Honda Silences The Rumor Mill With Not One, But Two New 2019 Talon SXS’s
The long awaited, and almost infamous Honda Sport UTV is finally a reality! Honda has historically set the standards for durability, quality, and reliability within the powersports, and even automotive industries. Honda Off Road Motorcycles and ATVs like the XR, CR, CRF, and TRX have won more major Off Road Championships than any other brand. This fact alone speaks volumes to their commitment to the above mentioned attributes.
While unarguably a favorite amongst racers, it’s Honda’s reputation for performance machines that have stood the test of time, with minimal maintenance and upkeep that have created the overly loyal “Honda Guys” within the average, off-road enthusiast group. We’ve all heard or told the stories of the 20 or even 30 year old XR or ATC that’s still providing smiles for its owner. Deep down, I was one of those guys growing up as an enthusiast, and followed suit as an ATV racer with the longstanding TRX250R, transitioning right into the TRX450R. The overall experience of long term ownership with one of these iconic machines, truly created a “Honda Customer” for life out of many.
We’ve been hearing rumors and stories of a true-sport UTV from Big Red for years, but it took a spy photo that was leaked earlier this year to really get the “blood” flowing. Honda is also known for its exhaustive, yet effective durability testing and R&D before releasing a machine that could possibly tarnish its relatively flawless reputation. While Honda has undoubtedly been busy finding and fixing imperfections and developing the perfect machine, the biggest worry with potential customers is that they miss the bus all together.
The sport-performance UTV Industry has seen incredible growth, with rapidly advancing technologies and incredible leaps in performance over just a few short years. While many of these current cutting-edge machines might not exhibit the same durability and quality standards we expect from Big Red, they’re still very good, and collectively have sold hundreds of thousands of units. Continually upping the ante on the competition has been the name of the game, and it’s worked incredibly well so far.
SO JUST WHAT IS THE HONDA TALON, AND WHERE DOES IT FIT INTO ALL OF THIS?
Tag-lines or catchy slogans have always been a big part of Honda’s advertising campaigns. Dating back to the early 70’s with “From mighty to mini, Honda has it all”, there was “follow the leader, he’s on a Honda”. Honda has 3 Pioneer platforms, (entry, mid, and full-sized) and 7 ATV platforms, but the Sport category is significantly growing and if they want to lead, it’s gonna take a serious machine or machines!
LIFE IS BETTER -SXS- This is the Talon’s new slogan, and it’s incredibly accurate. A new level off-road excitement, precision, and quality that can be shared with a passenger. It’s an incredibly aggressive looking machine, with a body style that blends form and function. Inspiration from Honda’s CRF dirt-bike line is obvious, with its high bodyline and sides that flow continuously from front to rear. The Talon’s premium half doors provide lateral support to occupants, and a feeling of safety and security inside the vehicle.
The Honda Talon brings a completely unique suspension and chassis, a performance tuned version of its already proven (DCT) Dual Clutch Transmission, and a brand new 999cc motor. The 1000X is a 64” wide model that’s more of the East Coast car with a focus on quick handling, maneuverability, and precision steering. The 4-inch wider 68” Talon 1000R is more of a west coast desert car, focusing on high speed tracking and performance in bigger bumps. The 1000R features a longer wheelbase, (+13cm) and substantially more wheel travel. The 1000R also gets the half inch larger diameter 2.5 version of the FOX Podium QS3 shocks. These bigger body and bigger volume shocks will provide additional bump absorption, better cooling and more resistance to fade, resulting in superior handling in higher speed desert situations, or even racing applications.
Similar to the Polaris XP, the Talon 1000X features a 3 Link trailing arm set-up pulling 15 inches of wheel travel. The 1000R features a 4 link trailing arm that’s more like the Can Am X3 pulling 20.1 inches of wheel travel. Both machines feature dual a-arm front ends, with the 1000R pulling 17.7” of travel, and the X capped off at 14.6”. The 64” 1000X model’s numbers are substantially less impressive than a few of the other 64” offerings on the market, but these numbers are often misleading and irrelevant when it comes to actual “on the trail” suspension performance.
