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Yamaha hasn’t forgotten about its entry-level offering, and for 2018, the all-new Kodiak is getting the Japanese brand back into the midsize ATV segment.





The new Kodiak 450 replaces both the Grizzly 450 and old Kodiak 450 in Yamaha’s lineup and gets the brand back in the midsize ATV market with a thoroughly modern machine. Updating its small machine’s technology was certainly a priority for Yamaha, but an all-new chassis has also been devised which gives the Kodiak 450 what is likely its biggest advantage in this segment. But before we talk about that, let’s hit the basics.


 

 

 

The chassis has been fettled to allow for a wider wheel track and longer wheelbase to ­improve stability, there is a new seat and even the thumb throttle shape has come in for a tweak. These things were revealed at the national launch in Queensland last week with a ride program on a test track that had a mix of tight and rough surfaces, up and down hills and opportunities to reach the ­Kodiak’s 80km/h maximum.The modernizing of its midsize model starts with the engine, moving away from a carburetor to a new direct-injection 421cc liquid-cooled engine, which runs a 10.0:1 compression ratio. New rubber engine mounts have been added to reduce vibration, while the clutch sensitivity has been changed to also smooth out the ride.

 

Those familiar with the Grizzly would notice the fresh new styling with new bodywork, taller handlebars and a longer, narrower seat..The footwells are longer and wider, the gear shifter has been moved higher and more forward (less chance of banging your knee) and the thumb throttle has more area.It is comfortable to sit on with the rear of the seat still broad enough to spread the load, while the narrower front section makes it feel more like a motorcycle between the knees.

Some can be with the optional electric power steering, which is unobtrusive, effective and worth the extra $1000, especially if you do a lot of spraying and need to steer with one hand.

You could fit a tank on the rear rack, which holds 80kg, and you can get another 40kg on the front. Yamaha also has accessories to mount on them, including hard and soft luggage cases and a gun boot. It will also tow 600kg.

 

Behind the fresh plastic is a new 421cc single-cylinder ­engine matched to a continuously variable transmission that has a centrifugal clutch pack so the drive wheel is not spinning against the belt at idle. This is to reduce heat and wear.

The CVT is also ventilated via a cooling uct with the ­intake below the handlebar mount and the exhaust up under the rear panel work to reduce the risk of getting water in it. If that does happen, there is an easy-to-access drain plug. Throttle response is sharp off the line before the CVT quickly reins in the torquey power. It is not a slug by any stretch, but the CVT limits the engine’s potential, which might not be a bad thing for boosting the confidence of less experienced riders.

The CVT also features an engine braking system, which is fairly aggressive when the throttle is released, but does a good job of controlling pace on steep downhill sections. A neat feature is the two and four-wheel-drive button above the throttle that can be activated on the fly, and it kicks in straight away.

 

The rear brake is enclosed as a unit next to the diff (for ­reduced wear, said Yamaha) and it is pretty weak, while the front disc brakes work fine. Hitting ruts and potholes was not a bone-jarring experience thanks to revised suspension that includes longer stroke for the shock absorbers.

This contributed to reasonably good handling, although barrelling downhill to an off-camber sharp turn reminds you it is not a race machine and caution is needed.For those who take care of their machines, getting to the air filter is simple. The seat is not locked and once it is pulled off, the air box cover is easily unclipped without tools to ­access the oiled foam filter.You can figure out when you need to do that via the service and hour meters on the new digital LCD screen that also displays fuel gauge, speedometer, 4WD indicator status and other useful information. There is also a 12v power outlet to charge the phone and it is wired to accept an optional winch, which can be installed in a couple of hours. Underneath is alloy plating to reduce damage and you can get to the main service access points without taking it off.

With this model you get a capable and modern machine that is comfortable and easy to ride. The CVT might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does the job and you still get plenty from the torquey ­engine, while the power steering is an excellent option.

 

The Verdict

Yamaha has come back to the midsize ATV table with a modern machine that offers big comfort with a small footprint at an affordable price. It’s a deadly combination in a marketplace looking to do away with compromise, and the Kodiak 450 has plenty to offer to first-time buyers and seasoned ATV veterans alike.

