Honda’s Highly Anticipated Talon Four Seaters Are Finally A Reality
Yes you read that right! Looking to share their part of the sport side-by-side market to additional family and friends. The same Honda Powersports group that waited nearly a decade to enter the thriving Sport SxS market has followed suit with two 4-seat Talon models in less than a year. The four-seat Honda Talon encompasses the same revolutionary features that allowed the Talon 1000X success in such an extremely competitive market. The “belt-less” Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), Africa Twin derived parallel-twin engine, and CRF Dirtbike inspired body lines were more than well received on the Talon X, and they’re a direct carry over to the 1000X-4 models. The extremely similar machines actually share an 88% commonality rate, yet are graced with two additional seats and the significantly improved high-speed, rough terrain tractability that’s possible with a longer wheelbase.
Honda’s announcement of two different 4-seat Talon models would leave most to assume a 64” wide X model and maybe a longer travel, 68” wide 1000R model like their 2-seat predecessors. The team at Honda had a different plan in mind with the first two Talon 4-seat models to hit the market, both being 64” wide 1000X versions. The new Talon 1000X-4 and Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve both share an impressive 295cm wheelbase that’s over 72mm longer than the 2-seat 1000X. This nearly two and a half feet of extra length creates plenty of room for two back seat passengers, and adds significant improvement to high speed handling, whoops, and any other desert type terrain.
In typical Honda fashion, attention to detail and downright quality shines through in the Talon 1000X-4’s cabin design/layout. The two Talons feature stadium style rear seating with the back seats sitting 75mm higher and 50mm closer together than the fronts for improved visibility, roost minimization, and a more engaged overall experience. The Honda team was also proud to point out the amount of additional engineering and effort spent integrating the rear passengers into the riding experience. Larger occupants or even smaller riders with bulky winter gear will truly appreciate the considerations to ingress/egress like the extra wide opening that is free of sharp edges and protrusions that could snag clothing.
The rear of the Talon 4 gets the same high quality sport seats, with two-tone weatherproof material and good drainage. They feature dense but comfortable foam, and just the right amount of bolstering. All four seats come with automotive quality three-point belts, but come ready to install four-point restraints. The backs of the front seats are sloped to provide best in class legroom and knee space. Rear passenger drink holders are placed comfortably within reach, even when seat belted, and you also get your own 12v accessory power socket. A full-length rear grab bar includes guards to prevent fingers and hands from getting pinched by the back of the front seat.
CHASSIS & FRAME
Just like the two seat Talons, the Talon 4-seat models get a one piece frame that’s been developed with the technology, experience and knowhow of Honda’s automotive division. Even at 73mm longer than the 2-seater, it still provides optimum rigidity characteristics. This desired stiffness and compliance level ensures consistent geometry including camber, caster, and wheel toe alignment for a consistent precision driving experience.
The Talon’s cage or “Occupant Protection Structure” is constructed of high quality, large-diameter tubing and meets ROHVA’s rollover protection standard. Independent front and rear suspension provides stellar ground clearance and quality wheel travel. Just like the 2-seat Talon 1000X, the 1000X-4’s dual a-arm front suspension provides 37cm (14.6”) of travel, while Honda’s 3-link trailing arm rear suspension provides superior handling with a respectable 51cm (15”s) of travel. The Talon 1000X-4s 32cm (12.8”) of ground clearance is impressive in its own right, but even more so considering it comes equipped with only 28” tall tires.
FOX LIVE VALVE SUSPENSION
As we mentioned earlier, the two new 4-seat Talons are both 64” wide versions of the 1000X chassis. The slightly lower price point 1000X-4 model comes with Fox Podium shocks with the QS3 quick adjuster system. 2.0 shocks handle the damping up front, and the rear gets the larger 2.5’s. The QS3 adjustors are an intuitive, user friendly option with three distinct settings to tune your suspension to the terrain or driving style.
The Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve is a completely different animal with computer controlled, 2.5” Live Valve shocks on every corner. Similar to what we’ve seen or experienced with the Dynamic model Polaris RZR XP, the FOX system adjusts compression damping on each shock independently, automatically, and up to 200 times per second. The constantly monitoring, reacting, and adjusting live valve system creates less body roll, a smoother ride, and unbeatable bottoming resistance.
