If you’re looking for a starter ATV that offers zippy performance for youth and smaller-sized riders, the Yamaha Raptor 90 is a top choice to consider. This in-depth review provides everything you need to know about the Raptor 90’s engine specs, speed capabilities, pricing, pros and cons, and how it compares to alternatives.
Table of Contents
Overview of the Yamaha Raptor 90 ATV
The Yamaha Raptor 90 is a sporty recreational ATV marketed primarily for beginner riders ages 12 and up. Introduced in 2004, this nimble quad features a 90cc air-cooled single cylinder engine matched to an automatic transmission.
With its approachable seat height and smooth acceleration, the Raptor 90 is designed to instill confidence in new riders. While not the most powerful ATV, it provides peppy performance capabilities to keep intermediate riders happy on trails.
The Raptor 90 hits a sweet spot of being fast enough for fun trail riding, without having intimidating power. It’s a great way for pre-teens and teens to start developing all-terrain riding skills.
Engine Performance And Transmission
At the heart of the zippy Yamaha Raptor 90 ATV is a 90cc air-cooled single cylinder engine. This four-stroke powerplant utilizes a Mikuni VM16 carburetor for fuel delivery. It’s matched to an automatic V-belt transmission for twist-and-go operation that doesn’t require manual gear shifting.
Here are the key engine specs:
- Engine: 90cc air-cooled single cylinder 4-stroke
- Fuel System: Mikuni VM16 carburetor
- Starting: Electric start standard
- Transmission: Automatic V-belt
- Drive Train: Rear wheel 2WD
- Horsepower: 6.8 hp @ 7,500 RPM
While just 90cc in displacement, the Raptor 90’s lively powerband provides strong acceleration for its size. The automatic transmission makes it accessible for beginning riders who are still learning clutch and shifting skills.
Throttle response is smooth and predictable thanks to a throttle limiting screw that lets parents adjust acceleration control. The Raptor 90 can reach fun speeds, while still being easy to handle.
Chassis And Suspension
The Yamaha Raptor 90 comes equipped with a lightweight steel frame and dual A-arm suspension front and rear. This includes 5.0 inches of travel up front and 5.7 inches of travel out back.
For stopping power, the Raptor 90 is equipped with dual drum brakes on both front wheels. The rear brake is a sealed drum design. Tires are 18-inch AT18s front and rear mounted on basic steel wheels.
Here are the key chassis and suspension specs:
- Frame: Steel
- Front Suspension: 5.0 inches of travel
- Rear Suspension: 5.7 inches of travel
- Front Brakes: Dual drum
- Rear Brakes: Sealed drum
- Front Tires: AT18 x 7-8
- Rear Tires: AT18 x 9-8
- Wheels: Steel
The budget-minded suspension and brake components don’t provide the highest performance, but do work adequately for the Raptor 90’s intended beginner and intermediate riders. More aggressive riders may want to upgrade the tires for enhanced grip and durability.
Dimensions, Weight, And Capacity
With its small-stature design, the Yamaha Raptor 90 provides a friendly ride position for young riders. It has a seat height of just 29.5 inches, allowing pre-teens to comfortably put their feet on the ground. The ATV weighs 279 pounds wet.
For carrying a passenger or gear, the Raptor 90 is equipped with a rear storage rack rated to hold up to 88 pounds of cargo. This steel rack comes in handy for hauling small items like camping equipment.
Here are the key measurements:
- Seat Height: 29.5 inches
- Wheelbase: 40.6 inches
- Ground Clearance: 4.3 inches
- Curb Weight: 279 pounds
- Rack Capacity: 88 pounds
- Fuel Tank: 1.7 gallons
Between the light weight and low seat height, the Raptor 90 is one of the most manageable and unintimidating beginner ATVs on the market. The compact 1.7 gallon fuel tank provides about 1.5 hours of ride time before needing to refuel.
