HOW FAST IS THE 708CC KODIAK?
As fast as the Grizzly, but not as
quick. While the Grizzly and Kodiak
have the same 708cc engine with
44mm EFI throttle body, the Grizzly
went from 21-gram CVT weights to
18-gram weights, while the Kodiak’s
CVT clutch has 30-gram weights for
ease of riding and traction, along with
less low-rpm noise for hunting. So, the
Kodiak accelerates slower but gets to
similar top speeds on open trails. It’s
definitely much faster than other 4x4s
in its price range and will walk away
from 420 Ranchers and Foreman and
Rubicon 500s. We’ll have to drag race
the Kodiak and Sportsman 570 to see
which is faster. Power and torque are
up 30 percent from the Grizzly 550.
HOW ABOUT CVT/4X4 DELIVERY?
Top-shelf, just like the Grizzly.
While the Kodiak has much heavier
CVT clutch weights, it has the same
Ultramatic CVT with centrifugal clutch
for constant belt tension and a sprag
clutch for two- or four-wheel engine
braking. The dual-range CVT spools up
at lower engine speeds, but only the
SE has front diff-lock. The base and
EPS models have a mechanical 4WD
lever and cable setup riding under the
rear brake cable, while the SE has the
same two-button 2WD/4WD/diff-lock
control on the right handlebar pod as
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Like an adolescent Grizzly 700.
The Kodiak has shocks more like the
old Grizzly 550, and the width is 1.9
inches narrower than the Grizzly 700’s.
The wheelbases are the same on the
Kodiak and Grizzly, but the smaller
25-inch tires lighten steering on the
Kodiak. The Kodiak steers quicker
and has a lower ride height for crisper
cornering, although its narrower profile
gets it up to bicycle sooner with a fast
HOW IS THE NEW IRS SUSPENSION?
Much like the Grizzly’s. Front travel
IS IT THE KING OF THE HILL?
is 0.5 inches less than the Grizzly’s, and
rear travel is the same. The spring and
damping rates were excellent for the
hard-core trails we rode at Windrock
Springs, and they’re tuned for long
days in the saddle. There’s a good
balance between trail comfort and
bottoming resistance over water bars.
Not if a Grizzly 700 is around. The
Kodiak climbs most hills as well as a
Grizzly, but the 1-inch-lower tires have
it dragging its skid plate more, and the
lack of diff-lock on all but the SE cuts
down on four-wheel traction when it’s
needed most. On the other hand, the
heavier CVT weights make it hook up
better than a Grizzly on really slick trails,
Heat shielding and the heavy CVT weights keep temperatures and
noise low in the cockpit, and a spin-off cover allows quick access to
the engine-oil dipstick. The seat base is the same as the Grizzly’s, but
the seat foam is a 1/2-inch lower.
EPS and Special Edition Kodiaks get the new digital instrument
package and third headlight, but only the SE gets front diff-lock
and the push-button 2WD/4WD/diff-lock system on the right
handlebar pod (not shown). The range selector and “in-tank” storage
compartment are nice.
Splash protection is good with the all-new Kodiak plastic, and it draws air for the engine and
CVT at front-rack level. The 708cc Kodiak will also turn much taller tires than its mid-size
competition, so it’s going to be popular with mud riders.