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Glamis Media Ride with Yamaha


By Jon Crowley, Photos by Adam Campbell

I love to ride in the dunes, and I remember in years past that Yamaha would host an annual media ride in the dunes for sport ATV media outlets. I never went to one of those events since I gave up ATVs long ago, but I was always jealous watching from the sidelines. Fast forward to 2019, and Yamaha has embraced the sport UTV market segment with the YXZ1000R. So when Yamaha invited me to a ride ATVs and UTVs in Glamis, I wasn’t all that surprised to hear that they were reviving their dune media ride, but I was super excited to be invited!

2019 YXZ1000R

Yamaha brought out a fleet of YXZ1000R, YFZ450R and Raptor 700R for us to test.  Now I am just a UTV guy these days so I focused in on the 2019 YXZ1000Rs. 


The Yamaha Camp in Glamis

The 2019 YXZ1000R has a bunch of great updates and we have had the chance to test it in Johnson Valley last Fall (see 2019 YAMAHA YXZ1000R SS WEST COAST DESERT REVIEW) and back east (see 2019 YAMAHA YXZ1000R EAST COAST TRAIL REVIEW).

In case you haven’t seen the updates Yamaha has made to the 2019 YXZ1000R SS, here is a quick reminder.

 2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R updates:

  • New 29-inch 8 Ply Bighorn Tires
  • Recalibrated Gearing (much lower 1st gear)
  • Rear Mounted Radiator W/Twin Fans
  • Advanced Engineered Cargo Bed
  • All New FOX Racing Suspension Settings and Spring Options
  • All-New Sport Shift v2.0 MCU Logic – Smoother at slow speeds
  • New ROPS cage design
  • New Styling
  • Upgraded Connecting Rods so GYTR Turbo Kit installation is easier

On the surface, it really doesn’t look that much different, but from my perspective, these updates have made a huge difference to how the YXZ1000R performs.

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Accessories

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Accessories


In addition to the improvements to the YXZ1000R for 2019, Yamaha has been working hard at complimentary GYTR accessories that you can get right from your dealer. Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing or GYTR has in the past been more associated with racing. For over 40 years Yamaha engineers have been bringing industry-leading technology that has allowed racers and enthusiasts to shred the track or rip the dunes.

What makes GYTR accessories really cool is that they are designed in tandem with the Yamaha YXZ1000R and once they have finished designing, GYTR products undergo the highest level of performance and durability analysis. A good example of today’s GYTR is the GYTR TURBO KIT FOR YAMAHA YXZ1000R/SS. This is a dealer installed turbo kit that produces great power throughout the RPM range and is certified by Yamaha to work with the YXZ.

Here are a few GYTR accessories that we got to play with in Glamis:

Hitting the Dunes

We spent the day riding through the dunes and switching off between the different YXZ1000Rs that Yamaha had for us. This gave me the opportunity to experience how each GYTR accessory performed. Here are the units we had to choose from:

  1. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Team Yamaha Blue with FOX Podium RC2 w/Dual Springs
  2. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Ultra White with FOX Podium X2 w/Dual Springs
  3. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Team Yamaha Blue with 28-inch EFX Sand Slinger Tires mounted on KMC wheels
  4. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Team Yamaha Blue with GYTR Turbo Kit and stock Bighorn tires
  5. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Ultra White with GYTR Turbo Kit and 29-inch EFX Sand Slinger Tires mounted on KMC wheels

After running through all of these units, my favorite for the dunes were:

  1. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Team Yamaha Blue with 28-inch EFX Sand Slinger Tires mounted on KMC wheels
  2. 2019 YXZ1000R SS SE – Ultra White with GYTR Turbo Kit and 29-inch EFX Sand Slinger Tires mounted on KMC wheels

For the dunes, I am more of a paddle tire kind of guy so it wasn’t a surprise that I’d pick these two.  The naturally aspirated unit with 28-inch tires worked very well, and there was nowhere I couldn’t go. The turbo unit is definitely faster for sure so if that was an issue with the group I rode with, I’d give that some thought. If I primarily rode in other terrain with maybe a trip to the dunes every year or two, I’d select this route.

