Dune Rig: Teryx Project

Features, Project Quads, Sport ATV — on March 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm
Jesse Wozniak / ATV Sport

Jesse Wozniak / ATV Sport

Does evolution exist in the mechanical world? If you could observe the changes to the recreational vehicles that have been tackling the sand dunes of Southern California over the last 40 years, you might think so. From ATC 90 three-wheelers, to high-performance ATVs, the trend was continuing in the general direction of bigger and faster. The next step was a split where high-performance single-rider machines like ATVs and dirt bikes represented one fork in the road and the ultra-fast and expensive long-travel dune buggies represented the other. Now there’s a whole new change of course. Side-by-side machines are clearly the hottest things to hit the SoCal deserts.

Kobylecka / ATV Sport

Kobylecka / ATV Sport

As it was first released, Kawasaki’s Teryx was an exciting new model with tons of potential. We couldn’t wait to see what this machine could do when modified and put into action as a pure sport UTV in the recreational off-road paradise of the Glamis Sand Dunes. As with any first-year model, these projects can be a challenge. All the aftermarket items that will make the transition from sport utility side-by-side machine to a sporty two-person fun machine are new, in development and sometimes hard to come by.

For this project we hooked up with the guys at HRT Motorsports in Ramona, California. The company has a lot of experience designing and fabricating off-road components for a variety of applications. In the past few years the HRT crew has been performing countless hours of research and development on side-by-side machines and developing products that really open up the sport and racing side of this segment. Our project Teryx build was centered on HRT’s new long-travel suspension and we relied heavily on its expertise for the rest of the build as well.

Although the Kawasaki Teryx is a smooth riding machine in stock form, a complete suspension retrofit was the main focus of this project. We combined the HRT Long Travel kit with newly developed shocks from Fox Racing Shox. The HRT suspension kit changes the whole appearance of the UTV. The kit includes laser-cut, TIG-welded CAD-designed A-arms that are five inches wider than stock (on each side). They also extend the wheelbase by two inches in the rear. This of course translates into increased performance and stability, but more noticeable is the incredibly aggressive look the machine has just sitting still. It makes the somewhat boring stocker look more like a semi-racer. This kit utilizes Summers Brothers axles and improves wheel travel, front and back, to a whopping 14 inches! The axles, available in either 4340-chromoly steel or 300M steel, feature a black oxide protective coating and are made in the U.S.

The Fox shocks, combined with the HRT kit, did a lot more than make for a smooth ride. The new Fox coil-over shocks have an incredible amount of adjustability. The integrated piggyback reservoir keeps internal fluid separate from the charging nitrogen, and both rebound and compression valving is externally adjustable.

The power mods on this project were quite simple. The Kawasaki has a twin-cylinder 749cc four-stroke engine that is pretty ample in stock form. We outfitted our project Teryx with an AC Racing dual exhaust system and a Dynatek FS Ignition System (available with a programmable or non-programmable design). The performance mods are noticeable and welcome, especially for riding in the dunes. Deep sand robs power, and the higher flowing exhaust and improved performance from the CDI makes the Teryx more responsive and easier to operate. The Dynatek unit plug right in and improves the timing curves, spark energy, throttle response and starting, among other things. The exhaust also gives the Teryx a more aggressive sound to match its newfound grunt. While this literally “sounds good,” we also need to remember that some will consider it a little loud. Be sure you follow your riding area’s decibel level restrictions.


Wozniak / ATV Sport

Safety and Comfort
With additional power and a better suspension, clearly our Teryx can be driven more aggressively than a stock model. With that in mind, we knew adding safety upgrades was also important.

HRT equipped this Teryx with its two-seat Sport Roll Cage. It is designed to mount to the chassis instead of the bed. This cage sits three inches lower than the stock unit and offers a sportier, sleeker appearance. Plus, HRT says it’s proven to be far stronger than the stock cage. The HRT assembly also has provisions for a racing level restraint system that incorporates Crow Enterprises’ shoulder harnesses ($60 to $90 each). HRT also added custom suspension seats by Twisted Stitch and the Crow restraints on our model. The Aggressor suspension seat has higher hip bolsters and integrated headrest design. It features lap-belt slots, shoulder harness loops and can be mounted to the stock seat base. We appreciate the added safety and comfort while pounding across the open sand. The new restraints held us in place during the most aggressive testing, and the seats were more forgiving and held us in place better than the stockers.


Wozniak/ ATV Sport

Looks and Style
Sure the suspension and exhaust looks good, but when building a project we often like to add a little more eye candy. The roll cage added a new look, however, we couldn’t stop there. We added an HRT front bumper and Douglas Wheel Technology Spyder wheels. The 12-inch DWT wheels wore Maxxis Bighorn tires. The eight-spoke wheel looks amazing with machined finish. While the bead-lock compatible wheels look stellar and are strong, the tires improve hook up and give the Teryx a meaner fit and finish. The radial Bighorn offers a rugged profile, a non-directional tread pattern and a six-ply rating.

Bed Head
Because this Teryx is built to be a sport machine and its only mission is fun, we didn’t really have a need for the utility bed. An HRT “Bed Delete Kit” eliminates the farming look. It includes brackets to hold the bedsides in place while eliminating the bed itself. Sure the removal of the stock bed added to the Teryx’s new sportier appearance, but it also shaved a lot of weight off the machine. We opted for the HRT spare tire mount and a utility basket in the bed area.


Kobylecka / ATV Sport

Test Drive
We’ll never give up our sport quads or our love for carving through the dunes, but we understand UTVs are very popular for their fun factor, too. While riding the ATV Sport Teryx, the thrill becomes apparent. With the performance mods, the Kawi is a true two-person, go-anywhere machine that allows us to share our fun with another person. As a sport ATV enthusiast, the increased capabilities offered by this state-of-the- art suspension package are what make this machine a thrill to drive. The wider stance gives great stability, and the increased travel allows for a much more aggressive driving style including jumps, and the ability to attack the terrain. With this custom Teryx, we can now entertain a friend with a far more enjoyable and comfortable ride.

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