 17 inches. The YXZ1000R SE also comes with 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires and also gets unique 14 inch aluminum beadlock wheels. Ground clearance is 13.2 inches, but the SE model does get additional underbody protection, in case you find yourself running out of ground clearance. The SE also gets color contrasted stitched seats and SE specific painted plastics. Other standard features include half doors, LED headlights and taillights, digital driver information display, and a rear mounted radiator. The YXZ1000R SE is available in Team Yamaha Blue and has an MSRP of $20,699.


2021 Yamaha YZX1000R SS

Manufacturers have become very adept at reading the trends of the marketplace and developing products that people want. Yamaha knew there was a desire for a fully manual pure-sport UTV, but there also seemed to be a market for a manual transmission with an auto clutch. Many people want the ability to bang through gears, but not necessarily with a fully manual clutch for a variety of reasons. The YXZ1000R SS fits the bill perfectly for those prospective buyers. It has the same quick-revving 998cc three cylinder engine and a 5-speed sequential shift manual transmission. The big difference here is that it uses an auto clutch and paddle shifters to handle shifting duties. It also has selectable 2wd/4wd with differential lock, so the driver still has complete control over the drivetrain, with the exception of the clutch.

The YXZ1000R SS is 64 inches wide and has a 90.5 inch wheel base. It has dual A-arm suspension, front and rear, and gets a great set of Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 adjustable shocks. Wheel travel comes in at 16.2 inches up front and 17 inches out back. 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires are standard equipment and they are mounted to 14 inch aluminum wheels. Ground clearance is a solid 13.2 inches. You’ll also find half doors, digital driver information display, a rear mounted radiator, and LED headlights and taillights. This model is available in Team Yamaha Blue and has an MSRP of $19,499.


2021 Yamaha YZX1000R SS SE black

The Special Edition YXZ1000R SS provides prospective buyers with a few upgrades over the base model. It has the same 998cc triple cylinder engine and 5-speed sequential shift transmission with an auto clutch. Shifting is accomplished via paddle shifters, which really adds to the sporty feel of this machine. It has selectable 2wd/4wd and a differential lock, so you’ll have plenty traction in any condition. Suspension is the same as the other YXZ models. You get a dual A-arm setup with Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 adjustable shocks at all four corners. Wheel travel numbers come in at 16.2 and 17 inches, front and rear respectively.

Like the other YXZ models, the SS SE version gets 29 inch Maxxis Bighorn tires, but the SE gets 14 inch aluminum beadlock wheels. Ground clearance remains unchanged at 13.2 inches. The SE package also includes enhanced skid plate protection for the undercarriage, color contrasted stitched seats, a hard suntop, and rearview mirror. The SE also gets unique color schemes. Other standard features carry over from the base YXZ models, including LED headlights, rear mounted radiator, half doors, and a digital driver display. Width and wheelbase are 64 and 90.5 inches, which is standard across the YXZ lineup. The YXZ1000R SS SE is available in Yamaha Black or White and has an MSRP of $21,199.


2021 Yamaha YZX1000R SS XT-R

The YXZ has been a very popular trail machine since it was introduced. The 64 inch width and 90.5 inch wheelbase provide an excellent combination of stability and maneuverability in tight, technical terrain. With trail riders in mind, Yamaha introduced the YXZ1000R SS XT-R to give buyers the most trail-worthy YXZ yet. The engine is the same potent 998cc triple cylinder engine found on other YXZ models, as is the sequential shift transmission with auto clutch. It has selectable 2wd/4wd and differential lock as well.

The XT-R comes with dual A-arm suspension, front and rear, with adjustable Fox Podium 2.5 RC2 shocks. Suspension travel is 16.2 inches up front and 17 inches out back. One of the most noticeable upgrades on the XT-R model are the wheels and tires. It features 29 inch Maxxis Carnage tires wrapped around a great looking set of 14 inch bronze colored beadlock wheels. Additionally, this model gets a hard suntop, unique stitched bucket seats, extra underbody protection, and a unique front bumper with a Warn VRX 4500 lb winch. It also includes additional lighting up front and a rearview mirror. Half doors, LED headlights, and digital driver display are also standard equipment. The XT-R gets a cool looking Covert Green color scheme and has an MSRP of $22,299.

YXZ? Why Not?

The YXZ has proven to be a popular product for Yamaha and with good reason. It has a quick-revving and fun engine, excellent handling, high quality components, and the only truly manual transmission in the sport side-by-side marketplace. Its size makes it great for trails, but it’s still a blast in the desert. Not only that, but you’re also getting Yamaha quality and reliability. It’s a truly compelling alternative to the multitude of belt driven UTVs currently on the market. If you’re looking for a manual transmission sport UTV, the YXZ was built with you in mind. If you’re just looking for a fun, high quality, and reliable sport UTV, there’s still plenty of reasons to go check out a YXZ and compare it to the competition. It just might surprise you.

Are UTVs safe?

Having ridden motorcycles and ATVs since I was a kid and never being seriously injured, my immediate answer would be…