With a new model year comes two new bears from the Yamaha den. They’re restless and ready to dominate whatever stands in their way.
Yamaha has long been known as a company that builds some of the toughest, most dependable ATVs on the market. For 2016, they’ve completely retooled the extremely popular Grizzly ATV and come out with an all-new Kodiak ATV to boot. Between the two models, and the variations of each, you’re bound to find a Yamaha that fits you just right.
SIMILAR (BUT NOT IDENTICAL) BREEDS
Yamaha used the engine designed for the new Wolverine in the new ATVs. It is the same 708cc dual overhead cam, single-cylinder monster. It made sense to put it in the Grizzly, but it also is the heart of the new Kodiak.
But wait, there’s more. The frames are also identical. For 2016, Yamaha completely redesigned the frame for the Grizzly, improving on the already outstanding handling and feel. The front and rear racks are the same, and they’re made out of steel. Even the fully-independent suspension front and rear with five-way preload adjustment and 7.1 inches of travel in the front and 9.1 in the rear is the same.
Don’t be fooled, though. These machines are two very different animals.
SORTING ’EM OUT
While the core of the machines is the same, the rest of the details are vastly different. Even though the engines are the same, the transmissions are not. Yes, mechanically they’re the same, but the setup isn’t, and that makes all the difference. Power delivery is altered by way of gearing in the CVT transmissions. The Grizzly is geared for a sportier ride. When you jump on the throttle, the Grizzly roars and you move–quickly. Bringing the front end off the ground to clear a trail obstacle takes just a chop on the throttle. The Kodiak 700 is mellower. You still have all of the engine’s horsepower on tap, but it’s delivered on a gradual curve. For less-experienced riders, or those looking for a more-work-than-play type ride, the Kodiak is definitely the way to go.
The Kodiak is ideal for folks who are frequently jumping on and off their machine. Mending fences, checking trail cams … you get the drift.
Some other differences are in the seating and plastics. The seat on the Grizzly is taller and narrower, positioning the rider more upright. Yamaha did this because the more aggressive rider on the trail is going to be standing up more to handle the machine and terrain. The Kodiak 700 has a flatter and wider seat that’s designed for the rider who spends more time with their cheeks firmly planted on the machine. Both seats are very comfortable and can be interchanged if you find one fits you better than another.
The Grizzly is geared for a sportier ride. When you jump on the throttle, the Grizzly roars and you move–quickly. Bringing the front end off the ground to clear a trail obstacle takes just a chop on the throttle.
The fenders are also different between the two machines. The Grizzly has higher fenders that allow for more mud buildup and protection. The Kodiak’s fenders are lower. They still offer outstanding protection from slop and nastiness, but also make it easier to get on and off the machine. Yamaha’s product managers said this was designed with folks who do a lot of work with their ATV in mind. If you’re checking fences on your ranch, or running through your line of trail cameras swapping out memory cards, the Kodiak was designed to make your life a little easier.
Riding in the hills of eastern Tennessee, the differences between the machines were quickly apparent. The Kodiak’s trail manners are very nice. It tracks well and can be ridden hard and aggressive, or casual and laid back. Everyone from experienced trail riders to beginning novices will find the Kodiak appealing. You still get all the power and torque of the 700-class engine, without feeling like it’s going to rip the bars from your hands.
The Grizzly is a get-up-and-go ride. You’ll be hard pressed to push it to its full performance limits.
The Grizzly thrives on being ridden aggressively. Now, that’s not to say that you can’t ride very casually–you can. But you also never feel like you’re reaching the limits of what the Grizzly can handle as you speed things up. It’s an awesomely comfortable ride with a very controlled feel. Inexperienced riders might find themselves a little intimidated by the power delivery. This is not a machine for them.
The Kodiak 700 is mellower. You still have all of the engine’s horsepower on tap, but it’s delivered on a gradual curve. For less-experienced riders, or those looking for a more-work-than-play type ride, the Kodiak is definitely the way to go.
The two machines come in a wide range of colors, including the sweet-looking Realtree Xtra camo pattern. And there are options to be had including special editions (SE) with automotive paint finishes and additional accessories. The Grizzly is available in four trim levels, starting with a non-electronic power steering (EPS) model at $8,899. From there, you go to the EPS model for $9,699, the SE for $10,299 and the SE for $10,899.
Both the Grizzly and Kodiak 700 come in a variety of color options, including Realtree Xtra camo.
Kodiak 700s start out with a non-EPS model at a low-price of $6,999. That’s comparable to other manufacturers’ solid-rear-axle machines with smaller engine sizes. Yamaha is going to sell a ton of them! Add EPS, a handlebar-mounted headlight and a 2-inch receiver hitch, and you’re bumped up to $8,199, which still isn’t bad. The Kodiak EPS SE model, which is a sweet-looking ride, costs $8,899.
The bottom line is simple: Yamaha has taken one basic platform and managed to create machines that fit just about every category in price and function. That’s not really something the industry has seen yet, but then again, Yamaha is no stranger to leading the pack.
Both the Grizzly and Kodiak 700 are available at your local Yamaha dealer now. Go take a look and pick the bear that’s just right for you.