2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS vs. Kawasaki Teryx LE: By the Numbers

Derrek Sigler
by Derrek Sigler
How do these Sport-Utility Side-by-Sides compare on paper?

Both the 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec and Kawasaki Teryx LE fill a unique niche in the Side-by-Side market. The Utility segment leads the way with the Sport machines following. Right between the two sits the recreational segment, which is a little bit Sport and a little bit Utility. That’s where you’ll find the Wolverine and Teryx. These machines are rapidly gaining in popularity with great suspension and handling, decent power and enough utility features to be useful as more than just a toy.

The 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS and the Kawasaki Teryx LE are closely matched in terms of horsepower and handling, with outstanding suspension. If there is a place you can’t go with either one of these machines, you probably shouldn’t go there with a Side-by-Side, or anything else for that matter.

2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec2017 Kawasaki Teryx LE
Engine708cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves783cc 4-stroke, 2-cylinder, OHV, 90-degree V liquid-cooled
Driveline/DifferentialOn-Command 3-way locking differential; 2WD, 4WD, locked 4WD; shaftSelectable 4-wheel drive with locking front differential, shaft
TransmissionUltramatic V-belt with all-wheel engine braking;

L, H, N, R
Continuously Variable belt-drive Transmission (CVT) with centrifugal clutch and H, L, N, and reverse
Wheelbase81.3 in85.6 in
Overall Dimensions (LxWxH)116.9 in x 60.6 in x 74.2 in125.4 in x 61.6 in x 79.7 in
Weight1,311 lbs (dry)1,589 lbs (wet)
Front TiresAT26 x 8-1227×9-14
Rear TiresAT26 x 8-1227×11-14
Ground Clearance11.4 in11.2 in
Fuel Capacity9.7 gal7.9 gal
Front Suspension/TravelIndependent double wishbone, KYB fully adjustable shocks; 9.7 in travelDual A-arm with a piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping/8.0 in
Rear Suspension/TravelIndependent double wishbone, anti-sway bar, KYB fully adjustable shocks; 10.6 in travelIndependent Rear Suspension (IRS) with a piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping/8.3 in
Front / Rear BrakesDual hydraulic disc / Dual hydraulic disk, multi-dis wet parking brakeDual hydraulic discs with two-piston calipers / Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc
Bed Capacity300 lbs600 lbs


Yamaha uses a 708cc liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke single cylinder with four valves in the Wolverine R-Spec. Yamaha has done a lot with single-cylinder engines and it’s really good at them. Singles are a unique animal, and fitting for the Wolverine. You get lots of low-end torque and grunt from that big piston chugging along. You do pick up a bit of extra noise and vibration from singles, just because of the nature of them, but it isn’t bad with the Yammie. This is a great engine.

Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec Studio

As for the Teryx, it relies on Kawasaki’s tried and true 783cc V-Twin four-stroke. These engines make a lot of torque as well. Being a V-Twin, it’s really smooth, with a totally different tone and vibration is low as well. The Teryx has full electronic fuel injection with two 36mm Mikuni throttle bodies feeding the Twin. Driving this engine is maximum fun with a hearty growl coming from the centrally located engine.


As for suspension, the Yamaha R-SPEC comes with some pretty outstanding KYB shocks. You have fully adjustable shocks riding on dual wishbones front and rear, with a swaybar in the rear for stability. Travel up front is 9.7 inches and out back there is 10.6 inches. Suspension action is outstanding and adds to the almost invincible feeling the Wolverine inspires in the driver.

Kawasaki Teryx LE Orange

Kawasaki outfitted the Teryx with some equally great suspension. Riding on dual A-arms are piggyback reservoir coil-over Fox Podium shocks, with adjustable spring preload and 24-way compression damping. You get 8.0 inches in the front and 8.3 out back. The shocks and suspension system soak up the trails well and allow the driver to tailor the ride to the conditions. The Teryx is a beast that can tackle any terrain out there.

The Whole Package

So with suspension and engines being so close, what’s left to help you make the decision? We get it – it’s not easy. Seating is comfortable in both machines with great layouts. The bed capacity is a major difference. The non-dumping cargo box on the Wolverine holds 300 lbs of gear and has a removable tailgate. The cargo box on the Teryx dumps and holds 600 lbs plus there are two semi-sealed storage compartments behind the seats. Both run Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires.

Yamaha Wolverine Wheel

Dimensions are pretty close, too. The Yamaha is 116.9-inches long and the Kawasaki is 118.1 inches long. The Wolverine is 60.6 inches wide versus the Teryx’61.6 inches. As for weight, the Yamaha tips the scales at 1,311 lbs and the Teryx at 1,589 lbs. You get a six-month warranty from Yamaha and a three-year Kawasaki Strong warranty on the Teryx.

Kawasaki Teryx LE Action

So pick your adventure and pick your adventure machine. Both the 2017 Yamaha Wolverine R-Spec EPS and the Kawasaki Teryx LE are up to the challenge. Deciding between the two will probably be the hardest decision you have.

Derrek Sigler
Derrek Sigler

Derrek's love for all things ATV started when he was a mere 11 years old, growing up on his family farm. His mom gave him and his sister a choice - get a horse, or a three-wheeler. The sister wanted the horse, and Derrek wanted the ATV. Luckily he won out, and was soon burning up the trails on a Yamaha Tri-Moto 200. By the time he was 14, he had saved enough of his own money by working on the farm and in his folks restaurant to buy a new 4-wheeler. That happened the day he and his mom were driving past the dealership and saw 1987 Banshee. His mom had no idea what he was buying, and he never looked back. He's been riding ever since, and been writing professionally for many years. He has ridden all over North America and been behind the controls of just about every machine out there. And yes, he still has his 1987 Yamaha Banshee.

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