Early Release Models – 2013 Honda ATVs and Big Red MUV

Early Release Models – 2013 Honda ATVs and Big Red MUV

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2013.honda.big-red.red.front-left.riding.on-trail.jpgNo other company enjoys the loyal following Honda has earned and it all comes down to a couple key things: attention to detail, and reliability.  Regardless of the model we’re sure it was well built, and we’re also sure we won’t end up walking back to the truck.  Whether it’s the Rincon 680, Foreman 500, or the Rancher 420 we know we can count on it for all day work or fun.  The Honda sport ATV lineup is built on those same principles. 

Recently Honda released several new models from their 2013 sport ATV lineup, and although they haven’t changed that much from last year they still offer a huge amount of fun for riders of tracks, trails, and dunes everywhere.  At the same time Honda also announced their lone Side x Side, the hard working Big Red MUV, will be back for 2013.  

“This new release once again demonstrates the broad capabilities of Honda’s ATV and MUV product line,” says Powersports Press Manager Bill Savino. “These four machines—the TRX450R, TRX400X, TRX250X and Big Red—all hit distinctly different segments of the off-road market, yet each is outstanding in its class and they all remain extremely popular.”  Let’s take a quick look at each.

Honda TRX 450R – The Natural

Hondas top of the line sport quad, the TRX 450R, is a formidable weapon on the race track yet is comfortable enough for aggressive riding all day on the trails.  It’s typical Honda performance all the way; powerful yet controllable, reliable, supremely comfortable, and handling is outstanding.  As a do-it-all package few can rival the Honda. 2013.honda.trx450r.white.front-left.studio.jpg

The Honda 450R is powered by a 450cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder, SOHC, four-stroke engine with a compression ratio of 12.0:1.  Fuel is delivered by a Keihin 40mm flat slide carburetor featuring a throttle position sensor to help maintain linear response, and rollers on the slide help give it very light throttle pull.  The engine is an impressive piece of engineering featuring Hondas’ Unicam valve train and a lightweight, compact, single-cam drive with optimum combustion-chamber shape for maximum power.  Lubrication is achieved with a twin-sump system that separates the oil supply for the crankshaft, piston and valve train from the clutch and transmission.  The TRX 450R is cranked to life with a push-button electric starter.  

Ergonomics on the 450R are very comfortable.  Throttle response is excellent, and the disc brakes are very good with a precise, progressive feel.  At the rear a Pro-Link® suspension and a fully adjustable Showa® piggyback shock provides 9.3″ of travel, while at the front dual A-arms and fully adjustable Showa shocks offer 8.4″ of travel.

Racetrack results are one measure of a machines capability and the 450R has won in almost every form of competition.  However, to bring a stock 450R up to national caliber, race winning form you will spend considerable time and money while the Can-Am or Yamaha rider simply slaps on a number and heads to the starting line.  2013.honda.trx450r.close-up.engine.jpg

Whether it’s used for trail riding or racing the Honda TRX 450R is sure to satisfy. It’s powerful yet smooth, precise handling, light and agile, and forgiving of rider imperfections.  It’s a winner!

450R Characteristics 

  • Fully adjustable dual A-arm front suspension 
  • Cast aluminum swingarm and fully adjustable rear suspension
  • Stainless steel muffler
  • Powerful CRF450 engine with Unicam valve train
  • Disc brakes
  • Perfect ergonomics, very agile
  • Honda reliability 

TRX 250X – Sporty Options

Shifting is one of the primary challenges new riders face, and always while they are trying to learn other fundamental riding skills such as proper body position, crossing off cambers, braking, etc.  While other manufacturers have taken either the simplistic approach by offering a CVT transmission, or, the go-for-broke, sink or swim method of a full manual gearbox and clutch, Honda’s TRX 250X offers a middle ground.


The TRX 250X offers Honda’s SportClutch which allows the ATV to be operated either as an auto clutch, all but preventing new riders from stalling, or as a manual clutch when they’re ready for more aggressive riding.  A sealed shaft drive makes for efficient power transfer to the rear wheels and simplifies maintenance which is another important factor for new riders.

