The ’90s was the golden era of two-strokes. During this time, Yamaha led the pack with its legendary sport quads, namely the famous Banshee 350, Blaster 200, and four-stroke Warrior 350. There were also stricter emissions standards, and the Japanese manufacturer knew it had to come up with a better, bolder machine that was as thrilling to ride as it was emissions compliant. Due to this pressing need and the tight competition among companies, Yamaha gave birth to the Yamaha Raptor 660.
The Yamaha Raptor 660 was the first big-bore sport ATV sold by Yamaha from 2001 to 2005. Also known as the sport quad king, this vehicle had dual carburetors, a five-valve cylinder, and a racy aerodynamic design. The Raptor instantly became the crowd favorite due to its speed and power.
Despite its short-lived stint, the Raptor made such a lasting impression with riders that other prominent manufacturers saw the promising future of big-bore quads. Can-Am tried to butt heads with the Japanese firm with its release of the DS650 in 2000. Kawasaki followed suit with its KFX700 in 2004. Honda was also hot on Yamaha’s heels with its 2008 TRX700XX.
While these four-wheelers were spectacular, none of them matched the performance, sales, and acceptance of the Raptor 660. So, what makes this vehicle so great? Read on to discover.
The Ultimate Sport Quad
In 2001, the Yamaha Raptor 660 was the benchmark for sport ATVs, and rightfully so since the four-wheeler intended to replace the iconic Banshee 350. The Raptor utilized dual 33-mm carburetors and a five-valve cylinder head – the largest power mill ever placed in a vehicle in ATV history. Essentially, its impressive specs resembled what the quad’s name suggests, gobbling up competition and winning the Sport ATV of the Year title.
This purpose-built sport quad was produced from 2000 to 2004 and released in the market for four consecutive years, starting with the 2001 Yamaha Raptor 660. It consists of four trims of the same displacement – the YFM660RP, YFM660RS, YFM660RT, and YFM660RSET. Not only did the Raptor 660 begin a whole new category, but it also inspired the creation of 700-cc and higher-class behemoths. This is the main reason the Raptor only ran for four years, immediately giving birth to the most powerful outdoor ATV ever done by the Japanese firm, the Yamaha Raptor 700, in 2005 (2006 model).
The Makings of a Raptor
To create a beast on four wheels, Yamaha’s design team picked a powerplant from the dual-sport-style motorcycle MZ Baghira. This German engine was market-changing and provided the power and technology that competition ATVs did not have. This reliable and easy-to-work-on engine mated with a 100mm × 84mm bore-stroke ratio, liquid-cooling system, single-overhead camshaft, and dual-intake 33-mm Mikuni carburetors.
Because of the quad’s configuration, Yamaha had to redesign the motor cases to fit snuggly in the vehicle’s frame. The radiator had to be positioned higher on the front, right below the handlebars. Likewise, engineers had to strengthen the Raptor 660 starter clutch to handle the added weight and traction load.
Replacing the Crowd Favorite
One of the things that the Raptor was successful in since its inception (up to the 2005 Yamaha Raptor 660) was that it handled exceptionally well and according to its power output. This attribute quickly got riders’ vote of approval and was evidence that the machine outmaneuvered the Banshee 350. Additionally, the Raptor’s updated suspension and frame made for easier turning compared to its two-stroke counterparts.
As if this were not enough, Yamaha further developed the Raptor 660 into the Yamaha Raptor 700, released in 2006 to the eager public. The engine configuration between the two sibling models was almost similar, except for a larger-bore aluminum cylinder, a 686-cc power mill, electronic fuel injection, and enhanced bodywork. The Raptor’s frame further improved with a steel undercarriage and an aluminum subframe. A new suspension geometry allowed for more rear shock travel. The design team’s painstaking efforts were not in vain, as these improvements made the Yamaha Raptor 700 the best-selling ATV during a 450-cc-race-inspired-quad era.
Yamaha Raptor 660 Specs
- Engine – The Raptor 660 uses a four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder SOHC engine with a bore-stroke ratio of 100 × 84 mm (3.94 × 3.31 inches). It has an engine displacement of 660 cubic centimeters, a compression ratio of 9.2:1, and a dry-sump lubrication system. A dual 33-mm Mikuni BSR33 carburetor and a wet-type air filtration system handles the air-fuel mixture. The vehicle’s horsepower is 36 hp, top speed is 74 mph, and fuel economy is 30-35 mpg (6.72-7.84 liters/100 km).
