Yamaha Badger 80 Specs and Review

For many off-roaders (not just young riders), the Yamaha Badger 80 is undeniably a gem. This mini 4×4 may be stark, even a bit crude, in styling and design. But mind you, it has everything you need to experience a fun ride. Considered as one of the forefathers of youth ATVs, it would be interesting to know the capabilities and overflowing potential of this small but mighty four-wheeler.

The Yamaha Badger 80 was one of the forerunners of the youth ATV segment introduced in 1985. Equipped with a 79-cm3 engine, distinct styling, and straightforward features, this mini 4×4 was part of many off-roader’s childhood adventures.

Depending on your kid’s skill level and age, the Yamaha Badger 80 may not be the best choice for teenagers in search of a challenging and equally thrilling ride. Nonetheless, it is the perfect in-training 4×4 for beginner riders younger than 12 years old. Do you want to discover what else this four-wheeler has to offer? Read on – this article will not disappoint.

Blue 2001 Yamaha Badger 80 ATV

About the Yamaha Badger 80

The advent of youth ATVs did not happen until late the ’90s to early 2000s – and the Yamaha Badger 80 helped launch that sub-segment. Introduced in 1985, the Badger featured a 79-cc engine, a 3-speed manual transmission, and a robust chassis that catered to younger, non-professional riders. And whether you believe it or not, this kid-friendly four-wheeler laid the design foundation for succeeding kid quads.

A progenitor of present-day mini 4x4s, the Badger, was not endowed with digital instrumentation or fancy accessories. Nor did it have a full lighting system found in current youth quads and street-legal motorcycles. But despite those shortcomings, the 80-class machine proved itself a worthy and capable ride. Youngsters easily lost themselves in merriment as they practiced sliding maneuvers and overcame twisty trails and obstacles. Best of all, riding the vehicle made for a great bonding experience between parents and their children during weekends.

In total, the Yamaha Badger 80 had 17 different models released throughout its production (partial rundown in the pricing section of this article) and was made available in multiple color options. There were minimal variances between model years, with the most noticeable being in the vehicle’s dimensions. Sadly, anticipated changes in the wheeler’s chassis and suspension system never took place throughout its production run. With little to no substantial improvements, the lineup saw its last production year in 2001, finally giving way to the same-displacement Raptor 80.

Yamaha Badger 80 Specs & Features (YFM80N vs. YFM80WP)

Engine & Lubrication

The Yamaha Badger 80cc basically gave the same-class Raptor its engine configuration. Both youth ATVs share the same 4-stroke single-cylinder SOHC engine, 47 × 45.6 mm (1.85 × 1.80 in) bore-stroke ratio, 9.6:1 compression ratio, and 16-mm Mikuni carburetor. Even oil and fuel requirements are similar – although the later-year models of the Badger permitted a more extensive range of motor oil options in the absence of an SAE 10W-30 Yamalube 4.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Engine Type 4-stroke, SOHC
Cylinder Arrangement Forward-inclined, Single-cylinder
Carburetion System Carburetor, Mikuni VM16SH x 1
Engine Cooling Air cooling
Engine Fuel 6.8 L/1.8 US gal (reserve – 0.9 L/0.2 US gal) of unleaded gasoline, PON/RON rating of at least 86/91, containing < 5% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether) or < 10% ethanol w/ appropriate cosolvents and corrosion inhibitors
Bore x Stroke Ratio 47 × 45.6 mm (1.85 × 1.80 in)
Compression Ratio 9.6:1
Displacement 79 cm³ / 4.82 in³
Horsepower 6 hp
Top Speed 35 mph (56.3 km/h) – owner’s claim
Air Filtration Wet type element
Lubrication Wet sump
Engine Oil & Quantity 0.80 L (0.85 US qt – periodic) / 0.95 L (1 US qt – total) of SAE 10W-30 Yamalube 4
Alternatives: SAE 5W-30, 20W-40 engine oil w/ API grade of SJ+ meeting JASO T903 MA, MB standards, variants w/ anti-friction modifiers and “Energy Conserving” labeled oils are prohibited
0.80 L (0.85 US qt – periodic) / 0.95 L (1 US qt – total) of SAE 10W-30 Yamalube 4
Alternatives: SAE 5W-30, 10W-40, 15W-40, 20W-40, 20W-50 engine oil w/ API grade of SJ+ meeting JASO T903 MA, MB standards, variants w/ anti-friction modifiers and “Energy Conserving II” labeled oils are prohibited
Final Gear Oil 0.12 L (0.13 US qt), SAE80API GL-4 Hypoid gear oil

