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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Just got done with a three day, 130 mile test ride of the new Brute with the Prairie 700 and Brute 650 SRA along for the ride. We rode a lot of slow and rocky trails, some smooth and windy logging roads, and one steep and rutted out 50" trail.
After all was said and done, the three of us all came to basically the same conclusions, and here they are...

The new Brute is WAY more comfortable and faster over the rocks and bumps than the other two. Even some of the bigger bumps that I hit with only one tire didn't bottom out the suspension like I expected. And it's not too bad around corners even though it feels like a row boat in the water when you step onto it. Somehow, all that body lean and roll seems to straighten itself out somewhat when she's in forward motion. Also, we all agreed that the power steering is super nice...even to the point of spoiling you. But that being said, it can be a bit vague when in deep sand. It tends to pull or push a little too much and doesn't give you that feel that the wheels are getting buried and you need to turn the handlebars the other way. But boy is it nice on the rocks and asphalt! And naturally, the big Brute can turn in circles around the Prairie and SRA Brute.
The new Brute also gets better gas mileage... especially the 2016. My girlfriend's 2012 doesn't get as good, but usually better than my Prairie.
Then of course, the New Brute has the bigger stator, the fuel injection, and all the little refinements of 20 years of evolution.
The engine and clutching have a very familiar feel on all three machines but with the obvious difference in power on the 650. Off the line, my Prairie will smoke the big Brute, but the Brute is stock and my Prairie is pretty modded. Mid range....the Big Brute catches up, and does so with more of a purr than a snarl.
The downsides of the Brute are:
It's definitely more tippy in the off camber situations, and feels quite a bit taller with not really a big difference in ground clearance. I also don't like that you can't add coolant without having a long hose and funnel, and I really hate the two puddle holders on top of the front fender. Also, she looks like she's crying after you go through just one mud puddle because the front bumper plastic doesn't stop all the wheel splash.
I also do not like the fact that there's no plastic guards in the wheel wells. You can see straight through the machine from standing on the side of it. You also get to see the radiator, all the hoses, the ugly white overflow bottle, and the power steering unit. But that seems to be the norm with all the new machines in all the brands these days.
I also miss having a pull start, and I miss the steel footwells of the Prairie. The plastic footwells of the new Brute are almost impossible to clean completely, and they look like....well....plastic!
And as far as doing donuts or drifting around corners on the Big Brute....forget about it!!! But hey, let's be honest, NOTHING with 4wd drifts and corners like a Kawasaki Prairie with good tires and aftermarket springs! I'm sure a good set of tires and a set of Elkas would help the new Brute immensely though. But I still don't think I'd want to try donuts!

Conclusion:
On off-camber trails and tight, fast trails, the new Brute is staying home. On the bumpy stuff and long distance trails...the Prairie is staying home.
I guess it goes to show that a guy really needs both machines to have all the bases covered!😉😄

Tire Wheel Sky Cloud Vehicle
 

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Nice write up. I guessing the see thru the body thing helps cooling or air flow. I considered pulling the front rear inner fender panels on my 700. It would sure allow more air thru the frame and across the engine.
 
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