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SF Blog: Everything You Should Know About Yamaha's New Kodiak 450 ATV
Way back in 2003, Yamaha launched its sturdy, workhorse of an ATV—the Kodiak 450. Fast forward to 2017 and Yamaha has completely updated and upgraded the 450 to a more streamlined, maintenance-friendly machine that farmers can fly around their operations on.
Yamaha reps say this ATV is the one farmers should buy in bulk to build up the operation’s fleet. The Kodiak comes with a not-too-steep price tag, it’s durable and flexible for many tasks, and it’s not hard to operate – after all, I drove it to the top of a mountain. This is the machine they see ranchers running fences with and herding cattle on, runners taking parts or food out to the fields during harvest with, farmers scouting fields on, and anyone else being able to use with little training.
The original 450’s engine (the 21-cc. Yamaha fuel-injected engine) is legendary amongst many in agriculture, according to Yamaha ATV product managers, so that stayed pretty much the same, but Yamaha did improve CVT drivability. The 450 got a new chassis that’s protected by a full-length skid plate making is harder to damage but easy to service, if need be. Also new? The rear wet brake is completely sealed making it conveniently low-maintenance, the throttle lever was redesigned for the first time in about 15 years, and the meter and handlebar area was reconfigured for convenience and comfort.
As for accessories, farmers may be interested in outfitting new Kodiak 450s with rack extensions, pre-wired winches, rack backs, 2-inch receiver hitches, and manure-friendly over fenders.
I spent an entire day on the new Kodiak 450 on tight trails of all kinds in Olympia, Washington. We tackled steep and rocky sections, tight and dusty corners, and trails that were littered with thick, exposed tree roots and stumps. The Kodiak maneuvered it all almost flawlessly.
What I Liked:
- How the machine looked and felt large and durable, but handled like a smaller ATV. Although the new 450’s tread width has widened a bit (roughly 3 inches wider), the seat has been elongated and the machine’s base has gotten more slender. It feels compact, which for me felt very stable.
- Although I was riding on a Kodiak 450 EPS, I appreciated the fact that I was still able to really feel the obstacles under each wheel. After all, this is an ATV engineered for off-roads and obstacles, not like a UTV that beautifully speeds down gravel roads.
- Switching between 2WD and 4WD was simple, vibration discomfort was never a factor, and the larger footwell areas fit my boots just fine.
Farmers and ranchers can buy the new Kodiak 450 now starting at $5,999. All of the Kodiak 450 ATVs are assembled in the U.S.