Sunday, February 19, 2012

Kawasaki Brute Force 650

SPECIAL FEATURES
The Kawasaki Brute Force features scratch-resistant, high-gloss bodywork found in Kawi green or the brilliant red featured in this test.

The ergonomics of the Brute Force 650 4x4 are right-on. The ride is comfortable and spacious, which is good for aggressive riders. It feels good for longer trail rides, too. The seat is soft on your backside, and it puts you in an upright and comfortable seating position.

The floorboards and integrated metal footpegs provide plenty of traction. They also serve as good mud and debris deflectors. However, when we found ourselves in the deep mucky muck, the footpegs filled up at times.

Instruments found on the center of the handlebars include a digital speedometer, odometer, twin trip meters, clock, hour meter and fuel gauge. The fuel gauge keeps tabs on the Brute Force�s large, five-gallon fuel tank, which offers well over 100 miles between fill-ups. The front of the machine offers four-bulb, 40-watt headlights to light on the nighttime trail. This Brute can tow a hefty 1250 pounds and can also handle nearly 300 pounds of combined weight on both of its racks.

Our biggest concern for this 4x4 is the lack of storage space. There are no cavities on the front fenders like there are on the larger Brute Force. The only storage space is under the seat, and it�s barely large enough for a trail snack. What�s the deal, Kawasaki? We�ll take care of this problem with a Project Brute Force 650 later this year.

The 2010 straight-axle Kawasaki Brute Force 650 runs for $7549. The only other straight-axle 4x4 you could purchase these days that is 500cc or larger is Honda's $7699 Rubicon 500. It is over 130cc less than the Brute Force 650, but it is equipped with power steering and push-button shifting that can be switched to fully automatic mode.

The Brute Force 650 also compares to Can-Am�s $8399 V-twin Outlander 650, which had dual front A-arms and IRS. The $5999 Polaris Sportsman 500 H.O. has MacPherson struts and IRS. Arctic Cat�s 700H1 ($8499) and 650 H1 ($7199) compare, and for about $1000 more, the 700 H1 comes with power steering. The Brute Force 650 also compares to Yamaha�s $8699 Grizzly 700, which offers dual front A-arms, IRS and, for $600 more, a power steering system.

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Kawasaki Brute Force 650

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