Conquering The Paiute Trail In The 2014 Kawasaki Teryx4- Review Hot
Years have passed since I began to dream about hitting the Paiute ATV Trail in Utah, so when Kawasaki invited ATVESCAPE to join them for the introduction of the new and improved 2014 Teryx4, I jumped at the chance to tackle the trail and the machine. I have heard for years how amazing the riding was along the Paiute Trail, with miles upon miles of trails to explore without a person in sight, and that is my kind of riding. Little did I know what an amazing adventure lay ahead of me.
My excitement level was at a high from the moment I boarded my plane going West with the morning sun to my back. Once arriving at the Cedar City, Utah, airport, we were just a hop, skip, and a jump (50 miles actually) from Beaver, Utah, where our adventure would begin. Our group loaded into a van, and headed North to Beaver, Utah, to get settled before hitting the trail the next morning. This included some quality time learning about the Teryx4 along with the history of the great Paiute ATV trail.
The Paiute Trail
The Paiute Trail was the first all-inclusive ATV trail in the U.S. with trail heads and access to services in the local towns such as food, lodging, and supplies. From the Paiute Trail one can connect with other trail systems throughout Utah. Most of the trail is located in the Fish Lake National Forest, with more than 97 named and unnamed trails totally over 800 miles of riding available. One could spend a lifetime discovering all the sites and scenes the Paiute offers up to those who traverse it. Amazing views from rugged mountaintops to vast valleys and amazing wildlife are just some things a daring explorer can take in while riding the Paiute Trail. The Paiute Trail pictograph logo harkens back to the Freemont Indians who left the area around A.D. 1300, a fact which gives one a sense of the history of the trail and the area. Not only is riding the trail such an explorer’s and adventurer’s paradise, but being allowed to ride into and out of the surrounding communities makes the trip a pleasure. It never seems to get old to be riding down the street on an ATV or UTV passing cars while riding along.
Though the Native Americans and explorers used horses to traverse the 900 miles of trails, our steeds were horses of a different color: camo, candy lime green, and candy burnt orange to be specific. The 2014 Teryx4 has been updated with an 800cc class engine featuring more torque and horsepower, premium Fox Podium sport shocks on all four corners tuned for the Teryx4, reduced noise and heat in the cab, a double-X frame design for improved rigidity, and EPS on all models. All of these items combined translate into an improved Teryx4 in both performance and comfort that riders will appreciate on the trail.
Walking up to the Teryx4’s we had to choose from, there was definitely something different about the look of the 2014 models. The LE models have painted springs and A-Arms matching the color of the machine along with new 3-tone premium seat covers with the Teryx logo. Along with those cosmetic changes, new LED headlights are standard on the LE and camo units, which not only look good but help greatly with visibility for what is on the trail in front of you. The new Teryx4 looks SHARP and durable, and stands out in the crowd. It also offers the shortest wheelbase and overall length of any side-by-side on the market. After looking over the the choices, I could simply not resist the Candy Lime Green LE model beckoning me to itself. I opened the door, put my gear in the machine, and climbed aboard. Sitting in the driver’s seat is comfortable and comforting at the same time. The seats are extremely comfortable with plenty of padding and they cradle your body to keep you from sliding all over the place. The seats also adjust with the middle setting working just fine for me, and offer confidence as they are positioned to offer the driver a commanding view of what is in front of him. Settling into the driver seat with all the controls easily accessible, I had a sense that the Teryx4 was a dependable stead to get me down the Paiute Trail and back without any incidents.
I looked forward to the time I could start the engine, settle into my Teryx4, and hit the trail, and I didn’t have to wait too long. Soon my trail guide said it was time to “start your engine” and head off into the unknown, which was good because that is where I was headed! A turn of the key and the 783cc 800 V-Twin rumbled to life with an absolutely fantastic exhaust note. The Kawasaki V-Twin 750 and now 800 exhaust note might just be the best in the business, with a perfect balance between noise level and tone as it has a low rumble that subtly exudes power and guts.
