Taking the Kodiak for a test drive

Yamaha launch the Kodiak 450 ATV


Machinery
Sharon O'Keeffe national farm machinery writer Fairfax Rural Media test riding the newly launched Yamaha Kodiak 450 ATV.

Sharon O'Keeffe national farm machinery writer Fairfax Rural Media test riding the newly launched Yamaha Kodiak 450 ATV.

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Yamaha have launched the Kodiak 450 ATV

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With the tag line “work hard, ride easy” the Kodiak 450 was launched by Yamaha motors in Brisbane this month.

Styled as a workhorse, the mid-size ATV replaces the Grizzly 450 model and includes upgrades to specifically suit the agricultural market.

The launch included ATV safety training and an extended test ride of the Kodiak 450 by dealers and journalists. 

For this new new journalist, the test ride was a chance to get on the back of a quad for the first time in over five years, following more time spent in a ute, side by side vehicle or behind a desk.

In my experience broadacre growers and agronomists utilising quad bikes are generally after three things; stability, flotation and comfort.

The Yamaha Kodiak 450.

The Yamaha Kodiak 450.

Accessibility of paddocks for scouting without leaving a large footprint is a prime driver in the continued popularity of utility All Terrain Vehicles (ATV) on-farm.

Farmers handling stock are looking for these features as well as manoeuvrability, easy steering and the option of carrying a bit of payload. 

The Kodiak 450 might be a fit for both of these use profiles. Compared to the Grizzly 450 the Kodiak has a wider track front and rear, with the longer wheelbase, increased tyre width and larger wheels increase the stability of the ATV.

Comfort for extended riding was achieved through an improved seat design. The Kodiak has a roomier seat that encourages better posture when riding. The larger floorboards make active riding easier with increased foothold stability.  

The thumb throttle I was told, had been redesign to increase comfort.  I do not recall any serious thumb related injuries in my past, perhaps due to slower and more constant use speeds. In the test environment it made a large difference. The grip on the handlebars has also been improved which suited a more active style of riding.

Improved thumb comfort and on the fly 4WD is a feature of the Yamaha Kodiak 450.

Improved thumb comfort and on the fly 4WD is a feature of the Yamaha Kodiak 450.

Farmers with stock – or without – will want to think seriously about the option of the electronic power steering. The optional feature at about $1000 made me question why it would not be standard given the increased manoeuvrability it allows. 

Like many ATVs the rear brake is soft, and the front brake is required for a hard stop. Though the rear brake is sealed and according to the manufacturer, should be low maintenance.

When it comes to payload, the 600 kilogram tow rated Kodiak 450 should be fit for purpose. The front and back can carry 40 and 80 kilograms respectively. 

The Yamaha Kodiak 450 can carry and 80 kilogram load on the rear.

The Yamaha Kodiak 450 can carry and 80 kilogram load on the rear.

As a mid size ATV the 421cc single-cylinder ­engine with continuously variable transmission CVT will be enough for most on farm usage. On the fly 4WD is a handy feature for farmers moving between roads and rougher terrain.

For those on farm servicing, I found the demonstration of access impressive. No locks and simple access points. The air filter is easy to access.

Overall in my opinion the Kodiak 450 is a comfortable work horse that will be a good all round fit for most on farm ATV use situations.

  • Sharon O’Keeffe travelled to Brisbane for the launch of the Kodiak 450 as a guest of Yamaha Motors.
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