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Discussion Starter #1
Howdy Honda friends,

I've been around a while, and ya'll know I love my 2016 Honda Rancher. I'm a numbers guy, so today I'm posting that I think Yamaha's new Kodiak 450 gives Honda some serious competition. Here's why, by the numbers:

(As I'm a fan of EPS, I'll compare similarly equipped machines, with Power Steering, 4x4, and independent suspension at all four corners.)

Price:
Kodiak 450 EPS (green with black steel wheels) = $6899
Rancher DCT IRS EPS (yellow w/ black steel wheels) = $8099

Engine:
Kodiak = 421cc, 10.0:1 compression, 84.5mm x 75mm bore & stroke, 34mm throttle body, FUEL INJECTION
Rancher = 420cc, 9.9:1 compression, 86.5mm x 71.5mm bore & stroke, 33mm throttle body, FUEL INJECTION

Transmission:
Kodiak = Ultramatic belt-drive with High, Low, Neutral, Reverse, Park (this is a proven transmission, and probably the best design in the belt-drive industry, virtually no belt wear)
Rancher = DCT automatic (gear-on-gear), electric manual shift or "auto" mode, 5 forward speeds, Neutral, and Reverse (also proven, offers true gear selection)

Four-Wheel Drive:
Kodiak = button-activated 4-wheel-drive with open front diff
Rancher = lever-activated 4-wheel-drive with open front diff

Tires:
Kodiak = 25" tires on 12" wheels
Rancher = 24" tires on 12" front and 11" rear wheels

Brakes:
Kodiak = hydraulic disc front, sealed wet brake rear (zero maintenance, highly praised)
Rancher = hydraulic disc front and rear

Suspension:
Both have IRS and comparable preload adjustment.

Suspension Travel:
Kodiak = 6.7" front, 7.4" rear
Rancher = 7.3" front, 8.5" rear

Ground Clearance:
Kodiak = 9.6"
Rancher = 9.2"

Cargo Racks:
Both have comparable, steel racks front and rear.
Kodiak = 88 lbs front, 176 lbs rear
Rancher = 66 lbs front, 133 lbs rear

Tow Rating:
Kodiak = 1322 lbs
Rancher = 848 lbs

Curb Weight:
Kodiak = 650 lbs
Rancher = 686 lbs

Turning Radius:
Kodiak = 10.2 ft
Rancher = 11.5 ft

Fuel Tank:
Kodiak = 3.7 gallons
Rancher = 3.9 gallons

Lighting:
Kodiak = dual front headlights WITH THIRD HANDLEBAR-MOUNTED LIGHT
Rancher = dual front headlights (have to get Foreman or Rubicon for handlebar-mounted light)

Accessory 12V Power Port:
Kodiak = standard equipment
Rancher = not available (have to get Foreman or Rubicon for accessory power outlet)

On-board Storage: (roughly equivalent space)
Kodiak = under the seat
Rancher = behind tail lamp

Style:
Both look awesome, looks are subjective, you decide.

In summary...
1. Yamaha doesn't give up anything to Honda in reliability, and the Kodiak is based on the proven Grizzly 450, but figure in the past 3 years of updates and improvements.
2. It looks to me like there is a real argument for more value in the new 2018 Kodiak.
3. I LOVE my Rancher, but Yamaha is making a very good argument for itself. I bought my 2016 Rancher in December of 2015. Had this new Kodiak been available at the time, the outcome might have been different.
 

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Holy moly!! I never realised how large the turning radio is was, got my 300 down to 8'6" ish with a little tinkering and tow out :-D
I should run 'rings' around my bosses 420 <-- pun intended lol.

That's a good review creed, it seems to me the kodiak is actually (on paper) the better machine, certainly has more plus factors than the Honda. Downside for me is the belt drive, that being said, if it was used for what it was designed for I can't see it posing any issues.
Think I'm right in saying that it's deep water/mud and lack of maintenance that kills belts?
 

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Yamaha has a very reliable belt drive, the biggest factor people leave out is replacing the grease inside the primary clutch.

I like that Yamaha has a centrifugal clutch given really good engine braking, at the end of the day though, I would still take a Honda over Yamaha any day.
 

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I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
 

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I was really disappointed with Yamaha's new Kodiak, I think the old Kodiak/Grizzly 450 was a better machine, aside from the lack of EFI. While now the Kodiak gives the Rancher a run for it's money, the old Kodiak was a hands down winner...
 

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I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
 

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I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
No diff lock on my rancher, I don't think Honda really had a locker that would give you a true 4 wheel drive until the new style Rubicons which have them now.
My old Kodiak had 4x4, and then 4x4 with the diff lock, which was really good if you didn't feel like doing anything except going straight. Lol
 

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I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
Big difference between a LSD and Locker. Honda has their "torque sensing" front diff which works OK, it was a step up from the old 300's front diff anyway, at least you could apply front brakes and get power to the correct front tire most of the time. But it's still not as good as being able to flip a switch and have it locked solid, zero slip. The 2014 Foreman was the first Honda to have this feature, about 10+ years behind everyone else haha. The older Kodiak's or Grizzly 450's as they were called in the US had this as well, which was great. Now the new Kodiaks they did away with it to cut costs.....:|
 

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Yeah, I understand how they work, a locker at the flick of a switch would be ideal I must admit. My 300 works a treat now, I shimmed it up a touch, great in the mud holes.
My bosses 420 works really well though for a stock diff, it's either broken or one that Honda got right haha
 

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I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
No diff lock on my rancher, I don't think Honda really had a locker that would give you a true 4 wheel drive until the new style Rubicons which have them now.
My old Kodiak had 4x4, and then 4x4 with the diff lock, which was really good if you didn't feel like doing anything except going straight. Lol
Yeah it's a workout trying to steer them with a front locker haha
The only way to get around that is to run a higher ratio front diff, then you have to learn to accelerate as you turn, more you accelerate faster it pulls you around. Still hard to hold on full lock though.
 

