ATV Review: 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 in Tactical Black

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Yamaha has made significant changes to the Grizzly 700 for model year 2014 and beyond. While keeping the dependable 4x4 on the cutting edge of all markets with performance and handling, Yamaha has introduced the Tactical Black Special Edition.

The Grizzly was first introduced back in 1998 as a 600-class ATV. With the bigger 700-class engine in 2007 came fuel injection as well as the addition of EPS. Yamaha has made modest updates to this machine since the 2007 changes but it was in the 2014 model year that Yamaha revamped some key features on the ride, which for the most part, would go unnoticed at first glance.

Starting on the engine, with a modified piston and cylinder head design the compression in the Grizzly motor goes up from 9.1 to 10.1. Tuning in the EFI programming would be one more step to get the optimal fuel and air through the 44mm Mikuni throttle body. Redesign on the engine was wrapped up with a cam profile for better throttle response, low-end grunt and higher power output. Yamaha also modified the air intake system so this Grizzly 700 could breathe easier.
Electronic power steering (EPS) models of the Yamaha Grizzly 700 have been reprogrammed to increase rider control and decrease rider fatigue on the trail. The electronic power steering now gives its rider a lighter, more controlled feel in 4WD and uses data such as rider input, torque, and speed to determine what the optimal assist for that rider would be. This will make slower speeds and those heavily loaded workdays much easier on the driver. This EPS is a regressive system, meaning it still allows optimal control at higher speeds by eliminating assist to gain a great feel of the trail beneath you.

The suspension of the 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 is wider overall by 60mm. Yamaha has lengthened the upper and lower control arms to achieve this and with the “Wide-Arc” design on the lower arms the clearance is maximized. Dampening the suspension is Yamaha’s 5-way preload adjustable shocks that have additional length or stroke as well. This combination gives up a more comfortable ride whether working or exploring by allowing the suspension to flex even more as it needs too.

During a visit to Gunsite, a weapons training facility in Prescott Arizona, I had an opportunity to get some seat time on the updated machine. Our ride location had been strategically picked to give us the tactical experience onboard the new 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700. Getting on the trails at Gunsite we had ample time to test the new features over varying terrain. Having ridden the previous models, it was clear that some things had changed for the better. It was not long before I started to really notice the newest features as well as those we have come to appreciate on the Grizzly. The power steering gave the feeling of control in the rocky technical areas and steering seemed to be a slight bit lighter than normal. The steering improvements were really exposed when our Grizzly 700 was switched into 4WD. Locking all four wheels most always brings a heavier steering on most ATVs, yet we noticed that the handle bars still felt free and controllable. This in itself was a welcomed improvement.

On the trail the Grizzly strides over large rocks and trail obstacles due to the high 10.8 inches of ground clearance. When surprised by larger rocks, the improved suspension soaked up the impacts and this driver felt very little in the bars. The power of the newly redesigned engine was evident as the snappy throttle response brought more excitement to the ride. You can feel the extra bottom end power of the 2014 Yamaha Grizzly and it is sure to add to the capable towing ability of this machine. The Ultra-matic Automatic transmission is putting all of this power to the ground while offering all-wheel engine braking for steep descents in 4WD. Just squeezing the throttle on the Grizzly 700 gives a smooth and almost seamless response with movement of the machine. The braking on this ATV also functions very well with both front and rear dual hydraulic discs, giving the driver ample control.

One last change and improvement I noticed on the 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 were the tough as nails Maxxis tires. Riding in the rugged terrain in Arizona, the Maxxis tires stood tall. To see a tire take hit after hit in all directions and take each one in stride without fail was amazing. The 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS is a reliable tool and with about 16 years to its credit, it seems to have nailed its spot even deeper in the market.

Hits:
1. Throttle response and power delivery
2. Electronic power steering enhancements
3. Tactical black exterior
4. Comfortable handling

Misses:
1. Minimal storage

2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS 4x4

MSRP: $10,099 SE model as tested.
Engine: SOHC, 4-valve single
Displacement: 686cc
Bore x stroke: 102.0 x 84.0mm
Cooling: Liquid cooled
Fuel system: Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 44mm throttle body
Starting: Electric Drivetrain
Drive system: Shaft, selectable 2x4/4x4; three-way locking differential
Transmission: CVT with high/low range, reverse, all-wheel engine braking
Suspension (Type/Travel)
Front: Dual A-arms/7.6"
Rear: Dual A-arms/9.2"

Tires/Wheels
Front: Maxxis AT25x8-12
Rear: Maxxis AT25x10-12

Brakes
Front: Dual hydraulic discs
Rear: Dual hydraulic discs

Dimensions
Wheelbase: 49.2"
Weight: 648 lb (wet)
Ground clearance: 10.8"
Length/width/height: 81.3" x 46.5" x 48.8"
Seat height: 35.6"
Fuel capacity: 5.3 gal
Turning radius: 126"

Load Capacity
Rack capacity, front/rear: 99 lb / 187 lb
Towing capacity: 1322 lb

Lighting: Dual 35-watt halogen multi-reflector headlights and 21/5-watt brake light
Instrumentation: Digital LCD multifunction display of speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, hour meter, clock, fuel gauge, gear position, EPS and EFI function
Colors: Hunter Green, Red, Steel Blue, Realtree AP HD