Kawasaki use the force

by Andy Bryenton

In Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, the titular bounty hunting hero has to make use of all kinds of vehicles to cross alien deserts, swamps and lava flows; everything from carts pulled by lizards through to the signature Star Wars speeder bikes. To use a phrase from the film’s lexicon, he should have used the force.

Moreover, perhaps, the Kawasaki Brute Force 300. The big green machine from Japan has found a neat answer to the needs of off-road riders here in New Zealand, who have to put up with a mixture of terrains that would not be out of place spread across several planets. It’s an entry-level machine with the chops of a much larger and more fully-featured quad. So its designers have gone out of their way to lighten, add utility and make things simple.

Vast distances are also a factor when traversing the Kiwi back country, so the deployment of an economical 271cc single pot, overhead cam motor makes for longer distances each tank. Liquid cooling has been added to ensure reliable performance under load, and in the heat of summer, but it’s a simple single-carby inlet on the upstream end of the block, not fuel injection.

Swings and roundabouts, this is the kind of set-up many handy rural people could fix for themselves in the event of minor hiccups. Once again, to keep things simple, the base model is only rear-wheel drive, but its light weight and grip help it scramble across terrain where heavier machines might slog through.

In essence, the Brute Force 300 echoes other great examples of machines built to exceed expectations on a carefully controlled budget. Things like the Willys Jeep, the Land Rover Series 1, the original Mini and the AK-47 rifle.

There’s a beauty to its simplicity, and an undeniable allure to its very low price, considering the fact that this quad is made by the same people who produce some of the world’s best motorcycles.

If bang for your buck is what you’re after, then this little brute is worth a closer look.