KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750 4x4i EPS TEST
— Still a top contender —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750 has been a staple in the 4×4 ATV market for quite a while now. Revisions have been small over the years, and that is due to how well the big-bore works. Power is plenty, suspension is supple and the Brute can tackle tough jobs around the ranch and rapid-transit trails while spitting rocks or slinging mud. We picked up the 2018 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i with electronic power steering in Metallic Stardust White for a test in the elements.
MORE THAN ENOUGH
The powerplant that Kawasaki utilizes for this quad is a stout four-stroke that is liquid-cooled with a single-overhead camshaft on each cylinder. The big-bore, 749cc V-twin mill is electronically fuel-injected and mated to an automatic CV-style transmission. The belt-driven trans has four selections that include a high and low forward gear, neutral and reverse gears. There is no in-trans park function on the Kawi, but the rear brake lever has a lever-operated parking brake built onto it. Changing gears is made easy by a hand-operated shifter that rests below the right handlebar.
All four wheels are shaft-driven. The four-wheel-drive system on the Brute Force works very well, and the front differential is lockable. There is a two- and four-wheel-drive selector switch built in to the thumb-throttle housing. The unique part of the Kawi’s 4×4 system is that the front differential lock is controlled by a finger-operated lever on the right side of the handlebar. To engage the locking front diff, you simply pull and hold the lever in while you are piloting the machine. We have always felt this was an interesting design, and some of us would rather have a button that engages the system so we don’t have to pull a lever and hold it in the whole time we want the diff locked. Generally, the front differential-lock option is not often utilized so we don’t dislike this system. On the plus side, you can partially engage the lock with the lever. Also, the front wheels naturally resist turning in locked mode. We have used the lock lever like a steering damper to keep the wheels in line easier-going in the rocks.
In the case of the Kawasaki’s suspension, there is no suspense. It works well and doesn’t leave you with any surprises out on the trail. The ride is plush and smooth over chop, but it can struggle with hard landings or high-speed rough riding like most machines in its category. The front end utilizes a dual-A-arm suspension with 6.7 inches of travel controlled by preload-adjustable shocks. The independent A-arm rear suspension has more travel at 7.5 inches. We wouldn’t mind seeing the Brute Force gain more wheel travel with more adjustable shocks to bridge the comfort gap from the slow-speed chop to the hard hits.
Turning this machine is made easy by electronic power steering. Most base-model, big-bore 4×4 ATVs come stock without EPS and in upgraded versions that come with EPS just like the Kawi does. The steering on this quad is smooth and light, and it doesn’t feel twitchy while riding it. Kawasaki seemed to have dialed in the EPS quite well. Stopping the quad is a different story, though. The front brakes are hydraulic discs, while the rear has a sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc setup. The rear brakes are soft, and occasionally you need to plan ahead to put the stopping power down. The front brakes are strong but could even be a little stronger. The rear brake is controlled either by a lever on the left handlebar or a foot pedal on the right side. The front brake is operated by a lever on the right handlebar.
A WORKING MACHINE
A lot of us ride quads for the thrill, the adventure and the fun of the sport. However, to others, the Brute Force 750 is looked at as a farm implement or work machine. It can tow up to 1250 pounds, which is 250 pounds short of most UTVs. On top of that, there are storage bins and steel cargo racks on the Kawasaki. The front cargo rack can hold up to 88 pounds, while the rear tackles up to 176 pounds. Remember to adjust your spring preload to handle the extra weight if you plan to load down the racks. There are tie-down points on the steel racks to aid in securing cargo.
The plastics of the Brute Force haven’t gone through any revisions for this year. We would like to see a little bit more flair thrown into the styling to keep up with more modern quads and UTVs. The storage accommodations are the same as last year. There is a bin in the center of the front rack, a water-resistant bin on the fender and a netted storage location on the other front fender as well. The Brute could use a bit more storage in some of our opinions. The gas tank holds 5 gallons of fuel, which is helpful with a twin-cylinder engine.
Testing time is our favorite time! We get to put these brand-new machines through our “hurt process,” which means that we ride them through any and every terrain we can think of to test their abilities. Kawasaki’s Brute Force is one of our favorite machines. It is a well-rounded ATV that can be ridden comfortably through rocks, sand, woods and mud too. The Brute likely has the most torque down low out of its class. When we crawl boulders and rocks with it, it can be a handful sometimes down low. You learn to cultivate a gentle right thumb. The mid-to top-end range of power output is healthy, and it keeps pulling hard to the peak.
The EPS system is welcome. It helps with making quick turns in the woods and tight trails without being twitchy. The quad corners well for its size and it isn’t too heavy, weighing in at 699 pounds. The soft shocks that make getting to the hunting blind comfortable make turning it a bit spongy at a sport riding pace, and there is some body-lean feeling on cambers. The plastics help block out a lot of mud and debris.
Kawasaki spent time making sure their 750 has a comfortable cockpit. The seat is generous and easy to move around on. There is a lot of room for tall riders to move around, and the handlebar height is spot-on. The levers and controls are easy to reach and use, but we still think the Brute’s rear brake could be a little stronger.
The suspension is soft and plush as long as you are on relatively smooth trails or keeping your speeds down. However, the shocks don’t perform too well with hard hits, and they tend to bottom out easily with even smaller landings. This is common with most 4×4 ATVs in the Brute Force 750’s class.
We praise Kawasaki for building a well-rounded machine that tackles tough terrain and doubles as a great work machine. It hasn’t needed alterations for a long time, which proves its worth. The Brute Force 750 comes in a base model that starts at $8999. The EPS model like this one starts at $9999. There is also a camo version that comes with EPS and runs for $10,599. Go to www.kawasaki.com to check out their extensive lineup of UTVs and ATVs.
2018 KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750 4x4i EPS
Engine V-twin, SOHC, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke 85mm x 66mm
Fuel system EFI
Fuel capacity 5.0 gal.
Transmission Automatic CVT
Final drive Shaft
Front Dual A-arms w/ 6.7”
Rear Dual A-arms w/ 7.5”
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Sealed multi-disc
Ground clearance 9.4”
Curb weight 699 lb.
Front 88 lb.
Rear 176 lb.
Towing capacity 1250 lb.
Colors Metallic Stardust White, Vibrant Blue, Super Black