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Did you know that Kawasaki has a pure sport side-x-side? I’m being sarcastic. You’d have to be living under a rock to not know. Honestly we’ve never seen the Internet fill up so quickly with so much content about a single vehicle since news of it dropped last fall. There are ride impressions, walk-around videos and editorial out there from just about anyone who has ever even heard of a side-x-side.

We’ve delivered here too. We did an overview this past fall with our initial impressions and Luke’s walk-around just dropped a few days ago with his full test ride scheduled for the upcoming season of DIRT TRAX, which makes it tough to come up with a new and interesting angle to present OUR impressions of the Teryx KRX 1000. However, we’re smart guys so here’s our report after the first 50 miles behind the wheel of the KRX.

Our test ride included a wide range of conditions such as long straightaways, winding fire roads, sand and 25 laps around a mile long off-road course of varying terrain including mud, grass, sand, rocks and ruts. During the course laps I stopped frequently to make small adjustments to the 24-position Fox Podium 2.5 LSC shocks, which I’ll talk more about shortly.

The KRX is outfitted with a 999cc parallel twin with a CVT clutch, which should put plenty of power to the ground. We quickly found at first stab of the accelerator, the KRX feels soft on engagement – like we were waiting to get our arms stretched out, but that feeling never came. Top end proved to be less than thrilling too as I topped the KRX out at 67 mph (108 km). That was everything it had and I was going downhill with the wind at my back [cough]. We feel this is largely due to its weight topping the Talon R by around 350 pounds. Some clutching work from Kawi’s engineers could definitely add a bit more low-end jump and we’re confident the aftermarket industry is likely already on top of this.

Where the KRX shines though is its mid-range. Through the off-road course, there was loads of power. Backshifting and upshifitng as we approached and rode out of corners, then pressed hard on the gas as the straightaways opened up put a smile on my face. Blasting down fire roads was a thrill ride coming out of bends and letting the back end get loose, then counter-steering to straighten out upon approach of the next bend was so satisfying. We feel like the KRX could benefit from about 10 more ponies to deal with that additional weight at top end, but mid-range power is definitely dialled in right.

The KRX has superior ground clearance and suspension travel numbers in this class. However, even with the front and rear sway bars, the vehicle suffers from excessive body-roll when riding at full soft. It took a little bit to dial in the 24-position clickers to where we liked them, starting from full soft and then adding a few clicks front and back each lap around the course. I honestly think some owners just don’t mess around with their suspension settings enough and for vehicles in this class, it is essential. I found the sweet spot on the KRX to be 10 clicks from soft out back and 6 up front. At these settings, I found a balance of significantly reduced body roll in corners and enough plushness to not beat my spine to mush as I rode over bumps and rocky terrain at speed.

The 8-ply rated Maxxis Carnivores hook up really well on grass and dirt and their aggressive tread can grip washed-out and over-ridden corners like Scooby on a rib eye. These are heavy yet durable tires and in rocky desert conditions we would wager a puncture from a sharp rock would be far less likely than it would with competitive rubber.

Behind the wheel, the KRX delivers the comfort you’d expect from Kawasaki just like we’ve experienced with the Teryx and Mule. The steering wheel height is adjustable and the instrument cluster moves with the steering column. We found it to be in an appropriate location to be easily read through the wheel. The digital gauge cluster has a ton of information. Readouts are easy to see even in direct sunlight and most importantly the numbers on the speedo are large enough to read at a quick glance. There’s loads of legroom for someone of average height and even plenty for taller drivers as the seat adjusts forward and back. The seats are quite comfortable, but I would personally prefer more bolstering to secure the driver and passenger in position while taking sharp corners. Seating position is also quite a bit higher than in a RZR PRO XP, which accentuates the KRX’s body-roll. Perhaps with a bit more bolstering, body roll wouldn’t feel as noticeable from the cockpit.

Kawasaki came to bat with an excellent product. The KRX 1000 gives the impression there’s a future for this vehicle. From its robust engineering and class-leading toughness, to its absolutely gorgeous fit and finish, it is very subjectively one of the sexiest side-x-sides on the market.

We feel that if Kawasaki takes the necessary steps in the future development of a factory turbo it would put this vehicle at the top of the food chain. However, even in its stock trim you get one heck of a vehicle here at a sticker price competitive with other vehicles in this class.

Mike Lester
Mike Lester
Mike Lester is Staff Photographer and Digital Content Manager for Dirt Trax TV. He is also a Contributing Editor and Guest Correspondent on the show.

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