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I cant see how someone will pay 8k for a rancher 420
 

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Yeah, I understand how they work, a locker at the flick of a switch would be ideal I must admit. My 300 works a treat now, I shimmed it up a touch, great in the mud holes.
My bosses 420 works really well though for a stock diff, it's either broken or one that Honda got right haha
it was used, maybe someone has messed with it before too? lol
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Holy moly!! I never realised how large the turning radio is was, got my 300 down to 8'6" ish with a little tinkering and tow out :-D
I should run 'rings' around my bosses 420 <-- pun intended lol.

That's a good review creed, it seems to me the kodiak is actually (on paper) the better machine, certainly has more plus factors than the Honda. Downside for me is the belt drive, that being said, if it was used for what it was designed for I can't see it posing any issues.
Think I'm right in saying that it's deep water/mud and lack of maintenance that kills belts?
That seems to be what I've seen. I see lots of fried belts on Polaris and Can Am quads, but like...never on a Yamaha. They use a proprietary design that keeps the belt tight, no slippage, and uses a clutch (similar to Honda) for off-idle engagement, unlike Polaris and Can Am. I've seen some OLD Kodiaks and Grizzlies with this Ultramatic that are still running the original belt with over 10,000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
For years I wanted to buy a new Grizzly 450, but two things killed it for me: 1) no fuel injection, and 2) Yamaha discontinued the Grizz 450. So, I bought my 2016 Honda Rancher and I have no complaints. LOVE my Rancher. Worth all $7500 I paid for it. If I could go back to Dec 5th of 2015, I'd do it all again.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
I'm not complaining, but as far as I can tell, mine has acted like an open diff. But I've never gotten my 2016 Rancher stuck, despite the crazy places I've ridden it. 4wd even with open (limited) front diff always got me out.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
I used to have a Kodiak 450 before I sold it and bought my Rancher. In my opinion, as far a belt drive machines go, Yamaha has the best design. Switching from the belt drive to the DCT transmission took a little getting used to, and I wish my Honda had the front diff-lock that the Yamaha had. Other then that, the Honda is the better machine and will hopefully last a very long time.
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
Big difference between a LSD and Locker. Honda has their "torque sensing" front diff which works OK, it was a step up from the old 300's front diff anyway, at least you could apply front brakes and get power to the correct front tire most of the time. But it's still not as good as being able to flip a switch and have it locked solid, zero slip. The 2014 Foreman was the first Honda to have this feature, about 10+ years behind everyone else haha. The older Kodiak's or Grizzly 450's as they were called in the US had this as well, which was great. Now the new Kodiaks they did away with it to cut costs.....:|
You'll notice for 2018 the Kodiak 450 does NOT have diff lock, which disappoints me, but Yamaha ADDED diff lock to the Kodiak 700 for 2018, probably because of complaints, and to further differentiate it from the 450.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.
No diff lock on my rancher, I don't think Honda really had a locker that would give you a true 4 wheel drive until the new style Rubicons which have them now.
My old Kodiak had 4x4, and then 4x4 with the diff lock, which was really good if you didn't feel like doing anything except going straight. Lol
Yeah it's a workout trying to steer them with a front locker haha
The only way to get around that is to run a higher ratio front diff, then you have to learn to accelerate as you turn, more you accelerate faster it pulls you around. Still hard to hold on full lock though.
Another reason I LOVE power steering. Largely mitigates adverse steering effects from the locked front diff. I would love a Foreman for this reason.
 

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Your rancher doesn't have a locker? Thought they had an LSD...? My bosses 09 definitely has, we tried it out, works well.


Big difference between a LSD and Locker. Honda has their "torque sensing" front diff which works OK, it was a step up from the old 300's front diff anyway, at least you could apply front brakes and get power to the correct front tire most of the time. But it's still not as good as being able to flip a switch and have it locked solid, zero slip. The 2014 Foreman was the first Honda to have this feature, about 10+ years behind everyone else haha. The older Kodiak's or Grizzly 450's as they were called in the US had this as well, which was great. Now the new Kodiaks they did away with it to cut costs.....:|


You'll notice for 2018 the Kodiak 450 does NOT have diff lock, which disappoints me, but Yamaha ADDED diff lock to the Kodiak 700 for 2018, probably because of complaints, and to further differentiate it from the 450.


I'd have to look again but the Kodiak 700 top of the line model had diff lock from the beginning, do the base model 700's now have it too? I wonder if the front diffs are all the same and they just have a different handlebar switch that doesn't have diff lock lol. The old Arctic Cat 300's didn't have diff lock, but used the same front diff as the Suzuki 300 which did have it. You could modify the 2/4wd lever to go one notch further on the Arctic Cats and it would give you diff lock on it haha


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