Drivetrain

Apart from engine specs, the Badger also shares its driveline components with its successor. A 3-speed forward transmission, wet, centrifugal clutch system, and shaft drive deliver power to the wheels. Had there been a reverse gear included, the Badger’s powertrain would be flawless. The spring-loaded throttle is somewhat of an added security feature, as it makes the machine decelerate and return to idle at any given time the driver removes their hand from the throttle lever. Plus, it can ford through 7.9 inches (20 cm) of shallow water.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Clutch Wet, multiple-disc centrifugal type, automatic
Transfer, Transmission Type 3-speed constant mesh (Left foot operation)
Gearshift Pattern N-1-2-3
Drive System Shaft drive
Primary Reduction Ratio Spur gear, 3.250 (65/20)
Secondary Reduction Ratio 3.588 (19/18 × 34/10)
Transfer Gear Ratio 1st – 3.545 (39/11)
2nd – 2.059 (35/17)
3rd – 1.409 (31/22)
Blue and White 1994 Yamaha Badger 80 ATV

Ignition

The Yamaha Badger comes to life via an electric starter activated with a thumb switch found on the left-hand grip. It has a CDI-type ignition, and a CDI magneto serves as its charging system. While the bike is convenient to start, its other electrical components call for major improvement.

The absence of a headlight is understandable due to the wheeler’s low amperage. Young riders, however, would benefit from lighting, brake/taillights, and a working horn when on the trails. Thankfully, Yamaha Badger parts like RM Stator kits (view on Amazon), LED lights, and a switch makes equipping the Badger with an improvised headlight possible.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Ignition CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)
Idle Speed 1,700 – 1,900 RPM
Spark Plug NGK CR7HS
Torque: 12.5 Nm
Generator CDI magneto
Fuse 5 Amp (main/spare)
Battery 12V, 7 Ah/(10 Hr), 12N7D-3B format
Battery Dimensions (L x W x H) 135x75x150 mm
Starter System Electric starter

Lighting

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Headlight N/A
Brake Light/Taillight
Indicator Lights 12V, 3.4W × 1 (neutral)

Tires & Brakes

Its tire-and-wheel assembly is quite conservative but adequate for beginner riders. However, children above 12 years of age may want more from the wheeler in terms of grip and stopping power. Consequently, some owners prefer to swap them out for taller tires and disc brakes (view on Amazon), despite stock components performing reliably on various terrains. Should you change stock rubber, stay within the range of 17 kPa (0.17 kgf/cm2, 2.5 psi) to 23 kPa (0.23 kgf/cm2, 3.3 psi) when airing down or filling up the tires, and to go no more than 250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm2, 36 psi) when seating tire beads.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Front Tire, Air pressure Tubeless Dunlop KT586 AT18 × 7–7, 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.9 psi)
Rear Tire, Air pressure Tubeless Dunlop KT587 AT18 × 8–7, 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.9 psi)
Tire Tread Depth (F/R) 3 mm (0.012 in)
Front Brake Type Drum brake (Right hand operation)
Rear Brake Type Drum brake (Left hand & right foot operation)

(Note: The Yamaha Badger also comes with a parking brake actuated by squeezing on the rear brake lever and securing the lock plate in place.)

Green 1994 Yamaha Badger 80 ATV

Suspension

Like other Yamaha youth ATVs in the early 2000s, the Badger offers short-travel suspension. The front has a straight-axle (leading arm) setup – a backward swingarm that limits independent movement of the front wheels. Meanwhile, the rear has a swingarm offering approximately the same 2.2 inches of wheel travel. This setup is not only restrictive but also lends to the vehicle’s mediocre bump absorption, which makes the Badger less suitable to ride on heavily rock-strewn surfaces.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Frame type Steel tube
Caster, Trail 1°, 3.8 mm (0.15 in)
Ground Clearance 100 mm (3.9 in)
Wheelbase 1,030 mm (40.6 in)
Turning Radius 2 m (6.56 ft) 2.4 m (7.87 ft)
Front Suspension Type, Travel Leading arm, coil spring, oil damped, 57 mm (2.2 in)
Rear Suspension Type, Travel Swingarm, coil spring, oil damped, 56 mm (2.2 in)

Dimensions

Despite being a mini quad, the quad’s overall dimensions are actually huge for an 80-cc ATV. Its earlier versions had slightly smaller dimensions in terms of length, width, and seat height than its successor. Conversely, post-2001 models carried over its exact measurements to the Yamaha Raptor 80. The machine’s weight adds to its stability, but there is still much to be had of the four-wheeler.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Length 1,520 mm (59.8 in) 1,537 mm (60.5 in)
Width 825 mm (32.5 in) 841 mm (33.1 in)
Height 960 mm (37.8 in) 940 mm (37 in)
Seat Height (Unloaded) 650 mm (25.6 in) 669 mm (26.3 in)
Curb Weight 116 Kg (256 lbs)
Vehicle Load Capacity Limit 95 Kg (209 lbs) – combined cargo, rider weight & accessories

Exterior

The Yamaha Badger 80 comprises a tubular steel frame and plastic body panels available in various colors. Styling and ergonomics are modest but rugged and quite appealing to young kids and teens. Standard inclusions are hand grips and handlebars, a saddle seat, front and rear fenders, and a flagpole bracket for a safety whip flag.

