ATV Torture Forums banner

ATV Product Review: Ohlins Suspension for the Grizzly 700

1926 Views 23 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  mexhusky357
Aftermarket suspension can be a significant upgrade on an offroad vehicle. Depending on the speed the vehicle is driven at, suspension improvements can enhance performance more than power upgrades. Being an old desert racer I have learned that a good suspension can make the difference between a flawless day where everything flows perfectly, and a day where you spend the entire time fighting your vehicle. I have done suspension upgrades on dirt bikes, sport ATVs, utility ATVs, and full size vehicles in the past, and have used a number of different manufacturers, including Ohlins, Elka, Fox, King, Works, WP, and Custom Axis. The Ohlins suspensions seemed to always have the best overall performance for what I wanted. So when I heard that Ohlins makes shocks for the Grizzly 700 I decided to give them a try.

Ohlins USA had to order them from Sweden, and it took three weeks for them to arrive on UPS. Here's what you get for your money:


And here are a few pictures of them on my Grizzly 700.






The Ohlins suspension make a dramatic improvement on a Grizzly 700. The ATV has a 1 1/2" lower ride height, but the same suspension travel. Cornering is much improved, and suspension action is plush but extremely well controlled, with no kickback, bucking, or swapping side to side over rough ground. This is the best riding and best handling utility ATV I have owned, and it already was the most capable. The improved suspension really rounds out the whole package, and makes the ride that much more enjoyable.

3TV
See less See more
6
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
Great initial review. I can't wait to see a full-blown ride report. With a few different folks making Grizz suspension now, it will be interesting to see your report on how these work and how well they hold up. Ohlins are top-notch so we can't wait to see if they stand up to their name.

Buster
They look great. Overall since you went to a taller tire, you probably only lost an 1" of ground clearance total, correct?

Can't wait to get your overall report. Did if feel dialed in right out of the box, or do you think you'll need to make some adjustments? (answers obviously can wait until the full review).
I actually lost an inch and a half of ground clearance, because I have gone back to the 25" Terracross tires. I had noticed that when I switched to the 26" Terracross tires that the ATV turned quicker without the front end push it had with the wide width 25" Terracross tires up front. But the ATV leaned more in turns with the taller tires. I decided to spend the whole evening trying different tire combinations with the new Ohlins shocks. I jacked up the Rhino and both my Grizzly and my wife's Grizzly, and put them on jack stands. I then had a set of 25" Terracross tires, a set of 26" Terracross XD tires, and a set of 27" XTR tires (on 14" wheels). I had already replaced the wide width 25x10x12 Terracross front tires I had used before with normal width 25x8x12 Terracross XD front tires for tonight's test rides. Over the last several hours I switched back and forth between 25" tires, 26" tires, and 27" tires several times, and took test rides all night with the different size tires. Going back to normal width front tires stopped the front end push, and that was not a problem with any of the three sizes of tires tonight. I have seen people using the wider width rear tires at all four corners several times on various forums, but I would NOT recommend that if handling and turning precision are a concern of yours.

What I found out tonight is that there is a HUGE difference in handling and turning, as well as suspension performance, between 25" tires, 26" tires, and 27" tires. The smaller, lighter, and flatter profile of the 25" tires absolutely blow away the taller tires when it comes down to handling. There is just no comparison, the difference is like night and day. The overall handling with 25" tires was so much better that I decided to go back to the 25" size, and have put the 26" size on the Rhino. My clutch on the Grizzly 700 also responds better with the 25" tires on it. I have eight Grizzly 660 weights in it, and would have had to retune it to hope to get back some of the lost performance.

So now my Grizzly rides an inch and a half lower than before, ... but it handles like it is on rails. The difference between my wife's Grizzly that is entirely stock except for 27" XTRs, and my Grizzly with the Ohlins shocks, clutch mods, Fasst Flexx handlebars, and 25" Terracross tires is astounding. The difference is so great that its hard to believe they're both Grizzly 700s. Her ATV is a great trail quad, and could likely do better in the most extreme terrain. Mine feels like a sport quad compared to hers, and could leave hers in the dust anyplace where it had room to stretch its legs.

I have not yet touched any of the clickers on the Ohlins shocks. I'm running them the way they came out of the box.

3TV
See less See more
Holy cow. Unreal that there's that much difference in 25 and 26" tires. For obvious reasons, 26" tires would kill power to an extent and even effect handling. But from what you say, it was a huge difference, not just minimal, and the nice suspension made the difference even more pronounced.

Keep us updated in the coming days of riding so everyone can get a better idea of how mucha difference suspension makes.

That in and of itself may make quad lovers turn to suspension upgrades and love their wheeler more than they already do.