With a shift of the transmission from neutral to high and a quick hit of the throttle, I was heading out to the adventure ahead. Turning onto the road through a town never gets old, as I passed businesses, schools, and cars. Soon though, the pavement gave way to gravel as our group headed towards the peaks awaiting us. With the town of Beaver in my rearview mirror and the winding dirt roads in front of me, our group began to pick up the pace and let the Teryx4’s breathe. It wasn’t long before the Teryx4 and I became one as we jetted down the trail ahead. What stood out for me after a few short miles was how the Teryx4 works so well as a single machine. It is said that synergy is achieved when something is better than simply the sum of its parts, and that being the case, then the Teryx4 is a glowing example of synergy. It doesn’t take much seat time to see how all the features of the Teryx4 come together to form an exceptionally outstanding side-by-side. Further, it takes so little time to get a “feel” for how the Teryx4 performs. Riding so many different side-by-sides and ATVs means these machines all perform and ride differently, so it takes a little time to figure out how a machine rides. The Teryx4 became predictable after an extremely short amount of riding, finding the sweet spot of rider and machine becoming one.
While zipping down the winding roads towards our first two-track trail, I began to get a feel for how the Teryx4 rides, and the short answer is “really well”. The suspension on the 2014 Teryx4 has the same travel as in years past with 8 inches up front and 8.3 inches in back, but for 2014 every Teryx4 has FOX Podium Shocks with piggyback reservoir on all four corners, offering 24 different dampening positions along with spring preload adjustment. In other words, the ride is highly adjustable for both driver preference and terrain. I found the ride to be sporty just as the Kawasaki team described, and according to past year model riders, noticeably improved. The Teryx4 seemed to stay relatively flat in the corners even at speed, and accelerating out of the corners allowed for fun for all in the group, and left a smile on my face time and time again. Much time was spent experimenting with the shock systems in order to dial in the ride to what I wanted, whether it be the clear winding roads or the obstacle filled tight trails. The ride offered a precise and sporty feel, which offered me confidence despite the terrain I was going over.The Paiute Trail offers both the tight ascending and descending trails along with wide winding roads, offering a variety of terrain to experience. Whatever the particular terrain, breathtaking views were offered everywhere.
After some time on the fast winding roads, the opportunity was in front of me for some serious tight trail action, and this is where the engine improvements for 2014 shone. The 800 class V-Twin is up to 783cc from 749cc in past years, offering an increase of 7.5% in power and 10% in torque. Couple that with the CVT transmission with a centrifugal clutch between the crankshaft and CVT drive pulley, and what comes out of all of that is a lot of low to mid range “grunt” to power through the turns and throw you forward down the trail. The word to use for the engine is “gutsy”, and the engine power makes the Teryx4 particularly fun to drive. Coming out of tight turns and ascending tight trails is where this engine shows its grunt, as pushing on the throttle turns into an immediate lurch forward. I ripped down the tight trails with all sorts of obstacles in my path, slowing down slightly as I came into the turns, and then jumping forward as I accelerated out of the turn. This was an absolute blast, and I could not get enough of that riding. As soon as I hit the throttle out of a turn or after an obstacle the engine brought me right back up to speed. The CVT transmission worked seamlessly to put power to the ground aggressively but not in a way in which I was jerked forward. Equally impressive was the way the engine braking kicks in to slow you down the second you let your foot off the accelerator. The engine braking in the Teryx4 (and other Kawasaki products) is the best in the business. It simply works the way engine braking should, where it is transparent and does its job without drawing attention to itself. Descending steeper declines doesn’t phase the engine braking system, with all of my steeper descents occurring in hi range with no brakes and using some throttle. I can only imagine how it performs in lo range.
Tight and turning trails require work for the rider, but didn’t require much work for me in this machine. The steering is tight, with the EPS unit being an outstanding balance between light and heavy as speeds increase. There is no play in the steering on the EPS...period. This stands out, as most all the other EPS units I have ridden have play in them. Turn the steering wheel and the wheels immediately respond with no slack in the system. The EPS feels the way all the EPS units should feel. Trail feedback in the steering wheel is excellent while the EPS makes obstacles almost disappear in the steering system. Not once did an obstacle translate too hard into the steering wheel or did an obstacle try to take the steering wheel out of my hands. Believe me when I say our group ran trail obstacles at high speeds, so without hesitation I can say the EPS is outstanding on the Teryx4.
