TRX450R Review here at ATV101!
This is not mine; it's fully produced by, off-road.com staff.
by, Colby Turner and staff
Honda's TRX450R media week or "Operation Shock and Awe?" Honda definitely pulled out all the stops for this one. It was a Who's Who in the ATV media, top level test riders, and Honda's creme de la creme. Let's just say if I tried to explain everything I learned in this one article, my head would explode. (Stay Tuned for Part 2: a candid interview with Honda about their past, present and future involvement in ATV's and ATV racing).
Lodging and test riding were held just outside of Whitney, Texas at the WB Ranch. The Whitney MX track was awesome. The twisting gravel road linking the MX track to the woods gave you a taste of the speed this beast possesses. And the tight woods sections let a person know that you were riding one seriously-agile piece of machinery.
The ride: We all planned for 80 degrees and sunny. What we got was a high of 50 degrees and rainy. However, just like any of you reading this, nobody was about to pass up the opportunity to ride the most heavily-anticipated high-performance ATV of all time. How did it go? Well it started off rough for this test pilot. Full of nerves and humbled by the opportunity, it took a little while to get loose and really test Honda's latest creation. Initially, corners were a problem because of the weather conditions and soil properties. As the day progressed those issues ironed out and left me hungry for more.
Handling : As I mentioned and was confirmed by Tim Farr, the TRX450R's stock tire configuration does not necessarily suit wet, tacky, clay, MX corners. What you could say though is that for darn near every other situation you won't be too disappointed. Even in stock-out-of-the-box-form the TRX450R flies with the greatest of ease. Mid-afternoon had the MX guys mentioning the interesting view they were able to attain of the undercarriage (thanks Cory) - even if it was a desert racer providing the view. After a couple hours of getting used to it, I was able to power slide high speed corners full blast.
In tight woods (I envy you GNCC racers) the TRX450R not only rails trough the trails, but it can stop on a dime. The TRX450R utilizes CR brake cable technology (combined with dual piston aluminum front calipers and a huge rear aluminum caliper) that apparently works better then any after-market cable available. It is however not very flexible and stops short by several inches of the calipers. This is not a bad thing, because it allows you to change out to a wider set of a-arms and only have to buy a longer piece of rubber hose.
*Note from Honda Tech - Although the lower hose is a combination of CR type and traditional rubber hose, the rubber section cannot be separated from the other.
Like I said, I envy you GNCC guys. This bike is ready for you fellas to compete on, straight from the dealer. To be honest I'm thinking of racing one "As Is" in the desert and maybe GP. Why is that, you ask? It's because I was able to pound through the huge MX whoops section and it left me salivating for a chance to rip though a section of high speed desert whoops.
Oh, and the frame... Well it's not a 400EX and it's not a 250R. It's a completely new design that utilities both technologies. Rider fatigue is greatly reduced as I can certainly attest to after six straight hours of testing.
Suspension: The Showa piggybacks front and rear have what you need. The shock bodies are constructed of steel offering high strength and low contamination properties. The reservoirs are made of aluminum, providing superb cooling quality. Both front and rear shocks are pre-load, compression, and rebound adjustable. Unlike most fully adjustable shocks out there, these shocks are very sensitive. You won't be counting clicks to try and see a difference. Each adjustment will yield results.
Motor: Awesome! With the twin-sump lubrication system the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston, and valve train are separated from the clutch and transmission. This enables cooler supplies of oil to the clutch and eliminates clutch and transmission contamination to the engine oil. Thus, you have a smaller oil pump, less oil, allowance for an oil cooler, and no external oil tank necessary. The carburetor in a huge 42mm Keihin with throttle position sensing creating a precise response throughout the rpm range.
Talking with Honda R&D they claim stock horsepower to be around 42 and with the HRC Power-Up Kit you gain 13 percent. This should put you in the 48 horsepower range. What's sweeter than that? The Price $299.95 SRP. The kit consists of a replacement camshaft, spark arrester, airbox cover, intake snorkel, main jet, slow jet, and needle jet.
Ergonomics: The ergos on the TRX450R are closing in on perfection. Widened footpegs with an increased elevation at the end for better foot support come standard. Gas tank indentations promoting better grip and increased mobility are yet another trick feature. The seat is as comfortable as anything out there and is kind to the gluts. The handlebars are weighted and balanced and come with race style half waffle grips putting you firmly in command.
Style: Oh baby, its growing on me like a three day beard! I was sketchy, especially when it came to the rear of the TRX450R, as to it's aesthetic qualities. But after seeing it in person, its a sexy beast baby.
Pros & Cons: Let's start with the bad: First, I have to wait to get one. Second, the expense of working on a modern-day four-stroke. I seriously doubt that most of us 250R loyalist are going to have the tooling or the know-how to work on this quad. But, if you're like me, learning new things can be fun.
The good news is this machine ROCKS, its actually already in production, and our sport is back on track.
Congratulations, Honda! Job well done.