TEST: 2018 HONDA TRX250X
Small but mighty with racing in it's DNA
Although the Honda TRX250X has DNA that hails from racing heritage, it is a humble machine. Small but mighty, this quad has been a superstar in the ATV world when it comes to purchasing popularity, ease of use and fun factor. Priced at $4,749 the TRX250X is Honda’s last remaining pure sport quad that still receives updates- mainly in the cosmetics department. We let test riders of all sizes put the 2018 TRX250X through its paces in the desert, sand dunes and mountain trails, and it kept true to its reputation. As always, it was fun and reliable.
The engine is a 229cc, single-cylinder four-stroke that is air-cooled, electric-started and carbureted. It is longitudinally mounted in order to have a shaft drive without having a power-robbing 90-degree turn exiting the transmission. Honda designed their SportClutch transmission to be a five-speed with reverse that doesn’t require the use of a clutch, yet it is still there to use if you want it! You can operate the quad without the clutch at all times and shift it with ease, yet it is always a good idea to chop the throttle in between shifting just to make it easier and less stressful on the transmission. With the SportClutch set up, getting sideways and hitting small jumps was easily attainable and plenty of fun.
If you are a taller rider, you can feel a little scrunched on the TRX250X, but that makes sense. It was designed to suit smaller beginner riders. However, the quad is also one of those buy-it-and-ride-it-forever machines that is still comfortable to ride at any size and skill level. With test riders of all shapes and sizes the general feedback was that the riding position and throttle usage was comfortable, and the brake system was strong and smooth.
Our first hardpack desert test was with our beginner rider who got the hang of SportClutch in no time. The powerband was smooth, providing good torque down low and allowing for some steeper climbs while still pacing through the higher gears quickly when needed. In the dunes with our heaviest rider this little engine that could pulled five gears and had enough power to be playful for someone with plenty experience. Putting about 20 miles in, the engine got a little hot with extended high-speed, or at least high-rpm, running in 95-degree heat but never missed a beat. We stayed out of the big dunes mostly as a safety precaution, but the handling was surprisingly good in the sandbox—better, in fact, than on hard terrain.
Even though the suspension was a little rough before it had some proper break in time, that is to be expected of a sport quad. The TRX250X utilizes dual A-arms on the front of the machine with a preload-adjustable gas shock that in combination provide 5.9 inches of wheel travel. The front and rear shocks are not adjustable, but the rear is paired with a swingarm to offer 5.7 inches of wheel travel. The TRX turns well thanks to its short, 44.3-inch wheelbase and narrow 41.8-inch width. You can fit this mid-sized quad on any 50-inch-wide trail with ease. The seat height of this machine is 31.4 inches, which isn’t too tall, but since the Honda isn’t that wide, it can feel tippy in off-camber sections and in turns for taller riders. The beginner rider that rode the 250X had little complaint about the handling and thoroughly enjoyed riding the quad.
This humble little quad has remained one of the best-selling ATVs in the industry and has lived past the decline of sport quads through the years because it is so user friendly and durable. Go check out Honda’s full lineup of ATVs and UTVs on their website at Honda Powersports!