I have never purchased a new ATV before and I had an opportunity not to long ago to do just that. I read every piece of literature, test rode every quad and posted on every message board around for months leading up to my purchase. When it finally came down two it I narrowed my choices to the Brute Force and the Grizzly 700 for my riding style. I decided on the Grizzly 700 Ducks Unlimited edition over the Brute Force mainly because of the EFI, where I live we have some drastic elevation changes and on some rides we can go up in elevation as much as 4000+' so I felt the EFI was a must. I also was excited about the power steering option of the Grizzly and will talk more about that later. I did some horse trading with the dealership and swapped the fender flares and gun boot for a rear hard box. It was a good deal if you ask me as the Yamaha box mounts solidly and holds a decent amount of gear. I thought about a format for this review and decided I would talk about my modifications, reasons for the mods and results.
My new Grizz
Just out of the truck and into the garage
For the first ride I took my daughter to an area that is relitivly flat with wide roads so she could go along. I gave it a good break in(ok I rode it hard) and messed with the suspension settings.
Over the next few weeks I rode as often as I could using it for easy trail riding with my daughter, hard trail riding with some skilled riders, hunting trips with my father and one attempt at an 8900' summit where we were turned back by snow in June. Here are a list of my first thoughts and first impressions.
* The stock tires suck - Traction was poor, the sidewalls were soft and they just needed to be replaced.
7000' in June with stock tires
*In Stock Form this thing is tippy
*Low end Lag
*I NEED a winch (see above picture)
*The front end feels light on the steep stuff
The stock snorkels are mounted as high up on the machine as possible which makes it very water resistant.
I did sink the Grizzly once at about the 600mi mark which was completely my fault. I was crossing a submerged dike that was around tire deep which I have crossed many times before. I was the last one through and the water was murky and I got off track. I shut the machine off prior to both of us going under and when I dismounted the water was up to my chest....and was very cold. The Grizzly floated back to the surface and we towed it back to the truck. I took the ATV apart and made sure to remove the water in all the hiding places. Six filters and eight oil changes later the oil was good as new. I made a short 10mi ride and changed the oil and filter again. I am glad I took the time to clean it out correctly as it has not given me any issues sense. I also found there are screw in style filters at Walmart that fit and are only $2.50 a piece which made changing them out somewhat affordable.
Overall I felt this was a nice machine but it needed a little more to make it great.
Let the Mods Begin
To cure some of my concerns after the first few rides I decided to put a little more money into the Grizzly to try and fix the minor quirks that came up. I first added a 3000lb winch to get myself out of places where I should not be and to recover other atv's. I went the cheep route and purchased a gorilla setup off ebay that came complete with mounting plate for around $130. So far the winch has performed flawlessly with the exception of the contractor which I recently replaced. It seems it was not sealed very well and quit working due to corrosion.
I needed to do something with the stock tires but could not afford wheels and tires at the time. As a compromise I decided to reuse the stock wheels and add a set of 1" wheel spacers. I went with a set of 26" Mudlites and so far I am very pleased. The combination of the wheel spacers and wider tires made a HUGE difference in the stability of the Grizzly and is probably the single best mod I have done to date. The Grizzly now handels quite well and had MUCH better traction as well as stability in the tricky off camber situations.
As an added bonus, it just plain looks mean!
The Low end Lag still plagued me and with the addition of the larger tires I noticed it a little more. In high range the Grizzly seems to hesitate before accelerating hard, in low range this is not as apparent. To fix this issue as cheaply as possible I looked into playing with the roller weights. You can read more information regarding the clutch weights in a previos post found here
http://www.freepowerboards.com/jacobsat ... f=17&t=593
To summarize I found the setup of (4) Kodiak 450 and (4) Grizzly 700(virtually the same as (8) Grizzly 660 weights) to be the best solution for improved performance with minimal top end reduction. With these improvements the Grizzly will wheelie from a dead stop and has enough torque to get the front end light over obstacles in the trail.
I popped the floor boards off the brackets and quickly decided that something needed to be done. The solution was to install a set of rock sliders to protect the edge of the floor boards. During the purchase I mistakenly bought the wrong sliders but contacted the manufacture and he sent me the correct pair. He was very good to work with and even made things right knowing it was my fault. Instillation was smooth and they fit perfectly.
This cured the problem of hooking obstacles with the edge of the floor boards and tearing the mounting bolts out, but this weekend I crossed a log with a branch that caught in between the brackets and punched the floor board loose again. The only cure would be a skid plate that covered the entire bottom side of the floor board. Other than that they are a very nice addition.
I added a shovel holder to the back of the quad made out of a gun bracket and some long bolts bent into shape. This is a nice addition, but the design still needs some work.
I added an exhaust tip and the Grizzly sounds MUCH better than before. The tip gives a much throatier sound but is not much louder than the stock tip. I did not notice much of an improvement in power even when playing with the pod mod. I reset the pod back to zero and run the tip for the sound and nothing more.
Below is a list of minor modifications that were worth mentioning.
- Garmin GPS mount - Cheap but it works...ok
RAM mount for DeLorme PN-40 - What an improvement to the previous mount, well worth the money.
Rifle holder on the front rack.
In stock form the Grizzly 700 is a little tippy but that can be cured with a set of wheels and tires or in my case spacers and tires. The Grizzly still feels like it has a light front end but this is due in part to the shorter wheel base of the machine. It is a trade off for a short turning radius and nimble, quick handling in the tight stuff. When the trails get tight I can usually walk away from my riding partners due to the nimbleness of the big Grizzly. I am looking at a front brush guard and a flat pack for the front rack in the near future. Hopefully this will cure the uneasy feeling on the steep hills.
I have had absolutely zero mechanical problems with this machine, which in my opinion very impressive for the amount of hard riding it has seen. There was an annoying stalling issue when I first rode the broke the machine in, but that went away within the first 50mi and has not came up again.
I feel very strongly this is a very reliable, well built ATV and I am looking forward to many more miles on this quad. It has been money well spent so far.
.....many more to come