The Paiute Trail’s weather decided to test other features on the Teryx4 along with some accessories I was very glad were there. Day one of our adventure offered sunshine with a few brief rain showers, but day two offered an entire day of rain, including down pours at times, and some fog as the ride took our group into the higher elevations. I was glad the LE and camo models include a roof and the LED lights to see and be seen. The more it rained, the more splash protection became a wonderful thing, and the Teryx4 receives a check mark for it. Hitting standing water and streams at high speeds became a game, and the Teryx4 kept almost all of the water out, though the rain allowed plenty in. The rain also allowed me to test out the drive system, and that comes in three flavors: 2 wheel drive, 4 wheel drive, and 4 wheel drive with diff lock. The rider can choose which mode with a turn type switch that is easy to operate. I crashed through the mud, slippery trails, and inclines and declines with 4 wheel drive selected, and the system offered the confidence to keep rolling. The drive system is simple to use and works well; just select the setting and go.
Seeing The Sights In Comfort
The Paiute Trail offers so many different views that cannot be seen any where else, and this riding area is vast to say the least. Pictures simply do not do justice to the scenery, and the Paiute Trail allows you to go over hill, dale, and everything in-between. Seeing all of those amazing and breathtaking views is that much better when you can do it in comfort, and the Teryx4 interior offers comfort in droves. This side-by-side has a car-like interior with easy entry doors rather than nets, offering a secure feel and protection from the elements without compromising visibility in any way. All the controls are easy to reach and the instrument cluster lets the driver easily identify what is going on with the machine at a glance. The cab offers plenty of space without the riders feeling cramped. The rear passengers have a grab bar in front of them, along with rear stadium seats offering views to everyone in the vehicle. After hitting the trail for 120 miles and a full day, I was not fatigued from the ride. I saw mines and cabins from centuries past along with peaks stretching toward the sky at around 11,500 ft.
Tweaking The Teryx4
With all the time I spent in the driver’s seat of the Teryx4, I did find a few things I would like to see improved. The first one would be the steering ratio. It seemed like it took more steering wheel rotation to get the Teryx4 to turn than felt natural. It was more noticeable with aggressive riding, and, even after many miles, that was the number one item I would change on the Teryx4. Top-end engine power would be the next item I would improve. The Teryx4 has an engine limiter at 50 MPH on it, which is fast. The engine has plenty of power left. The issue is once you are running around 40 MPH and you want to accelerate quickly to 50 on an open road or uphill at those higher speeds, the power doesn’t seem to be there. The lower and mid range power is absolutely there, but the higher end is not. To be fair, the altitude robbed the engine of power, and that should be considered in all of this. Having said this, more power would be a welcome improvement. Now, some would say 50 MPH is plenty and I would generally agree, but if you own this machine and are wanting to cruise with a group that has some of the other side-by-sides on the market, you may have trouble keeping up at the higher speeds. The final item I would change would be the position of the ignition and drive mode switches. The ignition key sets behind the steering wheel on the right side, and in order to use it the rider must put his hand behind the steering wheel. The drive mode switch is directly to the right of the steering wheel on the dash. Several times I found myself naturally reaching out to the drive mode selector in order to start or turn off the engine. Since I did this unconsciously almost every time during the ride, I think things should be moved around to be more natural for the driver.
Looking back on the experience, what an amazing time! The Piaute Trail had even more to offer than I expected or could have imagined. I will be spending the rest of my life returning to this amazing place in order to try to experience everything it has to offer. The Teryx4 also had more to offer than I imagined. The Teryx4 is an outstanding side-by-side for use as an adventure vehicle, hunting vehicle, and all-around machine to have fun in. It has a highly adjustable suspension offering a sporty ride that is comfortable and predictable. The Teryx4 looks good, offers a roomy and comfortable interior for up to four adults, and has the shortest overall length on the market, making it easy to maneuver through tight trails like a two seat side-by-side. The EPS, engine, transmission, and engine braking are some of the best on the market. The Teryx4 features work in perfect harmony, and its quality and durability become evident in the first few miles of riding it. The Teryx4 is not going to win any races, but everything else it does very well, and without hesitation I would depend on it for adventure after adventure. That is a lot to get from a single side-by-side.