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2018 Yamaha Kodiak 450 ATV grizzly

Yamaha hasn’t forgotten about its entry-level offering, and for 2018, the all-new Kodiak is getting the Japanese brand back into the midsize ATV segment.





The new Kodiak 450 replaces both the Grizzly 450 and old Kodiak 450 in Yamaha’s lineup and gets the brand back in the midsize ATV market with a thoroughly modern machine. Updating its small machine’s technology was certainly a priority for Yamaha, but an all-new chassis has also been devised which gives the Kodiak 450 what is likely its biggest advantage in this segment. But before we talk about that, let’s hit the basics.


 

 

 

The chassis has been fettled to allow for a wider wheel track and longer wheelbase to ­improve stability, there is a new seat and even the thumb throttle shape has come in for a tweak. These things were revealed at the national launch in Queensland last week with a ride program on a test track that had a mix of tight and rough surfaces, up and down hills and opportunities to reach the ­Kodiak’s 80km/h maximum.The modernizing of its midsize model starts with the engine, moving away from a carburetor to a new direct-injection 421cc liquid-cooled engine, which runs a 10.0:1 compression ratio. New rubber engine mounts have been added to reduce vibration, while the clutch sensitivity has been changed to also smooth out the ride.

 

Those familiar with the Grizzly would notice the fresh new styling with new bodywork, taller handlebars and a longer, narrower seat..The footwells are longer and wider, the gear shifter has been moved higher and more forward (less chance of banging your knee) and the thumb throttle has more area.It is comfortable to sit on with the rear of the seat still broad enough to spread the load, while the narrower front section makes it feel more like a motorcycle between the knees.

Some can be with the optional electric power steering, which is unobtrusive, effective and worth the extra $1000, especially if you do a lot of spraying and need to steer with one hand.

You could fit a tank on the rear rack, which holds 80kg, and you can get another 40kg on the front. Yamaha also has accessories to mount on them, including hard and soft luggage cases and a gun boot. It will also tow 600kg.

 

Behind the fresh plastic is a new 421cc single-cylinder ­engine matched to a continuously variable transmission that has a centrifugal clutch pack so the drive wheel is not spinning against the belt at idle. This is to reduce heat and wear.

The CVT is also ventilated via a cooling uct with the ­intake below the handlebar mount and the exhaust up under the rear panel work to reduce the risk of getting water in it. If that does happen, there is an easy-to-access drain plug. Throttle response is sharp off the line before the CVT quickly reins in the torquey power. It is not a slug by any stretch, but the CVT limits the engine’s potential, which might not be a bad thing for boosting the confidence of less experienced riders.

The CVT also features an engine braking system, which is fairly aggressive when the throttle is released, but does a good job of controlling pace on steep downhill sections. A neat feature is the two and four-wheel-drive button above the throttle that can be activated on the fly, and it kicks in straight away.

 

The rear brake is enclosed as a unit next to the diff (for ­reduced wear, said Yamaha) and it is pretty weak, while the front disc brakes work fine. Hitting ruts and potholes was not a bone-jarring experience thanks to revised suspension that includes longer stroke for the shock absorbers.

This contributed to reasonably good handling, although barrelling downhill to an off-camber sharp turn reminds you it is not a race machine and caution is needed.For those who take care of their machines, getting to the air filter is simple. The seat is not locked and once it is pulled off, the air box cover is easily unclipped without tools to ­access the oiled foam filter.You can figure out when you need to do that via the service and hour meters on the new digital LCD screen that also displays fuel gauge, speedometer, 4WD indicator status and other useful information. There is also a 12v power outlet to charge the phone and it is wired to accept an optional winch, which can be installed in a couple of hours. Underneath is alloy plating to reduce damage and you can get to the main service access points without taking it off.

With this model you get a capable and modern machine that is comfortable and easy to ride. The CVT might not be everyone’s cup of tea, but it does the job and you still get plenty from the torquey ­engine, while the power steering is an excellent option.

 

The Verdict

Yamaha has come back to the midsize ATV table with a modern machine that offers big comfort with a small footprint at an affordable price. It’s a deadly combination in a marketplace looking to do away with compromise, and the Kodiak 450 has plenty to offer to first-time buyers and seasoned ATV veterans alike.

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