It’s easy to overlook the smaller displacement ATVs in favor of maximum power and features offered on larger models. For most owners, however, the extra power isn’t needed and can be intimidating, and a smaller displacement engine in a slightly smaller chassis gets the job done perfectly. The Grizzly 450 EPS was designed with that in mind.
The new Grizzly 450 EPS rides on a chassis that is simpler and lighter than previous models. Suspension features dual A-arms up front, Independent Rear Suspension, and 10.8 inches of ground clearance which we appreciate. At the rear is a redesigned, sealed brake system which you’ll never wear out, while disc brakes are found at the front. Underbody protection features composite skid plates and even the CV boots are given a new protective shield. The engine on the Grizzly 450 EPS is a reliable, 4-stroke, 421cc liquid-cooled, SOHC design with a 33mm Mikuni carburetor. Electric start is standard, and the engine features a gear-driven crankshaft balancer and rubber mounts to keep vibration to a minimum. Even the CVT air intake was designed to keep contaminants out, and the engine gets a large capacity radiator. A stainless steel exhaust looks great and is ready for years of service. Underneath the CVT cover is Yamahas Ultramatic system which uses a centrifugal clutch, and a one-way sprag clutch to control engine braking. The advantage is constant belt tension and much better belt life. The greatest new feature, though, is Electronic Power Steering that was specifically designed for this model and is speed and torque sensitive. The faster you go, the less input it provides, making for just the right amount of feel. A secondary advantage is that the EPS system absorbs trail impacts rather than jamming the bars back into your hands.
On the trail, the new Grizzly 450 EPS feels light, nimble, precise, and confidence inspiring. For normal riding over harsh bumps, sharp rocks, or off cambers the suspension feels very good, and the Maxxis tires work everywhere and are a good match for the available power. The slightly smaller chassis is comfortable, and the engine is strong yet forgiving, predictable and easy to control even for new riders, and is well matched to the chassis. Clearly the junior Grizzly was designed for comfort, usability, and reliability. For all it offers, the Yamaha Grizzly 450 EPS is our pick as Best 450cc Class Utility ATV of 2010.