The Green Team has been on a roll. In the past year, Kawasaki has introduced all-new Brute Force 300 and Brute Force 750 ATV’s, and at their dealer show, they previewed the new Teryx4 750 4x4 Side x Side. That was only a teaser and we weren't allowed to ride the new Kawasaki at their Florida dealer meeting. So when Kawasaki’s Jon Rall called asking if we would like to come to Tennessee’s Brimstone Recreation to try the new Teryx4 750, we grabbed our gear and were on our way.
Each winter, Indianapolis becomes the center of the power sports world when the PowerSports Dealer Expo visits. Just like when the circus comes to town there is always something to see and at the Expo you will find new companies, new products, and a few things that just make us scratch our head in wonder. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the highly specialized, custom built vehicles with meticulous detail work and gorgeous, museum quality paint jobs.
Have you ever found yourself wondering what a good communication system would do for you on your Side x Side? We did and now we wonder what we did without them. Meet the fun-to-use Rugged Radios RRP660 headset and intercom communication system.
If you read our coverage of the stock 2011 KFX450R, you probably know that we think quite highly of the Kawasaki. It doesn’t boast show-stopper numbers as far as horsepower or suspension travel, but its great feel, performance, and overall fun factor earned it great reviews from our test riders. It was a natural on the XC course, and we even put in some surprising finishes on the MX track in bone-stock form against many highly modified 450 sport quads.
Polaris has had its share of ground breaking innovations in the ATV & Side x Side world, but every so often they’ll steer the sport in an entirely new direction. Their use of the CVT transmission eventually became the standard for utility ATVs, the first Ranger models broke open a whole new segment of the sport with seating for two, great off road capability, and hard working features, and the RZR lineup kicked open the door to high performance Side x Sides.
Kawasaki launches a surprise at their annual dealer show
It’s always exciting going to a manufacturer’s dealer show. It’s where they bring out their entire product line for dealers to get up close and personal with each model and there are usually a few surprises with all-new models. It’s just like Christmas for powersports lovers, and this year Kawasaki had the biggest box under the tree.
Whether you’re a lover or a hater of Arctic Cat products there’s no mistaking their all-new WILDCAT 1000i H.O. for a bulky, lumbering farm wagon of a Side x Side best suited to chasing cows and hauling bales. The new Arctic Cat is designed for hauling a$$ and running down every other Side x Side on the planet over the roughest terrain you can find.
Six foot waves pound into the rusty stones and exposed bedrock of Lake Superior's southern shore. With no visible land across the water, several in our group more accustomed to the deserts of the Southwest wonder aloud if they are standing at a northern ocean. They’re right in a way; by volume Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. Along the beach in either direction, there is nothing but frothy waves, the red stones rich with raw iron, and a deep green pine forest behind, all under an impossibly blue sky.
There are companies that have a knack for finding opportunities in the market and then building a product to fill it. The Disney people never build a ride without a movie, toys, and a happy-meal to go with it, and in the powersports world, Polaris has always managed to find that untapped group of potential riders that didn’t quite find what they needed with existing models. Since the Side x Side market is relatively new, it’s been the habit of most manufacturers to concentrate on their top of the line models.
Twenty five years ago at Oregon’s Winchester Dunes, journalists got their first ride on Honda’s legend in the making, the TRX 250R. In production only 4 years, the 250R quickly became the standard for handling and performance that all sport ATVs thereafter would be judged by. By today’s standards, the TRX was narrow, had limited suspension, and put out only meager power, but as a package it worked.