; If you already own any of the
quads in this shootout, don’t worry;
all four are great machines. Sure
there are larger-displacement quads
available, such as the Outlander
1000 and Arctic Cat Thunder Cat
1000, but those machines should be
reserved for snow, deep muddin’,
drag racing or another special need.
The reason we selected these four top
dogs is that 700-850cc machines are
some of the most sought after, and
these have all been upgraded for
2012. We will tell you how they com-
pare side by side in some of the most
punishing terrain we could find. With
the improved fuel system on the
Sportsman, new tires on the Grizzly,
upgraded engine and bodywork on
the Brute Force and the rebuilt
Outlander chassis, these machines
are all jockeying for the number one
In our September 2011 issue, we
explained in detail how Can-Am
redesigned the platform that both the
Renegade and the Outlander ride on.
The frame has been changed from a
single wide spar wrapping around
the engine to a more conventional
twin-tube cradle setup. Out back, the
boxed trailing arms were swapped
for steel tubular units with entirely
new pick up points and shock positions.
Up top, the Outlander’s bodywork
Dual A-arms on the Grizzly provide a
plush and forgiving 7.1 inches of wheel
travel. The high-clearance lower arms
help the Grizzly offer it 11. 8 inches of
Yamaha is the only one in this test that
uses a single-cylinder engine. It has a
ton of torque and runs the smoothest
throughout the powerband. The CVT
belt is the easiest to get to.
Yamaha uses a super-thin foam air-filter element that can easily be cleaned,
inspected or dried out on the trail. It’s
also the second cheapest to replace.
The filter on the Brute Force is only $3.
A pair of A-arms control the 9. 5 inches
of movement from both rear tires.
Under the machine, a full-plastic skid
plate protects the frame as well as
plastic can. We would opt for an aftermarket aluminum unit after the stockers wear out on all of the machines.
A box under the seat and this storage
hole in the right front fender are adequate for smaller items. We wish
Yamaha would offer more standard
storage opportunities in the entire
The Grizzly has excellent splash protection. However, if the
floorboards get wet, they get a little slippery. The Grizzly has
the easiest CVT drain plug to access, and the bodywork is
well thought out for easier removal during maintenance.
The Brute Force can be ridden in very deep water before it
drowns out. It’s the easiest to get running if you do sink it
and had to get it back running out on the trail. Splash protection, however, is not the best.