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December 1998 Bed Toys

Posted in Vehicle Reviews on December 1, 1998
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Most of the vehicles that are featured in this column are meant for work. This one is made for trail fun. It's the all-new Honda FourTrax 400EX, an ATV that is designed entirely for high performance. It's powered by the beefiest four-stroke engine Honda has ever stuffed into an ATV-a 397cc RFVC single. In addition, this vehicle weighs a mere 374.7 pounds, and has impressive long-travel suspension. In other words, the FourTrax is fast, light, and flexy, a great combination for off-pavement merry-making.

The FourTrax, also known as the TRX400EX, is run by a dry-sump, air-cooled engine, with Honda's Radial Four Valve Combustion Chamber (RFVC) system, which provides efficient combustion and maximum horsepower. Also adding to the efficiency of this vehicle are the dual intake and exhaust ports, and the 35.5mm Constant Velocity (CV) carb, which ensures a good air/fuel mixture. The gear-driven counterbalancer, which reduces engine vibration, and the noise-reducing muffler/spark arrestor make this ATV a more pleasant ride. Other neat features include: an automatic cam chain tensioner, a closed-crankcase ventilation system, and a 9,100rpm engine rev limiter. The engine connects to a five-speed manual transmission. The heavy-duty clutch has plates that are two millimeters thick, able to meet driver demands.

Honda prioritized light weight and durability in its chassis design. They made the round-tube steel frame (with removable subframe), braking, and suspension components out of lightweight materials, without compromising durability and rigidity. The rear caliper, Pro-Link suspension, ultra-rigid one-piece swingarm, and wheels are all made of aluminum to reduce vehicle weight.

The suspension provides 8.2 inches of travel in the front, and 9.1 inches in the rear, giving this ATV a longer-travel suspension than the previous TRX250R. Twin Showa shock absorbers with five-position-adjustable spring preload work with the double-wishbone IFS to make this ATV flexible, yet comfortable over harsh terrain. The Pro-Link rear suspension uses a fully-adjustable, large-diameter piggyback Showa shock.

Yes, this vehicle has an electric start, a key-operated ignition switch, and a snorkel-type airbox. It has dual headlights, skidplates, and knobby tires for excellent traction. It's also got "fun'' written all over it.

For more information, contact your local Honda ATV dealership. Please keep in mind that this ATV is intended for highly experienced riders 16 years of age and older.

Vehicle 1999 Honda
FourTrax 400EX (TRX400EX)
Engine 397cc dry-sump
air-cooled four-stroke single
Aspiration 35.5mm CV with accelerator pump
Transmission 5-spd. manual
Driveline O-ring sealed chain
Suspension Double-wishbone IFS,
Pro-Link swingarm rear
Ground Clearance (in.) 4.3
Turning Radius (ft.) 10.5
Length (in.) 72.2
Width (in.) 45.3
Dry Weight (lb.) 374.7

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