It's been more than a year since Yamaha shocked the ATV community with the release of its Grizzly 700 4x4 FI EPS unit, which incorporated an all-new and innovative power steering system. After favorable initial reviews, we felt it was time to check back in on the Grizzly EPS to see if the power steering deserved all of that praise or was just the latest craze. For 2008, Yamaha is offering both the Grizzly 700 4x4 FI with and without the power steering feature, for a difference of about $600 in price. We wanted to dig a little deeper and find out for ourselves if it was really worth the extra dough and what performance differences the EPS unit brings to the table. We were quite impressed with our findings, and we're pretty sure you will be, too.
Quick Features Review
Yamaha's 2008 Grizzly 700 houses an impressive 686cc, liquid-cooled, four-stroke engine with single overhead cams and just happens to be the most powerful Grizzly ever produced. This engine is based on the Raptor's combustion chamber design and produces a powerful combination of low-rev torque, instant throttle response and impressive amounts of horsepower. Yamaha engineers designed this engine to be compact with a 35-degree cylinder angle that improves its ground clearance and optimizes center of gravity.
Another impressive feature added not so long ago, which has also become a popular feature among many of today's modern ATVs, was electronic fuel injection (EFI). The Grizzly uses a Mikuni fuel-injection system with a 44mm bore and an effective throttle position sensor. The EFI system allows for easy starting of the motor and efficiently delivers the proper mixture of air and fuel to the motor regardless of altitude and temperature without the exhausting task of rejetting. The EFI system also allows for a crisp and quick throttle response all while putting the power to the ground instantaneously.
In fact, due to the added...
In fact, due to the added innovative power steering system, the Grizzly has become one of the most desired test units in our fleet.
The Grizzly maintains the same chassis and suspension system that has proved effective for the past several years. The front A-arms are a lay-down-style system that provides the optimum ground clearance, with the ever-popular independent suspension system for the rear. The Grizzly offers excellent ground clearance at 11.8 inches for easy clearance over rocks, logs and any other obstacle that might be met along the trail. All four shocks come with five-way-adjustable settings so they can be dialed in to each rider's specific needs for the best performance. Another great feature is the hydraulic disc brakes on all four wheels, which offer abrupt stopping abilities and lengthens the life of the brake pads. And for obtaining excellent traction and responsive steering, Yamaha chose to go with Dunlop 25x8-12 size tires on the front and 25x10-12 on the rear.
Yamaha engineers designed an effective drive system, which uses an electronic servo-activated two-wheel-drive/four-wheel-drive and differential lock selector. These features are activated via Yamaha's specially designed On-Command system, which requires an easy push of a button. And for those who enjoy sinking their machines deep in gnarly mud holes, they've designed the radiator to sit up high in the frame to help avoid mud and other debris from sticking and causing the machine to overheat.
Obviously, Yamaha's most notable and exciting addition to the 2008 Grizzly is its industry-first electronic power steering system (EPS). Not only is it an innovative addition, but it also has a valuable purpose. This new system lightens the steering and gives great comfort in rough terrains, which allows the rider to spend a long day on the trail without wearing down nearly as quickly. The EPS adjusts its assistance according to the speed and rpm of the machine while riding.
Even after hours of pushing...
Even after hours of pushing hard and keeping a fast pace through rough terrains, our arms and shoulders never felt worn out thanks to the highly effective electronic power steering system.
Spending extended time aboard the Grizzly 700 FI EPS actually made for quite a pleasant time riding. In fact, due to the added innovative power steering system, the Grizzly has become one of our most desired test units in our fleet. No, it's not the most aggressive machine on the market, and it's certainly not the fastest ute out there. But it's easily one of the most enjoyable and comfortable rides on the market today. We love the fact that anyone can ride this machine with a great deal of ease. The power delivery is extremely smooth but possesses a great deal of torque for conquering any task asked of it. With a good blip of the throttle, the front end would pop up making logs and other large and frightful obstacles easy to pop over. No matter what obstacle stood in our way, such as steep nasty hillclimbs, huge gnarly rocks or deep bottomless ruts, the Grizz was able to tackle them with a minimal amount of effort on the part of the rider, even with heavy equipment strapped onto the racks. Don't take this the wrong way as rider technique and experience always play a huge part in any technical situations, but we felt that almost any level rider could jump on and enjoy this machine.
