2014 Japanese Big Bore Utility ATV Shootout + Video

Matt Allred
by Matt Allred
2014 Japanese Big Bore ATVs Group
Honda Rincon vs. Kawasaki Brute Force vs. Suzuki KingQuad vs. Yamaha Grizzly

Spending a summer riding, testing and comparing Kawasaki’s Brute Force 750, Honda’s Rincon 680, Suzuki’s KingQuad 750 and Yamaha’s Grizzly 700, all model year 2014 ATVs, was a delight in dirt dining. From these four was an assignment to pick el numero uno – the one ATV our evaluators and editors would take home and store in our garage for our long term recreation and farm use. Our task was to find each machine’s weaknesses and strengths, exploit them and then rate each ATV.

Our plan when coming up with ideas for this year’s shootout was to compare the best ATVs Japan has to offer. However, once we started getting serious about organizing the project, it came to our attention that every one of these ATVs were put together in the United States by American workers. The Yamaha Grizzly and Suzuki KingQuad were assembled in Georgia, the Honda Rincon in South Carolina and the Kawasaki Brute Force in Nebraska.

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For the shootout, we spent three days conducting a hard charging comparison with one day on the high plains desert near Menan, Idaho. The second day was spent on high-altitude trails near Leadore, Idaho, with the third day riding through some heavy forested trails in Island Park, Idaho.

Before this three-day comparison, we spent the summer throttling these ATVs on a farm, on nearby deserts and on mountain trails.

Read our review of the 2014 Suzuki KingQuad 750 AXi EPS Long-Term Review + Video

Provided below are our results from many different facets: outside turning radius, speed runs, and pulling engine and transmission temperatures at the footboard area. After reading through these statistics, we give scores (results) from our opinionated guest test riders.

Making Circles

As we navigated the OEM websites for each test-unit ATV, we noticed the Original Equipment Manufacturers – Yamaha, Kawasaki, Suzuki and Honda – gave inside turning radius figures. To us, that seemed odd. It is the outside wheel – the outside turning radius – that tells the story. Here is the data from hardpacked sand, both right and left. The measurements given are averages from two left side and two right-side turns, all done in two-wheel drive.

2014 Japanese Big Bore ATVs Group Front

Before the real riding comparisons, we checked out the turning radius of each ATV in our shootout.

Honda Rincon21′ 6″22′ 4″
Kawasaki Brute Force 75020′ 2.3″20′ .5″
Suzuki KingQuad 75020″ 8″20′ .75″
Yamaha Grizzly 70021′ 4″22′ 11″

Analysis: The difference of making a tight turn on a trail, between rocks, tree stumps and a dead porcupine may be two feet. The KingQuad and Brute Force cinched up the tighter turns, whereas the Rincon and Grizzly, especially when torqued to the right, reached out 22 feet and a few inches. Here the Brute Force and KingQuad come out on top. As brawny as the big twin Brute Force is, it stitched the tightest L & R turns, making it seem smaller than the other three. In tight tree and rock crawling situations, a small turning radius is big to the operator.

Speedy is as Speedy Does

For our 100 yard dash on a sandy, hard-packed trail, we set up our Brower System Timing Lights and unleashed our test riders. The riders rolled across the starting line at approximately 5 mph and then mashed the throttle. One round was in 2WD with the other in 4WD. Wind from the southwest blew sand in our faces at a 12 to 15 mph. The drivers were speeding from west to east. Elevation was 4,784 feet. Each driver made two runs per ATV. Below are their averages.

2014 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 Speed Run

The Kawasaki Brute Force 750 was the quickest ATV in our 100-yard dash.

Vehicle2WD Speed in Seconds4WD Speed in SecondsAverage Speed in Seconds
Honda Rincon6.887.026.85
Kawasaki Brute Force 7506.496.276.38
Suzuki KingQuad 7506.796.656.72
Yamaha Grizzly 7006.486.496.48

Analysis: The Brute Force pulled the quickest average times, compliments of twin cylinder power. Test rider George Kidd ran identical times on his Brute Force and Grizzly runs. The Rincon, with the smallest bore motor and utilizing a torque converter, delivered the slowest averages. It should be noted that driver throttle response, tire spin and driver drift can – and will – change these results.

2014 Honda Rincon Speed Run

While the Honda Rincon was the slowest of the four ATVs, it was barely a half second behind the winner.

Our test riders noted that the Rincon felt sluggish off the start, but as it overcame its torque converter’s rotating mass, it found its legs. The Rincon cleaned up at 50 yards and began a hurried sprint. It is by no means a slow ATV. In fact, with just 0.57 seconds separating first from fourth, we think these ATVs are fairly closely matched for short speed runs.

