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By: CJ Rena Johnson and Tim Donaldson

2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport
It Will Get Under Your Skin!

The scenery of the southwestern United States is renowned for its picturesque, desert landscapes. Although parched and waterless, the desert offers a host of unique vegetation that can survive the seemingly unfertile environment. Western film genres have popularized images of common desert flora such as the large, tree-sized Saguaro Cactus. However, one other member of the genus deserves special recognition–the “Jumping” Cholla Cactus. Flanked in beauty, this small cactus is armed with thousands of small, hair-like spines that readily attach to the skin with even the slightest contact.  Once in the skin, the spines can be very difficult to remove–possibly remaining in situ for years!

Likening the lasting, attractive qualities of the Cholla Cactus spines to our first thoughts of Kawasaki’s new Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport model, we immediately felt an enduring connection to this high-performance, side-by-side machine.  Introduced at the Boulders OHV Area near Lake Pleasant, Arizona, the 2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport is equipped with many enhancements over its 2008 predecessor. Not only has Kawasaki added the Teryx Sport version to the 2009 lineup, all Teryx models have received a new performance facelift. So, with the Sonoran Desert as worthy proving grounds for our review of the Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport, we are sure this side-by-side will find a place “under your skin,” leaving you itching for more!  Let’s take a look.

About the 2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport


First, the big news for the 2009 Teryx is the feature enhancements. When the Teryx was originally unveiled in 2008, everyone was looking for a fuel-injected machine. True to Kawasaki’s word at the time of the 2008’s initial release, fuel injection’s arrival would only be a short time away. As a result, all 2009 Teryx models are equipped with digital fuel injection. Although last year’s carburetor fuel delivery system was noteworthy, there are no real comparisons to having the immediate throttle response and versatility that is made available through a digitally-mapped fuel-injected system.

Kawasaki has designed the fuel injection to improve low- and mid-throttle response, while the ignition and torque maps are structured to enhance torque response. Controlled by a 32-bit CPU and utilizing dual 34mm throttle bodies with six variously located engine sensors to maximize performance, the timing of the fuel injection has been adjusted to produce a more stable idle and lower the chances of stalling in reverse if the throttle is suddenly closed. Coupled with a redesigned air intake tract on the air box, resulting is decreased cabin noise–the Teryx Sport delivers quick and precise fuel delivery making engine response snappy and sharp.

As for the engine, the Teryx Sport is powered by a 749cc, V-twin engine. Considered the most powerful engine in its class, the liquid-cooled, SOHC, fuel injected 90-degree V-twin has plenty to offer when accelerating and produces a resultantly low amount of engine vibration due to its configuration.  Positioned for optimum front/rear balance, the Teryx is primed for power slides and cornering control.  While amply satisfying the need for speed, Kawasaki’s Electronic Engine Brake Control satisfactorily brings the machine back to controllable rate, especially when creeping down steep hills. Those braving the mucky trenches will also appreciate the Teryx’s high chassis placement of the radiator to provide maximum protection against mud and debris.

To handle the torque loads produced by the engine, Kawasaki has built a robust transmission system that is tuned for hard accelerations and sport driving. Featuring high and low ranges plus reverse, the Teryx Sport transmission employs a CVT that puts the power straight to the wheels.  Utilizing a high-grade belt for maximum durability, the CVT has a Belt Protection System that helps to prevent tire freewheel and belt overloading when rock crawling. The new CVT system also provides additional driver feedback on the instrument cluster through the CVT Belt Warning System which alerts the operator of excessive load conditions that may cause transmission or belt damage.

Knowing that Teryx drivers were going to get this sport machine muddy, Kawasaki engineers rerouted the CVT exhaust duct over the engine to reduce water intake. Not only did the CVT components of the Teryx Sport get a performance overhaul, the drive train joints and shafts were revised to handle the additional power. CV boots are now plastic to increase durability and drive shafts, u-joints, and axles are beefed up with larger diameters and hardened splined areas. The electronically selectable 2WD/4WD has an all new shift system that has an electronic/vacuum shift mechanism that increases reliability with positive shifting. Once in 4WD, Teryx drivers can distribute torque equally to the left and right front wheels, utilizing the ever popular Kawasaki staple–Variable Front Differential Control–via the multi-position hand lever located between the seats.

Overall Handling

Make no mistake, the Teryx 750 FI 4x4 Sport is a fully functional thrill machine. Offering a wide-body chassis, the thin-walled tubular steel frame offers high rigidity and meets SAE requirements as a roll-over protective structure. The wide stance of the machine–aided by low center of gravity from engine placement–provides excellent off-camber stability, while the chassis ground clearance of 11.7 inches bestows plenty of obstacle tackling agility.

Equipped with a fully adjustable front and rear suspension, low-speed ride comfort was not a design consideration on the Teryx Sport. Offering improved control at higher speeds, the front, fully independent suspension, consists of premium, stepless preload, gas-charged, aluminum Kayaba shocks with piggy-back reservoirs and adjustable rebound and compression damping. The long a-arm design effectively increases wheel travel, minimizing the effects of camber change as the suspension is compressed for more precise steering. The independent rear suspension features the same shocks with a double wishbone design and a revised torsion bar that helps control body roll and promotes improved tracking through rough terrain.

Boasting the largest tire in the RUV category for improved ground clearance, the Teryx is fitted with 26-inch Maxxis tires which are mounted to 12-inch aluminum-cast rims. The tire design was specifically developed for the Teryx to maximize forward traction and provide aggressive cornering and sliding capabilities. The aluminum wheels provide less unspring weight and are lighter by 2.2 pounds each. Within the front wheels, located as such to provide protection from debris, are recessed front disc brakes. The 200mm discs are gripped by 27mm twin-piston calipers which are rigidly mounted to deliver enhanced brake feel and increased control. Sealed in the rear oil bath, unaffected by debris, are the hydraulically operated rear brakes. Both front and rear combine for aggressive braking capabilities.

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