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By: ATV Source Staff

The All New Honda TRX450R - A Racers Dream


Honda's TRX450RIts another new celebration for the ATV world! Honda has released the all-new 2004 TRX450R. ATV Source was able to be part of the few who were invited to Lake Whitney, Texas for a test evaluation of the all-new race inspired ATV.

After a very long flight to Texas, we were hurried to a site in which Honda had secured for the testing. We arrived at the WB Ranch in Whitney Texas. Honda went out of their way to make sure everyone there was well taken care of. We sat down the first day and had a wonderful dinner at the WB ranch. After we had our fill, they explained about all the features of this all new, from the ground up race ATV. The new lightweight engine was designed specifically for the 450R. Its a high-tech liquid-cooled single cylindered four-stroke with 4 valves and a single overhead Unicam design. Which boast 42HP in stock form. This engine has a revised bore and stroke of 94mm x 64.8mm compared to the CRF450Rs 96mm x 62.1mm. These dimensions create a displacement of 450cc. The Unicam actuates two 36mm intake valves and two 30mm exhaust valves by a roller bearing rocker arm to aid in reducing friction and wear. The new lightweight cast 10.5:1 piston used, features a 28.4 mm skirt and three rings to extend engine life. The cylinder is a race-style Nikasil cylinder, the crank employs a double-carburized connecting rod with needle bearings to maximize rpms and boost durability. Also, the countershaft uses double-row bearings for durability. The cases are lightweight and vertically split and have the oil pump built into the left side case instead of using a separate oil pump housing. The cases use a twin-sump lubrication system, which separates the oil supplies from the crankshaft, piston and valve train from the clutch and transmission. This means that you will get no contamination from the clutch and transmission to the piston and crank. This in-turn will extend the life of the engine and the clutch will operate at lower temperatures. The twin wet-sump design also uses an increased oil capacity, unlike its CRF cousin, the deeper sump ensures a more reliable flow of oil in tough off camber conditions. A gear driven balancer is used to reduce vibration and drive the water pump. Power applied to the ground is through an all-new eight-plate clutch and a durable five-speed transmission with all-new ratios. The fuel is metered through an all-new 42mm Keihin butterfly-type carburetor with a throttle position sensor, which gives a light and smooth throttle response. A handy hot-start lever is mounted on the handlebar to help start the engine once normal temperatures are reached. An internal auto decompressor aids in starting the forward kick-starting engine. Exhaust is expelled through a lightweight stainless steel header and muffler. Engine temperatures are controlled with a high-capacity aluminum radiator and a compact flat radiator fan. Also used, is an aluminum oil cooler to aid in keeping temperatures down.

With the engine specs out of the way, we move on to the chassis. Honda developed an all-new high-quality chassis featuring tough round-tube steel frame with a lightweight aluminum sub-frame. The frame is designed to flex and sports re-designed mild radius gussets to reduce the frames rigidness, which in turn reduces rider fatigue. Lightweight and removable rear grab-bar and front bumper. A one-piece cast aluminum swingarm, aluminum carrier with double row bearings on the load side, a Pro-Link suspension with a fully adjustable Showa piggyback shock that provides 9 inches of wheel travel. Up front is an independent double-wishbone suspension with fully adjustable Showa shocks with rear facing reservoirs and 8.4 inches of wheel travel. To stop, Honda used dual 174mm front disc brakes with twin piston calibers and new high-pressure brakelines. In the rear, a 190mm disc and a single piston caliber is used. To see better at night, twin 30-watt headlights bring visibility up. In back a trick looking LED tail/brake light is used. CRF-style adjustable clutch and front brake levers are used with CRF-type grips. New wider footpegs are also used for better rider control. Both shift and brake levers are made of aluminum. Dry weight is 350lbs, fuel capacity is 3.2 gallons. The overall fit and finish of the TRX450R is excellent! Wow this is a lot of information!

With the technical side covered, we can move on to what everyone's been waiting for, how the new TRX450R rides and handles.

The following day we were all taken to the Lake Whitney MX Park. As we pulled up to the Honda trailer, Eric Crippa one of the technical specialist from Honda greeted us. The team from Honda explained more features of the new racer, and then showed each team the TRX450r's we would be test riding. The weather was not in our favor. We woke up to rain! After an hour or so, the rain stopped. The track was able to soak up almost all the moisture which had fallen, and we were ready to test.

The track was a very impressive MX track! No ATVs allowed here! But Honda had secured it for the testing. First ride, was an EPA model TRX450R (stock) and second ride, a hopped up TRX450R using Hondas Power-up kit (MSRP $299.95) developed by HRC. The power-up kit consists of a replacement camshaft, spark arrester, airbox cover, intake snorkel, main jet slow jet and needle, and boast an increase of 13% HP over stock, which calculates to 47 HP.

As we looked around to the other test riders, we could see that we were all just kids in a candy store. We had waited along time for Honda to release something to rival the TRX250R.

Well first-thing-first, was to dawn our Moose Racing riding gear, and sit on the 450R and get a feel of its fit and comfort. After a few adjustments, we were set to ride. The first half of the day we rode a stock EPA model TRX450R. We started with a mellow run around the track, to get a handle of the new TRX450R. We then stepped it up to reduced our lap times; the 450R was born to race! The throttle response was crisp and shifting was a snap. Jumping was a breeze for the new racer; it flew straight and landed smartly. Cornering was sharp and it tracked flawlessly. The brakes were firm and never faded, the braking power was awesome.

After a long morning of riding the stock 450R, we rested and enjoyed a quiet lunch. Well the rest was short and lunch was quick! We all then jumped on the hopped-up 450Rs and started around the track. The power increase was awesome! The beast within was awakened! The throttle response was quicker and sharper. The front end became light quickly and the rear tires broke free easier. It was amazing how well the 450R responded to the kit. The upgrade to the HRC kit is well worth the MSRP of $299.95, its money well spent!

As the day drew to an end, one thing we all noted was less rider fatigue. The shocks worked flawlessly and the tires were made for this ATV. The seat is long and narrow and the comfort level was high. The wide footpegs help keep your feet planted where they should be. The airfilter is easy to access, but the sparkplug was more difficult to access and would require some removal of plastics (hood, front-fender and gas tank).

The overall feel was all Honda!! But as with any ATV, some adjustments here and there will fit the ATV to your comfort. This ATV was made for the MX track. It was made to run wide open! For the slow trail rider, you may not want this ATV. For the racer, youll love it! The TRX450R wants to fly! And another nice thing, Honda offers the new TRX450R in its best-known color red. As an overall opinion we give Honda TWO THUMBS UP!


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