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2009 KAWASAKI TERYX 750 FI SPORT

August 27, 2011 by  
Filed under Feature Articles, Kawasaki, Tested

There have been many exciting changes in the last year for UTVs. One of the most welcome changes came to the Teryx 750 in the form of DFI (Digital Fuel Injection).  We couldn’t wait to get a chance to take this good-looking machine out for a test ride.  Kawasaki chose the deserts of Arizona for a location to try out the toughness of the new Teryx.  As it turns out, this was right in my backyard.  The area they picked I have been riding for over 10 years.  It has fast sand washes, rock crawling areas and steep hill climbs.  This would be a fun test.

As we arrive at the test site, there is the familiar Kawasaki 18-wheeler set up with ten Teryx 750 DFI Sport machines all lined up waiting for us.  It was a beautiful sight — a bright, sunny day with the beautiful Arizona desert in the background of the mean green machines.

Before we get started, we always like to take a tour of the machine to familiarize ourselves with any new side-by-side.  The reps from Kawasaki gave us an overview of some of the improvements of this year’s machine. As we walk around the Teryx, it has the same look of last year’s model, which we liked very much. One thing we are glad to see changed is all models now come with a digital speedometer. In addition to speed, the meter has a clock, dual trip meter, a 2WD/4WD indicator that is easy to read, water temperature, and a fuel injection warning lamp.  Another change for the good is all models now come with a tilting bed.

As we stated earlier, the DFI is the biggest improvement. Here is a breakdown of the basics of the DFI.

This system is designed to automatically compensate for altitude and temperature changes. There are a mix of sensors that include throttle position, speed, crankshaft, air intake, water temperature and a vehicle down sensor. There is even a new fuel tank and fuel pump to go along with the sophisticated DFI system. Because of the addition of the DFI system, Kawasaki changed the air box design slightly to increase the air intake.  What a huge improvement this made to an already great machine.

BELT PROTECTION SYSTEM
Another improvement we like very much is the upgrade to the CVT.  There is now a belt protection system that senses wheel speed, vehicle speed, and engine speed along with a throttle position sensor.  If you happen to be rock crawling, for instance, and you forget to put the vehicle in low and the sensor reads the clutch turning, the engine is revving but the wheels are not turning for more than 2 seconds, it automatically retards the ignition timing and a belt warning light on the dash comes on.  This should be a great help in saving belt wear.

LET’S DRIVE!
After settling into the comfortable seat and getting buckled in, it’s time to hit the trails. As we start the engine, we immediately recognize the nice throaty sound of the 750 V-twin motor.  It sounds like an old ‘70s muscle car. We split into 2 groups to try to keep the dust down.  As soon as we leave the slow speed area, we nail the throttle.  Wow, this is not the same as the 2008 Teryx.  It has much more power out of the hole. On last year’s carbureted model, there was a noticeable hesitation at take-off that lasted until the machine was around 18 MPH.  Thankfully, this has been corrected with the introduction of DFI (digital fuel injection).  The first section has lots of big whoops which the gas charged shocks soaked up very well, although they were so big you could not stay on the gas. Since I knew the area, we headed off by ourselves down a fast loose sandy wash.  This is a fun run as you keep the throttle nailed winding through the twisty wash.  There were a few times where the Maxxis tires could not get any traction and you would push through the corners, but that was because there was no moisture in the soil whatsoever. We did find the Teryx tracked good through most of the corners as long as you pushed in the 4-wheel drive button.

After the fast washes, we headed to the tops of the mountains where there are some very steep, loose hill climbs and descents. The torque of the mighty 750 motor was right at home on the long hill climbs. All you had to do was point uphill and nail the gas and the Teryx would launch to the top. Some of the hills had some good-sized moguls, but it was never a problem. We also tested the engine braking on the downhill runs and found it to be excellent.  The Teryx has front dual hydraulic brakes, and the rear has Kawasaki’s sealed oil bathed multi-disc system to help keep dirt out. The engine braking keeps you straight and engages very well.

One feature we really like is the full locking front differential handle next to the shift lever. We had many instances where we would back uphill to try a particular spot several times.  By pulling the lever and shifting into reverse, the Teryx never had a problem backing up even very steep, rutted hills.  Shifting is also very smooth, even with us shifting up to a hundred times in a day’s ride.  It never faltered.

Next we met up with a group of editors that were testing out the stability of the Teryx.  There was a sharp corner that had a loose granite base.  We would come around the corner fast in 2-wheel drive, sliding the rear.  There was never the slightest feeling of the Teryx getting tippy.  We found that we could rail any corner ant the power and torque  would pull us through. Just in case you would happen to get out of shape, Kawasaki has a ROPS certified roll cage.  ROPS stands for Roll Over Protection Structure.  This is one part of the Kawasaki Teryx we prefer not to test, although we have heard stories that it does better than any other OEM cage.  To go along with the certified roll cage, Kawasaki has engineered the foot well area of the Teryx to help keep your feet inside the cab.  And if you’re wondering what the wires on the foot well are for—they keep you from resting your foot on top of the flat spot.

After leaving this area, we heard a voice behind us, “Let’s go!  I have you on film, so don’t drive like a Grandpa.” They were pushing us hard along the twisty trail, from the tops of the hills down the washes and back up.  What a blast. We made the 5 miles back to the staging area in record time. At faster speeds, the Teryx handles extremely well. The aluminum gas charged piggyback reservoir shocks, along with the 7.5 inches of travel, soaked up everything the desert could throw at us.

We took a water break for a few minutes and headed back out to see how well the Teryx would do on some of the rock crawling areas.  This thing is amazing.  With the full locker engaged, it would climb a straight-up wall if it could get traction. We were crawling over some large boulders where there was 3-foot-high straight-up rocks that you had to launch over.  As long as you had some momentum, there was no problem clearing the obstacle. It was very stable even when you would get one wheel in the air.  With the locking differential, the tire with traction would just keep pulling.

 

OUR THOUGHTS
We like the Teryx very much.  It looks good, sounds good, and handles extremely well in all types of terrain. With a wheelbase of 79.6 inches, the machine is very stable. While the 3-point seat belt system does a good job, they tend to grab you too much over large bumps. We prefer a 4-point harness to hold us into the seat, and simple aftermarket harness bars are available at a relatively low cost.

 

The DFI system on this machine makes an astounding difference.  We could hardly believe it was the same machine as the one we drove when the Kawasaki Teryx first came out last year.  Our only complaint last year was the hesitation out of the hole.  At times, it felt like it was in low. This has been corrected, along with many other improvements.

If you are in the market for a sportier UTV, do yourself a favor and check out the Teryx 750.  You won’t be disappointed. Also, if you are into upgrades, you can find anything you need at: www.kawasaki.com

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