The 250X features Honda’s air-cooled, 229cc, 4-stroke engine mounted longitudinally in the chassis.  The advantage being the engine output shaft aligns perfectly with the rear drive shaft for efficient power delivery.  A two-valve cylinder-head design features performance-optimized valve timing, a 31.5mm-diameter intake valve, and a 27mm-diameter exhaust valve to produce a broad, usable power band that new riders will find torquey enough for fun but very controllable.  No need to scare them on their first day!     2013.honda.trx250x.close-up.rear-suspension.jpg

Excellent ergonomics, agile handling, and legendary reliability are all traits on which Honda has built a stellar reputation and the TRX 250X fits in nicely with the rest of the family.  It’s an agile, sporty, slightly smaller sized ATV that makes learning a breeze and new riders will love it.   We have no doubt the TRX 250X will run for years on end with nothing more than a little regular care.  Expect several generations to love it!

250X Characteristics 

  • Rugged, reliable, low maintenance quad 
  • Good for new or less experienced riders
  • SportClutch shifting option
  • Comfortable ergonomics
  • Longitudinally mounted engine with Shaft Drive
  • Sporty, aggressive look 

Honda TRX 400X – Legendary Trail Buddy

No machine did more to reinvigorate the sport ATV market than the 400EX (the name at the time).   Within days of its release the 400EX was at every riding area in the country and it was said Honda had to make a quick second production run of the machine to satisfy dealers. 

Through the years the 400EX evolved into today’s 400X but it still retains the one feature that made it great; it’s fun to ride!  At the heart of the 400X is a simple, SOHC, 397cc, air-cooled, dry-sump, RFVC (Radial Four-Valve Combustion Chamber) engine mated to a five speed gearbox (with reverse) and manual clutch.  Although the engine design is certainly dated it offers decent power and excellent reliability.  Keep the air filter clean and the oil changed and you can ride it for decades.2013.honda.trx450x.red.front-left.studio.jpg

What makes the 400X a true sport machine is the chassis and suspension.  Up front are dual A-arms with 8.2 inches of travel, and at the rear is a one-piece cast-aluminum swingarm and fully adjustable Showa® shock delivering 9.1 inches of travel.  Disc brakes are used at both ends for maximum stopping power.  

In the saddle the 400X is comfortable.  It delivers a sporty, fun ride with enough power to blast around the track or climb huge dunes, but it absolutely excels at providing all day fun.  Consider the 400X your best trail buddy.

TRX 400X Characteristics 

  • The definition of sport riding fun
  • Simple and reliable 
  • Good for intermediate or casual sport riders
  • Great ergonomics
  • Racy, aggressive look 
  • Easy to maintain


Honda Big Red MUV – Heavy Duty Hauler

Hondas Big Red MUV is based on a solid platform designed for years of abuse.  A super reliable, fuel injected, 675cc 4 stroke engine powers the Big Red but instead of a simple CVT and belt system Honda offers an automotive style automatic transmission.  The engine also gets a large, well-protected radiator and oil cooler to insure consistent operating temperature, and a quiet exhaust.  Oil checks are done by pulling the two person bench seat and the air filter is easily serviced underneath the cargo dump box.  Honda also offers a heavy duty braking system designed not only for stopping the Big Red, but just as importantly, anything you’re towing.          

Honda always excels at vehicle ergonomics and the Big Red was designed for both driver and passenger comfort with well placed, automotive like controls and rubber mounted seat bases.  While comfortable on the trail and fully capable, Big Red development is well behind competing models in some areas beginning with the dash board.  There isn’t much to see on the Big Red dash other than a few warning lights, and instrumentation that comes standard on other models (including a glove box door) is an option on the Honda.  Lack of sealed storage is always a concern.  We like the side doors which are durable and latch extremely well.  However, they also come with side nets that do protect but also inhibit easy entry or exit, and that only the legal department could love. 

Functionality, attention to detail, and reliability were the driving force in Big Red design and in this respect is excels.  Once underway the Big Red is extremely stable, the engine runs smooth, and it will get the job done.  It’s not going to give you much of a tingly feeling on the trail but it will likely retire long after you do. 

Big Red MUV Characteristics 

  • Rugged, dependable, reliable
  • Comfortable  
  • Familiar automotive style controls
  • Stable on severe slopes
  • Needs better instrumentation and sealed storage

To find out more about the Honda lineup go to: www.powersports.honda.com

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August 19, 2012