Honda engineers have always had a knack for offering a wide range of different models, based off of few very solid platforms, by applying different technologies in various combinations. For 2015, new technologies, combined with solid older ones, are put forward wrapped in nicely different and more modern-looking outer shells that have the power to appeal to a broader range of ATV users. IRS on their ATVs, yet another new Pioneer model coming out, this will be remembered as a big year for Honda off-road vehicles.
The new 2015 TRX500 Rubicon family brings sought-after features forward, which should appeal to all types of users such as increased rack and towing capacities and a locking front differential. It also took quite a bit of time before Honda put forward a nice-looking ATV like the all-new TRX500 Rubicon DCT Deluxe, which comes in a sweet-looking black with red suspension components and also includes beautiful lightweight aluminum wheels, which also make the white version with a manual shift transmission, look better than any ATV Honda has ever produced. Honda durability, quality and reliability are still big selling points, but we think this sort of attention to looks will bring back some clients who had maybe turned to others for a little more bling out of their rides. With an impressively solid and smooth three-speed Honda Automatic transmission (an automotive-style torque converter), Honda’s flagship ATV, the TRX680F Rincon, comes back with the same sleek body but packed-full of advanced technology and a few improvements for 2015. These include improved fuel economy, reduced emissions, high traction tires and increased ACG output.
A new version of Honda’s revolutionary Dual-Clutch automatic Transmission (DCT) with a new High/Low range sub-transmission, multi-mode 2WD/4WD system with locking front differential, give these new Rubicon quads newfound capability in extreme situations and more convenience at work. Inboard rear disc brake, new Maxxis tires with an aggressive, trail-ready tread pattern and an all-new adjustable, long-travel Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), Electric Power Steering (EPS) with trail specific settings, and again Electronic Fuel Injection (EFI), should make these appealing to even the most demanding buyers.
Great fuel efficiency and practical range are to be expected as Honda engineers treat fuel with utmost respect. They make it travel through a 36mm throttle body; atomize it to perfection with their Programmed Fuel Injection system. Doing away with the good old carburetor and replacing it with this much more advanced and efficient option was the best thing that could have happened to this class of vehicle. It brought forward a new level of worry-freeness to ATV riding. Tinkering with carburetor settings, choke cables, or struggling to bring the engine to life in cold weather, was a thing of the past. Honda’s PGM-FI made its way into their automobiles in the early 1980s with the ER engine equipped City Turbo. The system for internal combustion engines which injects the right amount of fuel per cylinder based on specific engine data, gained popularity in the later 1980s in their Accord and Prelude models with A20A, A20A3 & A20A4 engines (Honda A engine), and its motorcycles later on. In 1998, Honda built its third motorcycle with fuel injection; the VFR800FI. In 1982 and 1983, the CX500 and CX650 turbocharged motorcycles were the very first to use this digital electronic fuel injection system. Polaris was first to use such an advanced way of dealing with this all-important aspect on an ATV, back in 2004 with their Sportsman 700 Twin EFI and soon all ATV manufacturers had good injection systems for their quads.
Honda aims to provide clients with more choices than ever before with their 2015 line of off-road vehicles. Like we’ve seen done before at Honda, different technologies are combined in different combinations to create very specific vehicles that fit with different types of riders. In other words, more than ever, there is something for everyone and anyone at your local Honda dealership.
Honda engineers, we’ve had the privilege of seeing in action do their magic, when we were last invited at a Honda U.S.A. plant in South Carolina when the first Pioneer came off the production line, and we now truly understand why they produce such good quality products. Motivating signs here and there, employee accomplishments underlined all over the place, healthy looking smiling people seemingly all walking around with efficiency in mind. There just seemed to be a general sense of perfect order to everything going on, following a fast-paced beat. Honda engineers have dreamed up some pretty amazing things over the past 65 years and we must never forget that if it wouldn’t be for them, we ATV buffs wouldn’t even be here, checking out their tough and reliable new trail conquerors, in this ATV magazine.
The new Rubicon models are available in five different versions (two automatics and three manual shift models). They all feature the same long travel, Independent Rear Suspension System (IRS) that allows the rear wheels to more accurately follow difficult terrain, improving traction, control and comfort. This is a new and advanced system that Honda if offering, which they say brings a new level of precision to IRS handling with a strong feeling of security and control.
These five new Rubicon models have one feature that many have been asking for and that’s a locking front differential. The benefits of having a locking differential available at the easy flick of a switch, there when you need it, whether it be for mudding or rock climbing or when opening up a freshly snowed in trail, many Honda followers will enjoy using, even if only rarely needed. Long has this lack of a locking diff been sprouting lively discussions on forums, with some saying there was no need for one and others going as far as defecting to a different brand. We think this was a very good move by Honda engineers, which will just simply add even more options open to fans of the brand.
The new Rubicon ATVs also share a roomier seating position, thicker broader seats, a clever new reverse selection mechanism, innovative new high comfort handgrips, new aggressive tires and increased rack and towing capacities.
The two automatic choices, Standard (TRX500 Rubicon DCT IRS EPS) and the DCT Deluxe version (TRX500 Rubicon DCT Deluxe) both feature Honda’s proven Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT). This fully automatic, seamless shifting transmission is a computer controlled. You still get the option of overriding the automatic operation and shift gears manually with the handlebar-mounted buttons.
Adding to the improved comfort and control of these two particular models is Electric Power Steering (EPS). EPS reduces steering effort and handlebar kickback when the front wheels encounter obstacles.
The most surprising new addition to this extensive 2015 Honda ATV line is by far the Automatic TRX500 Rubicon DCT Deluxe version. For those who want a little more style and bling to their Honda ride, this model comes with custom-style aluminum wheels, special red painted suspension components and shiny black bodywork.
Riders who prefer a more basic machine can go for the cost conscious foot-shifted auto-clutch manual transmission and manual steering equipped TRX500FM. If you want EPS and the manual transmission, they’ve got you covered too. You want to have your manually shifted Honda ATV with EPS and in that hot new looking black deluxe package? No problem!
Also returning with improvements for 2015 is the rugged TRX500 Foreman series of utility machines with their extra stable feeling swingarm rear suspension. Available with manual transmission or Honda’s renowned Electric Shift Program for push-button shifting, both the TRX500FM and TRX500FPE feature a new one-lever engagement system for actuating reverse gear or the parking brake.
Honda’s 420 powered choices got a big revision last year and three of the four available variations, the TRX420, TRX420 EPS and TRX420 DCT EPS are back still offering the same high level of peace of mind. The fourth is the new TRX420 DCT IRS EPS with an all-new independent rear suspension system and other improvements. Additional features include a larger, softer seat, increased electrical output, more fuel capacity, and a new digital meter.
Completing the 2015 TRX420 series are the ones with enclosed-axle, swingarm rear suspension, which are now equipped with Honda’s new, easy-actuation reverse lever. The TRX420 and TRX420 EPS both offer foot shift manual transmissions while the TRX420 DCT IRS EPS offers the same fully automatic Dual Clutch Transmission as the new IRS version. All models offer Electric Power Steering except the base TRX420 that is targeted at the budget conscious buyer.
Honda now has a complete line-up of IRS-equipped ATVs as well as a complete line-up of swingarm/axle ATVs in both 420 and 500cc models.
For more information on the above mentioned models, please visit the Honda Website