It’s Hot!

Riding an ATV on hot summer days is a recreation activity that tests limits of your own heat tolerance, especially when trail speeds are slow. Comfortable heat-free riding is enjoyable riding, but not all ATVs are created equal, especially when it comes to heat management. Below are heat numbers for the ATVs as registered by an infrared heat gun. After riding the ATVs for several hours at an elevation of 10,000 feet, we pulled right- and left-side temperatures at the footboard level. Below is an average of two readings per side in degrees Fahrenheit.

2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS Trail

Nothing puts a damper on a summer ride like excess heat scorching your leg.

VehicleRight Side TempLeft Side Temp
Honda Rincon91 degrees F127 degrees F
Kawasaki Brute Force 750139 degrees F136.5 degrees F
Suzuki KingQuad 750136 degrees F86 degrees F
Yamaha Grizzly 70097 degrees F162 degrees F

Analysis: The Brute Force, with its brawny twin cylinder engine, kicked out the most heat, as expected. The Rincon and Grizzly had higher heat temps on their right sides than on the left. The KingQuad was the opposite with left side cooler than its right side.

Read our review of the 2014 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i EPS Long-Term Review + Video

Here is the take away, Brute Force is hot regardless the side, thus, wearing long pants and over the ankle boots is a must when driving it. The other three are similar in heat, but of different sides. Regardless, after four to five hours of trail motoring, we found motor, clutch and exhaust heat more than uncomfortable, it started dictating how much time we spent on the saddle of a particular model when the afternoon temperature hovered around 85 degrees. We’d like to see Suzuki, Kawasaki (especially), Yamaha and Honda to place better heat cladding around the motors. There is no cool winner here.

2014 Kawasaki Brute Force 750 Water

The Brute Force has lots of heat coming out both sides, making a water run awfully refreshing.

Of surprise to us, test driver Danny Stowell found heat dissipation for all the ATVs to be acceptable. We have learned, numbers do not tell the story, but seat-of-the-pants is the real measuring stick – most of the time.

Speed Run 2

We had to know how elevation affected motor performance. At 10,087 feet, we rolled out the timing lights and set up our 100 yard dash. To scale down the time commitment, we used one driver for multiple runs. Below is an average of two runs, each in 2WD. The test driver was Roger Raymond, who last year helped in our Sport UTV shootout. He’s also a veteran test driver for ATV.com’s sister publication, Snowmobile.com.

2014 Suzuki KingQuad 750 Speed

We were impressed how well the machines ran above 10,000 feet, clocking just slightly slower times that at 5,000 feet.

Vehicle2WD Speed in Seconds4WD Speed in SecondsAverage Speed in Seconds
Honda Rincon7.827.597.71
Kawasaki Brute Force 7506.686.556.62
Suzuki KingQuad 7507.027.097.06
Yamaha Grizzly 7006.926.986.95

Analysis: Fuel injection is king. Though a motor loses approximately 3% to 4% of its horsepower for every 1,000 feet gained in elevation, these ATVs seemed to ignore that with an additional 4,500 feet under their tires from the previous day’s speed runs. Like the earlier day’s runs, the Brute Force and Grizzly pulled the fastest times with Brute first, Grizz second, King third and Ricon fourth. These results mirror those written above.

Read our review of the 2014 Honda FourTrax Rincon Long Term Review + Video

Rider Results

Lastly we give test rider results from George Kidd, Danny Stowell, Kyle Martin and Roger Raymond. These are given in ratings from 1 to 5 with 1 being the worst and 5 the best.

Test Rider: Danny Stowell

CategoryHonda RinconKawasaki Brute ForceSuzuki KingQuadYamaha Grizzly
Looks/Appeal Styling4533
Seat Comfort3444
Handlebar Comfort1444
Handlebar Controls4444
Shift Lever and Control2432
Footboards – Adequate2444
Brakes – Adequate4444
Steering Control2444
Traction – 4WD/2WD Control4444
Engine Power2533
Engine/Transmission Heat4444
Ground Clearance1434
Total Score40575452

Test Rider: George Kidd

CategoryHonda RinconKawasaki Brute ForceSuzuki KingQuadYamaha Grizzly
Looks/Appeal Styling5454
Seat Comfort5333
Handlebar Comfort4445
Handlebar Controls5445
Shift Lever and Control5344
Footboards – Adequate4444
Brakes – Adequate4444
Steering Control3544
Traction – 4WD/2WD Control2545
Engine Power2544
Engine/Transmission Heat4334
Ground Clearance2545
Total Score56585862

