Teryx vs. Rzr: Initial Impressions - Kawasaki Teryx Forums: Kawasaki UTV Teryx Forum
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-29-2008, 11:03 PM Thread Starter
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Teryx vs. Rzr: Initial Impressions

Just got the Teryx and had a leisurely low speed trip to start the break in process and form some initial impressions.

Underneath, the tubing and box sections are much much heavier on the Teryx so it can have a full 2" receiver rather than the smaller one on the RZR. Stuff is more accessible to work on. No torx fasteners that require you to carry additional tools. Design wise, I much prefer the stronger construction and better access and serious cargo box. Air filter is oiled foam versus the very porous paper one in the RZR.

Compared to the RZR, the Teryx has a much rougher ride. Other ATV owners who rode in my RZR were always amazed at how smooth it was at any speed over rough terrain. The Teryx may well simply be "normal" when compared to other vehicles besides the RZR. From what some of the reviewers have wrote, Kawasaki set the Teryx up for high speed and people who want to get air. If the Teryx is still working OK a year from now, I can see mods oriented towards a more compliant ride. The ultra smooth ride of the RZR is something I really miss (still recovering from a back injury from a tractor rolling over me).

At speed, the RZR engine vibrated much less, perhaps the rear engine placement helped in this regard. A lot more vibration in the Teryx, perhaps because the engine is right next to you. Much quieter exhaust on the Teryx, but much more mechanical noise from the engine, again, probably because it's right next to you. Rzr's braking was powerful with very little pedal effort. Teryx braking requires a lot of pedal effort. It was cold tonight, and I noted a little cabin heating from the engine. There was none on the RZR.

Traction on some of my problem roads, up and down, seems just as good as the RZR. Did some hard braking on a steep hill and found no hint of the rear end coming around. I'll know more in the dry season when these road surfaces get crumbly.

The RZR had no parking brake. Instead you put the transmission in park, but it would bind badly on even a slight hill. This would force you to park sideways, at the risk of rolling. I like the Teryx's parking brake much better and it held on a steep hill without being applied all the way.

The idle on the Teryx is much smoother and more consistent, I suspect to a much milder cam shaft. The Rzr's idle, even when new, did not maintain a consistent speed and was very rough, possibly contributing to premature plug fouling.

The Teryx shift lever works much easier and smoother than the RZR, which constantly threw an engine code indicating an shifter malfunction. The Teryx's drive train engagement is immediate upon just cracking the throttle and smoother than the RZR. Downhill, the engine braking operates all the way down to 2 MPH in both ranges. The RZR clutch would disengage at higher RPM (around 1,700 to 1,800) and higher speed when attempting engine braking. Likewise, when taking off, the clutch would not engage until hitting this RPM, giving the RZR a tendency to lurch forward suddenly. The Teryx is very easy to inch forward. This is very hard to do with the Teryx. I can see where this fine control over the clutch engagement would be valuable negotiating very diffcult terrain.

There is an interesting difference when you are at a stop, facing downhill, and release the foot brake. If the driver does not speed up the engine to engage the clutch, the RZR will just free wheel downhill and continue to build speed. If you belatedly speed up the engine, the RZR will break rear traction if the vehicle speed is too great and there is a significant vehicle speed engine RPM mismatch. Then the rear end comes around. When the Teryx hits about 2 MPH rolling downhill, the drive train locks up without any action by the driver. Probably something to do with the electronic downhill braking system. Pretty idiot proof.

One drawback to the Teryx's downhill braking. When you hit that magic 2 MPH in low range, some mechanism cycles in and out of engagement repeatedly causing the vehicle to have a jerking motion, unless you brake to below 2 MPH or increase speed above 2 MPH. It seems when people upgrade the clutch they do away with this electronic braking management probably because of this behavior. If 2 MPH happens to be just the speed you need for a particular downhill section, you're going to have to either speed up or slow down.

Stock Teryx headlights are much superior to the RZR. I felt a need to add long range lights to the RZR, the Teryx doesn't need them. RZR has factory back up lights, Teryx does not.

