2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Sport Review

Rick Sosebee
by Rick Sosebee
Team Green adds a sporty model to the Teryx line

In 2009 Kawasaki will put a new face on a not-so-old friend. The Kawasaki Teryx, which originally hit dealerships less than a year ago, has stood in the shadows only to observe its competition. The addition of fuel injection, bold new graphics packages and a pile of other new additions in 2009 has garnered attention from the media world. Kawasaki has even gone a step further, adding a sporty package aimed to stop consumers in their tracks.

Side-by-side riding has taken off in a big way and the amount of aftermarket parts available for this segment has grown exponentially. On Kawasaki’s to-do list since the inception of the Teryx has been to create a vehicle that would satisfy the go fast guys and gals as well and allow them to get the most comfortable seat time of any RUV. This has come to pass in the form of the 2009 Teryx Sport.

Kawasaki added a Sport edition to the Teryx line for 2009.

Kawasaki added a Sport edition to the Teryx line for 2009.

Let’s start from the 2009 base model and we will show you what can be expected from Kawasaki’s Teryx line, which could overrun its competition with very little trouble. The base Teryx has a 750cc 90 degree liquid cooled V-Twin that was taken from the ever-popular Brute Force in Kawasaki’s utility line of ATVs. This engine set up has proven to be reliable and very tough when put to the ultimate tests like cross country and dessert racing in the wilds of Baja California.

With the Digital fuel injection getting a sensor overload the new Teryx will get you moving in any climate or elevation. The fuel injection has to pass several critiques in the sensor section before it determines the amount of fuel it will deliver. The sensors include areas like inlet air pressure; throttle position, crankshaft, speed, water temp and a vehicle down sensor. This new fuel injection wakes up the sleepy Teryx of old and makes the throttle respond immediately to your demands. There is even a new fuel tank and pump within that will assist in keeping the hungry V-Twin raging along the trail by keeping the fuel fed to the engine.

Kawasaki listened to its customers and finally put a digital dash on all Teryx models that gives us vitals like fuel level, gear position, trip meter, 2WD/4WD and a plethora of warnings. The warning indicators are for oil, CVT Belt, and also a large P for when you set the parking brake and forget about it. The unit can be driven with the parking brake engaged but the speedometer will not work and will continue to display the “P” until it is released.

All of the power in the V-Twin is then delivered to Kawasaki’s continuously variable transmission (CVT) that delivers quick and reliable acceleration. The new CVT for Kawasaki’s Teryx has a belt protection system that will read wheel speed at the rear wheels to warn the rider of unnecessary belt wear. If the sensor reading the wheel speed indicates no movement after two seconds of high engine rpm the process begins to retard the timing and a flashing ‘belt warning’ lamp on the now standard digital dash will start to blink. This will keep you out of the repair shop and help you better understand the limitations of your machine.

The chassis offers a wide stance for stability and yet still fits into the back of a full size pick-up with little effort. Independent front and rear long travel suspension is fitted on the chassis. The arms on the Teryx are swung by gas charged shocks as well. The rear shocks will be the only ones on the stocker that have piggyback reservoirs. This set-up gets a major overhaul on the sport edition.

On the rear, Teryx enthusiasts will find a gas-assisted rear tilting bed, making this sporty vehicle a workable playmate. As for paint, the 2009 model Teryx will only be offered in one color and that is Sunbeam Red. The colors from last year’s stock line are now gone and if you want different colors you’ll have to look into the Limited Edition models for Metallic Titanium and Sonic Blue. There are, of course, the Camo versions available with Hardwoods HD camo and the NRA Outdoors dressed Teryx.

So we have covered the basics and by now I guess your wondering what could possibly be so different on the new Teryx Sport edition.

Riding in the Boulder OHV area near Phoenix, Ariz. we came across a variety of terrain for our savvy test rider to get to know the new Sport edition. There were rocks, wash outs, and steep inclines and descents. This was a time to put the additional hardware on the Sport model to the ultimate, rigorous test.

The shocks on the Teryx Sport are adjustable, so you can set them up for the type of terrain you ride on.

The shocks on the Teryx Sport are adjustable, so you can set them up for the type of terrain you ride on.

The new Sport version of the Teryx includes a fully adjustable suspension package. The front and rear get a tunable sport-focused suspension that allows the crafty rider to set the RUV up for his style of terrain. The narrow frame of the Teryx allows the long travel shocks and dual A-arms to smooth out the bumps in the trail up front. High performance Kayaba shocks include compression and rebound adjustments along with preload adjustability. These shocks are gas charged and also have piggyback reservoirs that will assist in the reduction of shock oil foaming under harsh conditions.

Custom 12-inch aluminum wheels can also be found on the Sport edition in polished aluminum or flat black on the Monster Energy version. These wheels are wrapped in a Maxxis Spec tire that is 26 inches on all four corners. The tires are 2-ply in the front and 4-ply in the rear. Then there are the Special colors and graphics: the Sport edition can be purchased in the classic bright Lime Green and also in the Monster Energy version that will have a Lime green roll cage with black plastics and Monster Energy graphics.

