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Over the last week I was able to put my 2016 Kodiak through its paces and find out what I like, what I don't like, and what Yamaha needs to do to the base model machine.

I headed down to Arizona for a javelina hunt which would entail a lot of ATVing through dry sandy washes and up rocky hills. The first day out I was amazed at the power of this machine. Just a touch of the throttle and I was off to the races, but most of our riding was done very slow looking for tracks in the dry wash beds. I took it up a power line road that is more washed out than it is intact. This machine handled it with no problem in 2 wd, even the heavily washed out areas. The weight of the machine held the ground and was not too hard to handle in areas that had a good side hill that had to be ridden over. Coming down I did notice that the engine breaking was better than a lot of machines that I have ridden but not as good as others, but still it does it's job.

As the week got longer and the sand deeper and looser I did notice that the tires seamed to slide when going around a turn under a little power. The sand here was mostly large granular sand or real small ones of rocks the size of a pin head. But that could be corrected by some other tread design, but then again they did their job. It was just a strange feeling. After the first week I did open it up on the straights. Doing this I noticed that it has way more power than I really need, but it is fun to have it. I had no problems with the standard arm strong steering even when stopped. The electronic power steering would be nice but in my book it is not needed as long as you understand what you have and know how to work the standard steering.

A couple of things that I would like the factory to do is to add a hour meter and or a odometer. If I followed the factory recommendations on maintenance and kept riding like I did this last week I would be way over both hours and miles. I guess we are suppose to have a log book and log in how long we rode each time that we ride the machine. I do have a order in for a Striker Stealth Computer Kit which should be here next week I hope. Then I can track my miles and perform the maintenance when it is needed. The base model also does not come with CV boot guards which the factory calls "Thrust Covers" but I ordered 4 of them and had them installed in 10 minutes. If you ride anywhere that a stick might get a CV boot these are a necessary. Another thing that I would like to see is some good storage on the machine. My friend rides a Artic Cat and it has more storage on it than a mini van. It has a large box under the rear fender that can hold more items than you should ever need, and with all the space that the Kodiak has back there behind the rack braces it would be a nice addition. The 4x4 lever can be a little awkward to work if you find yourself in a situation where you need 4 wheel drive right now, not in 5 seconds once you remove your hand from the handle bar to grab it and switch it over to 4x4. I tried doing this in a hurry and with some practice it can be done but it is still awkward. Perhaps a retro kit from the factory to go to the push button, but I understand that some have tried with poor success.

But still the biggest thing that the base model needs is a ODOMETER, it doesn't need to be fancy but just a readout even a analog one would work.

Over all after riding my Kodiak for a little over a week and putting it through it's paces I will say that it is a good machine. Time will tell if it is a great one.
 

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A couple of other things came to mind this morning.

The plastic battery cover needs some kind of latch on it other than the push/pull rubber grommets. On my way to Arizona I lost it once and if I hadn't seen something fly off behind my truck I would of had to buy a new one along with having to deal with problems with water down into the fuse/relay area when it rained on us down there. I'm going to try and figure something out that is quick and easy to disconnect just to keep it from coming off again.

Then there is the racks and using bungee cords to hold something in place. The front rack with it's taper to the front allows the cord to slip off quite easy so you almost have to tie things down front to back on it. Then the rear rack is too large for a standard bungee S hook.

These are just a few things that I am going to deal with before my next long distance ride.
 

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I wish Yamaha would have put the 4wd lever on the other side of the shifter. Something like the old King Quads . I agree the lever is unnecessary hard to use
 
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