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KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750 4x4i LONG TERM REVIEW

RATING the KAWASAKI BRUTE FORCE 750 4x4i
Written By: 
John Arens


Utility ATVs aren’t supposed to deliver sport quad type power.  Typically they provide great torque, but power delivery is less than inspiring, and it’s more about stump pulling than instant acceleration.  That makes the Kawasaki Brute Force 750 4x4i something of thoroughbred in a field of draft horses.  It was time to take a closer look at Kawasaki’s biggest and best ATV.

DAY to DAY

You never get to really know a machine until you live with it for a while.  That means lots of trail riding, but equal amounts of time spent working the machine to learn just what it is capable of.  There is one other factor we always take into consideration: maintenance.  Maintaining a machine is a huge part of ownership and if a machine is difficult to maintain it usually hurts reliability and overall value.  We need to let you know what we found there also.   Here is what we learned about the Brute Force 750 4x4i.

 

BODYWORK & CONTROLS

Big bore utility ATVs often feel big, bulky, and a little bit out of your control.  Kawasaki did a good job of avoiding that the Brute Force 750 4x4i, and overall feel is roomy but not like you’re perched atop an ornery buffalo and just along for the ride.  The Thermoplastic Olefin (TPO) bodywork has proven to be tough and very resistant to scratches, particularly if you get the camo color scheme.  You’re well protected from flying mud and splashing water in most cases, except when water would splash through the chassis and hit your foot on the opposite side.  A center baffle would prevent this.

Once aboard the Brute Force 750 4x4i everything feels natural.  Controls are within easy reach, the handlebar bend is comfortable, and the thumb throttle has a good blade angle, although after a 100 mile trail ride our thumb began to get a little tired from the constant spring tension.  On the left handlebar end, a second lever controls the front variable differential for when you need a little extra traction.  A comfortable, firm seat allows for body position changes, yet is still grippy enough to hold you in place, and at the center of the steering column is a very nice digital display with plenty of info.  Large numbers make it easy to read on the trail.

On the left front fender is a nifty, sealed storage box while on the right is a small pocket and retainer net.   Just ahead of the steering column is a larger storage box between the sturdy steel racks, and Kawasaki really increased their functionality by welding on little tie down loops.  GREAT IDEA!  Overall quality of the bodywork is excellent. 

BODYWORK, CONTROL LAYOUT and QUALITY:               4 STARS!                         

DIGITAL INSTRUMENTATION    Excellent!  Easy to read, and easy to use

LEVERS / THROTTLE /  SWITCHES / SHIFTER                  Excellent Quality controls.  Throttle has good feel and throw.  4wd button easy to use on thumb throttle housing.  Shift lever has positive engagement.  Key is easy to reach but out of way.

SEAT COVER & SEAT FOAM         Durable, comfortable, and good texture on cover.

BODYWORK                                   Excellent.  Pliable, highly durable, and scratch resistant. 

SPLASH PROTECTION                  Good protection, but needs a center baffle.  Foot wells drain quickly.  

LIGHTS                                            Not LED but good illumination and spread from both front lights which point to where vehicle is headed, but not necessarily into turns.  Acceptable center mounted tail light. 


CHASSIS, SUSPENSION, STEERING

The Brute Force 750 chassis utilizes a double-cradle steel tube configuration designed for nimble handling and long term reliability.  Five-way, preload adjustable shocks do a good job on most trail obstacles although it is possible to bottom the suspension when riding aggressively over rough terrain.  We believe a dual rate spring along with a slightly stiffer torsion bar would improve suspension and help control body roll a little better.  Overall though, the suspension will get the job done and it’s only when really pushed do you begin to find its limits.  Large diameter low maintenance A-arm pivot bushings are designed for years of abuse from all the crud you can plow through.

The Brute Force 750 features disc brakes tucked inside each front wheel, and a practically bulletproof oil bath system at the rear.  It’s proven to be extremely reliable with one side benefit being no rotors, hubs, pads or other components to drag through the mud.  On the trail they do an adequate job, but the rear brakes can sometimes be spongy.  The engine braking system is excellent!  You can point the Brute Force down a hill, take your thumb off the throttle, and it will walk you down as carefully as a boy scout helping Grandmother across the street.     

