Yamaha Grizzly

Oct. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF
In the early part of the 90's, most ATV manufactures concentrated on satisfying corporate lawyers rather than the buying public. Popular ATV's from the 80's disappeared only to be replaced by low power, work oriented ATV's that didn't live up to our performance expectations.Recent ATV market trends show that ATV buyers want a quad that can be used for farm (or utility) work, hunting, and play riding.Yamaha Corporation, whose reputation for satisfying the customer runs deep, decided to develop an ATV that would meet the demands of future ATV buyers. Their engineering efforts centered around these design concepts: build the best automatic transmission, mate it to the largest ATV engine, then mount it in the best ATV suspension, and offer 2-WD and 4-WD option combined with the highest versatility and reliability of any ATV.Enter the all new Yamaha Grizzly 600cc 4x4.

Starting with a clean slate, Yamaha worked their R&D group for 3 long years on the Grizzly ATV! In fact, the only thing that Yamaha used from other models was the cylinder and a few other components from the ultra-reliable XT-600 motorcycle. Everything else was a new design with quality in mind.Some of the features on the new Yamaha Grizzly 600cc 4x4 are:

The all new Ultramatic Transmission with engine braking.A 600cc engine!
The biggest in the industry today.
On-command 2-WD / 4-WD system.
Quick-adjust rear suspension.
The heaviest towing capacity of any ATV on the market - 1212 lbs!
Hi/Low & Reverse transmission.

All new Ultramatic Fully Automatic V-Belt Transmission with Superior Engine Braking

Yamaha's Ultramatic Dual Range transmission is the worlds first automatic ATV transmission utilizing both a centrifugal and a sprang (one way) clutch. This configuration allows Yamaha to minimize belt slippage by keeping the belt tight at all times. This also provides superior engine braking, which Yamaha claims will increase the life of the drive belt by three times it's competitors drive belt system. The new Ultramatic transmission is a well sealed system. The "under the seat" vent intake provides adequate ventilation and keeps water, dirt, and other debris out.

In Low range the Grizzly provides the most pulling power of any ATV available today with a 1212 lb capacity. In Hi range, very good performance throughout the powerband is on tap for those who want to get to where they're going in a hurry. Shifting into Reverse is easily achieved by depressing the foot brake and moving the hand-lever into the reverse position. Another great feature is the ability to start the ATV in any gear.

The Largest Displacement and Most Powerful Engine Available in a Four-Wheel Drive ATV.

An air cooled, 4-stroke, 4 valve, SOHC, single 595cc cylinder with counterbalancer, electric starter, back-up recoil starter and auto decompression is at the heart of this rig.Yamaha was concerned that most people couldn't pull start a 600cc engine. (With good reason!) So, they developed an all new auto-decompression system for easy recoil starter operation. From 0 to approximately 700 crankshaft RPM's, a simple, and reliable, exhaust valve decompression system allows a rather easy pull start of the monster 600cc engine. To extend reliability and durability, Yamaha enclosed the engine and the transmission as one fully sealed unit. The drive shafts run through the engine, rather than through the transfer housings, for increased reliability. This arrangement also aligns the angle of the drive shafts which increases the universal joint life. This design also provides for a lower center of gravity.

Push-Button, On-Command Four-Wheel Drive.

Switching the Grizzly from the 2-WD to 4-WD is easy with an On-Command push button control located on the right side hand grip. Yamaha recommends that the ATV is fully stopped before shifting from 2-WD to 4-WD (or vise versa) to prevent the ATV from spinning out of control when traveling at high rates of speed.

Biggest Production ATV in the World.
The Grizzly 600 is 81.9" long and 45.7"wide. In other words, it's BIG and comfortable. A tight 10.2 foot turning radius and precise steering provides excellent maneuverability on narrow trails.

Unique & All-New Adjustable Long-Travel Rear Suspension and a Minimum of 7.1" ground clearance.
Yamaha realized that an ATV used for work and play needs special suspension characteristics that will accommodate varying payloads and work/riding conditions. Thus, Yamaha designed an all new rear Quick Adjust shock. The shock has either a soft or hard setting. In the hard setting, a spacer moves down causing the upper spring to have a shorter stroke.

When this action occurs, the bottom spring still has full operation, thereby given it a stiffer ride. In the soft setting, the shock uses a combined spring rate of both springs, giving it more of a plush ride. This suspension, along with the Grizzlies 7.1" minimum ground clearance, allows riders to negotiate many nasty types of terrain.

Large Capacity Oil Cooler with Thermostat Controlled Fan and Duel Feed Wet Sump Lubrication.

A common problem with larger engines size is engine heat generation and dissipation. To dissipate the heat generated by the world's largest 4-stroke ATV engine, Yamaha installed a larger oil cooler that has a generous surface area to help keep the engine cool. An electric fan, controlled by a thermostat mounted behind the oil cooler, kicks on when the engine reaches a certain temperature. A mesh protective cover installed on the front of the cooler helps keep debris out. The wet sump lubrication uses two independent oil pump rotors to push the engine oil through the motor and cooler.

Hydraulic Disc Front, Sealed Mechanical Drum Rear Brakes.
To help stop a big quad like the Grizzly, one needs strong and solid brakes. Yamaha installed larger, 220mm diameter front hydraulic disc brakes. Th rear brakes area sealed drum units. The larger front diameter discs increase brake performance, reliability and maintenance.

