Honda Unveils New, Redesigned ATVs
October 1, 2004
Filed under Features
American Honda introduced an all-new line of Foreman 500 ATVs and redesigned three other models. In total, dealers in attendance saw eight 2005 ATVs cross the stage. Highlighting the unveiling was three versions of the highly-popular Foreman line of utility ATVs. The five other ATVs, including the Rubicon, Recon and 400EX, received strategic redesigns that should improve their appeal in the highly competitive market.
New Foreman 500
Honda announced three variations of its all-new Foreman ATV. (Foreman 4×4 ES, Foreman 4×4, and Foreman 2WD). The Foreman 4x4s — available with either an Electronic Shift
Program or a five-speed manual foot shift —
use switchable 2WD/
4WD operation and torque-sensitive front
The ESP design incorporates thumb-operating toggle shifting on the left-side handlebar. The Foreman 4×4 uses a manual-type, foot-shifting tranny with an automatic clutch. There is a $200 price difference between these two models.
The Foreman is a two-wheel drive model that lacks the Honda Trax-Lok 2WD/4WD selectability and retails for $5,299, or $1,000 less than the Foreman 4×4.
Powered by an all-new, air-cooled, 475cc four-stroke mill, these three ATVs give dealers three ways to appeal to prospective buyers.
Like other models in the Honda arsenal, the powerplant sits longitudinally for direct driveshaft alignment, which Honda claims improves drivetrain efficiency. Honda engineers added a new overhead valve arrangement and style to produce straighter intake and exhaust flow, which in turn improves engine performance.
Dual oil coolers were added to increase cooling capacity. The new cooler, which receives its oil flow from the first, engine-mounted cooler, is located high in the front fender. Honda says this protects it from damage and debris. A special duct supplies the cooler with fresh, cool air.
All three models were updated with a next-generation chassis and dual front disc brake calipers. The calipers have a built-in scraper system to removed dirt and mud from the inside of the front wheel. The brake pads are designed with long-wear material and are built to be more durable and offer more feedback, feel and control. A internal scraper signals low pad life. All three models receive what Honda describes as SUV styling, which includes flowing fenders with integrated headlights and taillight.
The Foreman Rubicon — also available with GPScape for $200 more — was updated with all-new SUV styling and includes a storage compartment integrated in the bodywork. An updated meter assembly is easier to use and increases visibility, according to Honda. Like the Foreman 500s, the Rubicons get more durable, 180mm disc brakes and calipers with self-cleaning scrapers. The Trax-Lok 2WD/4WD configuration was also added for 2005. To improve cold-weather starting, the internal carb heater’s voltage was upped to 20 watts. The Rubicon’s fuel range was increased, too, with a larger 4.2-gallon tank.
The Recon and Recon ES received ergonomic and aesthetic upgrades. Honda calls the new look rugged and adventurous. Both models now have updated front and rear suspension, but maintain their suspension travel configurations (5.1 inches and 4.9 inches, front and rear, respectively).
Honda engineers increased the Recons’ comfort by adding more legroom. This was achieved with a 10mm taller seat height and by raising the handlebars 16mm. Other visual upgrades include a new LED taillight/brake light and silver-colored wheels. These models also meet 2006 California Air Resources Board emissions standards.
On the sport side of the market, Honda announced a redesigned 400EX. The revamped 400EX gets updated styling, reverse gear, new gear ratios and a brake light. Honda had to make the 400EX more appealing to the recreational sport quad buyer.
Reverse combined with electric start makes the 400EX more appealing to novice riders and those who dislike the kick start and race setup of the 450R. Most importantly, the new 400EX gives