The Talon 1000X-4 and Live Valve version are pretty much identically equipped with exception of the active suspension set up. It does however, get an orange color-matched frame, bumper and ROPS cage for a little more premium look. It also gets LAUNCH MODE!
The Talon 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve model is the only SxS to date with both an automatic tranny and a launch mode. Like a Magic Button for good starts, you’ll have no more excuses for getting beat off the line. Hold down the brake, press the Launch Mode switch, hold both paddle shifters back, floor the gas pedal and release the paddles. The DCT automatically shifts up for you through all the gears, as effectively as you ever could on your own. Honda’s Launch mode even has a special yaw control to keep your ultra-aggressive launches straight and true.
As we mentioned, the Talon 1000X-4 shares an 88% commonality with the well received 2-seat Talon 1000X, and is quickly proving itself. What this means is that you’re getting all the Talon features like the Automatic DCT transmission that you can drive in paddle shift manual mode or fully automatic with a new optional Sport mode for higher RPM shifts and a more spirited, performance driving experience. You’re also still getting I-4WD with the industry’s first brake-traction control system for a side by side. These advanced technologies are sourced directly from Honda’s automotive division, and otherwise previously unheard of in the powersports world.
IT’S A HONDA
Brand loyalty to the Honda name and its solid reputation had multitudes of off-road enthusiasts awaiting the Talon’s original release. While it seemed like they might be dragging their feet and potentially missing the boat on potential sales, the fact of the matter is that Honda spends more time on R&D than one could ever imagine. Their solid reputation for reliability, durability and quality products is a true testament to this. Oversights, under-built components, and recalls have been a non-issue with Honda since the beginning. From the CT70 & 90 trail bikes of the 60’s, to the ATCs and ATVs of the 80’s, 90’s, and now. If it’s from Big Red, you can trust that it will likely outlast the competition. This reputation started with their Japanese manufacturing, and is proudly carried over to their Timmonsville, South Carolina plant, where the Talon is built for the American market.
The Talon 1000X-4 was built to bring the ultimate Side by Side experience to a larger, broader audience, the additional two seats are the ultimate answer to truly sharing this experience with the kids, friends, family, etc. This sharing of the adventure with family or friends was the major focus of the 4-seat Talon press launch. When the invite came, the Honda marketing team not only offered, but recommended that we bring along additional family or friends.
The intro was held just outside Caliente, NV, where we all camped together in motorhomes in the Chief Mountain West ORV area. We would be riding the history-rich Silver State Trail system including quite a few miles of the BITD Silver State 300 course. Along with a great variety of terrain, there are also multiple active and inactive ghost “mining” towns to explore, and an incredible view of the highly classified U.S. Air Force facility known as Area 51.
Our ride time was broken up into two different 40 mile organized trail rides. One before lunch and another in the afternoon. Being a long time desert racer and off-road racing enthusiast, I was completely stoked to find out that our guide was none other than Multi-Time Baja 1000/500 winner, BITD Champion, and Dakar finisher Scott Harden. A true Icon in our industry, Scott is a living legend on a motorcycle, and he knows the Nevada desert and its history incredibly well.
Sharing the driving and riding duties would be my wife and our good friend Wes Miller, who was fresh off an Overall UTV win at the recent SCORE Baja 400. We were all excited to get some drive time in, and having three of us meant everyone could cycle through the back seat for an opinion. At 5’-11”, I fit pretty well into the back seat of just about any 4-seat UTV. Wes, on the other hand is a little over 6’3”, and is usually pretty well crammed in the back seat of anything. This was not the case with the Talon’s backseats; they are “all day” comfortable, and there were really no complaints from any of us.
Honda clearly did their homework on the back seat design, as the ride back there was really just as fun and inclusive as being up front. Vision is good, the seats are comfortable, and your knees have plenty of room. We also didn’t find any oddball inner door areas that might wear on your knees or elbows. The rear door latches are as quality, and as easy to operate as the fronts. We also didn’t, nor did we witness anyone having issues with them staying shut, like we’ve experienced with some other first model year 4-seat UTVs. While the backseat is really great and will be an awesome spot for friends and family to experience true off-road adventure, extra seating is not the only reason one might opt for a 4-seater.
