Ever wondered which ATV laid the groundwork for the indomitable Grizzly during the mid-2000s? Well, it is the Yamaha Bruin 350. Introduced to the market in 2004, this Grizzly forerunner foretold what is to come in Yamaha’s lineup – quads with capabilities matching that of mid-weight 600s. However, people tend to overlook this fine machine and its contributions – which brings me to give it some deserved limelight in this guide.
The Yamaha Bruin 350 is a value-laden, entry-level quad produced from 2004 to 2006. This simple yet powerful machine was (and still is) a favorite among casual riders and enthusiasts, boasting features like a 22-hp engine, rugged, utility-oriented aesthetic, IRS, and UltraMatic™ CVT transmission.
Despite being in production for only three years, the Yamaha Bruin 350 has amassed a huge following due to its practicality, simplistic design, and straightforward mannerisms. So much so that it is deemed better than Yamaha’s own Big Bear 400 and Honda’s 2000 Rancher.
Curious to find out what this 350-cc quad has to offer? Join me as I share with you sought-after details in today’s article.
Another Bear Cub Joins the Team
The Yamaha Bruin 350 went out in the market a little after the 400-class Big bear, right alongside the iconic YFZ450. At the time, Yamaha had yet to offer consumers a smaller and more affordable Grizzly (the latter was only available in 660-cc displacement back then).
Whether the Bruin was intended as “the poor man’s Grizzly” is left for speculation. But what is certain is that this lightweight four-wheeler aptly filled in the segment void. Riders who can spend no more than $5,000 on a quad were no longer alienated from the riding community.
However, to say that the Bruin is a compromise would be quite a misconception. Despite its affordable price point, Yamaha did not skimp on the ATV’s offerings.
The 350-cc quad was equipped with selectable driveline modes, full-length skid plates, double A-arms, long-travel suspension, and a fully automatic transmission. And if that were not enough, the machine also had one of the highest towing rates and payload capacities in its category.
Manufactured from 2004 to 2006, this utility-cum-adventure machine released eight models and three trims total throughout its production period. Iterations included 2WD, 4WD, and 4×4 Camouflage models in a blue, green, red, and black finish, all equipped with the above features, engine braking, and independent rear suspension.
2005 Yamaha Bruin 350 Specs & Features (YFM350BA/BAT)
Power comes from an air-cooled, single-cylinder, 4-stroke SOHC engine. It has a piston displacement of 348.9 cm3 (21.3 in3) and a wet sump lubrication system. A BSR33 Mikuni carburetor and a wet-element air filtration system handle its air-fuel mixture.
|Yamaha Bruin 350 Top Speed||42–50 mph (67.6–80.5 km/h)**|
|Horsepower (at crankshaft 95/1/EC)||19–22 hp (14–22 kW)**|
|Fuel Economy (average)||20.4–22.4 mpg (10.5–11.5 L/100 km)**|
Fuel & Lubrication
Recommended fuel is 13.5 L (3.57 USgal, 3.3 L reserve included) of regular unleaded gasoline or its equivalent for machines released in Europe and the UK, and unleaded gasoline only for Oceania markets.
Lube-wise, the Bruin requires SAE 10W-40 motor oil with an SJ API certification at least, meeting JASO T903 MA/MA1/MA2 standards.
Multigrade oils with a viscosity of SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, 15W-40, 20W40, or 20W-50 and with no anti-friction modifiers and “CD” or “Energy Conserving II” labels are allowed for use following ambient temperature and riding conditions. Recommended capacities are as follows:
|Without oil filter change||2.2 L (2.3 US qts)|
|With filter cartridge replacement||2.3 L (2.4 US qts)|
|Final gear oil||0.23 L (SAE 80 API GL-4 Hypoid gear oil)|
The Bruin’s UltraMatic™ V-belt shaft drive has a gated shifter with a wet (left-hand-operated) centrifugal sprag clutch responsible for maintaining constant belt tension and reducing wear. Its reverse gear is perfect for getting out of being stuck, while its selectable 2WD/4WD On-Command® driveline modes (4×4 models only) enable riders to command the four-wheeler with push-button ease.
A 9.8-feet turning radius allows for improved cornering and sharp turns. Meanwhile, a fully-sealed drive case protects drivetrain components from the elements.
Below are stock transmission gear ratios:
|Secondary Reduction Ratio||41/21 x 24/18 x 33/9 (9.545)|
|Forward Gear||35/20 (1.750)|
|Reverse Gear||26/15 (1.733)|
It is brought to life by a DC-CDI ignition with an electric starter and auxiliary mechanical recoil. An NGK DPR8EA spark plug with an electrode gap of 0.6–0.7 mm (0.024–0.028 inches) is responsible for spark ignition.
An A.C. magneto generator system charges the quad, while a 12V, 12 Ah YTX14AH battery powers lighting and electronics.
Details on lighting and fuses are provided below:
|Lighting||Wattage / Quantity|
|Headlight||12V 30/30 W x 2 (Krypton bulb)|
|Tail/Brake||12V 5/21 W x 1|
|Meter||14V 3 W x 1|
|Warning Lights (Neutral, Reverse, Oil temp)||12V 1.7 W x 1 (each)|
|Headlight, Ignition||15 A|
|Terminal, Signaling system||10 A|
The battery has dimensions of 134 x 89 x 166 mm (5.31 x 3.50 x 6.56 inches – L x W x H) and is not interchangeable with YTX14AHL battery formats due to differences in polarity. Instead, go for YTX14AH-BS batteries (view on Amazon) – these are high-performance AGM batteries supplied dry and with an acid bottle.
Tires & Brakes
Tubeless AT25 × 8-12 front tires and AT25 × 10-12 rear tires mount on 12 x 6.0AT/12 x 7.5AT (front/rear) panel steel wheels and could be either Maxxis® M911Y/Maxxis® M912Y (EU) or Cheng-Shin C828 (Oceania). A full set of Maxxis BigHorn Radial 25×8-12 and 25×10-12 ATV Tires (view on Amazon) would be fitting replacements for these tires in case of wear or damage.
The OEM recommends a cold-tire pressure of 25 kPa (0.25 kgf/cm2, 3.6 psi) for all four knobbies, but this can be adjusted according to riding conditions and altitude. Make sure not to go beyond the range of 22 kPa (0.22 kgf/cm², 3.2 psi) and 28 kPa (0.28 kgf/cm², 4.1 psi) when airing down or inflating the tires.
A steel tube frame encloses an independent double-wishbone at the front and a monocross swingarm at the back – both with a 5-way preload adjustment. These suspension units provide a respective wheel travel of 160 mm (6.3 inches) and 180 mm (7.1 inches).
Shocks for both are oil-damped coil springs, which pair well with the ATV’s minimum ground clearance of 9.6 inches (245 mm) and wheelbase of 48.5 inches (1,233 mm).
Dimensions & Capacities
The Bruin 350’s overall dimensions are 78.1 x 42.7 x 44.1 inches (1,984 x 1,085 x 1,120 mm – L x W x H). Curb weight is 245 Kg (540 lbs.) for US, UK, and European releases and 249 Kg (549 lbs.) for Oceania markets. The saddle sits 32.6 inches (827 mm) from the ground.
Combined rack capacity is 120 Kg (264.6 lbs.) – 40 Kg at the front and 80 Kg at the back. Meanwhile, the machine’s maximum loading limit is 210 Kg (463 lbs.) – a combination of payload, rider weight, tongue, and accessories.
Maximum towing capacity is 500 Kgf (1,102 lbf) and can be optimized via a Smittybilt X2O GEN2 10K Waterproof Wireless Winch with Synthetic Rope – 98510 (view on Amazon) – it works well with all production models!
The Bruin’s framework consists of a steel tube chassis (with a 4° caster angle and 21-mm trail), covered with plastic body panels in Red, Steel Blue, Hunter Green, Black, and Camouflage. For both 2WD and 4WD models, grips, front/rear fenders, utility racks, footwells, 30-watt multi-reflector Krypton bulbs, and a front bumper are standard.
The overall styling of the Yamaha Bruin 350 is utility-oriented but can be spruced up with a new saddle, MZS Red 7/8 Levers (view on Amazon), and composite front and rear racks.
What is a Yamaha Bruin 350 Worth?
The original list price of the Yamaha Bruin 350 in 2004 was $3,999 for base 2WD models and $4,999 for 4WD versions. Standard Bruins only increased by $100 each year and stayed that way until its final production run in 2006.
Camouflage 4WD trims were not offered until the quad’s 2nd year and were worth at least $1,200 more than the label’s base offering. The ’06 YFM35FAHV Bruin was the most expensive of the lot and sold for $5,499 (approximately $8,078.59 today with inflation factored in).
Yamaha 350 Bruin Pricing (2004 – 2006)
|Year – Model – Trim||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2004 Yamaha Bruin 350 2WD (YFM35AS)||$3,999||$1,030 – $1,355|
|2004 Yamaha Bruin 350 4WD (YFM35FAS)||$4,999||$1,155 – $1,520|
|2005 Yamaha Bruin 350 2WD (YFM35BAT)||$4,099||$1,080 – $1,420|
|2005 Yamaha YFM35FAT Bruin (4WD)||$4,999||$1,435 – $1,890|
|2005 Yamaha YFM35FAHT Bruin (4WD, Camouflage)||$5,299||$1,370 – $1,805|
|2006 Yamaha Bruin 350 2WD (YFM35BAV)||$4,199||$1,210 – $1,595|
|2006 Yamaha YFM35FAV Bruin (4WD)||$5,099||$1,545 – $2,035|
|2006 Yamaha YFM35FAHV Bruin (4WD, Camouflage)||$5,499||$1,550 – $2,040|
Auction listings show values between $655 and $4,719, with 4WD Yamaha Bruin 350 models selling more than their 2WD counterparts. Pre-loved Bruins worth over $2,000 are decent workhorses with a healthy number of hours and mileage under their belt. Those above $3,500 are in near-mint condition (although Camouflage trims are a rarity even in this price range).
Secondhand machines typically have a new carburetor and cylinder head, equipped with a 50-inch WARN 78950 ProVantage Steel Plow Blade with Wear Bar (view on Amazon) or rear-mounted sprayer kit, and are mostly utilized for farm work.
Conversely, units priced below that margin have no odometer, need a new battery and carburetor, are missing a reverse switch, and are sometimes not in running condition. Many decent secondhand listings have sellers based in Nebraska, Texas, Tennessee, Colorado, and Leeds in the UK.
Lowdowns of Owning a Yamaha Bruin 350
- The Yamaha Bruin 350 is tested and proven for its reliability.
- It can be ridden hard every day without the rider experiencing a glitch.
- Yamaha’s CVT belt is class-leading and will run thousands of miles before warranting a replacement. It is also easier to work on compared to other transmissions.
- Automatic transmission with engine braking helps boost rider confidence and ensures no freewheeling on steep descents – great for beginners!
- The ATV does pretty good in snow and mud (even without aftermarket snorkels installed) – thanks to its no-shift gearbox that keeps wheelspin up at all times.
- Independent rear suspension is a big plus on the Bruin, even compared to a Honda.
- It is reported to have much more power and acceleration than Big Red’s 2000 Rancher and gets the power to the ground, no doubt!
- Although it is an excellent woods bike, it does not quite fit the bill for either sport or utility.
- The Bruin is not as smooth, comfortable, or stable as other 350-cc four-wheelers.
- Enthusiasts do not appreciate the lack of a digital speedometer, high and low range, and rear disc brakes.
- Riders within the 14-18 age bracket find the Bruin easy to outgrow and would recommend opting for a 600-class quad if money is not an issue.
- It seems to cater to riders of medium build and height, not drivers over 6’2″ and 200 lbs.
- Towing capacity is also trailing a bit behind the Suzuki Eiger.
- The quad does not offer a lot of color options.
Ultimately, the items in this list (and everything else) all boil down to personal preferences. For instance, those who favor manual shifting will find the Bruin’s CVT a detriment. Meanwhile, folks who go for ease of handling and maneuverability will think highly of this feature.
That is just one of many aspects of the Yamaha Bruin 350 to consider. So make it a point to take time and think hard about what you deem important (and take the Bruin for a test drive, if possible) before making any decisions to own one.
Yamaha Motor Company Ltd. is among the Japanese “Big Four” and the renowned maker of breakthrough machines like the Yamaha Bruin 350. Founded in 1887, Yamaha’s parent company started as a piano and reed organ manufacturer that later saw the opportunity to grow its expertise by venturing into other fields.
This vision came to fruition after WWII (1955), when the motorcycling division of Yamaha parted ways with its parent company to tread its path. This decision proved beneficial, as it paved the way for Yamaha Motor Company Ltd. to become one of the industry shapers in the trades of off-road vehicles, water vehicles, and motorsports.
Conclusion – Yamaha Bruin 350 Review
This four-wheeler may not be a speedster, but it is guaranteed never to fall short of performance. It rides like a charm, hauls like a middleweight, and goes in and out of mud unscathed. Sure, it has got setbacks that may be non-negotiable for some.
However, its lowlights are immaterial compared to what the quad can put forward. All in all, it is a sensible buy not only for yard work but also recreation, with its instantaneous power ensuring you enjoy every bit of the trail ride.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.