The Teryx's battery is much larger than the RZR's, or as other reviewers have remarked, the RZR's is unusually small. Not a good thing in cold weather in the middle of nowhere.

The winch installed in my RZR was deep out of reach. I never tried to use it. I don't see how you could guide the wire back on the drum to avoid a bird's nest. The winch location on the Teryx looks like it will result in a winch you could properly guide a cable onto. I think bolting on an attachment point is probably more useful. If you're buried in mud, the winch will be buried. On both vehicles the winches are quite low in the chassis. On a ranch there are plenty of other vehicles to pull you out. Much 4 wheeling is done with others. When hunting public there's lots of other hunters on ATVs and in full size vehicles.

I like that front mounted receiver hit I noticed elsewhere in these forums.
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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 08:37 AM
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Nice write up...keep posting your opinions, it's nice to read hand-on reviews.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 09:14 AM
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I agree thanks for listing the pros and cons. It is good to hear first hand experiences.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 09:31 AM
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Nice review.

Do you have the 2008 or 2009 Teryx?

How would you compare the power? How about build quality?
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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 01:34 PM Thread Starter
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Can't completely report about power because I'm waiting for my break in period to end. Part throttle operation confirms what already has been publicly posted: Stock, the RZR is faster. 1,000 lbs versus 1,300 is a big difference, but you get a much stronger built vehicle.

Stock, the RZR is high compression and takes premium. The Teryx is only 8.8 and takes regular. Probably because this is also intended as a ranch vehicle where some employee is likely to fill it up with whatever stale, regular that's been sitting in some tank forever. The RZR was never intended for racing, and it's lightweight frame and other design features were intended for this purpose.

RZR's build quality in the engine air filtration department sucked. It is hard to believe it was designed by the same engineers that built the rest of the vehicle. The rest of the vehicle seemed well designed and built.

RZR has an air box built into the bodywork behind the seats. The air box serves both the engine air intake as well as the CVT intake. The air box is formed by the intersection of several body panels, including the pickup bed (the engine air filter is not in this air box). To seal these panels strips of adhesive backed open cell foam is used. This foam is flimsy and looks like the kind that will deteriorate with heat and time. Even new none of this fits particularly well. The overall impression is a strange collection of poorly designed and fitted parts. This system was the subject of a factory recall which consisted of more adhesive back foam strips and a new paper air filter element.

The air filter is located in a housing located in the left rear fender well. Rocks kicked up by the tire can, and have, broken off the clamps holding the lid on the housing. If you are a RZR owner, I recommend you carry spares. The recall air filter passed as much light as the one that came with the vehicle and allowed dirt into the engine.

The RZR requires 4 different specialty Polaris lubes. The Teryx needs only 10-40 engine oil in the engine and front gear case. A specialty oil in the rear case.

Talked for a long time with a Kawasaki consumer rep. He was knowledgeable, answered all my questions, was interested in my observations as both a Teryx and RZR owner and was interested in my suggestions for improving the Teryx (buzzer to warn of parking brake engagement, back up lights and tachometer). By comparison all you get when you call Polaris is "Talk to your dealer ".
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 01:57 PM
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Thanks very much for the comparison.

Is your Teryx an '08 or '09?
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 02:30 PM Thread Starter
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forgot that: 2009
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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 04:11 PM
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Nice to here that the grass isnt greener on the other side .Ranger vs teryx would be a good write up ...havent heard too much on them.The RZR is in a class of its own, sure there fast but there is little to no utillity.(for me)Im a bigger guy and I didnt like the feel of the driver /passenger compartment.And the jerky take off....etc Ill stick with the TERYX.No problem spanking rzrs now.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 04:53 PM
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TCSF, there is an interesting thread here on HQ about engine break in, its worth the time to read it......
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 12-30-2008, 09:35 PM
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very insightful. i would love to here a review though from someone on my side of the country. the areas we ride in just arent condusive to a RZR. they dont have the ground clearance...
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