Kawasaki really dialed in the EPS (Electronic Power Steering) system on the Brute Force 750 4x4i perfectly.  It’s just the right amount of assist without taking away feel, and you never really know it’s there.  At low speeds, steering feels slightly lighter, almost like a sport ATV or model that doesn’t have the added resistance of front drive shafts, 4wd, bigger tires, etc.  At higher speeds it still feels very connected to the terrain.  It feels very natural, which is just the way you want it! 

 

CHASSIS, SUSPENSION, STEERING:       4 STARS!

FRAME                             Dual perimeter steel frame.  Strong but not so rigid it beats up rider.  

FASTENERS                     High quality, corrosion protected metric with nylock nuts in many places.  Some plastic push-pin fasteners which break down after several removal / install cycles.  .

PAINT & PLATING           Good corrosion protection on frame thanks to powder coat. 

SHOCKS                            Five way preload adjustable.  Good on most trail bumps but can bottom.  Noticeable body roll when riding aggressively.  .

A-ARMS                             Good durability with low maintenance pivot bushings

STEERING                         Very good in standard model.  Excellent and smooth with EPS. (Electronic Power Steering)   Calibration of EPS excellent at all speeds

TIRES                                 Good traction on rocks and slippery trails, and clean out well in mud.  Acceptable traction in sand or snow.  Some side wall flex when riding aggressively.       

WHEELS                            Tough, light weight, cast aluminum.

BRAKES                             Front brakes adequate, but rear brakes spongy and weak.  A new master cylinder would improve feel and stopping power.   

TOWING                            Standard 2” receiver hitch at rear.

STORAGE                           Excellent front and rear racks with welded on tie down loops.  Dual storage compartments on fenders, and one center mounted front storage bin. 

EPS                                     Excellent feel from Electronic Power Steering. 


ENGINE and DRIVETRAIN

Kawasaki was one of the first ATV manufacturers to offer a V-twin engine configuration, and the Brute Force 750 4x4i gets its power from a 90-degree, 749cc V-Twin engine fed by EFI and dual throttle bodies.  Everything about this motor was designed for performance, from the throttle assembly to the muffler tip.  The cylinders are electrofusion plated for longer life, the piston rings were redesigned to help reduce oil consumption and blow-by gases, and even the stainless steel exhaust was designed to scavenge unburned gasses and for better flow.  It all adds up to a very sport like instant throttle response when you crack the throttle.  Ride it like a sport machine on the weekend, shooting from corner to corner, then use it all week to pull a trailer around the farm.  Because utility ATVs often run a lot of electrical accessories Kawasaki equips the ‘Force with a 33.5 amp alternator.

Transferring power to the ground is the Kawasaki Automatic Powerdrive System (KAPS) CVT system.   The smooth shifting transmission features High, Low, Neutral, and Reverse, and we thought the clutching was excellent.  Both the air intake and CVT snorkels breathe from a location high in the chassis to minimize dirt or water intake, and belt life seems to be very good.  We’ve never changed one!   

On the trail the V-twin engine delivers a throaty but not obnoxious sound.  A jab at the throttle brings a lighting quick response from the engine, and clutching was excellent without any hesitation.  On work duty the engine is easy to control and the Kaw has no problem towing a trailer.  4wd is easy to engage and a front axle differential stands ready for when things really get sloppy.  Power out of the corners is excellent, but you’ll need to be a little careful coming into the corners because of the rear brakes which can be a little spongy.  The Brute Force 750 4x4i is a blast to ride and it definitely blurs the line between sport and utility.  It’s an outstanding performer! 

ENGINE and DRIVETRAIN:                        4 STARS!

