Warrior Pros and Cons

As I’ve posted before, I’m the proud owner of a 1988 Yamaha Warrior 350 (YFM350X).

Since I’ve owned this machine for a little over a year, I thought I would list a few pros/cons to the machine. Keep in mind that most of the people I ride with either own 2-stroke sport machines (banshees, LT250s) or 4-stroke sport machines (Raptors, 400ex, Bombardier DS650s, Wolverine 450), so my comparisons will be mostly based on how my Warrior behaves compared to those machines.


  • Reverse – Reverse is a must in any ATV, unless it is REALLY light. Banshees are OK without it, but the DS650 is a real nightmare to move around and should definitely have Reverse.
  • Size – The Warrior is a great size for an all around machine. It’s comperable to the Raptor size wise, not too heavy, easy to ride. Lighter would be better, but for a 4-stroke it is very manageable.
  • Torque Curve – The 350 4-stroke Warrior power plant is very rideable. Compared to the 600+cc machines it is much more manageable and trail friendly. A Raptor 660 (or 700) can be very difficult to deal with on the trail due to it’s tremendous amount of power.
  • Popularity – The Warrior was the best selling quad on the market for many years and is virtually unchanged from 1989 to 2005. This means that there are many, many aftermarket parts, used parts and individuals out there available to give out advice on modifications and improvements.
  • Consistency – Yamaha has done a great job of having very consistent design in all of their sport machines. Many parts from the Raptor and Banshee will interchange with a Warrior. This makes finding wheels, tires, shocks and any number of other items much easier.
  • Pull Start – The later models didn’t have it, but I LOVE having a pull start. Seems like the battery is always dead in the stupid thing.


  • Power – Probably my number one frustration with the Warrior is lack of power. I know, I listed this as a pro, but at the same time it is a bit of a negative. I read about guys that are doing all kinds of crazy things with their machines, but mine just isn’t there. Might just be wore out, maybe I’ll have to do a rebuild.
  • Suspension – Warrior suspension is STIFF. it will beat you to death riding across the dunes. Fortunately this is easily remedied by replacing the stock shocks with a set from a Banshee. They are supposedly a direct bolt in – as soon as I find a set I’m going to try it.
  • Handlebars – Warrior stock bars are really tall. They make you feel like you are down in the machine. Most newer designs have lower bars that give the rider more control. I’ve replaced mine with a set of CR High dirt bike bars, but haven’t had a chance to ride it yet. Pics will be coming soon – hopefully I will like it.

Currently I am happy with my Warrior. I am not completely satisfied with the power, and I’m toying with the idea of rebuilding it with a stroker crank. This may be an option, or I may just buy a Banshee for Sand Dunes riding and keep the Warrior for the trail.

Dunes Recap

I know, I’m a little slow getting this posted, but here’s a little recap of our trip to the North Sand Hills in Walden Colorado.

Overall we had a good trip. Weather was great, and we didn’t break anything until the last day. Slacker tore up the front differential in the Blazer, but had a good time in two wheel drive. He also let the kick start fall of the LT250R. My Warrior performed OK. The new pipe I ordered from ebay made a significant difference, but I still couldn’t hang with Slacker’s LT250R or Delia’s Raptor 660.

A big shout out to a few people.

First, Rich. Congratulations on being ‘That Guy’ this year. Every Memorial day somebody tries to take a truck up an ATV chute and slides off in the trees. Rich was that guy this year, took his brand new 2007 Toyota Tundra (with less than 1000 miles on it) up a trail that he had NO BUSINESS climbing. Fortunately he got away with one small ding – no major damage.

Second, a big thanks to Taylor, Ben, Lindsey, Megan, Danny, Kenny and the rest. You guys are good neighbors – we appreciate sharing the Keg.

Finally, I didn’t take too many pictures this year, but here are a few of the better ones.

Motorcycle Jumps out of Deadmans

Deadmans was steep and nasty this year. On Saturday we spent quite a while watching guys jump out of there on dirt bikes. This guy was one of the better ones. Not sure who he was but…

Motorcycle with cameraman

he had a helmet cam and a cameraman following him around. If you see video of this somewhere, let me know.

Vega in Deadmans

As always, some of the big boys were there. This Vega and his partner in his Coupe are ridiculous. Someday I want a truck all paddled up like these.

Coupe climbing out of Deadmans