2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Tactical Black Review

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
This special edition Grizzly looks the part of an off-road killer

Perhaps the most recognizable name in the history of Utility ATVs, the Yamaha Grizzly line has long been an industry leader. It’s easy to understand why the Grizzly name is so popular – its reputation for reliability and brutal toughness is well earned. For 2013 Yamaha decided to create a special edition version of its flagship model – the Grizzly 700. We had a chance to spend a few days riding it in the hills of Prescott, Ariz.

Driving up the gravel road to a Gunsite, a well known firearms training facility just outside Prescott, we spotted the 2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE, which is now assembled in Yamaha’s Newnan, Ga. facility. This super stealth looking “Tactical Black” Grizzly looks as if it is ready to fight its way through any competition.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Front Right

Now assembled in the United States, the Grizzly 700 SE is available in this new Tactical Black color scheme for 2013.

The Yamaha Grizzly 700 takes charge of its rider’s choice of trail with a single cylinder, 686cc, fuel injected, four-stroke engine. This four-valve single overhead cam and liquid cooled configuration builds reliable power for the rear wheels using a 44mm throttle body and combining that with 9.2:1 compression. This compression ratio allows the Grizzly to reliably run on lower grades of fuel day in and day out. However, we’d advise you to treat your Grizzly to good quality gasoline for maximum performance and to protect your investment.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE 4WD

Switching from 2WD to 4WD is as simple as flipping a switch.

Getting the power to the ground is what Yamaha calls the most advanced drive system on the market – the patented Ultramatic CVT transmission. This system utilizes the very familiar centrifugal clutch to maintain constant belt tension, which reduces wear on the belt. Combine this with the ability to shift in and out of four-wheel drive on the fly using the Yamaha On-Demand and you’ve got yourself a great machine. The Yamaha Grizzly makes getting into and out of rough terrain and easy. We had the chance to prove it all over again to ourselves in Prescott.

The Grizzly’s chassis remains the same as its 2012 siblings and carries the same five-way pre-load adjustable shocks to soften the blows of rougher trails. Yamaha includes gas-charged shocks on the rear to provide a smoother ride by allowing better dampening. Keeping the roots and rocks away from the center of the machine is aided by the Grizzly’s 11.8 inches of ground clearance. The wide arc design of the front control arms provides maximum trail debris clearance and allows the rider to straddle those gnarly obstacles. The full-length center skid provides even more protection for the underside of the ATV.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Action Climb

Outfitted with electronic power steering, the Grizzly 700 SE offers a smooth, controllable ride.

Being a Special Edition model, Yamaha unsurprisingly outfitted it with power steering. Keeping your eyes on the trail is always a priority when driving, but you sometimes miss the large root or rock and you feel it against the bars quite rigidly. Having power steering on an ATV provides not only superb steering effort and feel, but it also absorbs some of the blows that your front tires may take during regular trail riding. This means less rider fatigue and a more enjoyable ride. The power steering also allows riders to slowly creep through really tough areas and maintain control easily without wearing you out. Yamaha has developed its electronic power steering to assist according to speed and rider input so you always feel in control.

The Tactical Black matte finish coloring is the main ingredient that visually sets this Special Edition apart, but Yamaha has also developed some really cool products you can add as accessories to take it even further. We really like the front rack mounted gun holder and bracket set, which keeps your favorite rifle secure. The rubber grips inside the clamps assist in preventing slippage of the firearm. As we traveled around the massive facility in Arizona we kept our Ruger SR556 secure in the very same gun holder. Cargo boxes, overfenders, and rack bags are just a few of the items that make up the arsenal of accessories available to the Grizzly 700. We love the super stealthy look that this machine provides and with Yamaha’s constant crossover ideas we are always on our toes. The hunter and the gun enthusiast should get a real thrill out of this themed machine.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Gun Holder Top

Yamaha’s accessory gun holder keeps your firearm safe and secure.

Our time at Gunsite was spent riding as well as shooting some awesome rifles Ruger. Many other important companies joined us as well and we’ll publish the entire story in a separate feature. As for the riding, we wound our way up and down many small trails across the Gunsite property locating targets and enjoying the quality ride provided by the Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Shooter

The Gunsite facility is a great place to play soldier for a few days.

Taking a machine on a mission here means you navigate rough terrain and locate your target and then hop back aboard and go at it again. Twisting the key and pressing the start switch at 5000 feet in elevation could have been bad for a carbureted machine, but fuel injection helps fire the engine right up. The quiet rumble coming from the belly of this beast exudes confidence and with the UltraMatic transmission providing positive engagement to the rear wheels, the power begs to be let loose. The Grizzly has long been known for its agility. We crossed many rutted and rain-washed drainage ditches and the Grizzly 700 always felt stable. Our test Grizzly had a cool looking set of black overfenders that kept us clean as we tackled a variety of muddy sections. We love the look, but wished we could get a wheel spacer to fill up the width for the extra fender just a bit.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Action

Yamaha’s accessory overfenders help keep the rider clean and dry.

Grizzly comfort in the saddle is realized as well and being comfortable goes a long way when you’re riding in very remote areas.

Yamaha is a company that not only builds a great product, but also focuses on the lifestyle of its consumers. We feel this is a home run for our market. The 2013 Grizzly 700 Special Edition “Tactical Black” looks the part and should back it up with many years of reliable service.

2013 Yamaha Grizzly 700 SE Shooting Range

Related Reading

2013 Yamaha Rhino 700 SE Tactical Black Review

2011 Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI 4×4 EPS Review

2011 Yamaha Grizzly 450 4X4 EPS Review

2009 Yamaha Grizzly 550 FI EPS Review

Yamaha Grizzly 550 Project

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.

More by Rick Sosebee