QUAD reporter Rob McDonnell joined testers from across Europe to find out if the manufacturer’s back-to-basics philosophy in terms of suspension would work.
 
When asked by Yamaha’s market researchers what kind of machines they want in the future, quad riders – especially in America – said in increasing numbers: “We want machines we can just jump on and ride. No fuss, no nonsense, just something we can have fun with out on the trails and in the dunes.”
 
For Yamaha this presented something of a challenge. It already had arguably the best and most fun big-bore leisure quad on the market, in the form of the Raptor. 
 
It’s a global sales success with 115,000 sold worldwide (20,000 in Europe) since 2005, when it first appeared in its current water-cooled incarnation.
 
So, how were Yamaha going to try and ‘fix’ something that wasn’t really broken? 
 
How were they going to make it better in the eyes of those riders who yearned for more simple 
pleasures?
 
Enter the 2013 Raptor 700R – all the good bits of the old Raptor, (with a few evolutionary tweaks), but with one simple but quite significant change. 
 
Good old-fashioned, front suspension that just bounces up and down, rather than state of the art piggyback shocks that offer more set up permutations than most average riders can understand.
 
The logic, Yamaha claim, is a more ‘accessible’ machine, one which sits better in its product range.
 
It offers a logical step up from the 350 Raptor, a key machine in the US market – though not imported officially into the UK – and which is more ‘affordable’ because of the more basic suspension package. 
 
So, does it work? The short answer is, ‘yes’. The ride is as assured as ever thanks to the tried and tested Raptor chassis and marvellously torquey 685cc four-stroke motor.
 
And the suspension package is not just capable; it’s pretty damn good...
 
Want to find out more? For full report, launch images and video, visit www.quad.tv next Monday, July 2, and read the full Raptor report in the latest digital page-turning July issue of QUAD Magazine for free.