It is a simple plan for Yamaha: take the No. 1 marketshare position by offering consumers what they want, even if it means taking a chance and redesigning two long-standing models. Model redesigns happen for many reasons, but these, it can be argued, are long over due as the models in question are showing their age.
The most significant of these two redesigns is the Raptor 350. While it is not a full redesign, some of the changes are significant. Gone is the old boxy plastic in favor of plastic and a seat design closely mimicking the larger 660R Raptor.
Other upgrades include a new carburetor and exhaust system that Yamaha claims will increase power from the engine. Yamaha also changed out the tires in favor of lower profile tires found on its Banshee.
The Raptor 350 is 22 pounds lighter than the Warrior and weighs 375 pounds dry. Yamaha engineers also gave the Raptor 350 the same rear suspension linkage found on the 660R Raptor, it also features the same rear shock.
For chassis design, the footpegs are lower and moved back to give the rider a more aggressive riding position. Yamaha borrowed a few items from its YFZ450, including the parking brake lever, footpegs and headlights. Yamaha has not set a price for this unit at this time, but availability is April.
For years, the Yamaha Breeze was a staple among ATV tour operators. The design, however, showed its age. It is a small ATV that fits a niche too big for youth riders, but many times, too small for adult riders. It was a good entry-level ATV for inexperienced riders.
Now it is modeled after the big-bore Grizzly 660. It remains simple to use with an air-cooled 124cc engine and automatic CVT-style transmission. Yamaha has taken the model a step further than the Breeze by adding fully functioning racks that can hold up to 22 pounds on the rear and 11 pounds in the front. Pricing has not been set for the Grizzly 125, but it will be in dealerships by April.