For obvious reasons the Yamaha Grizzly has always been a model among the few we suggest after having a good talk about what type of challenges a future ATV owner will be facing: size and ergonomic requirements, expected comfort level and other factors. That’s because no matter if you’re a hunter, farmer, or just simply enjoy being out there breathing the good air, the Grizzly just pops out naturally as a choice to consider in that sort of conversation.
Among the strong points we would mention: it’s very reliable fuel injection engine and optional EPS (electric power steering), that has been getting great reviews. The 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS (it is also available without EPS) is an almost entirely new and upgraded ATV that uses an all-new 708 cc more powerful DOHC, 708 cc, 4- valve, fuel-injected engine with optimized torque, power delivery and engine character. It has an all-new chassis, stainless steel exhaust, new styling featuring LED headlights with a handlebar- mounted halogen work light, a LED taillight, reshaped fenders, with three large storage compartments and new, larger-diameter front and rear racks with increased load capacity. It also comes standard with a heavy-duty ball mount hitch, so you can tow more than 1300 pounds.
At first glance what jumps at you if you were familiar with older versions of this quad, is the centre handlebar-mounted halogen headlight that follows rider movements. It also makes the 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS look much better, since it fills the odd-looking void between the handles it used to have. The fit and finish of it on our short-term test unit left room for improvements but its function was great. I just had to go for a small ride with just after picking it up.
Funny how a few friends we crossed were put off by the red plastics and were asking me what model this was. “Is that a Yamaha?” one in particular screamed through his helmet. Yes and a pretty impressive one for that matte, I answered, as my first try on the throttle had just been truly satisfying. I have said it many times before, I am not power hungry for heightened top speed but I am for acceleration and torque that provide me with more control and efficacy through rougher sections. In that sense, this Grizzly left nothing to be desired.
I only took a few bends and bumps, enough for me to feel right at home and comfortable with drawing the sportiness out of this machine. Yamaha’s Electric Power Steering provides a great balance of steering assist and positive feedback from the trail, providing maximum comfort and confidence in a seamless fashion.
There are just so many things that have been done to improve this quad over the years that it has truly become one of the best you can find today. It was already a great ride when it was introduced back in 1998. Its main feature was the Ultramatic transmission, which has since gained a great reputation from years of flawless service.
Many claim that the Ultramatic System is hands down the best CVT setup you can get and from what we’ve experienced through the years, we would have to agree. The belt always stays tensioned as there’s a separate “clutch” for clutching. Just as long as you don’t get it wet but even that shouldn’t be a big problem. Drain the water and clean the mud out and it’s ready to go again. You will get water and mud in there if you go deep enough, but it does have a specially designed high-mounted drive system air intake to help reduce drive system temperatures and assist in keeping water and debris from entering the drive case. If the belt does get wet and start to slip, the rider shouldn’t gun it thinking it will dry out the belt; all that does is burn it up. If used properly, you should never have to replace a belt with the Ultramatic System. What’s important is to use the “Low” range setting when loaded or towing. Put it in Low and drop that plow. That thing is built for work, but new gear ratio and CVT settings are tuned for recreational riding on new Yamaha-exclusive Maxxis 26-inch tires. The new Kodiak is a bit more geared towards work and could be a better fit for your needs if you mostly plan to work with your ATV. The sealed wet rear brake on that model is a huge PLUS to us. Kawasaki rides also have them and they’re awesome. They always work and never ever freeze up and have a 10,000 km or 6,000 mile service interval. All ATVs should have them. The 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS, which is a bit wider and taller than the Kodiak, uses four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes with dual-piston calipers to provide powerful and consistent braking performance with unmatched braking feel. We weren’t sure what to think about the added left hand brake lever, but soon got to love it when slowly manoeuvring out of a bind-off of the quad. The rear brake must be applied when using the gear selector and it can become challenging to reach the pedal if the ride is tilted enough to the right side that you have to get off. I personally don’t agree with coming out of standards on ways of controlling a quad in general and refused to use the new control during my ride. During any type of normal use of the foot brake pedal remains the way to go to unlock the gear selector, as it enables you to operate it with whichever hand you please depending on the situation.
Surely one of the most popular motorcycle manufacturing companies in the world, Yamaha Motor Co. Ltd proved that its bikes were capable of providing very high performance from its earliest days as the YA-1 won the 125 cc class of the Mount Fuji Ascent race. That was in 1955, year that the motorcycle division of Yamaha was founded. Throughout its history, Yamaha has remained committed to the principle that it’s not enough to simply satisfy the needs of customers and strive to exceed their expectations and that was palpable as I rode this new red Grizzly. You might have noticed that a few of the pictures taken by Claudette demonstrate how sporty this big-bore quad can be. We strongly suggest that nobody tries to imitate these moves but it is important to mention how this ride didn’t feel threatening at any point and much lighter than one would expect.
Talking about it is surely a good thing and discussing its features with friends that have had Grizzlys or other rides and are knowledgeable about ATVs is actually a great thing; but all that doesn’t really mean anything until you get a chance to ride one. The devoted team working at Yamaha knows this and that’s why they give riders an opportunity to test-ride many of Yamaha’s best new ATVs and SSVs, all under the guidance and support of Yamaha and its dealers. Conquer Dirt Demo events travel across Canada to give you a chance to find out for yourself if it’s as good as we say. Schedules for B.C. and Quebec events are already posted on the web and people in other provinces need to contact their local Yamaha dealer to find out when Conquer Dirt Demo events will be held.
It’s great to mention a whole bunch of cool features, but I would like to underline how great the balance of everything is on this new 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS. We had loads of fun with this all-new Grizzly and even if it was the shortest time we’ve spent on a press unit; its smoothness, comfort, performance of the engine and precision in the controls, with separate brakes (thank you very much), totally pleased us. Apart from a few disappointments like the poor fit of the handlebar-mounted light and instrument pod and flimsy non-sealing door of the new rear storage box, this 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS is amazing. Enhanced terrainability is achieved with an improved 11.3 inches of ground clearance and full-length composite skid plates and we truly put those aspects to the test in a super-challenging part of our ever-changing testing grounds at Saisons Express. Despite the shortness of this test, it quickly became obvious that you can do just about anything, or go just about anywhere, with this new and much-improved 2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS.
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Yamaha Motor Website