Like A Swift Kick In The Pants
Story By: Staff of UTV Sports
Photos Provided By: Kraftwerks
Touted by Yamaha as The Ultimate Pure Sport SxS, the new 2021 YXZ 1000R is claimed “the most focused, high-performance side-by-side in the world.” While it is an extremely capable vehicle out of the box, the biggest caveat is its horsepower, or lack thereof. Yamaha’s own website touts a wondrous 10,500rpm redline but completely sidesteps telling just how much power it makes. Peaking at about 114 crank horsepower, its naturally aspirated power plant leaves a bit to be desired.
Thanks to Yamaha pulling this engine directly from their already-existing line of snowmobiles, several aftermarket forced induction systems already exist. This includes Yamaha’s own Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing (GYTR) turbocharger kit which boasts power numbers from 180 to 350 horsepower. However, the engine’s compression ratio of 11.5:1 is far too high for anything except their base system without an engine rebuild consisting of upgraded internals.
With such a high compression ratio, the YXZ’s engine can become a ticking time bomb with the addition of boost. Turbocharging creates an additional layer of volatility since it uses already-smoldering exhaust gasses fed into its turbine to spool the compressor. Not only does this restrict exhaust flow, further raising cylinder pressures, the excess heat generated from the turbine bleeds over into the compressor. This causes intake air temperatures to skyrocket in addition to the heat generated solely from the act of compression.
In real-world environments, such as traversing steep terrain or pinning the throttle through the hot, arid desert dunes, heat becomes even more of a problem. High RPMs required to spool a turbo coupled with low air speed as the tires rip through the terrain result in ever-growing engine and intake air temperatures. The intercoolers and radiators are far less effective when at low speed due to lack of airflow, providing little assistance.
Roots and twin-screw chargers are not much better, tending to quickly generate copious amounts of heat. Once heat soaked, these types of supercharger units become practically ineffective as the high temperatures quickly offsets much of the performance gain.
In the short term, this excess heat causes reduction in available power when you may need it. In the long term, resulting excess engine wear and tear can cause premature engine failure. When off-roading, being stranded in the middle of nowhere can be much more than just a minor inconvenience.
Luckily, supercharging technology has evolved over the course of the last fifty years. The planetary-roller-driven centrifugal supercharger offers a hybrid of Turbocharging mixed with Supercharging to bring higher efficiency and cooler intake air temperatures. With a turbo intake housing in the front and the unique frictional planetary drive mounted on the back, replacing the turbine, it is driven by belt akin to a traditional supercharger.
Kraftwerks USA is at the forefront of introducing this new supercharger technology to many markets including the UTV and off-road sector. With their newest supercharger system targeting the 2018 through 2021 Yamaha YXZ 1000R, power gains of 60% and more are possible with a simple bolt-on installation.
Kraftwerks’ new YXZ supercharger system, like all their kits, is designed for superior reliability and efficiency coupled with high horsepower. The key here is reliability, something that can be seemingly hard to come by in the off-road sector. Reliability in this kit is achieved via a multitude of features put in place to prevent failure.
Starting with the supercharger, the included C15-60 unit boasts an ability to continuously reach over 200,000 RPMs to provide boost. Internally, a self-propelled oil pump works to keep things lubricated and cool. While a standard turbocharger feeds off the host engine’s oil source, this supercharger has a separate oil sump with external fins that act as a heat-sink and includes a separate inline oil filter.
To provide a completely bolt-on solution, Kraftwerks has engineered a strong mounting bracket that replaces the engine’s crankcase cover. Consisting of CNC machined Billet Aluminum, it is anodized black to protect from oxidation and external damage. The system is mounted and then covered to provide an environmentally sealed enclosure, protecting from external elements such as rocks and dirt in addition to providing a watertight seal.
Keeping things as cool as possible, a supercharger oil cooler and an air-to-air intercooler are included. Mounted just above the YXZ’s radiator, the coolers are sandwiched and then covered with a custom tailored, paint ready FRP shroud. This shroud acts as protection for the coolers from items in the cargo area and is shaped to direct correct air flow through the coolers to aid in cooling. A carbon fiber version is also available separately.
Kraftwerks had released their supercharger system for the previous generation 2016 to 2018 YXZ with excellent results in horsepower increase. Thanks to Yamaha’s upgraded GYTR connecting rods in the latest generation, they push the boost even further to make more power.
Boost is raised 2.5 PSI above the previous generation, to 7.5 PSI via a larger supercharger pulley. In stock trim, the YXZ gains 20+ horsepower over the previous generation pushing it to a dyno-proven 140+ wheel horsepower. A replacement air intake and intake air plenum are also included to ensure maximum intake air flow to the supercharger and optimal boost delivery.
To put this into perspective, Kraftwerks dyno tested its YXZ on their in-house wheel hub dyno before and after the supercharger installation. In stock form the YXZ made 84-wheel horsepower, a 25 percent drivetrain power loss from the factory stated 114 crank horsepower. The vehicle’s power increases to 142-wheel horsepower after installation—a 60 percent increase. This translates to roughly 190 crank horsepower after factoring in the calculated drivetrain power loss.
In case sheer horsepower numbers aren’t enough, the supercharger system boasts the huge advantage of nearly instantaneous power delivery. Boost lag is nonexistent as there is zero spool time, unlike its turbocharged counterpart. Anytime you need the power, it’s there waiting at the tip of your big toe. This lack of boost lag corresponds with more horsepower and more torque under the curve—more power available at any RPM.
In addition to the benefits of reliability and tons of extra ponies on-tap, Kraftwerks designed the kit to be completely bolt-on with no serious cutting or welding necessary. The kit’s instructions indicate basic hand tools for installation, which takes roughly 8 hours. There will be some light plastic trimming necessary to fit the new intercooler and hoses, plus drilling two holes for routing oil lines. Otherwise no other modifications are necessary.
The kit comes complete with every component you will need for installation, right down to the vacuum lines and zip ties. Additionally, Kraftwerks fully stocks all components, and their in-house customer service can assist with any questions you may have during your installation process.
Equipped with the Kraftwerks Supercharger System, the new Yamaha YXZ 1000R is closer to being a contender for the top spot in the sport UTV marketplace. With over 140-wheel horsepower on tap and no boost lag, there is more than enough power to get through nearly any obstacle.
Reliability and longevity are key in making sure you and your vehicle get back in one piece from any adventure. Kraftwerks focuses on these aspects as priority number one, with maximum horsepower coming in a close second. With that in mind, every Kraftwerks supercharger system also includes a full one-year manufacturer warranty on system components.
Pricing starts at $4,195.79 for their base kit and units are now shipping. More information is available on their website at www.kraftwerksusa.com.