Largest Cargo Rack & Towing Capacity in its Class.
The Grizzly uses Real Steel, not plastic, for front and back cargo racks. The front rack can support up to 99 lbs of cargo, and the rear rack holds up to 187 lbs.With a standard tow hitch, the Grizzly can pull up to 1212 lbs. That's well over 1/2 ton!

Overhanging Fenders, Inner Splash Guards, and Wide Metal Floorboards.
For increased protection against the elements of mother nature, (mud, water, and dirt), Yamaha included extra large overhanging fenders to keep the mud and water off the rider. An inner splash guard located inside the wheel wells minimizes cross splashing. The metal floorboards have raised foot pegs that help boots get a better grip in very slippery conditions.

Plus More......The Instrument Panel.....
The Grizzly instrument panel is equipped with an odometer with trip reset, and indicator lights for oil temperature, reverse, neutral, and 4-WD. The choke lever and main ignition switch are also located on the main instrument panel for easy access.

Standard Equipped, Auxiliary DC Terminal.....
For convenience and easy accessory attachment, the Grizzly offers a standard auxiliary DC terminal mounted on the front rack.

Yamaha offers a front mounted Warn electric winch, a corrosion resistant and lightweight plow, a utility trailer, a waterproof work light, extended cargo racks, storage bags, and a host of other quality accessories to enhance the Grizzly's utility and sport use.

The Conclusion

OK, you're probably saying, "Dave... all that stuff looks good but how does it ride "At first I was a bit skeptical. While sitting in the introduction room viewing slides, listening to Yamaha's PR guys tell us how great the Grizzly is, and staring at this big 600cc massive ATV, I couldn't help think that Yamaha has made another "work only" ATV that probably won't do over 25 mph and handles like an old Ford Pinto - with bad shocks.

When we first arrived at the trail head there was Yamaha's big semi-trailer truck with about 15 Grizzly's and a few Wolverine's. We all put on our riding and safety gear, filled our water jugs, and gathered for our rider's meeting. I was in the first group to ride, so I grabbed one of the Grizzly's and started getting used to it via a short spin around the gravel parking lot to get the feel of the new ATV before I dialed in some speed. The next thing I knew, Group Number 1 that I was part of was gone. Now it was time to see what the Grizzly could do! I got to play catch-up!

I cautiously started off after the first group. After all, I was on a 600cc, 677 lb ATV that I have never ridden before. It only took me about 5 minutes to learn that every thing that the Yamaha reps where telling us was 100% true!

The Grizzly's acceleration was much quicker than I expected. No, it won't beat a Banshee, but later we did put it in a head to head drag race with one of the Wolverine's. With the Grizzly in 2-WD, the Wolverine got the jump off the line, but within just a few seconds the Grizzly caught up to the Wolverine, and pulled away! When we put the Grizzly in 4-WD it wasn't even close. The Grizzly got the jump off the line and never looked back!

We also put two Grizzly's side by side to see if 2-WD was faster than 4-WD. Although not by much, the Grizzly in 4-WD won every time due to the ability to jump off the line with all 4 wheels pulling. Throughout the day we pushed the Grizzly over 60 mph and our average through the trails was around 40 - 45 mph.The suspension soaked up the ruts and bumps very well.

In the corners I was concerned that an ATV of this size would be top heavy at high speeds, but Yamaha hit a dead on ringer with a very low center of gravity. The Grizzly seemed to be very well balanced. Over small jumps on the trail, the Grizzly took off and landed evenly. The new Ultramatic transmission, with the all new designed engine braking system, worked flawlessly. Even in the deep mud, the belt never slipped and kept the power going to the wheels pulling the ATV out of deep, rutted mud holes.

Engine braking worked very well with Yamaha achieving their goal to design the engine braking system to be comparable to a manual ATV in 3rd gear.For most of the ride I had the Grizzly locked into the 2-WD option. The way it rounded the corners was like being on a sport machine. I pushed the Grizzly's rear wheels to slide around the tight corners easily like a sport quad.

At our lunch break, the first group was waiting for the 2nd group to catch up. Eyeing a loading ramp in the parking lot, I was curious to see if the Grizzly with 600cc engine and 677lbs could clear a 7 to 10 foot table top jump. With just about a 20 to 25 foot dead start, the Grizzly was up and over the loading ramp easily. In fact it made it 9 out of 10 times.

The only problem I noticed was that the rear shock, when in the soft setting, bottomed out on the landing. But on the hard setting, it soaked up the landing with no problem.

After reading my review on the new Yamaha Grizzly, you can't help but to think that I really like this machine. You are absolutely right! In fact if I had the $6499 bucks it would take to take the Grizzly home, I would have bought one on the spot. The Grizzly is by far the best multi- purpose ATV on the market today. Not only can it handle most all the work you would expect an ATV to do, but after you're finished, you can hit the trails and ride it like a sport model.

With a 600cc engine, it is powerful enough for the more aggressive rider, yet gentle and smooth for the not so experienced.

The only thing I would have like to see changed on the Grizzly was to have a little more top speed. (Yamaha said that the first Grizzly prototypes were faster but they had to tame the engine down a bit to satisfy the lawyers.) Also, I'd prefer disc brakes on the rear rather than the drum braking system.Bottom Line, the new Yamaha Grizzly will definitely set the standard of new ATV's to come.

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