Yamaha expands big Raptor, moves production to Georgia
Tom Kaiser, Contributing Writer
August 6, 2012
Filed under Features
All-new 700 sport quad brings value model
Seeking a lower the price tag for its big-bore Raptor 700R sport quad, Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A., has added a lower-priced Raptor 700 variant for 2013 and made a few tweaks to the rest of the range to keep the model fresh and lower prices of the top-selling sport quad.
For 2013, the company also moved production of all Raptor 700 models to its factory in Newnan, Ga., as part of its ongoing shift toward building its ATVs stateside, in the world’s largest market for ATVs.
The company introduced media to the new Raptors in the Deschutes National Forest east of Bend, Ore.
The 2013 Raptor 700 will be available in three versions that each come with slightly updated styling. All new for this model year, the value-leading Raptor 700 (not 700R) comes dressed in white plastics and includes dual graphic kit options for users to customize on their own. It lists for $7,699, which is a significant $700 less than last year’s base 700R model. To achieve the lower price point with its new Raptor 700, Yamaha deleted its digital gauge, adjustable front brake lever and piggyback front shocks.
The most notable change — the removal of the digital gauge — is standard across the Raptor 700R and 700R Special Edition models as well as the 700. The 700R and 700R SE models retain the adjustable front brake and fully adjustable piggyback shocks. All Raptor 700s come with new, Raptor-exclusive Maxxis tires that are claimed to offer lighter steering effort, sharper handling and increased traction while retaining the model’s ability to slide through turns.
In a continuation of the company’s strategy of offering user-personalized graphic options on its sport quads, the all-white 2013 Raptor 700 comes with two graphic kits from the dealer at the time of purchase: a red, white and blue “Assembled in the U.S.A.”-themed kit and a more aggressive black and red kit.
The entire line also adopts evolved styling that brings a revised front grille and front fenders that provide riders with an additional 50mm of space to move while riding aggressively. New plastics and other minor changes were aimed at keeping the center of gravity as low as possible. For 2013, the aluminum-and-steel hybrid chassis is powder coated for improved looks and durability, and the rear braking system now has twin-piston calipers for increased rider feedback.
Wrapped in Yamaha’s traditional blue and white, the Raptor 700R is priced at $8,099, which is $300 less than a comparable 2012 700R. The 2013 Special Edition Raptor 700R comes with black plastics, fully adjustable shocks, red graphics and GYTR grab bar and heel guards, and is priced at $8,799 — $200 less than the 2012 SE model.
Regardless of model, all Raptor 700s will still be powered by Yamaha’s 686cc four-stroke, liquid-cooled engine — the largest engine available in a pure-sport ATV. Key specs include a forged piston, aluminum cylinder with ceramic coating for reduced weight, as well as better cooling and long-term durability. It’s controlled by a carryover five-speed manual transmission with reverse.
Out on the tight, heavily wooded trails of the Deschutes National Forest, deciphering any significant changes to the Raptor 700s was difficult, as the industry’s top-selling sport model still looks, sounds and rides like previous Raptors — fast, aggressive, but comfortable.
Yamaha’s 2013 Raptor 700s are the company’s first sport ATVs to be transferred to the Georgia facility, and the latest move in its strategy to move ATV production to the U.S. from Japan.
“Yamaha is proud to bring the Raptor production to our factory in Georgia, where the company has made a significant investment to guarantee the highest quality products are assembled right here in the U.S. — the world’s largest ATV market,” said Steve Nessl, Yamaha’s ATV/side-by-side group marketing manager.