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I’m a big fan of Yamaha’s 700 Grizzly and have been of this line for years. In fact, I talked my father-inlaw into buying a 660 back in 2005, which he still owns and loves.

That’s why I was very happy to throw my leg over a 2012 Grizzly recently and pour on some serious miles.

Initial throttle squeeze could use a touch more honey, but as it winds out top end power from the 686cc fuel injected single is impressive. There’s ample torque at each squeeze and most riders would be satisfied with the power the Grizzly produces off the line.

The stock 5-way preload adjustable snail cam shocks work surprisingly well to soak up trail chatter. Honestly, this is one area I expected to affect my ride and literally bash my body to bits over tough terrain, but this suspension stood up to abuse run after run.

These shocks could stand up to years of riding and if they ever needed to be replaced, you could easily upgrade and feel like you just bought a brand new ATV because the rest of the unit would still be solid.

Handling through winding trails and over aggressive terrain is outstanding and power steering reduces steering effort significantly minimizing rock hits and reducing bar whip to laughable levels. Hit a rocky section and confidently stab the throttle knowing youÂ’ll remain in control and make it out the other side in a hurry.

In the saddle, the Grizzly seems to fit an average sized rider perfectly. The comfortable seat provides ample cushioning, switchgear is well thought out and the digital instrumentation is easy to read even in direct sunlight, rugged floorboards minimize slippage when maneuvering through muddy and wet areas and the diff-lock button would make the Brute Force envious.

One area we’d like to see some reworking is the Grizzly’s rack system. Though entirely functional, the textured steel cargo racks seem wimpy and outdated when parked next to a Sportsman or Outlander and significantly weaken the aesthetic appeal of a great ATV. We’d love to see Yamaha make the move to a composite rack system or see something available from the aftermarket industry like this suited to the Grizz.

The Yamaha’s legacy for building durable and reliable ATVs lives on in 2013 and if you’re in the market for an ATV with a reputation for longevity, you’ll smile every time you turn the key on your new Grizzly.

Mike Lester
Mike Lester
Mike Lester is Staff Photographer and Digital Content Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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