- Drivetrain – Power goes to the wheels via a constant-mesh, five-speed wet multiple-disc type manual transmission (inclusive of forward and reverse). It has a spur gear and a secondary chain drive system. The primary reduction ratio is 71/34 (2.088), and the secondary is 40/13 (3.076). A 10.8-feet turning radius allows for a smoother ride.
- Ignition – It uses a DC-CDI ignition with an electric start system and auxiliary mechanical recoil backup. It has an AC-magneto generator system and requires a 12V, 12 Ah battery with assembled dimensions of 6.31 x 3.19 x 5.12 inches (160 x 90 x 130 millimeters – L x W x H) as well as a 20-Amp fuse.
- Tires – The steel rims mount tubeless, Dunlop KT331 AT21 × 7-10 front tires, and Dunlop KT335 AT20 × 10-9 rear tires. Front and rear tire pressure recommendation is 27.5 kPa (0.275 kgf/cm2, 4 psi). Avoid going beyond limits of 3.5 psi/24kPa (0.24 kgf/cm²) and 36 psi/250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm²). You may replace stock rubber with ITP Holeshot GNCC Off-Road Bias 6-ply Tires (view on Amazon) for riding on rougher terrain.
- Brakes – Right-hand operated dual disc brakes, and a right-foot operated single-disc rear brake provide the Yamaha Raptor 660 stopping power.
- Suspension – The vehicle has an independent double-wishbone with preload adjustment with 230 mm (9.06 in) of wheel travel and an aluminum swingarm (link suspension) with rebound, compression, and preload adjustment and 220 mm (8.66 in) of wheel travel. Shocks are a coil spring/oil damper at the front and a gas coil spring/oil damper at the back.
- Dimensions – Overall dimensions are 72 x 43.3 x 45.3 inches (1,830 x 1,100 x 1,150 millimeters – L x W x H). The minimum ground clearance is 10.4 inches (265 mm), while the vehicle wheelbase is 49 inches (1,244.6 mm). Curb weight is 193 Kg/426 lbs, and dry weight is 398 lbs/180.5 Kg. The seat height is 33.9 inches.
- Capacities – The Yamaha Raptor 660 fuel capacity is 3.17 US gallons/12 liters with a 0.69-US gallons/2.6-liter reserve. Engine oil capacity is 2.01 quarts/1.9 liters with a filter change, 2.06 quarts/1.95 liters without filter change, and 2.43 quarts/2.3 liters at disassembly. Radiator capacity is 1.37 quarts/1.3 liters, while 1.85 quarts/1.75 liters for transfer case oil. The quad’s maximum loading limit is 220 lbs/100 Kg – cargo, rider, and accessories). Recommended engine oil for the Raptor is Yamalube 4 – SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, 20W-40 (with API service classification of SG or higher and with no anti-friction modifiers).
- Exterior – The 660 has a steel tube frame (with an 8° caster angle and 47-mm trail) and plastic body. The two-wheeler came standard with hand grips, front and rear fenders, footrests, and front and rear bumpers. 30-watt headlights on the front and a single 30-watt pod light, a 5-watt taillight, and a 21-watt brake light provide ample light distribution.
Yamaha Raptor 660 Pros and Cons
The Yamaha Raptor 660 wowed many consumers with its list of features and overall performance. However, the quad was just almost perfect. The Raptor is a great purchase and will serve you many years on the trail. But for meticulous buyers, it is best to take a closer look at both sides of this vehicle.
- It delivers tons of power and gives excellent performance on hard-packed roads, dunes, and hills.
- The torquey machine is easy to ride, especially around corners and on technical terrain.
- Power sliding is spectacular. Plus, you can easily make wheelies in third.
- It is incredibly reliable on the trails.
- The engine sounds great, and the vehicle has a solid grab.
- Even in stock form, the Raptor is perfect for racing. So much so that it can go head to head with a Raptor 700SE.
- Weak Raptor 660 starter clutch does the four-wheeler injustice.
- It has transmission issues, specifically in the second gear range.
- Aggressive riders do not prefer its high seating/center of gravity.
- Cold starting can sometimes be a challenge.
- The quad can be very touchy.
- 2004 Yamaha Raptor 660 recall – engine and driveline vibration during long periods of high RPM usage cause the rear master cylinder reservoir to agitate, potentially resulting in air bubbles entering the master cylinder and adversely affecting rear brake performance.
- This machine is not ideal for all-day riding due to its weight.
- It is not advisable for kids as they could not handle the machine’s weight and power.
