During the holidays we received an invite to join Kawasaki in mid-January to try out the 2016 Kawasaki Teryx in the mountains of West Virginia. It is always great to get a chance to ride the Hatfield McCoy Trails, but I was a little worried when we started seeing the news about Winter Storm Jonas. Just three days before our ride, the storm dumped about 18 inches of snow on southern West Virginia, but Kawasaki reassured us, the adventure was on and we were up for the challenge.
The trip started with a Kawasaki Product Manager, Kevin Mann giving a detailed walk around of both the 2016 Teryx and Teryx4. He mentioned that the Teryx platform is a mix of both sport and utility and that the Teryx4 is the perfect vehicle for a family adventure.
The first thing you notice is the new aggressive styling of the front end, including four LED headlights on the LE and Camo models that offer regular and high beam and are controlled by two separate switches. Access to the hood has changed from front hinge, to an easily removable panel. In the cockpit, there are even more changes as Kawasaki added tilt steering and an over-molded steering wheel. The front seat is now easily adjustable into three positions without the need for any tools. They have also added a new dash with a carbon fiber-styled look that includes knockout places for accessory switches as well as area specifically shaped for a Jenson radio and speakers.
Under the hood, Kawasaki has continued to use its powerful 783cc V-Twin engine paired with the belt driven CVT. The CVT would definitely be put to the test on the ride, as engine braking would be paramount on the slushy trails.
One of the most noticeable changes to the 2016 Teryx is the revised suspension setting on the FOX Podium 2.0 shocks. While still offering eight inches of travel in the front and 8.3 inches of travel in the rear, the new settings offer a plusher ride while also giving the driver the confidence of control.
The two-seat model still features two 24-gallon storage boxes that close from the top and kept all of our gear out of the elements. It also has a 600lb cargo capacity on its tilt bed that also features Kawasaki Quick Release (KQR) rails. The four-seat model has a smaller cargo area with 250lbs of storage and features theater-style seating for the rear passengers.
Once the walk around was finished we geared up, including thick gloves and a balaclava under the helmet and made our way to the trailhead. With expert drivers from the Hatfield McCoy Trails leading the way we made a slow ascent up into the mountains on the Rockhouse Trail. Having driven the trail before I knew the trail was aptly named as it seemed to be carved out of the hard rocky mountainside, but on this trip the layer of snow covered the rocks so deeply we rarely noticed they were even there. As we continued on our trek from Man, WV to Gilbert, WV we slowly picked up the pace as everyone in the group became more accustomed to the conditions. One of the first things I noticed was the new suspension settings on the Teryx. The ride felt smoother than in the past and at one of the photo stops, I made an adjustment on all four corners to make it a little stiffer. The adjustment was more noticeable as we picked up speed in one of the valleys, cruising along in slushy snow at full throttle. Just before the Gilbert trailhead there was a long downhill section where I shifted into low gear, to see how well the engine braking would handle the icy conditions. I had a lot of confidence as I descended the icy trail without once touching the brake pedal.
We finished the 25-mile journey to Gilbert right around lunch time and the rain started to fall while we were at the restaurant. It slowed considerably as we headed back to the trails. The rain added to the slush and also the fun as we were able to pick up the pace on the way back to Man. After 50 miles of trouble free riding in a winter wonderland our adventure was over. The trip will always be memorable as we had a freshly canvas to paint with a remarkable machine.
For more information on the 2016 Kawasaki Teryx, please visit the Kawasaki Website.