The extra wheelbase that comes with a 4-seat model is absolutely key to high speed handling characteristics. They track better and are more predictable at high speeds, get through the whoops better, and just generally help to smooth out the terrain/feedback to the driver. This is the main reason why the 4-seat chassis is the preferred starting point for nearly every desert racer build in BITD and SCORE. One other big advantage is the additional space allotted for the rear seats that can be used for fuel cells and extra storage. The four-seat Talon might be a handful in extremely tight woods, but its overall handling will more than make up for the moderately increased turning radius.
The FOX QS3 equipped model was extremely fun to drive and right at home on the faster, desert type course. With three of us in the car, the middle shock setting was good when pushed, but full soft still exhibited a smoother, more enjoyable ride.
FOX LIVE VALVE HANDLING
Absolutely not knocking the entry level QS3 equipped model’s handling, but the FOX live valve equipped machine is on another level. The Live Valve system provides super plush, soft settings at slower cruising speeds, and automatically knows when to add compression before impact at higher speeds. Stability is also greatly improved with nearly eliminated body roll, front end push, and diving under hard braking. You can opt between sport or normal settings with a dash mounted switch – we preferred the sport mode, but both options will out-handle the QS3 in most any situation.
Out in the desert, the Launch mode seemed a little gimmicky, but fun nonetheless. On a starting gate, or dragging your buddies at the dunes will be another story. It truly gets you off the line brainlessly, and faster than you could ever pull off on your own.
The four-seat Talon is going to be a winner without a doubt. All three of us were more than impressed with the apparent overall quality and handling characteristics. We all also agreed that we would spend the extra two-grand for the Live Valve equipped model. Even though it’s a substantial amount of money, the handling and other improvements are well worth it. The one exception might be when building a race car, where shocks might get scrapped anyways, and looking for a lower entry price point.
At 104 hp, the Talon 1000X-4 tops out at about 68 mph, but we know the dealer financeable, bolt-on Turbo Kit from Jackson Racing can get you right up to 170 hp. At $6000, that can be tied into your Talon loan, so this is another option that we’d have a hard time passing up. We’re excited to get our loaner, and see if we can do the install.
2019 HONDA Talon 1000X-4 / 1000X-4 FOX Live Valve
Engine type: Liquid cooled, Unicam OHC longitudinally mounted, parallel twin, w/4 valves per cylinder
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 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: 29.1 liters (7.7 gals) including 3.4 liter (.9 gal.) reserve
Wheelbase: 295.65 cm (116.4”)
Overall length/width/height: 1000X-4 Live Valve 388cm/162cm/198cm (152.6”/64”/78.1”); 1000X-4 388cm/162cm/199cm (152.6”/64”/78.5”)
Ground clearance: 1000X-4 Live Valve 31cm (12.6”); 1000X-4 32cm (12.8”)
Turning Radius: 6.5m (21.3 ft.)
Claimed dry weight: 1000X-4 Live Valve 795kg (1,753 lbs.); 1000X-4 787kg (1,735 lbs.)
Cargo Box Capacity: 136 kg (299 lbs.)
Frame: E-coat dipped, powder-coated One-piece frame
Front: 1000X-4 Live Valve Double wishbone; 36cm (14.4”) of wheel travel; 1000X-4 Double wishbone; 37cm (14.6”) of wheel travel
Rear: 1000X-4 Live Valve 3-Link trailing arm, w/anti-sway bar 51cm (15”) of wheel travel; 1000X 3 Link trailing arm 38cm (15”) of travel
Shock: 1000X-4 Live Valve FOX Podium 2.5 with Live Valve; 1000X-4 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
Front: LED Hi/Lo Headlights
Rear: LED tail lights/brake lights
Colors: 1000X-4 Live Valve Metallic Grey/Metallic Orange; 1000X-4 Metallic Grey; Metallic Grey/Pearl Red
Instrumentation: Digital or Analog Speed/odo/trip/hour/RPM/fuel/gear/clock/2wd-4wd
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: 1000X-4 $21,999; 1000X-4 Live Valve $23,999 US