The Yamaha YXZ1000R SS with Sport Shift brings a new level of excitement for woods riding in a UTV. Thanks to paddle shifters, it's easier to use than a traditional three-pedal manual clutch system and more fun to use than a fully automatic transmission.
My first lap through the Big Buck Ranch gave me a chance play with the Sport Shift system. I became a big fan almost instantly. Downshifting as you accelerate out of a corner provides a quick hit of grin-inducing adrenaline as the YXZ reacts with a near-immediate boost of speed. It is a fantastic feeling and I'm fairly confident in saying the paddle shifters make me just a bit quicker than a CVT would in the in the woods.
I spent the majority of my time in first and second gear flying around at high revs, as the YXZ is happiest when you shift high in the rpm range. It just feels faster when the three-cylinder engine is screaming. I've never had so much fun in second gear in my life.
Once we all got acquainted with the YXZ1000R SS, we headed to an open field to test out the new Launch System, which mimics a manual transmission's ability to drop the clutch. The system is very simple to use, but it did take a couple of runs before I was comfortable enough to really push revs towards 10,000 rpm. Even if you drop the proverbial clutch at 6,000 rpm, you get a nice neck-snapping start off the line. But when you come in at or near 10,000 rpm, the result is a beautifully violent.
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