Monday, 09 September 2019 09:31

Bigfoot comes up trumps

Written by  Mark Daniel
Kawasaki Mule SX-XC Bigfoot. Kawasaki Mule SX-XC Bigfoot.

Call them what you will, but UTVs, side x sides or ROVs have found a place in much of rural New Zealand.

With engine ranging from 400 to 1000 cc and lots of specifications, they suit many farmers much better than a basic quads.

Kawasaki reports its Mule SX-XC Bigfoot is finding favour with many dairy farmers for its no-nonsense specifications, ease of use and operating economy so we tested one to find out more.

Revamped in 2017 and taking some design detail from the larger Pro series, the SX has a tubular, ladder style chassis said to offer rigidity and a comfortable ride. That ride quality is better with a greater pre-load on the springs up front for a more level ride, and softer in the rear to improve user comfort. 

The rear swing arm carries the engine and rear wheels on a separate subframe/cradle, pivoted centrally to remove vibration.

Power comes from a 400 cc single cylinder, air cooled engine with standard carburation and although the power is not stunning it’s enough for normal fetch, carry and move on a typical dairy farm.

The engine starts and reaches constant idling quickly, then the driver selects high, low, neutral or reverse with a central dash mounted lever. Drive is taken from the engine by a belt driven automatic unit, and a heavy duty transfer case has 2- or 4-wheel drive selection. 

It’s interesting to note that the machine can be started in gear if the brake pedal is depressed. Maximum speed is 40km/h. 

The front axle incorporates a limited slip differential, while the rear uses a lock up unit activated by the dashboard control and aimed at pushing through tough conditions.

Out on a sodden Waikato farm the Bigfoot was easy to live with, allowing the driver easy access with its slightly higher stance because of 26 inch tyres mounted on 12-inch rims. This set-up also gives a big tyre footprint offering good stability, great traction and ample ground clearance.

Towing capacity is 500 kg at the trailer hitch the well laid out cargo tray holds 180kg. The machines weigh 90 kg. 

The tipping tray, equipped with a drop-down tailgate, has a 1.5 mm diamond plate floor for strength and a 25 mm tie down rail around its upper edge.

Dual seats with inertia reel seatbelts offer comfort and safety. Ahead of the driver the dashboard presents full information and easily understood controls for gearshift, 4WD and diff lock selection

The rack and pinion steering is precise with low effort, making the machine very manoeuvrable with a tight 3.6 m turning radius. 

Drum brakes are fitted to all four wheels, each protected from ingress of water and mud by triple lipped labyrinth seals.

Creature comforts include a glovebox, radio mount, halogen headlights, DC power socket and a pair of cup-holders. Add to that the current special offer of a glass windscreen with wiper and a moulded roof, then Bigfoot will have minimal effect on your back pocket.

More like this

Top defender

Can-Am has added to its Defender UTV/side by side range for 2020, with the arrival of the Pro HD-10.

A complete package

Described as Kawasaki’s premium Mule side by side, the PRO-FXR is a sport utility machine that combines a wide-body chassis with a 320mm shorter wheelbase.

Kodiak built to endure tough stuff

While quads’ stranglehold of the off-road market has been tempered by side by sides (UTVs), quads persist, particularly on narrow tracks or difficult terrain.

» The RNG Weather Report


Soil moisture: no more looking over the fence

Farm manager Bryan Mitchell describes as brilliant the SCADAfarm systems that allow him to remotely monitor and manage the irrigation of his 300ha of leased grazing land near Kirwee.


Separation gives constant result

Effluent separation offers a number of unique advantages, and opportunities that other systems don’t offer, says farm equipment manufacturer Rakaia Engineering Ltd (REL) Group.

Cultivating the right way

Cultivation of paddocks is common on farms at this time of year. It’s also a time when local storms may occur, adding substantial risk to an important farming practice.

» The RNG Weather Report

» Latest Print Issues Online

Milking It

Angry as usual

The usual culprits are angry at hearing last week that the Government and the agri sector will work together to…

Vladimir the dairy farmer

Russian President Vladimir Putin is a master tactician in taking advantage of international conflicts.

» Connect with Dairy News