These changes should make the Teryx Sport a notable contestant in the minds of RUV consumers and will let the rage rider get the most of his purchase.

ATV.com Test Ride

Starting out of the Boulder OHV parking area I noticed right away the sparky throttle and how it seemed to be awake long before I expected – a big improvement over the 2008 version. The CVT grabs and gets the Teryx moving forward with ease and seems to put the power to the ground effectively. With large floorboards and sufficient foot protection I did feel a bit more comfortable that I wouldn’t accidentally stick my foot out during a tip over. This in itself is a huge step forward. As we made our ascent into the higher elevations I didn’t notice a problem even once with the throttle or fuel delivery. The throttle was just as crisp at the parking deck as it was several hundred feet above it. That was a welcome change.

The tendency to roll into the throttle and let the Teryx rip consumed us during the test and I can attribute this to the longer, more tuned suspension. Although it wasn’t perfect in its stock form it did have plenty of potential. The front end could have been a bit stiffer to keep the unit from bottoming in the rough stuff. This New Teryx Sport edition will climb terrain that even a seasoned rider would second-guess himself on. I still cannot believe the ability of these units.

The single shoulder belt and lap belt set-up works fine for general trail riding to keep you safe from harm but in a Sport model it would be nice to see a dual shoulder belt or wider belts to even out the pressure. During our ride we pushed the Teryx to its limits and the single shoulder belt just seemed to dig in and at times it was unbearable.

I had the opportunity to be a passenger in the Teryx Sport and I can say there’s something missing here. I think the addition of a second hand hold for the passenger would give the driver’s partner a more comfortable ride, not to mention make them feel safer in the RUV. We also noticed that the front tires on the Kawasaki Teryx were rolling under the rim in sharp turns, which made the vehicle want to push hard during cornering. Adding a 4-ply tire to the front of the Teryx could dramatically change that handling characteristic.

The Monster Energy Teryx features black and green paint, blacked-out rims and Monster Energy graphics.

The Monster Energy Teryx features black and green paint, blacked-out rims and Monster Energy graphics.

This RUV has come a long way in its short life and just needs minor refinement to be at 100%. The overall look and feel of the Teryx Sport will make any enthusiast a fan and with the options available in the accessory department there is no limit to its potential. After all was said and done the Kawasaki Teryx Sport edition proved to be a great package. The feel of the new fuel injection and the delivery through an updated CVT made the Teryx come alive.

The lime green color of the sport edition and the black and lime green on the Monster Energy Teryx makes these RUVs stand out in the crowd. With custom aluminum wheels and Maxxis tires Kawasaki has really let the Good Times Roll in the form of an awesome Teryx Sport model in 2009.

2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Specs
Engine:Liquid-cooled, 90-degree, 4-stroke V-Twin
Valve System:SOHC, four valves per cylinder
Starting System:Electric
Bore x Stroke:85 x 66 mm
Compression Ratio:8.8:1
Fuel Delivery:2 x Mikuni 34 mm throttle bodies
Ignition:Digital DC-CDI
Transmission:Continuously variable belt-drive transmission with high and low range, plus reverse, and Kawasaki Engine Brake Control
Final Drive:Selectable four-wheel drive with Variable Front Differential Control, shaft
Frame:Large diameter, thin-walled, high-tensile tubular steel
Front Suspension:Adjustable dual A-arm with gas charged shocks / 7.5 in.
Rear Suspension:Adjustable Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) with gas charged, reservoir shocks / 7.5 in.
Front Brakes:Dual hydraulic discs with 2-piston calipers
Rear Brake:Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc
Front Tires:Maxxis 26×8-12
Rear Tires:Maxxis 26×10-12
Length/Width/Height:115.4 x 58.7 x 75.7 in
Curb Weight:1,380 lbs
Wheelbase:79.6 in
Ground Clearance:11.7 in
Fuel Capacity:7.4 US gal.
Lighting:(2) 40W headlights, (2) 8W taillight, 27W stoplight
Cargo Bed Capacity:500 lbs, 44.2 W x 32.7 L x 11.1 in. H
Towing Capacity:1300 lbs
Instruments:Multi-Function Digital Meter with speedometer, fuel gauge, clock hour meter, odometer, dual trip meter and parking brake, R/N/P/4WD, water temp and oil pressure indicators
Colors:Sport – Lime Green, Monster Energy – Black and Lime Green
MSRP:Sport – $11,899, Monster Energy – $12,199

Related Reading

2009 Kawasaki Teryx 750 FI 4×4 Preview

2008 Kawasaki Teryx 750 4X4 Review

Kawasaki introduces Teryx Performance Parts Catalog

New Teryx accessories from Pro Armor

Rick Sosebee
Rick Sosebee

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