First Drive

Yamaha Ko­diak 450 ATV

Farms & Farm Machinery - - Contents -

The 500cc class of quad-bike is the most pop­u­lar among Aus­tralian and New Zealand farm­ers so the 2018 Ko­diak 450 is an im­por­tant model.

No won­der Yamaha has gone all out to make it as good as it can be while keep­ing it at a rea­son­able price. The non-pow­er­steer­ing model re­tails for $10,299 and the power-steer­ing ver­sion for $11,299.

The Ko­diak is made in New­nan, Ge­or­gia. Here we get one colour, Steel Blue, but in the US the EPS model comes in Ar­mor Grey, Fall Beige, Hunter Green and Real­tree camo. The non-EPS model comes in Red.

Is power steer­ing worth it? If you can af­ford the ad­di­tional 1000 bucks, go for it. Power steer­ing makes any ATV less phys­i­cal to ride, takes the harsh­ness out of the steer­ing and makes the ve­hi­cle more ma­noeu­vrable when you’re screw­ing it through tight scrub all day.

It’s also less tir­ing for women to ride a loaded ATV if it has power steer­ing. And just for the record, the Ko­diak’s power steer­ing is very good.

The Ko­diak bridges what Yamaha sees as a gap be­tween en­trylevel ma­chines and those made for more ex­pe­ri­enced rid­ers, and in our opin­ion does it very well. The 2018 model isn’t a tartup, though, but a full-blown re­vi­sion of what Yamaha be­lieves a mod­ern 450 should be.

The com­pany has even pin­pointed the age and likely in­come of the buyer: a male aged about 55, with 15 years’ rid­ing ex­pe­ri­ence and an an­nual in­come of $60,000 to $80,000. Ag use will ac­count for 70 per cent of Ko­diak sales, and be­tween them, com­mer­cial and re­cre­ational use for the re­main­ing 30 per cent.

Since quad man­u­fac­tur­ers are keen for their cus­tomers to stay alive, rider ed­u­ca­tion through an ac­cred­ited train­ing com­pany – in this case Getabout Train­ing Ser­vices – is part of the deal when you buy a Ko­diak.

If you be­lieve you’d ben­e­fit from train­ing, or from even a re­fresher course, let your dealer know and they’ll put you in con­tact with Getabout.

(Since we too would like to see you re­main on this earth, if you’d pre­fer to con­tact Getabout your­self, you can ring ’em on 1300 660 320.)

Okay, so much for niceties. Let’s get dirty. I wasn’t ex­ag­ger­at­ing when I said that just about ev­ery­thing on this ma­chine is new. I was about to write that only the con­trols are un­changed, then I dis­cov­ered that Yamaha has made the thumb throt­tle slightly longer and deeper, so there goes my clever ob­ser­va­tion.

In fact, as far as we can tell, the only thing un­changed is the Ul­tra­matic trans­mis­sion.

How­ever, rather than strug­gle through a te­dious ex­pla­na­tion of all the new fea­tures, here’s a list of ma­jor im­prove­ments:

• The chas­sis is new, so the frame mem­bers can ac­com­mo­date

the new fuel-in­jected en­gine

• The en­gine has rub­ber mounts to re­duce vi­bra­tion

• The ma­chine is wider (930mm up front and 935mm down the

back) and wheel­base is longer at 1240mm

• The sus­pen­sion com­prises long travel, pre-load ad­justable gas


• There are new CV joints

• Front and rear A-arms are longer by 38mm

• The seat is wider and longer

• The footwells are larger for more legroom, and stiffer to

re­duce flex­ing

• Side cov­ers are new

• So is the ex­haust sys­tem

• The shifter mech­a­nism has been moved for­ward

• CVT cool­ing is bet­ter than it was

• The full-length bash plate has ac­cess holes for chang­ing diff

and en­gine oil


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