Speed And Performance Capabilities
The zippy Raptor 90 can reach a top speed of 30 mph according to test riders. For a 90cc starter ATV, this spunky little quad has impressive acceleration and snappy handling. It’s quick enough to keep up with parents and siblings on recreational trail rides.
While the Raptor 90 tops out at 30 mph, its acceleration getting up to speed is quite lively. Test riders report it can reach 30+ mph in a hurry when you twist the throttle thanks to the responsive power delivery.
Is the Yamaha Raptor 90 fast? While not the fastest ATV by any means, it provides strong performance capabilities relative to its small 90cc engine displacement. The peppy power is more than enough fun for beginner and intermediate skill levels.
As an entry-level sport ATV, the Raptor 90 is designed more for easy trail riding than extreme terrain. Its nimble size makes navigating wooded trails fun, but the 2WD drivetrain limits its off-road prowess.
The Raptor 90 comes with a standard front skid plate for light trail protection. But with its budget suspension travel and lack of 4WD, this ATV is best suited to flat dirt paths and easygoing recreational rides rather than technical climbs or muddy conditions.
More adventurous riders will likely want to upgrade to a larger and more powerful Yamaha model like the Raptor 700R or YFZ450R. But for novice riders sticking to relatively smooth trails, the Raptor 90 has capable enough performance.
Features And Accessories
In addition to its strong acceleration, the Yamaha Raptor 90 comes well equipped with convenience features and accessories right off the showroom floor.
- Starting System – An electric starter makes firing up the Raptor 90 hassle-free without needing to kick-start the motor. Just push a button to get going.
- Utility Rack – The heavy-duty steel rear rack can carry up to 66 pounds of gear, allowing you to haul camping supplies, equipment, or other small cargo.
- Safety – A throttle limiting screw lets parents adjust top speed by limiting throttle movement. There’s also an engine stop switch and handlebar-mounted LED light for visibility.
- Comfort – Full floorboards provide a natural foot position and the handlebars are adjustable forwards or back to customize fit.
What Owners Are Saying About The Yamaha Raptor 90?
Reviews from owners highlight the excellent value and capabilities of the Raptor 90 for new riders. Here’s a sampling of owner feedback:
- “My son started riding dirt bikes when he was 10. At 12, he was ready to move up to an ATV. The Raptor 90 has been an awesome quad for learning. It has great power delivery and easy handling.” – Chad R.
- “I bought a used Raptor 90 for my grandkids to learn on and they love it. Starts right up every time and they have a blast zipping around trails. The throttle limiting screw keeps speeds in check.” – Willam J.
- “The Raptor 90 was my first ATV I got as a teenager. Taught me so much about riding responsibly and I’ll never forget it. While I’ve moved on to a bigger 450cc now, the 90 will always have a place in my heart.” – Daniel M.
- “My daughter was small for her age and a bit timid, so the Raptor 90 was perfect for building her confidence. It has the right power and size for younger or smaller riders learning the ropes.” – Amy R.
- “We bought a used Raptor 90 two years ago for my granddaughter’s 12th birthday. She rides it all the time and it’s been virtually problem-free other than minor maintenance.” – James P.
Common Modifications And Upgrades
While the stock Raptor 90 performs admirably right off the showroom floor, many owners choose to customize their ATVs with common upgrades:
- Exhaust – An aftermarket exhaust like the Big Gun EVO Mini Series exhaust can add performance while saving weight.
- Tires – More aggressive tires like ITP Mud Lites or Maxxis Razr MX improve traction in dirt, mud, and sand.
- Suspension – Upgrading the shocks can provide a smoother ride with more suspension travel off-road.
- Wheels – Aluminum beadlock wheels help shed unsprung weight while providing style.
- Skid Plates – Adding skid plates to the sides or mid-section improves protection from impacts underneath.
- Battery – Moving to a lightweight lithium battery saves weight while optimizing electrical performance.
Yamaha Raptor 90 Specs Chart
|90cc air-cooled single cylinder 4-stroke
|6 horsepower @ 7,500 RPM
|Dual drum front, Sealed drum rear
|5.0 in. front, 5.7 in. rear
|Fuel Tank Capacity
Yamaha Raptor 90 Pricing: What’s The Cost?
