UTV Product Reviews Yamaha

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Review

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS


I spent the day behind the wheel of the 2017 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS at Big Buck in South Carolina. The Big Buck property has been used for GNCC races since 1997 and well known for its tight, technical sections, steep hill climbs, open pastures and high speed runs through the forest. Having never been to the Big Buck property and being familiar with the manual transmission YXZ1000R, I would have thought this wasn’t the greatest choice for location.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS
2017 Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Ready for Media Ride

But the guys at Yamaha knew better. We were going to be testing the new YXZ1000R SS and this was the location to perfectly illustrate the strong points of the confidence inspiring “Sport Shift” technology.

No Clutch and Shifting is handled by “Paddle Shifters” mounted on the steering column

The new YXZ1000R SS puts pure sport performance at your fingertips with an all‑new 5‑speed sequential Sport Shift (SS) transmission with automatic clutch. The sequential 5-speed manual transmission features Yamaha Chip Controlled Shift (YCC-S) technology. This system combines the power, durability and efficiency of a traditional manual transmission with an advanced automatic clutch system that replaces the foot-operated clutch pedal with sporty paddle shifters mounted to the steering column.

The Yamaha Chip Controlled Shift technology has a few other features built into it.  Launch System and Dynamic Clutch Engagement.

Launch System

“Launch System” is an exciting and innovative feature on the XZ1000R SS. It is exclusive to the Sport Shift experience and provides an exciting high-acceleration feeling from stop — similar to “dropping the clutch” in a manual vehicle with a clutch pedal.

To engage the “Launch System” you first put the YXZ in 1st gear.  Then pull both paddle shifters back until you see the “Launch System” light on the dash.  Then rev the engine up to the desired RPM, release the paddles and floor it! Drag racing your buddies has never been this efficient!

Dynamic Clutch Engagement

The “Dynamic Clutch Engagement” is another technology that Yamaha built into the SS. It automatically engages when the computer senses that you are adding a lot of throttle, but the vehicle is not moving.  We tested this on a steep hill where we stopped mid-climb.  Then tried to take off from a dead stop.  All the driver has to do is drop the throttle to the floor and Dynamic Clutch Engagement automatically kicks into gear. To me it acts like you are driving a 2-stroke and instead of down-shifting, you feather the clutch to get the RPMs back up.  The difference is the computer handles the clutch engagement for you.


After a day’s worth of riding, I can say without hesitation that I don’t think there is another UTV that I would have rather been in today. The YXZ1000R SS is a completely different driving experience from the manual shifted YXZ1000R but still gives you the thrill of banging gears up and down as you navigate the tight, tree-lined hills and fly down high-speed sections at 60MPH. I truly felt like I was a rally car driver all day long.


The cockpit of the YXZ1000R was comfortable. FOX RC2 shocks inspired confidence and never bottomed out. Visibility was excellent. And the paddle shifting was exhilarating.

And I even drove one lap like I was on a Sunday drive at much lower RPMs and the SS never missed a beat and definitely never stalled out. The computer will automatically downshift for you as you come to a stop and will also downshift if you are in a higher gear and it thinks you are coming to a stop (3rd to 2nd for example.


If you liked the YXZ1000R, but really weren’t thrilled about a manual transmission, the Yamaha YXZ1000R SS is definitely worth a look. It is a completely different animal and so much fun to drive!The only change I would like to see made is with the transmission gear ratio.  I would like to see first gear lowered so it would be better suited for rock crawling.  Tube Works already has aftermarket gear options for the YXZ1000R and we hear that these may be available as a dealer installed option soon.  I am hoping this will make its way into the YXZ1000R SS as well in the near future.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS White / Blue
Yamaha YXZ1000R SS – Team Yamaha White / Blue

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Blaze Orange/Black
Yamaha YXZ1000R SS – Blaze Orange/Black


  • $20,799 – Team Yamaha Blue w/Blue Suntop & Aluminum Wheels – Available from August 2016
  • $20,599 – Blaze Orange/Black w/Black Suntop & Aluminum Wheels – Available from August 2016

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Special Edition Matte Black
Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Special Edition Matte Black w/ FOX® 2.5 Podium® X2 Shocks


  • $22,399 – Matte Black w/Black Suntop & Beadlock Wheels – Available from August 2016

Every Yamaha SxS and full-size ATV is Assembled in the USA at Yamaha’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, for worldwide distribution.

Yamaha YXZ1000R SS Walk Around Video

More Resources:

About Yamaha Motor Corp., U.S.A.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A., (YMUS), a leader in the motorsports market, makes the toughest, most capable and versatile ATV and Side-by-Side vehicles. The company’s ever expanding product offerings also include motorcycles, outboard motors, personal watercraft, snowmobiles, boats, outdoor power equipment, accessories, apparel and much more. YMUS products are sold through a nationwide network of dealers in the United States.

Headquartered in Cypress, Calif., since its incorporation in 1976, Yamaha also has facilities in Wisconsin and Georgia, as well as factory operations in Tennessee and Georgia. For more information on Yamaha, visit www.yamaha-motor.com.

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