As one of the best youth ATVs you can find, the Yamaha Raptor 90 is designed to maximize the fun for younger riders ages ten and up.
But it also comes with a number of adjustable safety features that serve to limit the speed and power for inexperienced riders.
So does a Raptor 90 go fast enough to make it one of the best racing ATVs?
And what should you consider before buying one?
This guide will review the following:
- Yamaha Raptor 90 Top Speed
- Why was it phased out for 2024?
- The speed limiters and adjusting them
- Other ways to increase the top speed
- Overall pros and cons
- Specs, key features, and build quality
Yamaha Raptor 90 Top Speed
Powered by a 90 cc single-cylinder engine and a fully automatic CVT transmission, the Yamaha Raptor 90 top speed is around 30 mph.
This is about as fast as it gets for a youth model in the 90cc class, but this model will have a tough time keeping up with some of the faster Raptor models like the Raptor 125, Raptor 250, and Raptor 350.
It will take some adjusting to reach 30 mph though, as the top speed out of the box is around 15 mph due to the existence of two different speed limiters.
Why Was The Raptor 90 Phased Out?
The Raptor 90 was the second popular youth ATV to be phased out in the last couple years, following the phasing out of the Tracker 90 ATV for 2023.
So why was the Raptor 90 phased out starting in 2024 even though it was consistently one of the best-selling youth models?
It’s because one of the fastest-ever youth ATVs was just introduced to take its place, in the Yamaha Raptor 110.
But it’s also easy to speculate that Yamaha made this move based on the amount of competition in the youth industry as smaller players like Kayo ATVs continue to grow and carve out their share of the market.
By introducing the ground-breaking new Raptor 110, Yamaha is working to stay ahead of the game at the expense of the Raptor 90.
Adjusting The Speed Limiter Features
A number of owners are disappointed to find that their Yamaha Raptor 90 will only crawl around at speeds up to 15 mph out of the box and may struggle to top steep inclines.
Fortunately these speed limiters can be easily adjusted to increase the top speed and overall performance.
The throttle limiter prevents the throttle from fully opening, even when the throttle lever is pushed to the maximum.
The adjustment screw on the back of the throttle box can be turned out and loosened to give the throttle more ability, which will increase the speed and power of the machine.
It can also be adjusted the opposite way to decrease the speed and power, just like in the very similar Polaris Predator 90 youth ATV.
To loosen the adjustment screw, first loosen the locknut holding it in place and then turn the screw counter clockwise.
It is recommended that owners do not turn the adjustment screw out more than 14.5 mm, or the throttle cable may be susceptible to damage.
Engine Speed Limiter Plate
There is also an engine speed limiter plate that limits the engine’s power and max RPMs. When this metal plate is installed, the engine is limited to 4900 RPMs.
When it is removed, the engine can reach 8500 RPMs which essentially doubles the acceleration and top speed.
The engine speed limiter plate is located under the seat in the plastic CDI Box. To remove it, loosen the two screws that hold the small metal plate in place and take it off.
While the owner’s manual recommends then tightening the two screws back into place, common consensus among owners is that removing the screws altogether results in better performance.
It is recommended to let young riders get used to the quad initially while gradually loosening the throttle limiter screw.
Once experienced enough to remove the speed limiter plate, it is recommended to retighten the throttle limiter and gradually loosen it again as riders get used to the new speed and power of the machine.
Fully adjusting the throttle limiter and removing the engine speed limiter plate should enable the Raptor 90 to hit top speeds of between 25 and 30 mph and have it easily climbing steep hills.
Increasing The Yamaha Raptor 90 Top Speed
If the top speed of 30 mph is not quite enough for your child for whatever reason, there are some ways to increase the top speed past the 30 mph mark once you’ve made the adjustments to the speed limiters.
Increase The Gearing
A common process for making adjustments to the speed and power in machines with a chain drive is to swap out the front and/or rear sprockets for different sizes.
If you want more top end speed, moving to a bigger front sprocket and smaller rear sprocket can accomplish this.
But there is a tradeoff here, as doing so will also slightly decrease the Raptor 90’s acceleration.
The stock gearing in the Raptor 90 is a 14-tooth front sprocket and a 38-tooth rear sprocket.
For those looking to simply increase the top-end speed, moving to a 15-tooth front sprocket and leaving the 38-tooth stock rear sprocket in place will likely net you the best results.
But you can purchase a number of different sized sprockets and test them out to see what makes the most sense for your rider.
Add Bigger Tires
The Raptor 90 comes equipped with 18-inch diameter tires in stock form.
