It’s a big day for Kawasaki! Days like this don’t come around often. In fact, if you look at major manufacturers in the industry, there are pretty much zero left who have not released a sport side by side. With that said, today Kawasaki released the 2020 Teryx KRX 1000. It’s a pretty unique machine that competes with multiple machines on different levels. Let's take a look and see how it ranks among the top side by sides in the market. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
HorsePower and Engine
The first questions just about everyone will have is horse power. Some were expecting a super charged monster pushing 200 hp, others were expecting a horsepower number more in line with the other Japanese manufacturers in the 105 to 115 range. Well, those in the later group were correct. The new KRX will have 112hp. Although it will not come in a Turbo Model, Kawasaki is going the same route as Yamaha and Honda and partnering with the aftermarket to provide a bolt on Turbo kit. The turbo kit, from K&T performance is projected to bring the horsepower up to as high as 170 plus.
As for the engine in general, it looks like Kawaskai took the approach of catering to people who want enough power and torque and not just numbers that will blow you away. Using a selector on the dash you will be able to chose from 2 different power modes. These modes, low and High, allow you to change the power delivery to suit the driving conditions. The low power mode is tuned for technical terrain with milder throttle response while full power gives you all the ponies.
The transmission and clutching in the KRX is also unique. Kawasaki has a centrifugal clutch between the crankshaft and CVT drive pully which eliminates the shock of the CVT belt engaging. In short, this will allow for smother take off and throttle control which will definitely help navigate the slower more technical terrain. While we’re talking CVT, the KRX includes a belt temp sensor and other belt safety features to help increase the life and performance of the CVT belt.
When it comes to gearing and transmission, the KRX will include 3 different drive modes. Two wheel drive, four wheel drive, and four wheel drive with diff lock. All three modes are shift on the fly selectable using a knob on the dash, including the diff lock. When the knob is turned, the system engages instantly and smoothly so the driver has full control of when 4WD or the front differential lock is activated.
Now let’s talk about suspension, first with travel. The new KRX definitely came to play with the big boys when it comes to suspension travel with 19 inches of front and 21 inches of rear travel. To give you a comparison, the new RZR pro XP comes with a claimed “usable Travel” of 20 inches front and 22” rear wheel travel but an actual wheel travel of 17” front and 20” of rear wheel travel, putting the actual travel ahead of Polaris’ latest and greatest.
As for Shocks, the KRX will come with Fox podium 2.5 low speed compression shocks. They are piggy back reservoir units that are 24 position fully adjustable compression dampening and fully adjustable preload. All indications are they perform very well in the woops and choppy stuff when combined with their 4 link trailing arm rear suspension and double wish bone front suspension.
While we’re talking suspension, lets talk about ground clearance. The KRX will sit 14.4 inches off the ground and includes arched A-arms. This is probably a good time to mention that it will come from the factory with 31” Maxis carnivores and 15 inch bead lock wheels on all four corners.
Wheel base and track width
Time to take a look at the dimensions. Kawaski came with a unique approach here. Rather than going with a standard size like 64” or 72”, the KRX will land some where in the middle at 69 inches wide. The extra width should help with stability and cornering. As for the wheel base, the KRX comes in at 99 inches. Which is definitely on the longer side when it comes to other 2 seat machines. This longer wheel base should also help with stability and ride quality.
In addition to that, The wheels are at the four corners of the machine and extend beyond the bodywork, giving approach and departure angles of 90 degrees
Rollover Protection System
Based on what we’ve seen and heard, Kawasaki is very proud of the Rollover protection structure or “ROPS” that they have developed. One thing they claim makes their system unique it that the “KRX 1000’s frame incorporates the ROPS as a stressed member” They claim this “energy-absorbing ROPS design helps disperse stress, contributing to optimal rigidity and high durability.” It’s hard to say for now how the stock cage will hold when compared to the competition or if it is a necessary upgrade as is often the case on competing machines.
The KRX appears to have a roomy cabin due to the width and wheel base of the machine. It includes high backed bucket seats that are adjustable front to rear and standard 3 point seatbelts. The seats appear to be slightly bolstered, holding you in position in tight corners.
The doors of the KRX are fully finished and include a cup holders in the passenger door, a built in arm rest and can be opened from either side. An interesting tidbit is that the doors are not suicide style doors like most sport machines.
Thankfully, Kawasaki did us all a favor and mounted the instrument cluster in front of the driver instead of in the center of the machine. The cluster displays white backlighting and has 3 brightness levels. There is a ton of information available on the instrument cluster so instead of going over all of them, I’ll share a few of the highlights.
First for me is the CVT temp gauge. This is not an option found on most machines and will allow you to monitor the temp of the CVT and give her a rest when she needs it and will likely increase the life of your belt.
The cluster also includes a large speedometer, bar style tach, gear indicator, and multiple warning lights. All in all, it appears to be in line with some of the better instrument clusters on the market and similar to the one found in the new Can-Am’s
Lastly, lets take a look at the styling. This is going to be purely opinion and change person to person but if you ask me, it is a GREAT looking machine. Color preferences aside, the wide stance, long wheel base and front end make the KRX look aggressive and just plain mean. It has a large cargo area and following the trend of other manufacturers, there is no tailgate.
The KRX is available with multiple accessory packages and will have a variety of accessories available from your local dealer.
So that’s it, the wait is over and we finally know what Kawasaki has been working on. Did they show up with the machine to take on all machines and dominate the north American competitors? I don’t think so but guess what? They came aggressively to the market with a machine that will have broad appeal. If your asking me to predict the future, your going to see a bunch of KRX’s on the trails in the coming years.
Check out our YouTube video breakdown of the KRX Here:
Ride safe, pack out what you pack in, and we’ll see you on the next one.