Test Rider: Roger Raymond

CategoryHonda RinconKawasaki Brute ForceSuzuki KingQuadYamaha Grizzly
Looks/Appeal Styling4345
Seat Comfort4444
Handlebar Comfort2442
Handlebar Controls2354
Shift Lever and Control2354
Footboards – Adequate3445
Brakes – Adequate4444
Steering Control2555
Traction – 4WD/2WD Control1355
Engine Power2544
Engine/Transmission Heat4255
Ground Clearance2455
Total Score41517665

Test Rider: Kyle Martin

CategoryHonda RinconKawasaki Brute ForceSuzuki KingQuadYamaha Grizzly
Looks/Appeal Styling3554
Seat Comfort4435
Handlebar Comfort4444
Handlebar Controls4444
Shift Lever and Control3444
Footboards – Adequate3444
Brakes – Adequate3444
Steering Control3454
Traction – 4WD/2WD Control3454
Engine Power4455
Engine/Transmission Heat3455
Ground Clearance3554
Total Score48636759
Driver TotalsHonda RinconKawasaki Brute ForceSuzuki KingQuadYamaha Grizzly
Danny Stowell40575452
George Kidd56585862
Roger Raymond41517665
Kyle Martin48636759
Average Score46.2557.2563.7559.50

Final Analysis and Conclusion

Combined scores from our test riders puts the Suzuki KingQuad 750 in first, with the Yamaha Grizzly 700 in second, the Kawasaki Brute Force 750 in third and the Honda Rincon in fourth. A look at the individual results, however, reveals far from a unanimous winner.

Danny Stowell placed the Brute Force as his top pick. George Kidd delivered a tie between the KingQuad and the Brute Force, yet declared the Grizz as his favorite; but, he scored the Rincon two points behind the two that shared identical scores. From these two fast trail desert riders, the Brute Force really was the top ATV. But, high mountain trail riding tipped the scores and delivered high points to the KingQuad, where Roger Raymond lifted and propped up the KingQuad, and Kyle Martin added the exclamation point.

2014 Suzuki KingQuad 750 Beauty

Though it hasn’t been upgraded in a half a decade, the 2014 Suzuki KingQuad 750 took top honors in our shootout.

Desert drivers, Stowell and Kidd, saw the ATVs differently than trail riders, Raymond and Martin. Martin did pull triple duty by driving these dirt toys on sandy desert trails, up and over lava rock (crawling) and on mountain trail, his perspective was well rounded. This shootout was an ATV milkshake blended with multiple flavors.

Read our review of the 2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS Long Term Review + Video

Drivers least liked the Rincon, describing it as the slowest, by seat–of–the–pants feel. True, it was the slowest, by hard data, but by a watery blink. Here, our numbers defy the seat–of–the–pants. The Rincon trailed third place sprinter, KingQuad, by very, very little, and it did so with a smaller bore motor. Considering motor size, the Rincon held its own.

2014 Honda Rincon Rock Crawling

The Honda Rincon finished fourth in our shootout, but still proved itself an impressive Utility ATV.

Heat on the footboards seemed to not bother the drivers as much as we thought it would. Test driver Kevin Allred and I were critical of motor, transmission and exhaust heat near the feet; we chirped away like roosters about this. But these drivers seemed to have tuned out the heat factor. This tells us consumers come to expect this and have learned to deal with engine heat (but Kevin and I have not).

Power steering, transmission and ground clearance dominated much of our test drivers’ talk; transmission function determined ATV favorability – causing an ATV to fall out of favor or into favor. Though three ATVs – KingQuad, Grizzly and Brute Force – use constant velocity transmissions (CVTs), the Rincon relies on an automatic transmission with torque convertor. Our drivers favored the CVTs, which we understand, however I found the Rincon’s three speed automatic transmission to be stellar and as useful as the CVTs the other ATVs use.

2014 Yamaha Grizzly 700 EPS Rock Crawling

Finishing second, just edging out the Kawasaki Brute Force 750, was the Yamaha Grizzly 700.

In conclusion, the KingQuad came out on top as the most favored ATV in this shootout. Though it may not have been the fastest, its overall cumulative points, from hard test data to driver impressions, pushed it to the top floor. Congrats Suzuki.

But, we must be clear here. All four ATVs are gems in their own way. The Brute Force is powerful. The Grizzly is stout and confident. The Rincon is stable and high tech. The KingQuad is an all-around player. If we had repair orders and warranty repair data, all normalized against a constant sales numbers, then a different ordering may come into view. But, we never considered rolling such into this shootout.

2014 Japanese Big Bore ATVs Group Left Side
Matt Allred
Matt Allred

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