2013 Yamaha Grizzly 550 EPS First Ride 0
MotoUSA was recently invited to Yamaha’s dealer incentive trip to ride countless miles of trail with standout dealers while testing the U.S. – assembled 2013 Yamaha Grizzly 550 EPS. We headed over to the beautiful lands of Duck Creek, Utah and blazed through over 200 miles of trail during three days of riding. The riding included several different types of terrain, from asphalt roads to wet and rocky up-hills, which gives us a wide range of perspective on the ATV.
Hop up on the Grizzly and you’ll notice a comfortable cockpit with neutral seating and bar position. The handlebars contain all the standard controls. Being that the 550 is an automatic, a secondary rear brake lever on the left end of the bars takes place of a clutch lever. It is linked to the foot brake pedal. On the right side of the bar are the front brake, start button and 4WD switch. In the center of the bars is the instrument panel which features a multifunction LCD display with a speedometer, odometer, duel trip display, hour meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge.
The Grizzly utilizes a 558cc powerplant derived from its older brother, the Grizzly 700. It carries the largest engine in the mid-sized 4×4 class and Yamaha claims it’s the lightest overall at 648 pounds. That includes the added electronic power steeringoption ($700) which provides extra comfort on rough terrain due to lighter handling. The engine makes usable power though we could feel the effects of Duck Creek’s 8000-foot elevations. Wheelspin was minimal as there wasn’t quite enough power to get the rear tires to easily light up, but who’s to say that’s a negative? Traction is always a plus.
Yamaha Fuel Injection allows for instantaneous electric starts at any temperature from sea level to 15,000 feet using a 40mm throttle body. A fully automatic Ultramatic transmission drives the ATV and a centrifugal clutch maintains belt tension for reduced wear. A sprag clutch is used for all-wheel downhill engine braking in 4WD mode, and reverse.
A three-position On-Command In/Out 4WD feature lets the rider switch between 2WD, limited slip 4WD, and locked differential 4WD all with a simple thumb-operated button. We didn’t need the 4WD much, but when we did, there couldn’t be a simpler way to engage it. Limited-slip 4WD can be engaged below 15 mph, but locking the front differential requires coming to a complete stop. Climbing up rocks and steep ledges in 4WD is no problem, the Grizzly crawled right up everything we threw at it like a spider, never slipping or spinning.
The 550 shares the same chassis as the 700, providing the high level of comfort of its larger sibling. Five-way preload-adjustable shocks up front with 7.1 inches of travel provide a plush ride for even the roughest terrain. Gas-charged rear shocks with 9.5 inches of travel offer excellent feel and performance throughout long rides and do not show any sign of fade. All four corners are rigid enough to prevent body roll without compromising comfort. The ATV sits on 25×8-12 front and 25×10-12 rear Maxxis tires and giving a totally ground clearance of 11.8 inches to the bottom of the skid plate, which provides underbelly protection. Yamaha also protects the front and rear lower WildeArc A-arm with plastic guards. The WildeArc arms provide ground clearance 5 inches wider than a standard A-arm.
Although the Grizzly has considerable clearance we were still able to scrape the skid plate on taller rocks and uneven debris, but it was very rare. We also managed to high center while climbing over a fallen tree, but a quick shift into 4WD and some body English took care of that.
After logging numerous miles through rocks, rough trails, mud, and whatever else Mother Nature could throw at us, comfort always plays a huge role and the Grizzly did nothing except make us happy. The brakes work mighty well, but sometimes they’re almost too much. During aggressive braking from high speeds, the 550 tends to lock up and slide. Braking while cornering can also cause the rear end to occasionally step out. This can all be managed by the operator’s control, but the powerful binders are sensitive to the pressure on the levers.
At fast pace the Grizzly displays sporty handling. It is amazing how flickable and maneuverable the machine is considering its size. It should not be that easy to throw around 650 pounds, but Yamaha makes it possible. Although it’s able to be ridden in sporty style the Grizzly is a capable workhorse used a a farmhand to herd cattle or transport heavy equipment on the front (99-pound capacity) and rear steel cargo racks (187 pounds).. It’s also a great tool to simply just get from point A to point B on the farm. The Grizzly also comes in a Realtree AP HD Camo for the hunters.. Gun racks and cases are available in the Yamaha accessory collection.
Overall we are pleased with the Grizzly 550 and recommend it over the 700 for one simple reason, saving just under a thousand bucks. That much leftover cash can purchase some of the cool accessories that Yamaha offers from protection to extra racks and storage containers, not a bad decision. The ATV offers positives in all categories across the boards, work or play it is something you want in your all-terrain vehicle collection. MSRP depends on color, $8699 (Hunter Green), $8949 (Steel Blue w/ Aluminum Wheels), and $9149 (Realtree AP HD Camo).
2013 Yamaha Grizzly ATV Specifications:
Engine: 558cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled single, SOHC, 4 valves
Bore x Stroke: 92.0 x 84.0mm
Fueling: Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI) 40mm throttle body
Transmission: Yamaha Ultramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking/H, L, N, R, P
Final Drive: Yamaha On-Command pushbutton; 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; shaft drive
Front Suspension: Independent double wishbone; 5-way preload adjustment, 7.1-in travel
Rear Suspension: Independent double wishbone; 5-way preload adjustment, 9.5-in travel
MSRP: $8,699 (base price)