The MSRP for a new 2023 Yamaha Raptor 90 starts at $2,990 from Yamaha dealerships. Used models on the private market typically run anywhere from $1,700 – $2,500 depending on factors like mileage, condition, and location.
Here’s a look at Raptor 90 pricing trends:
- New models: From $2,900 – $3,200 at dealerships
- Used low mileage: Around $2,200 – $2,800
- Used higher mileage: Around $1,700 – $2,300
- Auction sites: Starts at $1,500 – $1,900
The Raptor 90 has held its value well over the years due to its reliability and popularity. Prices for used units have climbed recently as new recreational ATV sales boomed during the pandemic.
Key Pros And Cons Of The Yamaha Raptor 90
Yamaha Raptor 90 Pros
- Strong acceleration and 30 mph top speed
- Lightweight and nimble handling
- Low 29.5” seat height perfect for young riders
- Smooth automatic CVT transmission
- Electric start for easy firing up
- Standard utility rack for cargo capacity
- Quality Yamaha reputation and reliability
Yamaha Raptor 90 Cons
- 90cc engine lacks power for adult riders
- Entry-level components like brakes and tires
- Small 1.7 gallon fuel tank limits range
- 2WD limits serious off-road capability
- Cheap drum rear brake can fade when hot
- Budget suspension not plush over bumps
How Does The Yamaha Raptor 90 Compare?
The zippy Raptor 90 faces competition from other 90cc beginner sport ATV models including:
- Honda TRX90X – The TRX90X is very similar with a 90cc engine and automatic transmission. It’s a top rival with electric start and proven Honda reliability.
- Suzuki QuadSport Z90 – Another excellent 90cc starter quad. The QuadSport Z90 is known for smooth power delivery and reliable performance.
- Kawasaki KFX90 – With a 90cc engine, push button start, and 2WD it stacks up closely. Good value pricing makes it popular.
- Polaris Outlaw 90 – This sporty Polaris model offers nice features like a pull start backup and safety tether cord. Good acceleration for 90cc.
- Tao Tao Panda 90 – The most budget-friendly option. The Chinese-made Panda 90 copies the Raptor’s design at a lower price but with cheaper build quality.
The Yamaha Raptor 90 holds its own in this competitive market by offering one of the best combinations of rider-friendly size, easy maintenance, peppy performance and proven reliability.
Is The Yamaha Raptor 90 A Good Starter ATV?
The Yamaha Raptor 90 stands out as one of the best beginner ATVs available today. Between its unintimidating size and smooth power delivery, it builds confidence in new riders. Yet provides peppy quickness to keep intermediate riders satisfied on trails for several years.
For smaller pre-teen and young teen riders, the Raptor 90 hits a sweet spot of not being overpowered while still reaching fun 30 mph speeds. It’s a great way to start developing all-terrain riding skills at an affordable price point.
While the Raptor 90 understandably lacks the performance of Yamaha’s larger sport ATVs, it’s capabilities are hard to beat for a starter quad. For teenagers and youth riders, it represents an unrivaled combination of user-friendly size and zippy acceleration.
Conclusion: Who Is The Raptor 90 For?
In the end, the zippy Yamaha Raptor 90 is best suited to beginning youth riders who are just diving into the fun world of ATVing. Between its unintimidating stature and smooth easy-to-use automatic transmission, it allows pre-teens to safely start developing all-terrain riding skills.
Yet its lively acceleration still provides older kids enough performance to enjoy hitting the trails for several years as they grow. This versatility makes the Raptor 90 a wise investment for families looking to get their children started off right with their own quad.
While it understandably doesn’t offer the muscle or features of larger sport ATVs, the Raptor 90 hits the sweet spot that no other manufacturer has quite matched. For new riders learning the ropes, it’s the ideal partner to build skills and memories that will last a lifetime.