We take the Trail Edition out for the day at the UTV World Championships Poker Run
Kawasaki released its all-new Teryx KRX 1000 less than a year ago, plunging itself into the competitive category of 1000cc Sport UTVs. And since then, the green team has already upped the ante by adding two new trim levels. Kawasaki now offers three-of-a-kind for the 2021 model year, adding the Trail Edition and the Special Edition to the mix. The 2021 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Trail Edition offers steel bumpers and nerf bars, color-matched to the ROPS frame in a sweet fluorescent yellow color scheme, a roof and a WARN VRX 45 winch. The KRX 1000 Special Edition is equipped with a premium Hifonics audio system, and the same powersport winch. Both will add on a few bills to the base price of $20,499.
During this year full of Covid restrictions it hasn’t been easy to come up with opportunities to get out and attend events, so imagine my delight when local guidelines eased enough to allow me to travel to Lake Havasu, Arizona for the UTV World Championships, where Kawasaki invited some guests to the Rigid Industries Poker Run where we could spend some quality time aboard the 2021 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Trail Edition.
The Poker Run was a great opportunity for a minimally experienced UTVer (yours truly) to log some hours on Kawasaki’s “ultimate sport side x side.” Coming from the two-wheel side of off-roading, I haven’t spent much time behind the wheel, but dirt-plus-engines equals a yes from me. It also helped to know that our crew would be joined by a fellow motocrosser-turned-UTV-enthusiast, Jeremy McGrath. The seven-time Supercross champ was attending the poker run with his teenage daughter, Rhowan, looking to sharpen her skills on the poker run course.
The 64-mile course at the UTVWC Poker Run was genuinely impressive. It provided an all-day affair (unless your last name is McGrath, in which case it was about a half day) that was a great mix of varying terrain. I will admit that some of the beat-up sand washes were dreadful, but you won’t get far in the Arizona desert without spending a few miles in the trenches. The ridges, hills, technical rock sections, winding two-track and wide-open sections gave us a great course to sample the goods from the 2021 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Trail Edition, which is designed for precisely this: all-day fun on the trail and ready for anything.
As for the engine, chassis, suspension and features, the KRX 1000 Trail Edition carries the same specs as the 2020 KRX 1000, which we reviewed nearly a year ago. See the original ATV.com review of the 2020 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 from October 2019. While it may not be turbo charged, the KRX packs plenty of meaty torque into the 1000cc parallel-twin engine, and gives away nothing in its class when it comes to the chassis with super-sized axles, massive CVT components and thick frame. The stock skid plates provide great undercarriage protection, and the Trail Edition adds even more metal to bash with the bumper and nerf bars. Aside from increased protection, they also look great, color matched to the frame and ROPS.
While there was nothing particularly challenging on the poker run course, there were a few semi-technical sections, and points where I anticipated the sound of metal on rock. But the Teryx quickly reminded me of its best-in-class clearance, and the great Fox 2.5 Podium LSC shock action. The supple ride at the top of the stroke might suggest that the suspension would blow through on the harder hits, but the shocks do an incredible job of soaking up the terrain while keeping your trajectory remarkably well balanced. The few small ascents on our loop were a cakewalk for the KRX 1000, but still served as a good reminder of this bruiser’s happy place—technical terrain.
The UTVWC Poker Run spent the majority of its miles winding through flowing double-track, which were also a treat. The wide, sporty stance of the KRX not only lend to its technical prowess, but also to higher-speed cornering, sailing through hilly roads and winding through sandwashes. The big grunt in the low-to-midrange made these sections a blast.
During our six or so hours out on the trail, we obviously wanted to bring along some provisions, and I was surprised to see how much you can actually pack on board. Coolers, bags, camera equipment, spare goggles, we stowed it all away and had room to spare. Of course, it probably depends on how far back you have the seats, but the generous cab space in the 2021 Kawasaki Teryx KRX 1000 Trail Edition means you will probably have more room than you think in there.
We took our time meandering through the course, with a few stops to shoot some glamor shots. After four checkpoints out on the course, we rolled into the finish to collect our final hand. I’m happy to report that I drew two pair, sixes over fives! I was far more interested in bragging rights than any prizes, but my jaw about hit the floor when I saw the goods that were ponied up by UTV World Championship sponsors: BF Goodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 truck tires, Rigid Industries 30” E-Series Bars, $1000 Rockford Fosgate gift certificates (five in total!), Baja Designs, K&N, VP Fuel, Pro Eagle Jacks… the list goes on. Check out the full list of drool-worthy prizes yourself here. While I was listed among the 65 prize winners (out of 280 entries), I passed on collecting the swag since it should go to an actual paying participant and not an inexperienced journalist. But I’ll still brag that I finished inside the top-20.
If you’re in the area for the 2021 UTV World Championship, I recommend the Poker Run. It’s a great way to get out on the course and have a full day of fun in a completely unintimidating environment, and possibly score a few hundred bucks in swag! Then stick around for the weekend of racing. For more info, visit UTVWorldChampionship.com/poker-run/.
Click here for more info on Kawasaki’s three-of-a-kind KRX 1000 sport UTVs, including the all-new Trail and Sport Editions.