An additional way to increase the top-end speed is to upgrade to bigger tires and rims.
Moving up to a 19-inch or 20-inch tire should have your Raptor 90 pushing past the 30 mph mark.
Top Speed Dependent Upon Break-In Period
It is highly recommended that owners of a new Yamaha Raptor 90 adhere to the engine break-in period.
It is advised that for the first 15 hours of use, owners should essentially take it easy with their quad and not attempt to reach the top speed.
During the first 15 hours of operation, the various parts of the engine wear and polish themselves to their correct operating clearances, so it is important to avoid excessive engine heat.
This includes avoiding continuous operation above half throttle for the first 8 hours of use and avoiding continuous operation above ¾ throttle from 8 to 15 hours.
While the owner’s manual advises against using full-throttle operation at any time during the break-in period, it should be noted that the advertised top speed will likely be unreachable in these first 15 hours of use regardless.
Raptor 90 Specs, Key Features & Build Quality
Engine & Drivetrain
The Raptor 90 is powered by a 90cc single-cylinder engine. Though it’s small, it is mighty, and has no issue powering younger riders and even smaller adults around most terrains and up hills.
The air-fuel mixture is handled by a 22mm carburetor, which is in line with the rest of the youth ATV models and offers the advantage of easier maintenance over the bigger EFI Raptors.
The fully automatic CVT transmission makes it super easy to operate for inexperienced riders without the need for shifting.
And there is a Reverse gear, making it easy to turn around on trails and helping if getting hung up in the mud.
Like all starter models, the Raptor 90 only features two-wheel drive, with a chain drive providing power to the rear wheels.
|4 Stroke, SOHC
|22 mm Carburetor
|1.27 US Gallons
|2WD, Chain Drive
|Fully Automatic CVT, V-Belt
Tires & Brakes
The 18-inch diameter Duro tires in the front and rear of this model are aggressive for a youth model, and provide plenty of stability and traction when riding on the pavement or the trail.
Similar to many other youth models, the Raptor 90 is equipped with drum brakes. While disc brakes are preferable, this braking system is sufficient for the intended ages.
The front dual drum brakes are right hand operated via a lever on the handlebar, and the rear drum brake is left hand operated via a lever on the handlebar.
There is also a parking brake on the handlebar.
|AT 18 x 7-8 (Duro)
|AT 18 x 9-8 (Duro)
|Front Brake Type
|Rear Brake Type
With a wheelbase of 40.6 inches, the Raptor 90 offers better stability than the rest of its 90cc class competition as it is longer than the rest.
The suspension system consists of a single A-Arm up front and a monoshock swingarm in the rear, offering a smooth ride.
This suspension system offers 5 inches of travel up front and 5.7 inches of travel in the rear.
There are preload adjustable shocks in the front and the rear, offering riders the ability to find the perfect setting for their riding styles and weights.
|Front – 5 inches, Rear – 5.7 inches
As a youth model, the Raptor 90 features a small and compact build, but is quite similar to most of its 90cc class counterparts.
This smaller build makes it capable of snaking through the tightest of trails and dense wooded areas, offering younger riders the capability to go off-road in a variety of settings.
At only 279 lbs, it is very agile and easy to handle for riders of all sizes.
Yamaha Raptor 90 Pros & Cons
- Electric starter makes it easy to start with the push of a button.
- There is an emergency kick starter beneath the seat.
- Though a smaller model, it is roomy enough for bigger kids to be comfortable riding.
- Reverse gear makes it much easier on younger riders when turning around on the trail or trying to get unstuck from a sticky situation.
- Appealing build almost resembles a smaller version of the ever popular Raptor 700.
- Automatic transmission alleviates the need to manually shift gears for inexperienced riders.
- Full floorboards offer good grip for riders’ feet.
- Filters, fillers, and transmission are easy to access when performing maintenance and do not require tools.
- 6-month warranty through Yamaha.
- One of the more expensive youth models.
- As a smaller model, riders may outgrow it fairly quickly.
- The carburetor can lead to issues with rough idling, backfiring, and bogging down and may require cleaning every so often.
- The drum brakes don’t offer the same amount of stopping power as disc brakes.
- The headlights and running lights are just for show and don’t actually work.
While the Yamaha Raptor 90 top speed is around 30 mph, owners may find that they can only reach speeds of around 15 mph due to two well-intentioned speed limiter safety features that limit the speed and power of this model initially.
With some simple adjustments to these speed limiters, young riders should be able to reach a top speed that is both enjoyable and safe.
For more on the line of Yamaha Raptors, check out the following before you go: