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2012 Yamaha Bruin 350 Preview


by Guillaume Rivard ,

With the addition of the all-new Grizzly 300, the Bruin 350 no longer serves as the entry-level model in Yamaha's multi-purpose ATV family. It comes back in 2012 with the same toughness and reliability, both for work and leisure.

Virtually unchanged
Other than a new colour choice (Red joins Dark Green and Dark Blue), the 2012 Yamaha Bruin 350 essentially relies on the same proven recipe, starting with an air-cooled, 348cc single-cylinder. This 4-stroke SOHC engine continues to shine with its efficient performance.

Combined with engine braking, the fully-automatic Ultramatic transmission reduces brake component wear, and eliminates wheelspin when you release the throttle or go down hills.

Meanwhile, the On-Command system provides all the control you need when you need it. With the simple push of a dash-mounted button, you can switch between 2WD (lighter steering) and limited-slip 4WD (improved traction).

2012 Yamaha Bruin 350 front 3/4 view
The 2012 Yamaha Bruin 350 essentially relies on the same proven recipe, starting with an air-cooled, 348cc single-cylinder. (Photo: Yamaha)

At your service!
The 2012 Yamaha Bruin rides on a full-size chassis that provides plenty of room for two occupants and their gear. As a matter of fact, you'll find large-capacity front and rear cargo racks with crinkle coat paint that ensures superior corrosion resistance.

The independent double-wishbone front suspension and swingarm rear suspension both offer 5-way preload adjustments. The brakes consist of dual 180mm discs up front and sealed drums in the back. As for the Maxxis tires wrapped around 12'' steel wheels, they deliver a nice balance between traction and ride quality.

Also worth mentioning is the detachable trailer hitch that allows towing up to 500 kg (1,100 lb).

Mother Nature be damned!
Facing the elements shouldn't be a concern since the key electrical components (fuses, starter solenoid, CDI Igniter, numerous relays) are located under the seat for added protection. Moreover, the dual multi-reflector headlights are sealed to prevent water from seeping in, which also simplifies maintenance.

Steel reinforced plastic floorboards with raised integrated serrated footpegs ensure excellent traction regardless of conditions. Along with the rugged full-size mudguards, they keep splashes of mud and water away from the rider and passenger.

Bottom line
Multi-purpose ATV enthusiasts in the market for an affordable yet durable product will find satisfaction with the 2012 Yamaha Bruin 350. Its competitive MSRP of $6,499 is actually $1,000 below last year's model.