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.