The King returns with updated flagship ATV
It has been quite a while since Suzuki has given the off-road media something to really sink out teeth into, as it seemed to step back from the limelight a few years ago. Now Suzuki is back on the road to reintroducing its offerings to the four-wheel off-road market and we headed to Rome, Ga. for a full day of riding the 2016 Suzuki KingQuad 750 AXi with power steering.
Many loyal Suzuki customers will remember the KingQuad 750 AXi as the biggest in the Suzuki arsenal and this is still true today. For 2016, the 722cc single cylinder DOHC engine has received a few changes that might help the big bore step through the woods just a bit more confidently.
Quietly over the past two model years, Suzuki redesigned the cylinder head of the KingQuad 750 to include a dual spark plug set up. This twin iridium spark plug head would not only allow the big single to burn fuel more effectively, but also cleaner with a more powerful end result at the wheels. Making every gallon of gasoline last longer while doing it more efficiently was accomplished by the updated multi-hole injector this machine is now using. The KingQuad takes in air through its 42mm throttle body to supply the fire within, while liquid cooling keeps the temperatures under control.
Saying that emission control is important to Suzuki is a bit of an understatement and with that in mind it also added a muffler with a catalyzer built in. This Catalyzer, along with a Suzuki’s Pulse Secondary Air Injection system, helps to reduce the emissions for the King and its court. These seemingly minor changes should bring about better overall fuel burn and lower fuel consumption, while providing a more powerful ATV when the revs begin to pick up. Suzuki claims the changes in engine performance will be most notable in the mid to high rpm range.
For the 2016 model year, Suzuki make further changes to the KingQuad 750. The headlight that was formerly residing in the bars is now replaced with an updated digital instrument cluster and housing. Suzuki gave the front of the machine some plastic surgery, pun intended, to give the KingQuad a little different look. Along with the switch from Dunlap to Carlisle tires, this is pretty much the gist of the changes.
A hallmark of the KingQuad is its low center of gravity achieved by the 48-degree off-center cant of the engine’s cylinder. Laying the cylinder down and forward allows the engine to occupy a lower point in the frame and the chassis’ attitude during cornering is directly affected by this. Keep in mind that low CG is a good thing. The lower you get the center of gravity of any vehicle, typically the better it will tend to handle.
Suzuki also has partially gear driven valve train assemblies that utilize a center inner gear attaching the timing chain to the crank and an outer gear that spins the cogs on the dual cams. According to Suzuki, this should not only make servicing the top end much easier, but it will keep the valve train timing more precise. This more compact design also lowers the overall height of the engine, again getting the weight lower in the frame. Suzuki is quick to note that this technology was pulled from its V-Twin motorcycle designs, such as the V-Strom 1000. With such a massive single cylinder thumper throttling up between the fenders, Suzuki also has twin balance shafts to help sedate the vibrations.
We are not sure how we feel just yet about the removal of the third headlight from the bars. It was nice to be able to see in the dark by twisting the bars before you turned the corner. Suzuki explained it was looking for something that could be sacrificed to keep the pricing of the KingQuad low. The third headlight was the target. Fortunately, twin high/low beams out front still provide ample lighting. The sleek and stylish dash design does fit well in the big picture, but we are still fans of the light in the bars.
As far as comfort goes, the ergonomics of the Suzuki KingQuad have long been a favorite. The footwells seem to have plenty of drainage, as they are deep and the serrated pegs provided plenty of grip when the weather turned ugly. As always, the fenders provide plenty of protection from flinging debris off the trail and it isn’t hard to stay pretty clean, should you prefer to ride that way.
The trail system in northern Georgia we had ridden was comprised of flat and smooth sections of trail with generous amounts of rutted root and rock-filled hill climbs, along with a few sections of steep descents where the KingQuad could show off its engine braking.
Power from the big single cylinder engine was not earth shattering off the bottom, but once the throttle had been engaged a bit further, the power picked up and built strength from there. We are fans of the power delivery, as we feel it lends to the intermediate rider as well as some higher skilled novice riders. It’s not brutal and pushy and comes on smooth. Power from the KingQuad is very linear and controllable in delivery. Getting up steep grades and over root-filled tree lines reminded us just how powerful and comfortable this ATV is.
The trail manners of the new 2016 King Quad are greatly improved with the addition of the power steering. This allows the rider to drop the machine into 4WD or differential lock and still manage the bars without needing to force them left or right. We feel like the PS system could use just a bit more assist at the low speeds to give the rider a bit more help. Every rider is different, but we think overall this would be well received.
We think power steering is a must for the KingQuad 750, because models without power steering still have the bump steer issues that have that have affected the machine for years. Hitting small bumps or roots in the trail can cause the bars to jerk left or right and this can be cause for concern. We were pleased with how well the Power Steering settled the bars for us.
As we took a quick look around the KingQuad 750 AXi, it was easy to recognize that servicing this beast should be much easier now. The oil dipstick can be accessed without removing any plastic service panels and the air filter is also easily reached right below the bars. After removing the seat to attempt a look into the throat of this ATV, we noticed that the plastic cover over the air filter cap was held in by plastic rivets. We are not necessarily against, but we could easily lose those plastic rivets before we’ve even sat them down on the workbench. It would be cool if that access point is totally tool free and maybe some rubber bushings and pins would make that happen. The cap covering the air filter is held in place by a wing nut so that’s easy enough to get to, but those rivets are a pain sometimes. If that’s the worst of it, Suzuki is headed in the right direction.
Overall it was a great day to see a once very prominent company come back into our radar and prepare to begin again the trek of ATV development. The 2016 KingQuad 750 AXi with its power steering will make any recreational rider happy and at a price of $9,199 in base trim, it shouldn’t be too far from the garage now. You can also get it in True Timber Camo for $9,699.