ENGINE                          No noticeable loss of power, compression, or valve noise

COOLING SYSTEM         No leaks.  Maintains coolant level

SHAFT DRIVE                  No joint failures or excessive backlash on Cardan type CV joints

CVT CLUTCHES & BELT                Minimal belt wear.  Clutch still operating smoothly

4WD SYSTEM                 No failures in 4wd system to front end

REAR DIFFERENTIAL     Maintaining recommended oil level with no leaks

EFI MAPPING                  Excellent starts at all temperatures, no backfire, no hesitation under acceleration.

EXHAUST                          Exhaust and muffler still retain tight fit at joints, no vibration, very little discoloration, and negligible corrosion on stainless steel system.  Sound levels same as when new.

BATTERY                           Battery still holding charge and cranking cold engine quickly and easily, even down to 10 degrees F

SHIFTING                          Very good.  Always positive engagement and Gear changes generally easy


MAINTENANCE MADE EASY

Engine maintenance is pretty easy on the Brute Force 750 4x4i thanks to a large, easy to read dip stick, a spin on oil filter, and an easy access air filter.  The washable, foam type filter is located where a fuel tank is usually found, which makes for quick air box access.  We always prefer the superior dirt stopping capabilities of a foam filter, and the intake tract for both the CVT and the engine are mounted high in the chassis which definitely helps keep out contaminants.  Better air quality means more time between filter cleanings.  A lower mounted fuel tank also helps with handling by lowering the overall center of gravity.


   MAINTENANCE            5 STARS

OIL FILTER                        Good access on front lower section of motor – easy to change.  Standard     Kawasaki filter readily available, but high quality aftermarket filters available also at stores like CarQuest, Napa, etc.

OIL USED                          Mobil-1  Fully Synthetic 5w30

AIR FILTER                       Excellent access, easy to remove. 

AIR FILTER OIL                PJ-1 Aerosol Foam Filter Oil

DRAIN PLUG                    Good access, easy to reach

DIP STICK                         Excellent access, easy to read

COOLANT RESERVOIR                 Good access under right front fender.  Easy to checkt level.

CVT COVER DRAIN PLUG            Excellent.  Easy to remove and includes a clear rubber cover for quick checks

ADJUSTMENTS                Easy adjustments on cables, and for rear brake actuation lever

ELECTRICAL                      Excellent access to fuses under seat

TIRE PRESSURE               5 lbs Front & Rear for hard trail, normal riding & work duties,  3lbs Front & Rear for sand


SPORT UTILITY DEFINED

The Brute Force 750 4x4i is a big bore utility quad like no other.  Every stab at the throttle brings a lighting quick response from the engine, and if there is one ATV that fits the definition for “sport utility”, this is it.  It has the power to run with sport quads, 4wd for any serious mud play, and the ability to work like a rented mule all week.  For anybody who has serious work but also likes serious play on the weekend it’s an outstanding performer. 

 


Kawasaki Brute Force® 750 4x4i Specifications

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Engine                749cc, Liquid-cooled, SOHC, 4 valve per cylinder, 90-degree, four-stroke V-twin

Fuel injection   DFI®; (2) 36mm Mikuni 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                 Double-cradle, high-tensile tubular steel

Front suspension / wheel travel            Double Wishbone/ 6.7 in.

Rear suspension / wheel travel              Fully independent, dual A-arm / 7.5 in.

Front tires         AT 25 x 8-12

Rear tires           AT 25 x 10-12

Front brakes     Dual hydraulic 176mm discs with 2-piston calipers

Rear brake         Sealed, oil-bathed, multi-disc

Overall length x width x height                86.4 in L  x  46.5 in W  x  48.0 in H

Turning Radius                             10 ft. 6 in.

Ground clearance                          9.4 in.

Rack capacity, front / rear         88 lbs. / 176 lbs.

Towing capacity                            1,250 lbs.

Curb weight                                    683.6 lbs.

Fuel capacity                                  5.0 gal.

Instruments                                    Speedometer, odometer, dual trip meters, fuel gauge, engine temp, clock, hour meter and 2WD/4WD icon, plus indicators for EPS, neutral, reverse, belt, and oil

Warranty                                         12 month limited

   

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