As for the overall handling of the Grizzly, we were impressed with its predictability and overall stability. At faster paces, we experienced a slight bit of body roll on corners and extreme off-cambers. But body roll on independent rear ATVs is quite a common occurrence. Under hard braking, the Grizzly's four hydraulic brakes could bring this beast to a halt with absolute authority. But at times, the rear end would tend to drift and even kick and buck a little over braking bumps.
And before jumping into the results of the power steering, we thought some of the extra benefits that both the Grizzly 700 power steering and non-power steering units have to offer are certainly worth mentioning. First off, we absolutely loved the easy-to-use on-the-fly four-wheel-drive selector button; it made jumping into four-wheel-drive on command a very simple task as you're trying to focus on riding and not frantically fighting to find the controls. We were also extremely impressed with Yamaha's redesigned gate shifter that has been added to the Grizzly. In the past, we always found the old-style shifter difficult to put in gear. But the new shifter performed without fault and practically fell right into the gear we wanted.
We rarely experienced harsh...
We rarely experienced harsh bump steer with the Grizzly, even when pounding through gnarly rock gardens.
Power Steering Results
When it came to the power steering portion of the Grizzly 700, this is where the machine was most impressive. When we hopped on the Grizz, the power steering was very noticeable right from the get-go. We purposely slammed the front tires into gnarly rocks, rammed them into fallen trees and stuck them down in deep, nasty ruts. The ever-so-common bump steer, where the bar tries and jerks from your hands, was extremely minimal. Of course, there's no way to completely remove bump steer from an ATV, but the EPS on the Grizz took away about 60 to 75 percent of that nasty feedback that's often felt from most standard steering systems.
Our test results proved that the power steering made for a much more extraordinary ride. It gave us added confidence and allowed us to worry less about what terrain stood before us so that we could focus more on having fun rather than keeping the quad on all four wheels. But at the end of the day, we were most impressed with the leftover endurance that remained as this machine conveyed less punishment throughout a long day of riding. Yes, our bodies took less of a beating throughout the day, which in turn allowed us to spend more time on the machine, less time in pain and maintained the desire to keep on riding for longer periods of time. To put this in terms for people who use their machine for work purposes on the farm or around large properties, we believe it allows for better efficiency without wearing down the rider or worker.
After spending countless hours, even days aboard the Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI EPS unit, we've concluded that it's not just the latest craze, but rather deserves every bit of the praise it has received. If your budget allows, the extra $600 is well worth the money spent. It's not to say that the non-EPS model isn't a great machine, but we felt that the power steering stepped up the Grizzly to a new level of performance. Remember, at the end of the day, your body will experience much less punishment than with standard steering.
Effective power steering system, smooth power delivery Body roll in corners
An excellent, all-around ute for work and play
|2008 Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI EPS |
|Retail price: ||Steel blue, hunter green, red: $8199; Realtree AP |
HD camouflage: $8549
|Engine type: ||Four-stroke, four-valve SOHC |
|Displacement: ||686cc |
|Bore x stroke: ||102.0x84.0mm |
|Cooling: ||Liquid-cooled with fan assist |
|Carburetion: ||Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 44mm throttle body |
|Lubrication: ||Dry sump |
|Starting: ||Electric |
|Drive system: ||Shaft, 2x4/4x4 |
|Transmission: ||Yamaha Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine |
braking, H/L/N/R/P, diff-lock
|SUSPENSION (TYPE/TRAVEL) |
|Front: ||Dual A-arms, independent, five-way-adjustable |
|Rear: ||Dual A-arms, independent, five-way-adjustable |
|Front tires: ||25x8-12 Dunlop, aluminum wheels |
|Rear tires: ||25x10-12 Dunlop, aluminum wheels |
|Front brakes: ||Dual hydraulic discs |
|Rear brakes: ||Dual hydraulic discs |
|Wheelbase: ||49.2 in. |
|Claimed dry weight: ||600 lb |
|Ground clearance: ||11.8 in. |
|Length/width/height: ||81.3/46.5/48.8 in. |
|Seat height: ||35.6 in. |
|Fuel capacity: ||5.3 gal. |
|Headlight: ||Dual 25-watt halogen multireflector |
|Instrumentation: ||Digital LCD multifunction display; speedometer, |
odometer, dual tripmeters, hourmeter, clock, fuel
gauge, gear position, EPS and EFI function
|Colors: ||Steel blue, hunter green, red; Realtree AP HD |