Kawasaki calibrated the 749cc Brute Force engine to be quick and to sign off before speeds get over 70 mph. You won’t see us complain about any of that.
Kawasaki’s flagship Brute Force 750 4x4i received a makeover in 2012, and in some of our past shootouts, it stacked up very well to its competition. For 2013, this unit remains basically the same, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth taking another look at.
Power is provided to this monster by a 90-degree, liquid-cooled, fuel-injected V-twin with a total of 749cc. Each cylinder head has a single overhead cam and four valves. Placement of the V-twin is parallel to the seat, which keeps the cockpit narrow and the engine compartment accessible. In fact, during our initial shootout between the Brute Force and the Yamaha Grizzly, it was quicker to access and remove both spark plugs on the Kawasaki as it is on the single-cylinder Yamaha. Furthermore, in our drowned-out scenario, the CVT performed better, and the airbox was easier to dry out.
Fuel is delivered through a pair of 36mm electronically controlled throttle bodies. Capacity of the stock tank is a huge 5 gallons. With the improvements in fuel efficiency over the old carburetor setup, a light throttle thumb could get you up to 150 miles on a full tank. Levels can be monitored on a digital dash display, which also includes the time, odometers, miles per hour and warning lights.
When Kawasaki did their revisions to this machine, they added a couple of convenient storage tricks. One was the addition of a box located in the center of the front rack. This area is perfect for a couple of water bottles, spare gloves or even a light jacket. Plus, both racks received additional corner cross-bracing and tie-down loops, which make securing odd-sized loads a breeze.
All of these improvements contributed to the styling changes that this modern Brute Force features. For 2013, this model is available in green, red, black and camo colors. The Realtree APG Camo color fetches an extra $600, but on the good side, the camo bodywork is more resistant to scratches.
Over 9 inches of ground clearance will keep the Brute Force from getting stuck in muck like this. The variable locking front diff will let the rider control the amount of assistance he or she needs to get through it.
Under that bodywork, Kawasaki stuck a tweaked frame that has improved steering geometry and improved anti-squat ground clearance. Dual A-arms do the actual suspension control and feature preload adjustments on all four corners. Wheel-travel numbers are set at 6.7 inches up front and 7.5 inches at the back end.
The rear shocks offer 7.5 inches of travel. Preload is adjustable, and ground clearance numbers are just over 9 inches.
Also at the back end, Kawasaki uses their sealed, wet, multi-plate brake system to slow things down. The front is handled by more conventional hydraulic discs at each corner. In the center section of the front end, a variable locking front differential is used. It is controlled by a lever on the left side of the handlebars. This concept was great before the advent of electronic power steering. Now that this machine comes with EPS, we wish it just has a push-button locker instead.
Only 6.7 inches of travel is allowed out of the dual A-arm setup in the front of the Brute Force. On the good side, this limits body roll and contributes to good cornering.
RUGGED TRAIL TEST
We have put a ton of time on Kawasaki’s new Brute, and it’s a blast. With a stab of the throttle, you can wheelie the 695-pound machine with no problem, if traction is good. The clutching setup is aggressive, but it’s still very smooth if you want to ride around at slow speeds. There is no jerkiness like we feel on some of the other big-bore 4x4s. The stock exhaust note is very vocal. Any louder or powerful-sounding, we’d think the muffler was an aftermarket piece—it sounds that good.
Getting up to speed is quick and smooth. There are no flat spots in the power throughout the climb up the tachometer. Top speeds are very respectable at over 70 mph. It would be tough to find another 4×4 utility machine that would beat the Brute Force to the 70-mph mark. For tighter trails, the CVT calibration is about perfect. You can get on and off the throttle and still have instant response and hookup.
Cornering capabilities of the new Brute Force have been improved over the first model with IRS. It corners tighter with a lot less front-end push.
In two-wheel drive, the machine is flickable around corners yet controllable enough to slide predictably. Body roll has been reduced with new shock settings and steering geometry. Gone is the slight push that older Brutes were fighting. Push the selectable drive button into four-wheel drive, and not much will stand in its way. We have climbed boulders bigger than any 4×4 with this machine easily.
We like the many features of the digital display Kawasaki installs on all of the Brute Force models. The swept-back narrow bar bend is something we would change.
As we mentioned before, you have to grab a lever on the handlebars to activate the front differential locker. With it activated, steering does get a little twitchy and would be much more manageable if you could have all of your fingers on the handlebars. Either way, traction is excellent, and this machine can climb. The stock Maxxis tires grip well and hold up well to the sharp stuff too.
Full underbelly protection is provided by plastic skid plates that run the length of the machine. A-arm-mounted CV guards are also standard equipment.
On rocky terrain, the Brute Force is not as plush as, say, a Grizzly or a Polaris Sportsman, but it can handle its own. With over 9 inches of ground clearance, your trail would have to be in real bad shape to give you any trouble. Whatever items that do hit the underside is deflected by a strong plastic skid plate that covers the entire underbelly. Plastic A-arm guards are also standard equipment.
The cockpit is comfortable and roomy. Some of our test riders have complained about the swept-back bar bend and the not-so-aggressive floorboards. Those are simple fixes that can be made after the purchase if that becomes a bother. And the truth is, we are never 100 percent satisfied with a production ATV. Just like you, we like to customize our machines.
One of the best features of the new Brute Force design is the more versatile racks and tie-down points, along with the multiple water-resistant storage opportunities.
Kawasaki understands this too. That’s why they and all of the other manufacturers offer tons of parts to customize your machine and tack it all on to the bill. Some of our favorites for the Brute Force are the rear muffler-shaped storage box that mounts on the rear portion of the frame opposite the real muffler. Another upgrade is the floorboard cover that gives us that added traction we’ve asked for in the past. Aluminum skid plates, winches and covers are also items we would be interested in. If you are interested in these items, or the 2013 Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS, stop by a Kawasaki dealer or visit www.kawasaki.com.
Kawasaki was the first ATV manufacturer to use a V-twin engine in their 4×4. Now others are following the trend. We think this sample from Team Green is one of the best and has as much power as you can ask for.
2013 KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750 4X4i EPS
Engine Liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4-valve,
Bore x stroke 85mm x 66mm
Fuel system Dual 36mm throttle
Transmission Fully automatic CVT
Suspension /wheel travel:
Front Dual A-arms w/ 6.7″
Rear Dual A-arms w/ 7.5″
Front Dual-hydraulic discs
Rear Multi-plate wet discs
Ground clearance 9.4″
Seat height 35.8″
Rack capacity: f/r 88 lb./176 lb.
Fuel capacity 5 gal.
Curb weight 694.6 lb.