The FOX Podium QS3 shocks are super easy to adjust, with a noticeable change in performance between 3 predetermined settings for cruising, general sport riding, and aggressive or loaded riding. These settings are the result of hundreds of tuning hours, with FOX and Honda utilizing the testing and feedback from multiple Baja Racing legends. The dual-rate springs will ensure low-speed comfort and good bottoming resistance, regardless of which setting you opt for on the adjusters.
The Talon 1000R and 1000X actually share 85% of the same parts including the engine, transmission, and its one piece frame. The 999cc parallel-twin engine is derived from the Pioneer motor, but utilizes a lot of top end parts from the Africa Twin Adventure bike. Like the Africa Twin, the Talon motor features a Unicam design with 4 valves per cylinder; very similar to having two TRX450R engines mated side by side. Shim-under-bucket valve adjustment is just like the 450 as well. The 270 degree (firing order) cross-plane crankshaft creates impressive torque, acting more like a big single than a typical twin. A 10:1 compression ratio, new cam profiles and a new intake-port shape, help boost performance from the Pioneers layout. The claimed 104 HP is a little lower than a YFZ or naturally aspirated Polaris, but its potential for torque should leave it pretty competitive in a drag race.
The Talon engine uses a dry sump design, pulling oil from below the crank and into an integrated tank to avoid scavenging issues when driven aggressively, or at severe angles. By mounting the engine longitudinally in the frame, Honda eliminates unnecessary right angles in the driveline, for the most efficient transfer of power to the wheels and increased acceleration. The Talon features the largest in class driveshaft, and robust U-joints for maximum impact survival and torsional strength. Driveshaft components have been positioned up high in the chassis, maximizing ground clearance and reducing susceptibility to damage (Honda engineers were bragging to the point of saying you can even land on the gas from jumps without failure). Rubber engine mounts improve durability and comfort by eliminating vibration transfer to the chassis.
Honda claims that the Talon’s new cooling system has been tested and proven in the hottest, harshest conditions, using the highest capacity cooling fan and radiator than any Honda ATV or side-by-side. The oversized radiator and massive volume fan will keep it cool at any speed.
THE DUAL CLUTCH TRANSMISSION
Probably the biggest game changer on the whole machine is the 3 mode (DCT). Honda first introduced the DCT to the PowerSports market on the 2010 VFR1200F sport-touring motorcycle. Similar systems can be found in a handful of high-performance sports cars, but it is still a Honda exclusive in the PowerSports world. DCT utilizes two clutches that are controlled by sophisticated hydraulics and electronics. One clutch controls the odd numbered gear sets, and the other controls the even numbered sets. Multiple gear sets are engaged simultaneously, and constantly prepared for the next shift. Sensors and the ECU processor allow for electronically triggered and seamless shifting. The end result is a direct, connected feeling between the foot pedal and the rear wheels, as well as an efficient transfer of power. It also provides proven durability, flexibility and true engine braking with quick, smooth gear changes.
The Talons DCT offers two fully automatic modes – Drive and Sport. Drive mode features lower shifting points for relaxed driving, whereas Sport holds the shifts longer for more aggressive driving. The automatic modes shift 50% faster than the Pioneer. There is also a Manual mode, giving the driver full control of the transmission via the steering wheel mounted paddle shifters. While driving in automatic modes, the driver can also instantly override the auto shift with the paddle shifters.
The Talon also features a sub-transmission, providing high & low transmission ranges, effectively doubling the number of gears.
Off-road brake traction control system (BTCS) is another Honda PowerSports exclusive, introduced with the Pioneer 1000 LE, and now here on the Talon. This system manages the amount of slip between right and left front wheels, applying torque to the wheels with greater grip. The result is excellent traction and tracking performance in tough off-road conditions, with reduced negative steering feedback in comparison to a normal diff. lock. This system also incorporates EBD, an Electronic Brakeforce Distribution system that optimizes stability and reduces rear-chassis lift, when in 2 wheel drive.
