For the past several years, the Yamaha Grizzly 700 with Electronic Power Steering has been a frontrunner in the big-bore utility game. With precise handling, crisp acceleration and the reputation for excellent build quality and reliability, the mighty Grizz seemed like the perfect canvas to begin another ATV Rider project. Our goal was to capitalize on the Grizzly's many strengths and elevate its true capability by taking this machine to the next level. In the planning phase, our goal was to build the Swiss Army Knife of quads and deliver a proverbial "wolf in sheep's clothing." Imagine GNCC cross-country handling and performance paired with exceptional creature comforts and utilitarianism to give this machine the capability to traverse any backwoods obstacle, while doing so in a stealthy, unobtrusive manner.
As we rolled our 2011 Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI Auto 4x4 EPS Special Edition (it's really official and a really long name) donor out of the trailer with exactly zero miles on the odometer, we did what any insanely sane new owner would do: We broke out the tools and tore it apart. Off came the wheels and tires, shocks, controls, bar, airbox, front and rear racks, plastics, exhaust, floorboards and the clutch, for good measure. With all of the perfectly good parts removed that Yamaha recently paid some poor bugger to assemble, we began the methodical process of bringing it back to life as Grizzly 2.0!
Replacing the stock shocks with a set of Fox Floats is not only one of the easiest mods to accomplish, it's also probably the smartest. Next, we mounted up our set of brand-new DWT Alumilite Sector beadlock wheels wrapped in Goldspeed MXU tires. Meanwhile, out front, we bolted a Warn XT30 winch with a wireless control unit to a Warn winch mounting plate and stuffed it all in the snout of our growling Grizzly. With the mounting location of the winch very accessible and the battery conveniently located under the hood section, this machine is one of the easiest on the market for the do-it-yourselfer to install their own winch. Warn also supplied us with its killer-looking front bumper, onto which we bolted a set of Warn XT200 spotlights. The Warn bumper has movie star looks and is GNCC tough. While rolling around on the floor with our host of parts, we thought it wise to install a Dalton clutch kit. The Dalton kit is really nice because it gives the owner the ability to swap out weights and tailor the clutch's characteristics for each rider's specific needs. These variables are primarily based on the size and weight of the aftermarket wheels and tires installed, with some consideration given to the elevation at which the rider typically rides. The Dalton also only requires the removal of the front clutch, which saves time and simplifies the install. A few minutes with a hammer, a vise, a few sockets, a little bit of cursing and a dash of patience are all it took to hook our Grizzly up with a clutch that hits harder on the bottom-end to compensate for our heavier wheel and tire package.