One of the few complaints I have about the Grizzly is the stock handlebar choice. The bar is comfortable, functional and feels nice ergonomically, but the ape-hanger look is kind of goofy if you ask me. (Editor's Note: evidently Lance hasn't looked in the mirror lately!) We fixed that goofy look by bolting a set of Fasst Company Flexx bars onto a set of Rox risers, made famous by our good buddy, the late Rocky Cutsforth! We finished off the tough-guy look by adding a set of Baja Designs Fuego HIDs that will send rodents scurrying into their burrows to get away from these monster lights. Mounted onto those Flexx bars are more gizmos and gadgets than you'll find in Baba Booey's Swiss Army Knife collection. In addition to the brake and throttle controls we need to make our Grizzly go vroom vroom, we mounted a pair of Spider A3 grips, Acerbis Uniko hand guards, the switch for the Baja Designs HIDs, the Warn winch toggle switch and the holster that secures the Warn wireless controller. To be honest, I have no idea how we got all the controls to fit. But the setup looks as clean as any factory arrangement and gives our Grizz great functionality all within the reach of your 10 little phalanges.
To bump up the performance on our sinister Grizzly, we contacted HMF Performance to sequester a Swamp Series pipe and Fuel Optimizer. The HMF Swamp Series is a large, 5-inch stainless steel slip-on canister that, when combined with a Quiet Core, has the potential to run as quietly as the stock exhaust. The Fuel Optimizer allows the pilot to fine-tune power delivery for their specific needs. To increase our hauling and storage capabilities, we ditched the puny stock racks for Yamaha Outdoors' large aluminum replacement racks. Not only do the racks look super beefy, they're larger and bolt effortlessly into the stock mounting locations. Finally, we added a set of Yamaha Outdoors' brand-new oversize footpegs to help keep our feet firmly planted when we slam the Grizzly down the trail.
At the flick of the little green go button, the Grizzly jumps to life with a quiet, yet discernible rumble that lets you know it's a force to be reckoned with. The HMF Swamp Series is very quiet, which is generally uncharacteristic of an aftermarket pipe. Even with the Quiet Core removed, the pipe is not at all obnoxious, which will likely keep your neighbors, and mine, happy. With the triple threat of the HMF pipe, Fuel Optimizer and the Dalton clutch, the Grizzly performs very well, even though it's only packing a 686cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder powerplant. This is due, largely in part, to the fact that Yamaha engineers kept their big-bore monster lean, weighing in at a svelte 648 pounds soaking wet and full of fluid. That seems like a lot of poundage, but compared to some of the other players in the big-bore business, the Grizzly is downright anorexic!
Tearing down the trail like the real Ursus arctos horribilis-the Grizzly bear species' binomial nomenclature (for our middle-aged readers who still live at home with their mom and know who Darth Nihilus is)-you immediately notice the addition of the Fox Podium Shox. With high- and low-speed compression adjustment, rebound adjustment and the ability to raise or lower ride height with spring preload, the Foxs take the Grizzly's comfort to a completely new level! Kickers that would normally send the rear end of the machine catapulting toward the sky like a salmon in search of a tasty black stonefly are barely noticeable. For all-day excursions, the additional shock oil and nitrogen in the piggyback reservoirs do a fantastic job of keeping the shocks cool and, thus, deliver a consistent ride all day long. Teamed up with the shocks and the stock electronic power steering, the Flexx bars not only give the Grizz a bitchin' look, they provide an incredibly comfortable ride that pampers, rather than punishes, the rider's upper body.