ATV Trails: Cruising Baja in a Kawasaki Teryx 4
Off-road adventures take me all across the United States each year, but twice in the last month I found myself south of the border in Baja. This largely unknown, unpredictable and somewhat forgotten land is where the world famous racing dignitaries come a few times a year to do battle and it’s always a treat to visit.
My most recent Baja adventure came after an invite from Kawasaki, who asked me to tag along with them on the Legends Rally held at Horsepower Ranch. This trip would provide even more insight into the tough and rugged Kawasaki Teryx 4.
The Kawasaki Teryx 4 is an incredible work or play machine that has a reputation for reliability. A 783cc fuel injected V-Twin gets this machine moving with plenty of low torque grunt and a user friendly linear power delivery for the longer sections of desert terrain. FOX Podium shocks are found on all four corners, utilizing up to 8.3 inches of travel and 11.2 inches of ground clearance – more than enough to explore this or any other untouched patch of earth. Riding on Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires, which are quite possibly the toughest tire in the ATV/UTV markets, my chariot for the ride was a beautiful Candy Lime Green Limited Edition model, which I shared with Kawasaki’s Jon Rall. We were joined by another editor, who piloted a Candy Persimmon Red LE model Teryx 4 with Luis Soto of Kawasaki. I love the newest look of the Teryx 4 and the additional all LED lighting up front is sure to get us through the dark without any concerns.
Arriving at the Horsepower Ranch just east outside of Ensenada, it was time for us to not only unload and prep the precision rigs, but to get a few photos before the elements of Baja covered the stunning metallic paint in a dress of excitement and mineral deposits. Knowing the potential hazards we could be facing, I brought along a pair of SENA SMH10 helmet radios Jon Rall and I. I had also purchased a reliable Baofeng UV-5R V2+ UHF/VHF -Two way radio on eBay so we could communicate with the leaders of the group ride. Finally, I never set off into such a desolate area without some form of GPS, so the Magellan TRX7 came along to make sure we would not get lost.
Whenever we head to the great unknown, we bring along a GPS device like this Magellan TRX7.
Before we gathered for dinner I spent about an hour prepping my backpack and clamp-on GoPro video gear while pondering what we might encounter on the ride. It was time to get into Iron-Butt mode as the next morning would find us on the trail for up to 180 miles! It was an exciting night and I just couldn’t wait to get behind the wheel in the comfortable high back seating of that Teryx 4. The guides from Horsepower Ranch had a brief meeting on the next day’s events and we sat down for a little food.
The dining hall at Horsepower Ranch.
As morning broke it was time to get moving, because regardless if we were ready or not the group was leaving at 8am sharp. Streaming out of the Horsepower Ranch early Saturday morning, the multitude of off-road vehicles made its way to our first stop. This was on a small hill outside of the sleepy little town of Ojos Negros somewhere around 8:45am. We had ridden some washed out off-camber ranch roads through a few local communities with a powdery dust covering our goggles and half windshield mounted on the Teryx 4. This was the norm for our adventure, but it was expected. Spacing out so we could clearly see the trails was a must. We had also encountered just a few locals going about their business and I couldn’t help but wonder just what it would be like living here. With just a brief breather, we were once again underway in our Teryx 4 and excited to see where the rest of the day would take us.
We wound our way through these forest trails.
Taking the bone stock Kawasaki Teryx 4 on such a long ride through Baja’s rugged terrain might concern those who do not know the machine, but the Teryx has proven its worthy many times over on previous rides through the snowy mountains of West Virginia and the landscape between Big Bear, California and Las Vegas. Kawasaki has built the Teryx to be a tough and reliable ride. Our only thought was just how much distance could we get under our tires before we needed fuel. It wasn’t long before we knew this was not a concern anymore. Kawasaki claims the big V-Twin gets 15.7 mpg and from our experience it seemed so much more than that. The 7.9-gallon fuel tank was around half full at our lunch break as the Teryx 4 seemed to just sip at the supply. Other machines were not so lucky, though, as some of our spare gas was used to help get them to the preplanned fuel stop.
Speaking of lunch, high up inside the Baja Pine forest we were treated to fresh Mex and some incredible tacos. This would be our chance to rest a bit and enjoy the company as well as check over our ride for potential hazards. The Kawasaki Teryx 4 was holding on strong and the only item on the agenda was a minor shock preload adjustment to match the extra weight of our spare fuel and gear.
A lot full of UTVs and freshly grilled tacos? Sign us up!
The next half of the day was a smooth ride through some really interesting landscape and the speeds picked up just a bit. We pulled up to what racers know as KM77 on the Baja 1000 course – Hwy 3 crossing where we found some of the deeper whooped out sections just off the highway. We did have to slow up just a bit, but consistent throttle control helped us navigate the obstacles without losing sight of the group. Some may have doubted our ability to keep up, but the Teryx 4 was no slouch on the trail.
Our day of rugged terrain in the Teryx 4 was one for the memory bank. This machine is very capable of tackling this environment and with no issues whatsoever. Once again we marked a spot on the “tough stuff” entry for those incredible Maxxis Bighorn 2.0 tires that the Teryx vehicles come equipped with. This just reinforces the “Kawasaki Strong” Mantra we hear and the Teryx 4 proves that point time and time again.
So sadly it was time to head back across the border, but you cannot go to Baja without hitting up some of the very fresh and unique local cuisine. During our ride back to the border we stopped at La Bufadora to take in the scenery and a quick stop in Ensenada for ceviche at a roadside taco stand. This wrapped up our weekend and as a group the four of us had made memories to last a lifetime. Thanks again to Kawasaki for letting the good times roll and taking us along for the ride!
Whether he is in Mexico covering the Baja 1000, building ATVs for local racers, or out enjoying the trails, Rick’s passion shows in his stories. Learning to wrench his own machines from his grandfather, Rick also has an undying appreciation for the mechanics of off-road vehicles. Do not let the dirt and mud fool you, though, as Rick also has a deep love for street cars.
More by Rick Sosebee