In the world of ATVs, the 2002 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon is the Chief Operating Officer, the Chairman of the Board, and the Big Kahuna. Why? Well, this four-wheel-drive ATV sports features that make it extremely capable and dependable on the trail, and on top of that, it's designed to be significantly lighter than other ATVs in its class. Interestingly, the machine also shares many of the same design characteristics of your 4x4, effectively creating a smaller version of your truck.
We climbed aboard a bright yellow model at Freeport Honda in Freeport, Illinois, and thumbed the starter to fire the 499cc four-stroke engine. We were surprised at how strong the liquid-cooled overhead four-valve engine pulled the 600-pound machine. We really didn't expect to almost get thrown off the back under full-throttle from a standing stop-we didn't think it could come close to the acceleration of a motocross bike, but it did. Very impressive. The engine is mounted longitudinally in the frame to allow direct driveshaft alignment to the rear wheels, and it features rubber-cushion engine mounting and a gear-driven counterbalancer to reduce vibration. If you ride in cold weather, the integral electric carburetor-heater system improves driveability and ensures smooth operation, which is a big plus.
The FourTrax Foreman Rubicon features the Hondamatic transmission, which operates via an engine-driven pump, which drives a hydraulic motor with variable fluid capacity. What this all means to you is that all you need to do is squeeze the throttle, and the machine goes. The transmission features a dash-mounted knob that offers three electronic shifting programs: D1 for maximum performance, D2 for maximum torque, and ESP (Honda's exclusive Electronic Shift Program, which allows the rider to "shift" the Hondamatic with the touch of a thumb using two push-buttons mounted on the left handlebar). The Hondamatic features no belts, it's maintenance free, offers true engine braking, and offers Drive, Low, Neutral and Reverse.
One of the first things we noticed as we romped the FourTrax Foreman Rubicon over Illinois terrain was its notable 7.8 inches of ground clearance and the tight turning radius of 10.8 feet. Both are welcome attributes on the trail. When we caught air off a berm, the landing didn't knock our fillings out, thanks to the 6.7 inches of suspension travel provided by the double-wishbone front suspension and rear swing-arm suspension with dual shocks. Braking was responsive and effective, thanks to triple-seated front hydraulic drum brakes and a sealed rear mechanical drum, and they worked well to impede the rotation of the 25-inch-tall tires. On the trail we fell in love with the full-time four-wheel-drive system and the standard torque-sensing limited-slip front differential. This diff offers superior traction while substantially reducing torque steer for less steering effort.
Other noteworthy standard features include multi-function LCD instrumentation, a fuel gauge, snorkel-type air intake system that is specially designed for water crossings, a twin headlight system, rear twin 5-watt lighting, heavy-duty trailer hitch (850-pound towing capacity), and triple skidplates.
The Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon is an example of a genuine dual-purpose machine that can offer either a hard day's work or fun on the trail. Much like your 4x4.
|Vehicle model||'02 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon|
|Colors||Red, Olive, Yellow|
|Type||Liquid-cooled, overhead valve, semi dry sump longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke|
|Bore x stroke (in.)||92.0 x 75.0|
|Starter||Electric with auxiliary recoil|
|Transmission||Fully automated hydromechanical, continuously variable with electronic controls|
|Front||Independent double-wishbone, 6.7 inches of travel, torque-sensing limited-slip differential|
|Rear||Swing arm with dual shocks, 6.7 inches of travel|
|Front||Triple-sealed hydraulic drum|
|Rear||Sealed mechanical drum|
|Ground clearance (in.)||7.8|
|Seat height (in.)||33.9|
|Fuel capacity (gal.)||3.7 including 1.0 reserve|