If I favored the dunes more heavily, with trips to other terrain less frequently, I’d definitely add the GYTR Turbo Kit. The turbo pulled much harder than the stock naturally aspirated units, and the power delivery was smooth, noticeable and factory-like. The 29-inch sand tires worked very well with the turbo and also added some ground clearance which helps keep the skid plate off the sand on tough transitions.

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Accessories

Our #1 Pick – 2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R with GYTR Accessories

I did not like the turbo with stock tires as much.  The tires spun out much more frequently and took a bit more time to get to speed.  I think the EFX paddles work well with this turbo kit and as I said the additional ground clearance is nice in the dunes.

FOX Podium RC2 vs. FOX Podium X2

Both of these shock packages work well.  Decently plush ride through the chop and pretty good through the dunes.  The X2 shocks seemed to have more bottom-out capability so I’d go that route if I rode in the dunes a lot. Otherwise the RC2 are a solid choice.

Wolverine X2

Since I was driving to Glamis, I figured that it would be interesting to throw our Wolverine X2 on the trailer as well.  Although it is more of a Rec-Utility type vehicle, I have been pushing the “limits” with ours doing some extreme rock crawling (see EXTREME ROCK CRAWLING WITH THE YAMAHA WOLVERINE X2 and YAMAHA WOLVERINE X2 PHASE 1 BUILD AND TEST) and even a 200 mile desert ride (see 200 MILE MOJAVE DESERT ADVENTURE RIDE).

To ride a Wolverine X2 into the big dunes isn’t that crazy of an idea, but it has been over ten years since the Yamaha Rhino was all the rage in Glamis. While the Wolverine X2 is a big jump up from the Rhino, it surely isn’t a sport UTV that many would consider taking to the dunes.

We have added a few things to our Wolverine X2, but the engine and clutch are completely stock.  I decided that a ride to Sunset Point was in order and a ride in the Wolverine X2 would be a good test. I was camped off of Gecko Road, so it would be a good 10 minute ride in a sport UTV to get to Sunset Point. I gave myself 15-20 minutes figuring that I’d have to get creative in my approach to some of the larger hills.

I jumped in the Wolverine X2 without even checking air pressure in the tires. Typically you’d want to drop down to 8PSI or lower for better “float”, but I figured that running 30-inch tires was a tall order and might as well make it even tougher by leaving them up around 15PSI.

Before hitting the dunes, I connected my phone to the SSV Works audio system and selected my 80’s playlist just to set the mood and headed towards Sunset Point. Now just as a reminder, the Wolverine X2 has a 847cc parallel-twin engine with just under 9-inches of suspension travel. It is intended more for trail rides and work around the ranch, not blasting through the dunes so take that into consideration.

I had to pick my lines much more carefully than I did with a YXZ1000R equipped with paddle tires and GYTR turbo kit, but I was very impressed.  In days past if I was climbing a steep dune with an underpowered UTV, it would typically get to a point and just bury itself. Not the Wolverine X2!  Even with over-sized tires filled to 15PSI, the Wolverine X2 just kept going. I was pretty surprised at how easy it climbed and attribute most of that to Yamaha’s Ultramatic transmission and excellent power from the 847cc parallel-twin throughout the rpm range.

Is the Wolverine X2 the best suited vehicle for dunes, desert and rock crawling? Certainly there are better options in the sport UTV segment, but once again the Wolverine X2 has done what most would consider beyond the scope of design. At the end of the day, I’d buy a Wolverine X2 for its intended purpose. But knowing I could go on a dune ride or explore the desert for long distances makes it a more solid choice.

More Resources

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS West Coast Desert Review

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R East Coast Trail Review

2019 Yamaha YXZ1000R – Most Versatile Pure Sport Side-by-Side

GYTR Turbo Kit for Yamaha YXZ1000R/SS

YAMAHA WOLVERINE X2 – First Ride Impression

Extreme Rock Crawling with the Yamaha Wolverine X2

Yamaha Wolverine X2 Phase 1 Build and Test

200 Mile Mojave Desert Adventure Ride

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