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The New Yamaha Grizzly 700 FI: This ATV is Unmatched
Field & Stream Online Editors
June 30, 2006
By Peter B. Mathiesen If you've been planning to buy an ATV this year, then this is your lucky day. On June 25, Yamaha released the new Grizzly 700 FI. The old Grizzly 660 was far from a disappointment. Without question, it had the most indestructible transmission in the industry. Just ask any ATV repairman. And its excellent downhill braking with low gearing and locker positioned the bike as the technical climber of the industry. However, like all beasts, the bike required some skill and a little strength to push it to its limits. Although more manageable than its competitors, the 660 was not an ideal choice for a small-framed 145-pound person with limited riding skills.
This new bike changes everything.Â¿Â¿ The combination of technical refinements and practical engineering will set the bar for ATV performance. The list of new features is long and extensive. To start, the new 686 cc 4-stroke engine is fuel injected and has been recentered in a lower position, creating better balance and less vibration.Â¿Â¿ The 5.3-gallon gas tank has also been lowered and centered. With the addition of fuel injection, the range of the bike's full tank is now an impressive 100 miles for the average trail rider.
Other innovations include a refined independent suspension that has a frame 5 inches wider than the older model, making tagging stumps and rocks with your arms much less common. The seat has six more inches of foam, and the brake handlebars are set slightly closer so they are easier to reach and control. The brakes are larger, stay cooler, and respond more evenly.Â¿Â¿
The U-joints are gone.Â¿Â¿ The 700 FI has direct shaft driven connections eliminating the old cranky joints, improving power transfer to the drive shafts, reducing noise, and significantly dropping vibration. When combined with the new fuel injected engine, its no surprise that this 700 FI is dead dog fast.
The most remarkable innovation on the 700 FI is the power steering, which makes riding this ATV a completely new experience. The difference is overwhelming.Â¿Â¿ After a long day of technical riding, I I hadn't jammed my wrist once, had no numbness in my hands, and was far less fatigued.Â¿Â¿ Even the time that I spent backing the bike up to reposition for an approach was dramatically reduced.
Don't think that all these refinements will impede your feel for the road, rocks, logs or stumps.Â¿Â¿ In fact, the bike allows a rider to engage in more intense terrain choices than his skills may have permitted with other bikes. Even the throttle has an unchanging calibration that consistently gives smooth acceleration at low speeds for absolute control without lunges. Of course, the Grizzly's locker and downhill transmission braking are still the gold standards in off-road performance.
I believe this bike will send other manufacturers scrambling to keep up. The Grizzly 700 FI may just mark the dawn of the golden age of the ATV. $7,998
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