Most of these flaws are anecdotal, while some have either been permanently resolved (as in the second-gearing issue, which Yamaha corrected from 2002 Raptor 660 onwards) or conveniently fixed through a simple mod. To the untrained eye, these drawbacks may not even be noticeable. But for enthusiasts who want more from the quad, they can rectify these slight nuisances with appropriate upgrades.
The Upgrade King
Customizing this machine seems endless, as evident in numerous impressive monster Raptors. Experienced mechanics and professional outfitters have fitted these machines with all kinds of Yamaha Raptor 660 parts in addition to turbo kits, advanced suspension, ported cylinders, and machined heads over the years. Depending on personal preference or need, you can turn this brute into the ultimate trail quad, dune shredder, or MX track master.
This next section covers upgrades that you can do on your four-wheeler – regardless of whether your objective is more power, higher top-end speed, or better riding comfort.
Some riders bore their Raptors out to 686-cc and, by doing so, increase the quad’s fun factor dramatically. Others go to the extent of doing 727-cc – paired with a 105-mm piston, sport hot cam, jet kit carburetors, new CDI box, K&N air filter, and a non-restrictive air box. The latter set of changes can increase your ponies by at least 20 hp. Stage II race jets in carb, a full Yoshimura Raptor 660 exhaust, and a Hi-Pro clutch do wonders too.
Stem and Handlebars
Compared to stock, a new stem brings the bars up higher to allow for a more open riding position. Rubber-damped bar mounts specifically kill vibration to your hands and arms – best for off-roaders who often traverse rocky terrain. Not to mention that aftermarket stems and handlebars are typically more durable and better aesthetically.
Replace the semi-footrests with rubber-damped Nerf bars, which permit suspension travel. These replacements also function like the stem and handlebars, reducing vibration and shock under rough landings or hits. Some variants are aluminum tubes that bolt to strong steel mounts. When installing Nerf bars, the only downside is threading the nets, but some packages come with small steel buckles that make threading simple.
The stock rear brake pedal of the Raptor tends to be loose and floppy. A billet-aluminum clevis with machined stainless insert and pivot would perfectly fit the quad and eliminate slop.
There is a multitude of upgrades that you can do on and parts that you can add to a Yamaha Raptor 660 to tailor it to your requirements. ATV magazines are good resources for your next Raptor build project. A bottom-end rebuild is also something that most experienced owners do on their Raptor, as demonstrated by MotoEsh in this video:
Frequently Asked Questions
- What fuel is best for the Yamaha Raptor 660? Use unleaded gasoline with a pump Octane number of 86+ and a research Octane number of 91 or higher. Make sure to use fuel variant with less than 10% ethanol and less than 5% methanol to avoid engine part and exhaust system damage.
- What is the worth of a Yamaha Raptor 660? The 2001 Yamaha Raptor 660 list price was $6,499, $300 less than its 2005 model. For an extra $700, you can add embellishments, storage, and tons of accessories. The average retail price of the Raptor is currently between $2,030 and $2,535.
- What kind of spark plug does a Raptor 660 take? Both Yamaha Raptor YFM660RS and YFM660RP trims require an NGKDPR8EA-9 spark plug with a 0.8–0.9 mm (0.03–0.04 in) gap.
- What is the Yamaha Raptor 660 top speed? The top speed of a stock Yamaha Raptor 660 is 74 mph. But like any other ATV, certain factors may affect the maximum speed of your four-wheeler. Altitude, temperature, humidity, rider weight, terrain, modifications, and overall vehicle condition can affect the top speed.
- How much does a 2006 Yamaha Raptor 660 cost? The Yamaha Raptor 660 was produced only until 2004 for its 2005 model. The list price for the 2006 Raptor 700 model is $7,249.
Yamaha Motor Company Limited is a Japanese firm that produced the Yamaha Raptor 660 in 2001. This world-renowned leader has established product offerings in motorsports, off-road vehicles, personal watercraft, speed boats, and outboard motors. Industry-leading sport and all-terrain vehicles from Yamaha should come as no surprise, as this Japanese firm was responsible for creating the ATV industry in the ’80s. Yamaha’s mission of creating Kando has and continues to guide its production of life-enriching products and services.
Conclusion – Yamaha Raptor 660
There is nothing but good things to say about the Yamaha Raptor 660. It is a legendary four-wheeler that the riding community adores, and the whole family is sure to love. The vehicle is fast, offers excellent handling, and its reliability is unquestionable. It has helped many riders get through difficult situations that would have otherwise left them stranded in the middle of nowhere.
It may have been in the limelight only for a while. But thanks to its massive success, the sport king quad has spurred different-class models that are still in production. Truly, the Yamaha Raptor 660’s legacy continues to live on.