Thanks to you and this last post, I'm wanting suspension more than ever to increase my speed and handling on the trail and the long straight stretch with a lot of big bumps. :BangHead:

Thanks Phil!
Buster
I need to find the time to do back to back tests like this! I need an extra 5 hours to my day and I'd be good!

Excellent observations! Can't wait for the long term report.
BusterW said:
Holy cow. Unreal that there's that much difference in 25 and 26" tires. For obvious reasons, 26" tires would kill power to an extent and even effect handling. But from what you say, it was a huge difference, not just minimal, and the nice suspension made the difference even more pronounced.
Buster
It depends on how you are riding the ATV Buster. For just cruising there is not that much difference noticeable between 25" tires and 26" tires, or between 26" tires and 27" tires. But when speeds increase, and you start to really push your capabilities and the ATVs capabilities, that is when the differences in handling and suspension become a big factor. Part of the test rides I did included a three mile long steep downhill Jeep road. The road drops 4000 feet in elevation in just three miles, has more twist and turns than you can imagine, and the ground surface is covered with 3" to 6" diameter rocks. It is a steep fast downhill road with a surface layer that is like riding on ball bearings. The effect of tire size is most noticeable when you are really pushing the ATVs limits, and come into turns way too fast to be able to scrub off anywhere near enough speed with the brakes to steer around the turn, and you realize that you are not going to make that turn by steering around it. You have to make a last second, make it or die, panic effort to make the turn by pinning the throttle wide open and backing the ATV into the turn at full throttle to powerslide your way around the turn. That is the type of riding that makes the tire size effect on handling very obvious, and the smaller, lighter, and flatter profile 25" tires are better by a huge margin.

3TV
See less See more
Mid-term report. I now have 200 miles use on the Ohlins shocks. I have had no problems with the shocks, and still have not even touched one of the clickers, or adjusted ride height or preload. They feel good enough that I have left them the way they came out of the box.

One thing that I think is important when trying to decide whether or not to purchase aftermarket shocks is the speed you ride your ATV at. Be honest with yourself, and analyze your need for aftermarket suspension. How often do you ride faster than the stock suspension is capable of? What is the average speed of your ATV? Take the total miles on the odometer, divided by the total hours on the engine clock, and see what you come up with. My Grizzly averages between 15 and 17 mph, depending on the time of year, and aftermarket suspension makes a world of difference at faster trail speeds. I see several people on these forums that ride only in mud, or other slow speed areas, and their average speed is 4 to 5 mph. If you use your Grizzly at that speed, the stock suspension is adequate.

At slow speeds aftermarket shocks do not make their biggest improvement. I know that with the Elka shocks on our Rhino, and the Ohlins shocks on the Grizzly, that at trail speeds of 5 to 7 mph over rocks and other trail obstacles, the shocks feel taught, firm, but very well controlled. I could turn down the compression damping on the shocks if I wanted a plusher ride at those speeds, but that is not where the shocks really excell. As speed increases the Ohlins shocks totally transform the Grizzly 700, and raise it to a whole new level of performance. We have two Grizzly 700s, one of which is stock and now even has the stock OEM tires on it that are still brand new because they were removed from the quad on day one. I put the stock tires back on to compare a stock Grizzly to my modified Grizzly. My Grizzly has 25" Terracross tires, ITP wheels that have more offset than the stock wheels (5+2), Flexx handlebars that allow for a more aggressive riding stance than the stock bars, and the Ohlins shocks. There are no motor mods on my modified Grizzly, but I have changed to eight Grizzly 660 roller weights in the clutch, which are a total of 24 grams lighter for the set than the Grizzly 700 clutch weights are.

The difference between these two Grizzly 700s could not be more pronounced. The modded Grizzly feels like a race car compared to the stock Grizzly. Engine RPM builds instantly when throttle is applied, and it accelerates harder and faster. The Ohlins shock lower ride height by 1 1/2 inches, but still give the same suspension travel. They have much better damping characteristics than the stock shocks, and absorb all impacts much better. I have yet to feel them bottom out. I'm sure they are bottoming out because the entire length of the shock shaft is wiped clean of dust after big jumps, but I can't feel them bottom out. The biggest improvement from the new shocks, however, is in handling. Front end dive under hard braking no longer occurs. Body roll in turns is essentially gone. And rear end squat under acceleration is greatly decreased. As a result, cornering is unbelieveably precise and easily controlled. Corner speed can be approximately double what it was before. Corners don't matter any more, hit them as fast as you want, and just throw the ATV sideways and pin the throttle. The back end powerslides like a sport quad, then hooks up and launches you out of the turn with a big wheelie. The decreased body roll and decreased rear end squat under acceleration is what makes the ATV wheelie coming out of turns, along with some help from clutch mods, because remember the engine is still stock. Fast trail riding on mountain ATV trails, and tight twisty jeep roads is amazing, especially when racing through a series of S-turns where rapid back and forth turns are needed. The predictable and precise handling make going fast so much easier that you have to experience it to believe it. Seriously, trail speeds can easily be doubled with the mods I've made to this Grizzly (shocks, tires, handlebars, and clutch).

