2016 Yamaha Grizzly EPS Review

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Grizzly is new and improved for 2016

Yamaha‘s Grizzly has been at the forefront of ATV industry for many years, leading the way with many innovations. The Grizzly evolution continues for 2016 with many new parts and noticeably improved performance.

The biggest change to this machine comes in the way of a 708cc powerplant. This engine carries dual overhead cams and a twist up in power to the tune of about 6%. The Grizzly’s single-cylinder engine has taken a lot of heat in recent years for not conforming to two-cylinder status, but it works well and is even better in this new power building format.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Action Climb

The biggest addition to the Grizzly for 2016 is a new 708cc single-cylinder engine.

Fuel injection plays a key role in the power delivery, from easy starts to a crisp throttle response along the power range; even elevation isn’t really a factor in the mill’s performance. The snappy throttle response can be felt at most speeds due to an increase of about 9% in torque for 2016. This gives the trail rider plenty of front end grunt to loft you over trail obstacles at speed. To say that the engine redesign was a good thing would be an understatement.

2016 Yamaha Kodiak 700 4X4 EPS Review Getting the right amount of power delivered to the ground is something Yamaha engineers really worked hard on in the early years of the Grizzly and it’s still paying off in spades even today. This delivery is possible through Yamaha’s Ultramatic dual clutch system, which has new lighter weights to give that sporty, quick-revving result when the throttle is bumped. This is most obvious off the bottom, but is still evident through the mid range of the engine’s output. This CVT/belt drive is the same great combination dual clutch system that Yamaha has been known for over the years. The visible belt drive has a secondary centrifugal clutch in behind the drive clutch. This centrifugal clutch assists in the smooth, seamless engagement of the drive system and keeps belt wear to a minimum by always having a firm grip on the belt.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Action Front

To keep belt wear to a minimum, Yamaha uses a centrifugal clutch that keeps constant tension on the belt drive.

Step back and take a good look at the overall appearance of the Grizzly and you’ll notice the aggressive styling changes and go-fast snarl of the front end. This is coupled with LED headlights down low and a new third master halogen light between the bars. For years Yamaha has had a huge gap between the bars, so this will fill the space nicely. I think the Halogen bar light looks great on the Grizzly and allows me to see in the direction of a potential turn before I make that move. I kind of wished the third light was LED, but understand budget can play a role in getting too many expensive parts on an ATV. This top light housing also holds the innovative digital dash for all of those crazy things you need to know on the trail. The illuminated dash panel gives up information like speed, gear selection, fuel level, and more.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Headlights

A new handlebar-mounted headlight is a great addition for 2016.

While an excellent ATV for trail riding, the Grizzly is has the tools to help you get your work done. Yamaha reworked the rack systems front and rear to haul more weight. The front rack will carry 110 pounds of cargo, while the rear rack stretches out and flexes its muscle to a whopping 198 pounds of gear. Yamaha also provided a textured grippy coating on the racks that keeps things from sliding around a little better than the shiny gloss racks used too. I wonder if it would be possible to request some small bumps or hook points along the round tubing, so the straps do not simply slide back and forth with the gear. That would be a perfect addition to this capable rack system.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Rear Rack

Along with a new textured paint, Yamaha upped the capacity of the racks to a combined 308 pounds.

If you need a little more room for trail essentials, then you can choose one of three covered and semi water-resistant storage compartments on the machine. Right in front of the rider, where most would expect a gas tank to be, is a large storage compartment. This flip-up lid reveals plenty of storage, but it is right over the engine and things tend to get warm in there. It could be great for baking potatoes, but maybe not a good place for the cell phone. I’m thinking a thick layer of heat tape on the bottom of the plastic compartment may help this a little. Additional storage can be found in the right front fender compartment, as well as right under the rear LED taillight.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Front Storage

You can store small items in this new front storage compartment. Just be aware that it sits right above the engine, which tends to get pretty warm.

If you like to service your vehicle yourself, you’ll appreciate that the air filter is easily accessible right under the seat. This makes a quick inspection after each ride possible and there is no reason for anyone to not do this. Love your machine and it will love you back for many years.

Of course no real Utility ATV would be perfect without the electronic power steering you can find on Grizzly for 2016. The EPS feel in the bars is light, yet still allows the rider to feel the trail beneath them for better control. As our ride through the mountains of Tennessee proved, this is something that you can really benefit from in the really tight, rocky terrain.

Speaking of rocky terrain, the 26-inch Maxxis tires on our Grizzly 700 took a beating all day and we had no issues at all. The rock-littered trails we rode could have been really cruel to the Maxxis tires, but these things stood tough. According to Yamaha, these tires were specifically designed for Grizzly and the character of this machine on the trail. Add to this the fact that the 2016 Grizzly has a center ground clearance of 11.3 inches and you know you can get over just about anything in the trail. Front and rear suspension travel is set at 7.6 inches in the front and 9.1 in the rear.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Suspension

As I had mentioned, I rode the 2016 Yamaha Grizzly in the high mountains of Tennessee’s Windrock Park. Even though it had been raining, I managed to eke out a good ride. The rocks were slick and the terrain was indeed a challenge, but more for the rider instead of the machine. As I cruised along the trail it was evident that the seating on the Grizzly had been modified just a tad. The seat is now longer and a new density of foam is being used for added comfort. For a larger rider, more padding is a positive thing and I felt Yamaha had the right combination. One thing that came to my attention as the rider in front of me tried to find his brain a time or two was the braking on the new Grizzly. The four-wheel hydraulic disc brakes really performed well. As long as the terrain under the machine will cooperate, you will be able to come to a stop quite quickly.

I found myself in a dog fight running the trail systems and just enjoying the crisp clean power of my test vehicle and its ability to pull the front end at the blip of the throttle. I love testing machines like the 2016 Yamaha Grizzly, because the engineers get it and produce ATVs that are not only fun to ride, but very comfortable as well.

2016 Yamaha Grizzly Action
Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.

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