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Photos and Story by Matt Finley

Yamaha Motorsports

2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Sport ATV
First of its Kind “Entry-Level” Quad from a Major Manufacturer

2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Sport ATV

2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Sport ATV

2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Sport ATV

2011 Yamaha Raptor 125 Sport ATV

Yamaha-Motors raised the bar for the entire Sport Quad community. Again. This time they did it with the introduction of the all new Raptor 125 Sport ATV. This is considered a "step-up" quad for youths moving up from the 90cc Raptors and Yamaha invited us out to Ventura, California for an exclusive ride so we could come back and tell you all about this first in its class from a major manufacturer youth sport quad.

Never before has one of the major manufacturers brought this kind of performance to youth class sport ATVs as Yamaha has done with this "entry level" quad. The Raptor 125 sport ATV takes riders 16 and older confidently from the world of toy quads to the real deal without the intimidation of moving straight up to the 250.

When you hear someone talk about a 125 ATV you initially think small, weak, no suspension, right? Not anymore. The Yamaha Raptor 125 is none of that and then some. It is built on the same frame as the Raptor 250 but it has a smaller engine. It has 7 way fully adjustable suspension, a 5 speed transmission with a manual clutch and 3 hydraulic disk brakes. It is a real sport quad in every sense of the word.

The 124cc 4 stroke single cylinder, single overhead cam engine is light and powerful and delivers a very usable, responsive power band. It has a single-axis counter-balancer that helps reduce vibration that typically transfers from the engine to the handlebars, seat and foot pegs and makes for a much more comfortable ride, especially if you're going to be on it all day.

The five speed gearbox in the 2011 Raptor is the real deal and, along with the suspension, makes the Raptor 125 a real winner. It uses a fully manual clutch and gives the flexibility to take on just about any track, trail or mud-pit or sand dune. With the power of the engine and the manual clutch, there is not much this little Raptor can't handle. Throw in electric start as standard equipment that works in any gear and you've got the makings of a real competitor.

So by this point you're probably about done hearing me ramble on about the specs and want to hear the real story: How is it to ride? If I had to put it into one word it would probably be something like Epic. Or Awesome. Or Groundbreaking. Or Capable. Or just plain Fun!

Yamaha had a whole fleet of Raptor 125s for us media types to hop on and ride at a specially made track just off the beach. As you might expect, the Raptor 125s held up beautifully while we commenced to beating them seven ways from Sunday.

When I first saw the Raptor 125 I couldn't believe it was only a 125. It looked like a 250. When you sit on the Yamaha's ample seat you feel the suspension swoosh down a couple of inches then smoothly and firmly stop.

The seat is comfortable and big enough to move around on, which is a very good thing for us taller riders. There's not a lot of leg room but it still seemed unusually comfortable and manageable.

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