To simplify re-starting on steep ascents, the Talon actually has what’s called a “Hill Start Assist” button. Pressing the button on the dash will temporarily hold the vehicle in place, without the need for pressure on the brake pedal, and then auto releasing as you accelerate from the stopped position.
THEY’RE REALLY COMING
Slated for release in early spring, the 2 seat, naturally aspirated Talon 1000R and Talon 1000X models will be available simultaneously, and we’ve been assured that several other models will follow. One could only assume that this might mean a 4 seater, a turbo-charged model, or even both.
These new models are very exciting, and we’re sure they’ll handle great and be incredibly durable. We can’t wait to get our hands on one and see what it’s all about! March can’t come quick enough!
SPECS:2019 HONDA Talon 1000R / 1000X
- Engine type: Liquid cooled, Unicam OHC longitudinally mounted, parallel twin, w/4 valves per cylinder
- Displacement: 999cc
- Bore x Stroke: 92mm X 75.15mm
- Compression Ratio: 10:1
- Horsepower: 104 HP to crankshaft
- Lubrication system: Dry sump
- Induction: EFI with 46mm throttle bodies
- Ignition: Full Transistorized
- Starting/back-up: Electric/none
- Starting procedure: Turn ignition switch
- Air Filter: Paper Pleat
- Transmission: Six-speed automatic DCT, reverse and high/low sub-transmission
- Clutch: 2-Multiple Wet
- Drive train: Honda’s I-4WD w/brake traction control system (BTCS) + torque biasing diff
- Final drives: Direct front and rear driveshafts
- Power Steering: Electric Power Steering (EPS)
- Fuel capacity: 27.6 liters (7.3 gals) including 4.1 liter (1.1 gal.) reserve
- Wheelbase: 1000R- 235.4 cm (92.7”), 1000X- 222.5cm (87.6”)
- Overall length/width/height: 1000R 314cm/174cm/192cm (123.9”/68.4”/75.6”); 1000X 314cm/163cm/191cm (123.9”/64”/75.3)
- Ground clearance: 1000R- 33cm (13”); 1000X 32cm (12.7cm)
- Turning Radius: 1000R- 6.5m (21.3 ft.); 1000X 5.4m (17.7 ft.)
- Claimed dry weight: 1000R- 700kg (1,545 lbs.); 1000X – 676kg (1490 lbs.)
- Cargo Box Capacity: 136 kg (299 lbs.)
- Frame: E-coat dipped, powdercoated One-piece frame
- Suspension/wheel travel:
- Front: 1000R Double wishbone; 45cm (17.7”) of wheel travel; 1000X Double wishbone; 37cm (14.6”) of wheel travel
- Rear: 1000R 4+ Link trailing arm, w/anti-sway bar 51cm (20.1”) of wheel travel; 1000X 3 Link trailing arm 38cm (15.1”) of travel
- Shock: 1000R FOX Podium 2.5 with Quick Switch 3; 1000X FOX 2.0 with Quick Switch 3
- Front: Hydraulic discs 250 mm w/twin piston calipers, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Rear: Hydraulic disc 250 mm w/twin piston caliper, Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD)
- Front: AT 28×9-15 Maxxis
- Rear: AT 28×11-15 Maxxis
- Wheels: 15 inch Cast Aluminum Wheels
- DC Outlet…Console
- Front: LED Hi/Lo Headlights
- Rear: LED tail lights/brake lights
- Colors: 1000R Pearl Red, Pearl Green; 1000X Pearl Red/Metallic Grey; Metallic Grey/Metallic Blue
- Instrumentation: Digital or Analog Speed/odo/trip/hour/RPM/fuel/gear/clock/2wd-4wd
- Winch: N/A
- Protection: Included front bumper, Injection molded full skid plates, premium half doors, and HD CV boot guards
- Warranty: 12-months Standard HondaCare Warranty, and available up to 48 months Extended Protection Available
- PRICE: To be released in January, rumored to be around $20,000