For people that ride fast I highly recommend this upgrade.

3TV
See less See more
Great report 3TV and very informative.

What adjustments do these have for front and rear. I'm about to buy Elka's and don't know if I need preload and rebound on the rear or preload, compression and rebound on the rear. I don't want to spend the extra change for all 3 settings unless I absolutely must. They've suggested preload and compression up front and preload and rebound in the rear if I don't go with the setup with preload, compression and rebound in the back.

My riding will be primarily 15-40mph trail riding, potentially fairly agressive at times.

Thanks!
Buster
These shocks are preload and compression damping adjustable, ... not rebound damping adjustable. It would be nice to have the rebound adjustability capability, but to be honest, I likely would not have used it anyway. I haven't even touched the adjustments I have.

I don't know what the fully adjustable Elka's cost compared to these Ohlins, but if cost is similar that may be an acceptable alternative.

3TV
Just comparing Elka to Ohlins here. I like the ride quality of the Elka elites on our Rhino a little better than the ride quality of the Ohlins on our Grizzly. They are a little more plush on small chop, and they take the big jumps better. But that is not a fair comparison, because the Grizzly has stock a-arms, and stock suspension travel. The Rhino has +6.5 a-arms with long travel shocks that increase the Rhino's suspension travel from 7" stock to 15". Fifteen inches of suspension travel is huge, so I would expect the Rhino to be able to absorb a washout in the road at 50 mph easier than the Grizzly can. Same goes for jumps, 40 ft. through the air and 6 feet up doesn't even phase the Rhino. The Grizzly could handle that same jump, but the landing wouldn't be the same.

The Rhino's suspension is more supple with the Elka's, but the Grizzly's handling would blow away the Rhino. I have spent literally days adjusting the suspension on the Rhino, and have gone 16 clicks softer on high speed compression, no change on low speed compression, and twelve clicks more on rebound. In comparison, the Grizzly's suspension has required no tuning at all.

That has been my experience over the years with numerous sets of both Elka and Ohlins shocks on various vehicles. Both are superb quality, but Ohlins tends to get the valving spot on for my taste. Elka tends to be hit and miss with the valving, but with the adjustability of the shocks you can still get them right where you want them. I would have no hesitation going with either brand in the future.

3TV
See less See more
In simple terms, what type of riding would make you choose something with compression over something with rebound and vice versa. In other words, what's the simple definition of what each is intended to achieve.

Thanks!
Just throwing this out there regarding your suggestion of dividing miles by the hours on the machine. For some people that's just not a representative number. People have been known to leave their key on and that clicks away the hours. I also plow snow in the winter. That's a lot of slow driving and idling time as I shovel walks, etc.
Re: RE: ATV Product Review: Ohlins Suspension for the Grizzly 700

BusterW said:
In simple terms, what type of riding would make you choose something with compression over something with rebound and vice versa. In other words, what's the simple definition of what each is intended to achieve.

Thanks!
If you ride someplace where there are lots of whoops, rebound adjustability is more important. For standard trail riding with rocks, roots, etc., the compression adjustability is probably going to be enough.

3TV
Well, I just ordered the Elkas to give us yet another suspension test. Mine will have preload and compression up front and preload and rebound at the rear. We'll see how that does. For a few hundred more, I could have had compression on the back as well if I really felt like I wanted to tinker with it that much. But I decided with mostly trail riding, that may be overkill.

For the rear of a Grizzly 700, Elka does not offer a shock with just preload and compression. it's either preload and rebound or preload, rebound and compression.

I'm not sure the price on the Ohlins, but retail pricing on the Elkas is as follows:

Front
- Piggyback w/ preload and compression: $860
- Piggyback w/ preload, rebound and compression: $1,125

Rear
- Remote w/ preload and rebound: $860
- Remote w/ preload, rebound and compression: $1,125

Buster
See less See more
That's excellent! One good thing about Elka is that they will service them for free when at a national race like GNCC.
I need to hit the lottery dang it. Or get off my you know what and sell another house so I can get me some suspension. :crybaby2:
Well I'm contemplating changing my order in the moring for the rears with all 3 settings just for kicks. I wish someone would tell me there's no reason I need it. :BangHead:
Congrats on the Elka's Buster. You're going to think you bolted pure magic onto your ATV when you put them on.

3TV
Well, it was your pre-review on the Ohlins that pushed me over the edge.

Now I need help to NOT bump my order up to another level.

Buster
1 - 20 of 24 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top