We've surveyed what's new with Honda dirt bikes and watercraft over the course of the past several months, but we haven't explored Honda ATVs for over a year. Turns out, Honda has been quite busy tweaking its line of ATVs, and one of the latest and greatest is the all-new adrenaline-producing TRX450ER.
Classified by Honda as a "sport" machine, the TRX450ER is designed for those who want to go fast. It is not a utility ATV by any stretch of the imagination. The engine in this monster is closely related to the engine found in the race-ready CRF450R motocross bike, and it spits out serious power. New for '06, the four-stroke 450cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam engine has new cylinder-head porting; a new exhaust system; a 40mm Keihin FCR-type carburetor for improved engine response; a larger airbox with bigger air filter; an increased compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 12.0:1; and a forged slipper piston that's lighter and creates more high-rpm power. And the machine comes with leg-saving electric start. The engine is bolted to a durable five-speed transmission that has all-new lower ratios designed for racing applications and trail use. Good thing the TRX450ER has race-ready CRF handlebar grips.
Significant changes were also made to the machine to improve handling. A longer swing arm, new A-arms, knuckles, and spindles all help to improve turning. An 8mm lower riding position for a lower center of gravity also improves handling. Both the independent front suspension with fully adjustable Showa remote-reservoir shocks and the Pro-Link rear suspension with Showa piggyback shocks have been lightened to improve handling and bump absorption.
Externally, the TRX450ER has a new headlight shape for a race-derived look and the adjustable dual lamps have 30-watt bulbs and improved reflectors for better functionality. You'll appreciate that the first time you go night riding. Other noteworthy exterior items include a long, narrow seat designed for superior comfort and performance; engine cases protected by a high-impact plastic skidplate; a light weight LED taillight/brakelight; and wide footpegs for improved rider control.
One thing is clear: If a performance ATV is what you want, you'd better hop in your rig and get down to your local Honda dealer, because if the TRX450ER sells as fast as it goes, they won't be able to keep them on the showroom floor.
Vehicle model: '06 Honda TRX450ER
Base price: $6,799
Colors: Red, black
Engine: Single-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement (cc): 450
Bore x stroke (mm): 96 x 62
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Carburetor: Keihin 40mm flat-slide with throttle-position sensor
Starter: Electric or forward kick
Final drive: O-ring-sealed chain
Front suspension: Independent double wishbone with Showa shocks; adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping; 8.4 inches of travel
Rear suspension: Pro-link with single Showa shock; adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping; 9.3 inches of travel
Front brakes: Dual hydraulic 174mm discs with twin-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single hydraulic 190mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires, f/r: 22x7-12 knobby radial/20x10-9 knobby radial
Weight (lb): 363
Ground clearance (in.): 4.4
Length (in): 73.3
Width (in): 46.3
Height (in): 43.3
Seat height (in): 32.8
Wheelbase (in): 50.2
Fuel capacity (gal): 3.1