Making your way around your favourite hunting ground sure seems to have been made a whole lot easier.
In my day, we were quite content to plough through the backblocks of Howard Swamps in a rattly, old, open-top Landcruiser, coaxing it to get as close as possible to the swampy morass that we knew held a great number of pigs, then simply just legging it in from there . It’s pretty obvious to me that those days are well and truly in the past, and your transport-savvy hunter is out and covering greater distances in shorter periods of time and in more relevant comfort. Recently returning to the Top End after a long stint away, I was pretty keen to get back out in the field. However, after 16 years absence from the Top End hunting scene, I have noticed some big changes. ATVs, quads, quaddies…call them what you will…it just seems to me that, if you do not want to look like a buck-toothed hillbilly who just crawled out of the ground, nowadaYs when you go hunting , you must do it the smart way: from the saddle of a quad. Thanks to NT Motorcycle Centre, I had a chance to experience firsthand how the Yamaha Grizzly operated when put up against late wet season NT terrain. Firstly, let me paint a picture for you about Northern Territory wet season mud. This stuff has the consistency of a Macca’s thick shake left in the sun for a day – black, hungry, quad-swallowing slop that takes some careful consideration before you traverse it. This year, the Top End’s wet season was about average, and offered plenty of challenges for the outdoors person heading into the bush. Taking on the Yamaha Grizzly 700cc, the first thing that stood out was that it had a surprisingly low exhaust note for a big bore motor, and let’s face it, if you’re hunting, unannounced is important if arriving at a billabong or skirting a floodplain. The power is there in bucket loads but, if you’re chasing Raptor-styled racing oomph, you’ve dialled the wrong number with The Grizzly...but not by much! This is no lumbering oxen – the Grizzly’s speed-sensitive power steering ensures it is nimble enough to thread its way through tight paperbark stands or barely-perceptible narrow tracks through the long grass. The Grizzly can easily get you across long stretches at speed, and just as easily have you patrolling quietly, at a snail’s pace, to get you on target without overheating. The automatic electric fan cools the radiator which is well protected and up out of the way to avoid damage from being impaled by low-slung tree stumps or being staved in by rocks. And when it all turns real ugly, the three-position On Command IN/OUT 4x4 is right there at the push of a button. Loved that feature, I can tell you. Plus there’s engine brake control to slow down and offer more control on steep downhills – a wonderful, comforting feature. The suspension is with you every step of the way; you push it and it pushes you right back, soaking up the lumps and bumps from a five-way adjustable suspension. Coupled with sensible ground clearance, it will take a lot of stopping. The big single 700cc is designed for low-down torque and will drag itself out of the deepest of hellish morasses. The air filter is high, tight and handsome, placing it well out the way, and making it difficult to suck in a gutful of water and really wreck your day when crossing creeks. Nice too is the fully-automatic Ultramatic transmission, featuring an automatic centrifugal clutch which maintains constant belt tension for reduced belt wear and uses a sprag clutch for all-wheel downhill engine braking in 4WD mode. I was equally impressed with the advanced digital instrument panel which boasted a multifunction LCD display with speedometer, odometer, dual tripmeter, hour meter, 4WD status, transmission position, clock and fuel gauge. The standard carry racks on the Grizzly can transport your gear easily enough; in fact, it will take an additional 130kg of gear or quarry. Let’s be honest, at some point Mother Nature will eventually win. To counter this, aftermarket winches are available and can be ordered and installed at Darwin’s NT Motorcycle Centre. There are also a number of other aftermarket accessories available, such as rifle buckets, light bars and rim kits. You can check out the seven Yamaha Grizzly models available at the NT Motorcycle Centre, ranging from 300cc up to 700cc.
Engine Engine Type Single cylinder, liquid-cooled 4-stroke, EFI, SOHC, 4-valve Displacement 686 cc Bore x Stroke 102 x 84 mm Compression Ratio 9.2 : 1 Lubrication System Wet sump Fuel Management Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI), 44mm Ignition CD-CDI Starter System E Fuel Tank Capacity 20 L Oil Capacity 2.4 L Final Transmission Shaft drive Transmission Yamaha Ultramatic® V-belt / H, L, N, R, P
Dimensions Length 2065 mm Width 1180 mm Height 1240 mm Seat Height 905 mm Wheelbase 1250 mm Ground Clearance 275 mm Turning Radius 3200 mm Wet Weight 294 kg with 20 litres of fuel
Chassis Suspension Front Double A-arm Suspension Rear Independent rear suspension, double A-arm Brakes Front Dual hydraulic disc Brakes Rear Dual hydraulic disc Tyres Front AT25 x 8-12 Tyres Rear AT25 x 10-12