It also comes with under-seat storage containing essentials such as an owner’s manual, low-pressure tire gauge, and tool kit. A speed limiter makes for a safe riding experience – parents get to increase the ATV speed as the child’s riding skills progress. Just make sure not to turn the speed limiter out more than 15 millimeters (0.6 in) to not damage the throttle cable.

Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C Yamaha Badger YFM80WP
Speedometer, Trip Odometer & Computer N/A
Indicator Lamps Neutral
Speed Limiter Standard
Ignition Switch
Engine Stop Switch

Yamaha Badger 80 Pros and Cons

For a youth quad, the Badger was a highly capable machine. However, an overhaul of its overall design would do the vehicle a lot of good. Not only is it going to make the 4×4 more durable, but it would also address some of the setbacks the Yamaha Badger had – as stated below:

Pros:

  • The speed limiter and spring-loaded throttle serve as extra safety measures on the four-wheeler.
  • Its 3-speed manual transmission prepares beginners for more aggressive trails and higher-displacement ATVs.
  • The choke lever, switches, and hand/foot levers are convenient to operate.
  • An electric start thumb switch and keyed ignition make for easy startups while ensuring kids can only ride the quad with parent supervision.
  • Improving the mini quad’s performance made for great practice for mechanically inclined, advanced riders.
  • The height of the vinyl seat is suitable for smaller kids.

Cons:

  • The wheel-and-tire assembly is not up to snuff on more technical terrain, not to mention a rollover hazard.
  • Shock absorbers are too conservative, non-preload-adjustable, and provide a limited amount of wheel travel.
  • Although the thumb throttle makes for convenient shifts in speed, its extended reach does not work well for youngsters with small hands.
  • Similarly, the rear handbrake can prove difficult to pull for kids below 10 years of age.
  • The absence of a reverse gear makes for limited maneuverability, especially in tight or sticky situations.
  • Rider weight limits seem to be at a 120-lbs threshold, which does not help with the machine’s underwhelming powerband and speed rating.
  • Threading on some of the screws tends to loosen over time, causing issues when the power mill accidentally ingests them.

Yamaha Raptor 80 Price

Depending on model year and inclusions, the list price of the Yamaha Badger can go anywhere from $1,999 to $2,699. With accessories included, its MSRP can increase by at least $150. Thankfully, the 80-cc ATV had little to no movement in pricing from when it went out in the market.

The table below shows you a non-exhaustive list of Yamaha Badger models released from 1992 to 2001 and their corresponding prices (Source: Nada Guides):

Model Year & TrimList PriceRetail/Trade-in
1992 Yamaha Badger YFM80D$1,999$325 – $1,800
1993 Yamaha Badger YFM80E$2,099$325 – $1,770
1994 Yamaha Badger YFM80F$2,349$325 – $1,890
1995 Yamaha Badger YFM80G$2,399$350 – $2,345
1996 Yamaha Badger YFM80$2,599$515 – $680
1997 Yamaha Badger YFM80J$2,649$515 – $2,370
1998 Yamaha Badger YFM80K$2,649$460 – $2,520
1999 Yamaha Badger YFM80L$2,649$595 – $2,735
2000 Yamaha Badger YFM80M$2,649$515 – $2,925
2001 Yamaha Badger YFM80N/C$2,699$535 – $3,185

Modded Badgers are a different story, as upgrading the suspension and tire-and-wheel systems alone can result in an increase in value by as much as $500. Auction listings have their own price range, too – from $250 to $450. More expensive units would typically be former build projects or accessory-laden machines no longer used as frequently by their owners and are hard to come by. Cheaper ones, on the other hand, are units in okay working condition. However, expect to have some missing or non-functional parts, visible cosmetic damage, or an engine requiring top-end work.

About Yamaha

Yamaha Motor Company Ltd. is a Japanese company globally renowned for its contributions to multiple automotive industries. A forerunner in the ATV scene, Yamaha was among the first manufacturers to produce high-quality personal watercraft, motorcycles, and all-terrain vehicles like the Yamaha Badger 80. Interestingly, the firm traces its humble beginnings to creating musical instruments such as pianos and reed organs before it ventured into motorcycle production post-WWII. With its wealth of experience and ingenuity, Yamaha stands today as a world leader in manufacturing speed boats, outboard motors, and motorsport vehicles.

Conclusion – Yamaha Badger 80 Review

All in all, the Yamaha Badger 80 is a non-intimidating all-terrain vehicle that served its purpose exceptionally well – and that is to encourage young, beginner riders to enjoy the outdoors through off-roading. While it does have room for improvement in certain areas, its features and capabilities are adequate for children just starting to learn the ropes of ATV riding. So much so that its entire design passed down to next-generation mini quads.

Thanks to its limitations, youngsters can improve their skills – mechanical and riding-wise – while staying safe and with the continued supervision of their parents. If you are starting your young one early on off-roading, look no further than the Yamaha Badger 80!

Kris Peter

Adventure seeker and off-road enthusiast. I love the thrill of going off-road and taking on the elements.

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