MACHINE TEST: 2016 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS

As the 4×4 ATV displacement wars escalate, Yamaha still owns the over650cc market share with its Grizzly 700. For 2016, Yamaha gives the Grizzly a complete makeover—from the tires and skid plate on up. Only the Grizzly-head badge remains the same, as this is an all-new beast under the handlebars. We got a chance to test the new 708cc Grizzly at Tennessee’s Windrock OHV Park, a slice of 4×4 heaven.

Yamaha completely redesigns its Grizzly 700 with the new 708cc DOHC engine from the Wolverine, new CVT tuning for larger 26-inch tires, a relocated airbox, new plastic, longer seat, new suspension settings and much more.
Yamaha completely redesigns its Grizzly 700 with the new 708cc DOHC engine from the Wolverine, new CVT tuning for larger 26-inch tires, a relocated airbox, new plastic, longer seat, new suspension settings and much more.

WHAT’S NEW FOR 2016?
Most of the machine. The engine is from the Wolverine R-Spec, so what was 686cc is now 708cc. The DOHC engine has 9 percent more torque and 6 percent more power, and the new configuration returns the airbox to under the new, 60mm-longer seat. The new 200mm intake tract increases velocity for better low-to-mid power, and a larger, round, foam air filter from the Viking/Wolverine increases surface area. Where the old flat filter used to sit (under the faux tank cover) now sits a large storage bin, and ducts are at steering-pod level. The new CVT weights are 18 grams for sportier acceleration (the ’15 has 21-gram weights). Also, to accommodate larger 26-inch tires, the CVT gearing is 5 percent lower to increase response, and steel gears in the front diff, forged hubs and larger CVs increase durability to handle the extra power.

New blow-molded covers protect the front bumper, and gull-wing A-arms and longer shocks increase front travel to 7.6 inches. For the extra power, front CVs are 3mm larger, and two LED headlights are now assisted by a third headlight. Even the chassis has changed to accommodate larger Maxxis tires
New blow-molded covers protect the front bumper, and gull-wing A-arms and longer shocks increase front travel to 7.6 inches. For the extra power, front CVs are 3mm larger, and two LED headlights are now assisted by a third headlight. Even the chassis has changed to accommodate larger Maxxis tires

New gull-wing A-arms and new shocks with 1.2mm more stroke increase front travel, and all shocks have new damping and spring rates. New Pitman geometry goes from 51.7mm to 48.8mm for steering the larger tires, and EPS and CVT mapping are new as well. The new, thicker plastic has more aggressive styling. Larger-diameter racks increase cargo capacity, and the blow-molded front grab bar looks meaner and provides more protection. The three-piece skid plate has recessed fasteners for gliding over rocks and roots. The new seat has denser foam and a flatter profile, and the seat is interchangeable with the Kodiak. The Grizzly also has a new digital gauge and third headlight in the new pod, plus LED headlights and taillights for less draw on the electrical system.

A tube-type foam filter has an inner spark-arrestor screen, and the intake went from 60mm to 200mm for more volume and low-to-mid power. Access is tool-less, and it draws air from the gas-tank level.
A tube-type foam filter has an inner spark-arrestor screen, and the intake went from 60mm to 200mm for more volume and low-to-mid power. Access is tool-less, and it draws air from the gas-tank level.

By the tapes, the new Grizzly has 0.6 gallon less fuel capacity, 13mm more ground clearance and is 54 pounds heavier.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The non-EPS Grizzly 700 is $8899, and the EPS version is $9699 or $10,149 for the Realtree Xtra Camo model. The Special Edition EPS with Carbon Metallic paint and two-tone wheels is $10,299, and the 700 Limited Edition with Crimson Red paint, fairing/ handguards, heated grips and thumbthrottle lever is $10,899. The 2016 Honda Rincon starts at $9299. The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 starts at $8999 for the non-EPS 4×4 and jumps to $9999 for EPS or $10,599 for the EPS Realtree Xtra Green Camo version. The 2016 Polaris Sportsman 850 starts at $8499 and goes up to $9999 for the 850 SP with EPS.

The 2016 Grizzly 700 EPS comes in Hunter Green, Steel Blue and red for $9699 or Realtree Xtra Camouflage water dip for $10,149. Non-EPS Grizzlies are $8899 (no blue) and $9349 for camo. High range was lowered 5 percent to fit the new 26-inch tires
The 2016 Grizzly 700 EPS comes in Hunter Green, Steel Blue and red for $9699 or Realtree Xtra Camouflage water dip for $10,149. Non-EPS Grizzlies are $8899 (no blue) and $9349 for camo. High range was lowered 5 percent to fit the new 26-inch tires

HOW FAST IS THE 708CC GRIZZLY?
Noticeably faster. Lighter CVT weights give it a monster hit out of the hole, and the midrange is meatier for pulling wheelies over obstacles. It rips. We couldn’t find a straight at Windrock Park long enough to top it out; we got it up to 58 mph before having to brake.

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HOW ABOUT CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?
It’s as good as it gets. Yamaha’s sprag clutch keeps tension on the CVT belt for less slippage and heat. It reacts to the throttle instantly, more so with the lighter CVT weights. The 2WD/4WD/diff-lock buttons are foolproof, and the system works flawlessly. The yellow over-ride button is for going more than 22 mph in diff-lock.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Like it has bear claws. The new A-arms make the Grizzly almost 2 inches wider for higher cornering speeds, although the larger 26-inch Maxxis tires make steering a bit heavier. It has a good combination of cornering prowess, predictability and straight-line stability. More ground clearance allows it to glide over rocks too.

