2012 Kawasaki Brute Force 750i EPS First Impressions and Review
If you have been researching the market for an ATV, you already know that with a major purchase you want the best bang for your buck – especially given today’s economy.
I have always been impressed with both the Kawasaki ATV and UTV lineup. In my experience, Kawasaki provides a quality product with many options while still maintaining a competitive price point, a factor which we consider in nearly everything we purchase.
I was invited to test ride the new 2012 Kawasaki Brute Force 750i ATV. One notable difference with this year’s model besides the re-engineered power, precision handling and cosmetics, is the introduction of electronic power steering (EPS).
With the introduction of the Electronic Power Steering, Kawasaki was able to improve the handling characteristics of the Brute Force 750i by significantly reducing steering shock and kickback.
Along with the EPS, changes were made in the Brute’s steering assembly and front end geometry as well as in the location of the front differential which helps steering even without EPS.
Here are some Key Features of the 2012 Kawasaki Brute Force 750i EPS
- Kawasaki’s high-grade Electric Power Steering (EPS) system offers both enhanced handling and increased ride comfort.
- Upgraded fuel injected 90-degree 749cc V-twin Engine offers more power and enhanced low-rpm performance
- New six-spoke cast aluminum wheels replace the old plain steel units and make a significant styling contribution while offering a more premium image
- Re-styled bodywork (hood, bumper, fenders and headlight surrounds) are key elements of the Brute Force 750’s new wide and rugged design
- Upgraded cargo racks feature stronger 1” tubing that is over 25% larger in diameter than the previous versions and integrated tie-down hook loops for added convenience
- New instrumentation is easier to read at a glance and features a multi-purpose digital display with speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, engine temp, clock, hour meter, and 2WD/4WD icon, plus indicator lamps for EPS, neutral, reverse, belt and oil pressure
- New stronger double-cradle frame features additional reinforcement at critical points for increased ride comfort and enhanced ability to absorb shocks when sport riding on rough terrain
As soon as you walk around this new sport-utility ATV, you will immediately notice the new body style. Larger racks with integrated, ergonomic grab handles make it easier to move the machine or scoot it out of the way. Tie down points to better secure your gear are featured on the front and rear racks. Kawasaki also increased the rack rating to 88 lbs for the front rack and 176 pounds for the rear. There is an integrated box located on the front of the machine suitable for small tools or drink bottles; however, it would be difficult to access if you had gear and equipment mounted to the front rack. The controls are standard and haven’t changed much. Switching to 4×4 is quick and easy. Kawasaki still retains the lever to lock in the front differential – an exclusive feature that allows riders the ability to control the amount of torque to the front wheels in the limited-slip front differential.
Cast aluminum wheels are now standard equipment on the Brute Force 750i. These wheels look great and offer a superb look over the conventional designs.
Here are the 2012 Brute Force Specifications
|Engine||Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin|
|Valve system||SOHC, four valves per cylinder|
|Bore x Stroke||85 x 66mm|
|Fuel Injection||DFI®; (2) 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies|
|Ignition||TCBI with digital advance|
|Transmission||Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse, and Kawasaki Engine Brake Control|
|Final drive||Selectable four-wheel drive with Variable Front Differential Control, shaft|
|Frame Type||Double-cradle, high-tensile tubular steel|
|Front suspension / wheel travel||Double Wishbone/ 6.7 in.|
|Rear suspension / wheel travel||Fully independent, dual A-arm / 7.5 in.|
|Front Tire Size||AT25x8-12|
|Rear Tire Size||AT25x10-12|
|Front brakes||Dual hydraulic 200mm discs with 2-piston calipers|
|Rear Brakes||Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc|
|Overall length||86.4 in.|
|Overall width||46.5 in.|
|Overall height||48.0 in.|
|Turning Radius||10 ft. 6 in.|
|Ground clearance||9.4 in.|
|Seat height||35.8 in.|
|Lighting||35W headlights, 5W taillight, 21W stoplight|
|Rack capacity, front / rear||88 lbs. / 176 lbs.|
|Towing capacity||1,250 lbs.|
|Curb weight||694.6 lbs.|
|Fuel capacity||5.0 gal.|
|Instruments||Speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, engine temp, clock, hour meter and 2WD/4WD icon, plus indicators for EPS, neutral, reverse, belt, and oil pressure.|
|Color Choices||Scout Green, Super Black, Metallic Tungsten Gray (SE), Realtree® APG™ HD®|
|Good Times™ Protection Plan||12, 24, 36 or 48 months|
For the rider who wants to cruise leisurely down the trail, the new, improved seat is wider towards the rear providing exceptional comfort while the front of the seat gives you a chance to ride a little more aggressive and still be comfortable.
The handlebar placement was natural and comfortable as well. The switches and controls were easy for me to reach, but they could be an issue for a rider with smaller hands. The new and improved thumb throttle design seemed to be a little out of adjustment on the test machine I chose, however, this is easily fixed with a few quick adjustments.
A flip of the switch and the LCD instrument panel lights up displaying all the information – speed, distance, fuel capacity, gear selection and 2×4 /4×4 modes – the rider needs. There are also warning LED’s that alert the rider of an oil pressure, temperature or belt issue. The instrumentation was easy to view at all angles.
Turn on the Ignition, And then Take Off!
Turn the key and push the start button and the muscular 750 V-Twin engine roars to life on the first try due to the electronic fuel injection. You will hear the incredible sounding exhaust tone. With my excitement mounting, I was eager to test the Electronic Power Steering. I quickly flipped the shift lever into gear and began circling around and performing figure 8’s in 4×4 and with the diff-Lock engaged. I was surprised at how easily the EPS maneuvered in the different 4×4 modes. There is restriction for lack of a better word–“feedback” – when you squeeze the yellow lever on the left engaging the differential lock but it’s still extremely maneuverable. When in standard 4×4, you will barely notice any difference in handling. Satisfied with the initial performance, I was ready to hit the trails.
Power has been improved by using the cylinder heads from the smaller Brute Force 650. While you may ask “Why did they use smaller stuff”, Kawasaki actually did this to decrease the combustion chamber volume which increases compression. This is how Kawasaki achieves the larger 9.3:1 compression ratio. This, along with some other internal engine modifications, gives the 750 engine better torque.
On The Trail
We were invited to ride the AOAA (Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area) located just an hour north of Harrisburg, PA. (Check out our trail review). The hills, switch backs and mud gave the Brute and I a chance to breathe. The Brute Force suspension was soft and comfortable, however, I felt it had a little more body roll at higher speeds and required an adjustment to my riding style. This may have been due to the tires or the shock settings. Either way, it was an easy situation to fix. The machine was very capable in tight trail sections and the EPS prevented kickback from roots and rocks which is an added surprise from a machine this size.
The Brute Force handles tight trail and technical sections very well. Aiding in handling is an upgraded rear stabilizer bar allowing stability to be sufficient and confidence- inspiring for the large machine. The 750 V-Twin engine offers plenty of authority to power slide through corners or lift the front end off the ground and charge through mud and over obstacles with ease.
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