5 Inexpensive Mods to Get the Most Out of the Yamaha Grizzly


If you want the agility and speed of sports quads and a vehicle that’s not afraid to do some heavy lifting, then your best choice is a utility ATV. And if reliability, ample power, uprated independent suspension and selectable 4WD are priorities, then nothing beats the Yamaha Grizzly. This handles any type of terrain, has the pulling power for hard work, and beats rivals with competitive pricing. So, is this the complete package?

Almost. The Grizzly gets all the basics right, but some buyers will need a bit more. If you’re more into trail riding, then heavy-duty Yamaha ATV axles should be high on your shopping list. They’ll cope with tough terrain and get torque effortlessly down to the wheels. For a bit more fun and to get the most out of the 686cc single, also consider getting more air in with an aftermarket air filter kit, paired with a decent exhaust at the other end.

This should result in a capable ATV that can compete with quads pumping double the power. And to get the best of both worlds, consider adding front-end protection in the form of steel front brush guards, complemented with a high-capacity winch.

Why Upgrade the Stock Axles?


If you’re easier on the Grizzly, you might see 10 thousand miles from the axles before symptoms tell you they need replacing. While the stock CV joint guards do a good job of preventing cracks and ruptures in the boots from contact with sharper stones or branches, the axles will have to be replaced at some point. This comes earlier if you’re into technical trails, rock crawling or experimenting with mud.

There are tons of options when looking for replacement Yamaha ATV axles. Aftermarket brands take the guesswork out of fitment, so all should deliver torque when needed, without play in the transmission or CV joints. Cheaper aftermarket axles are still above OE requirements, meaning they’re better made, thicker and last longer in the type of riding the Grizzly’s are designed for. Most feature high-grade steel in the shafts, puncture-resistant boots made of neoprene, industrial bearings, and precision joints for smooth power transfer.

But this is just scraping the tip of what’s available. Heavy-duty axles are the best fit for the Grizzly if you want more work done and longer play times. There’s more value with units that use chromoly steel in the shafts, as they’re stronger and more heat and corrosion-resistant, have better wheel articulation with CNC-machined joints fitted with heavy-duty roller bearings, and have more protection from debris, rocks and water eating at the insides or leaking grease with thicker and more resistant boots.

Not only do you get more durability, but you also get more capability. This pairs well with the adept suspension setup (the main feature that separates the Grizzly from the Kodiak), the class-leading ground clearance, and the smoother shifting of the CVT.

Buyers can choose both Yamaha front axles and rear pairs. If the quad is already struggling on easier ground, even by throwing up weird sounds or making turning harder, it’s just time that one will die on you. Usually, this is down to seized bearings and joints, but bent or snapped axles aren’t rare. And if this happens when working on the farm or the construction site, or further out on your favorite trail, then a spare always comes in handy.

More Practicality with the Right Winch

Higher Grizzly trims have optional OE winches, but you need to fork out quite a bit of cash. Again, there’s more choice and quality, as well as more affordable prices, by choosing aftermarket brands. Winches are a necessity in dozens of jobs, from hauling tree stumps to clearing building sites or pulling game in hunting. And if you happen to get stuck while riding, a winch can pull you out of a tricky situation. You can also use one to help fellow riders.

Pulling capacities vary. Smaller, less powerful and cheaper winches still have a pulling capacity of 2500 pounds, which is well over twice the recommended weight of a fully loaded ATV. More work can be completed with winches weighing between 3500 and 4500 pounds, and these come with a more robust all-metal build as well as additional safety and convenience features such as load-holding brakes, selectable speeds, and remote operation.

Buyers also have to choose between steel and synthetic rope cables in the right length. Synthetic variants offer more safety and are resistant to corrosion, but are geared for light to medium loads. Go with steel for heavy-duty applications; just ensure they’re used safely and with the right winch accessories.

Better Performance with Aftermarket Air Filters


Engines need air to work, and clean air that’s cleansed of contaminants Air filters remove dirt, debris and water, prevent engine damage, and increase performance. In ATVs, they come in different shapes and designs, but all filter large and small particles. Specifically for the Grizzly, you’ll be looking at a drop-in or conical dual-layered foam or pleated cotton filter in oiled or dry designs.

Oiled filters are better regarded for their filtration properties, as well as being washable and reusable, so they are cheaper to maintain. Dry filters can filter out more contaminants, depending on what you’re getting, but most need to be replaced when dirty or clogged. If you notice the Grizzly is struggling with the throttle, using more fuel, or is hard to start, and if you’re pushing it through mud or after more often, periodically check the condition of the air filter to ensure you get optimal performance.

Consider Upgrading the Exhaust

The stock Grizzly exhaust is an unassuming stainless steel variant, fitted with a factory spark arrestor. It works well with the 50-horsepower Yamaha engine but doesn’t come close to the aftermarket systems. These are made of either aluminum or titanium, shed quite a bit of weight, are more durable, and are fitted with high-quality baffles to modify the sound. There are both loud and quiet exhausts to choose from.

Grizzly riders will see a significant increase in power and better throttle response, piping that lasts in demanding settings, and with the full or slip-on designs, looks that are more in tune with the ATV’s aggressive styling. Pair this with an uprated filtering kit for optimal performance in all riding conditions.

Front Brush Guards for Added Protection

Front brush guards and bumpers do a few things for your Grizzly. They provide front-end protection by nudging away rocks, branches and other nasties that can damage the quad, bust the lights, chip the paintwork or spoil the looks with scratches and dents. And they go well with the overall design. Grizzly owners get to choose between tubed, sheet metal and winch-ready guards. The latter come in either tube or sheet designs but also include a winch cradle mount. Each type consists of thick, power-coated steel able to stand against the rigours of high-speed riding in thick brush, or for demanding work purposes.