Rear travel is slightly less for 2016 at 9.1 inches, and a torsion bar helps fight body roll. Rear CV joints are 4mm larger, and new shock tuning has more progressive dual-rate springs and damping. New forged hubs are more durable, and the new rear rack holds 11 pounds more cargo. Towing is 1,322 pounds.
Rear travel is slightly less for 2016 at 9.1 inches, and a torsion bar helps fight body roll. Rear CV joints are 4mm larger, and new shock tuning has more progressive dual-rate springs and damping. New forged hubs are more durable, and the new rear rack holds 11 pounds more cargo. Towing is 1,322 pounds.

HOW IS THE NEW IRS SUSPENSION?
Improved. The longer A-arms and shocks give it a 1/2 inch more front travel, but there is less rear travel this year. Balance and damping/spring rates are excellent for sporty riding, and the ride over trail garbage is very good, especially with the EPS unit fighting terrain kickback.

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IS IT THE KING OF THE HILL?
You bet. Not only does the sprag clutch provide constant belt tension, the CVT has ample engine braking for steep descents. More ground clearance also helps it scoot over the giant rocks on Windrock’s Trail 18. Low range and diff-lock keep the Grizzly hooked up and mauling.

WHAT ABOUT MUD AND ROCKS?
It’s better in both. With more power and torque turning larger tires, the 2016 Grizzly has more ground clearance for deep mud ruts. Its wider stance helps stability when articulating in big rocks, and the slick underside allows it to slide over taller rocks.

HOW STRONG ARE THE BRAKES?
Really strong. Four-wheel hydraulic calipers have separate front and rear master cylinders for better control when in 2WD, or link them together in 4WD. It’s a blast to set up a drift in 2WD and slide around slick Tennessee turns.

The new digital gauge has a easier-to-read fuel-level bar, and the Grizzly 700 retains its independent front and rear brake systems. To help mud riders get out of sticky situations, the gray override button lets you go faster than 22 mph in diff-lock mode.
The new digital gauge has a easier-to-read fuel-level bar, and the Grizzly 700 retains its independent front and rear brake systems. To help mud riders get out of sticky situations, the gray override button lets you go faster than 22 mph in diff-lock mode.

WHAT ABOUT TRAIL COMFORT?
It’s also improved. The new seat is super comfortable and well-shaped for body English. Vibration and noise levels are low, and so is the effort required for braking. Steering is a little heavier with the larger tires, but the new suspension settings improve ride quality. The floorboards are nice, and new plastic provides plenty of splash protection. We also like the new turning headlight and the storage bin that adds 9 pounds of capacity to the fender and rear compartments.

Where the old flat filter used to ride, a new storage compartment with a 9-pound capacity sits under the tank cover, and the Grizzly still has its water-tight fender compartment and rear under-taillight storage
Where the old flat filter used to ride, a new storage compartment with a 9-pound capacity sits under the tank cover, and the Grizzly still has its water-tight fender compartment and rear under-taillight storage

WHAT’S OUR FINAL ANSWER?
The Grizzly is definitely meaner for 2016, with more power, torque, response, front suspension, width and tougher bodywork. It has great handling, suspension, brakes/EBS, comfort and cargo capacity, but it’s the ride quality and creature comforts that make us feel like bear and trail tamers.

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SPECS
2016 YAMAHA GRIZZLY 700 EPS 4X4
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type .Liquid/oil-cooled, 4-valve, DOHC 4-stroke
Displacement ………………………………………..708cc
Bore x stroke ………………………….103.0 x 85.0mm
Compression ratio ………………………………… 10.1:1
Lubrication system …………………………… Wet sump
Additional cooling ………………………………… Auto fan
Carburetion ………………..Yamaha EFI w/ 44mm body
Starting/back-up …………………………….Electric/none
Starting procedure ………. Turn ignition key, hit button
Air filter:
Type ………………………………………Washable foam
Access …….. Tool-less, remove seat, undo 6 clips &
remove filter
Transmission ……………….Dual-range CVT w/ reverse
Reverse procedure………. Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ diff-lock & EBS
Final drives ………………………………………….. Shafts
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ……………………………………..4.76 gal.
Wheelbase ……………………………………………. 49.2”
Seat height …………………………………………… 36.1”
Overall length/width/height …………81.5”/48.4”/49.3”
Ground clearance ……………………………………. 11.3”
Claimed curb weight ………………………………692 lb.
Rack weight limit (f/r) ……………………… 110/198 lb.
Hitch ……………………………………………..2” receiver
Towing limit……………………………………….1,322 lb.
ROLLING CHASSIS
Frame …………………………………… Steel round tube
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front ………. Dual A-arms w/ 5-way adj. shocks/7.6”
Rear ……….. Dual A-arms w/ 5-way adj. shocks/9.1”
Brakes/actuation:
Front ….. Twin-piston hydraulic discs/right-side lever
Rear ……..-Hydraulic discs/left-side lever/right-pedal
Parking ………………………………….. Lever on console
Tires:
Front ……………………..AT 26×8-12 Maxxis MU05Y
Rear …………….. AT 26×10-12 NHS Maxxis MU06Y
ELECTRICAL
DC outlet …………………………………………… Console
Lighting:
Front …………………..2 LED, 1 35/36.5W headlight
Rear ………………………..21/5W LED brake/tail light
DETAILS
Instrumentation ………. LCD w/speedo, odo, dual trip,
fuel, hour, gear, EBS, EFI
Colors ……………….. Green, red, blue, Realtree Xtra,
SE Carbon Black, LE Crimson Red
Minimum recommended operator age ……………… 16
Suggested retail price ……..$9699; Camo. $10,149;
SE, $10,299; LE, $10,899
Contact ……..Yamaha Motor Corp., (800) 962-7926

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