ATV TEST: 2016 Honda Rincon 4×4

Honda’s flagship Rincon has only seen one major improvement in its life, and that was back in 2006. In that model year the liquid-cooled engine mated to a three-speed transmission, increased from a 650cc mill up to a whopping 675cc. In addition, EFI was also added. In total those cc numbers do seem small, but for the 90 percent of 4×4 riders out there, speed is not a number-one priority. However, smooth riding, getting the job done and power are. Furthermore, the 65-mph top speed this machine is capable of hitting is plenty fast for any quad weighing over 600 pounds. Specifically, this Honda weighs 657 pounds with its full 4.4-gallon gas tank. This is actually the lightest bigbore 4×4 ATV you can buy. Second to that, the new Yamaha Kodiak 700 is just 4 pounds heavier. The Rincon is one of a very few quads that are not available with power steering.

Honda’s 675cc, three-speed, liquid-cooled engine was one of the first 4x4s to come with EFI. It had one power bump from the 650 in its life and has plenty of top speed to have fun on. The Rincon is equipped with a pull-rope back-up starter.
Honda’s 675cc, three-speed, liquid-cooled engine was one of the first 4x4s to come with EFI. It had one power bump from the 650 in its life and has plenty of top speed to have fun on. The Rincon is equipped with a pull-rope back-up starter.

The Rincon’s powerplant is the most unique item on this machine, and it has never been copied by another manufacturer. Instead of using a common CVT engine, the Rincon has a three-speed manual. Again, this is different than a typical manual tranny. No clutch is needed, and you can shift with a push of a button or let it shift for you in auto mode. When you ride at a casual pace, the transmission does a great job keeping you in the right gear and giving you proper power at all times. However, if you want to ride aggressively, the transmission is not quite perfect. It sometimes hunts for gears and doesn’t shift exactly when you want it to. However, that’s where the fun of shifting comes back into your life. In three-speed manual mode the Rincon can put a huge smile on your face. Power is instant and shifts are quick. We like knowing we can have low-end grunt in tough situations, and first gear provides that well. The machine is no racer, but is probably the most sporty 4×4 Honda makes. It is very impressive to have a machine that can cruise when needed, then offer the thrill of shifting also when needed.

Out back, the dual-A-arm setup used to be constructed of aluminum. All the arms are now steel. This was one of the early 4x4s with IRS, and it contributes to a respectable 9.2 inches of ground clearance.
Out back, the dual-A-arm setup used to be constructed of aluminum. All the arms are now steel. This was one of the early 4x4s with IRS, and it contributes to a respectable 9.2 inches of ground clearance.

UNIQUE CHASSIS
In the early years Honda used aluminum A-arms in the rear and upper aluminum ones in the front. It helped keep weight low and contributed to a great-handling machine. In 2015 Honda swapped the aluminum out with steel. It really didn’t add much weight, fortunately. In the same year, they also outfitted the engine with some smog stuff, such as an O2 sensor, dual spark plugs and a catalytic converter. Most 4x4s have some of these components now. In total these changes added 9 pounds to the Rincon.

Honda replaced the upper aluminum A-arms in front with steel ones. We don’t like the way it affected handling. It seems to give a rougher ride than on older models. The shocks are non-adjustable, so all you can do is play with air pressure to affect the ride.
Honda replaced the upper aluminum A-arms in front with steel ones. We don’t like the way it affected handling. It seems to give a rougher ride than on older models. The shocks are non-adjustable, so all you can do is play with air pressure to affect the ride.

Dual steel A-arms up front provide 6.9 inches of movement, and out back travel is just a bit more at an even 8 inches. The single coil shocks on each corner are non-adjustable. Overall measurements put this 4×4 a little narrower than some and make it one of the tallest out there. A respectable 9.2 inches of ground clearance is found underneath, and the handlebar height tops out at 47.5 inches. More importantly, the width measures 46.8 inches and the wheelbase is 50.8. Honda uses 25×12 tires mounted on great aluminum-rolled edge wheels. Sitting in the saddle of the Rincon you don’t feel cramped, but everything is close. The handlebars are narrow, and even the footwells feel a bit smaller than on other machines. The compactness does lend itself to tight woods riding, however. The fenders are shaped as to not rip apart when you hit a rock or scrape along a tree. Headlights are receded so they don’t get grabbed, either. We like how the footpegs have a little meat to stand on, but are not overly aggressive and uncomfortable.

Seven inches of travel and 8 inches out back help the Rincon handle well over the bumps and jumps. It doesn’t have as much body roll as the other big-bore 4x4s offered.
Seven inches of travel and 8 inches out back help the Rincon handle well over the bumps and jumps. It doesn’t have as much body roll as the other big-bore 4x4s offered.

THOUGHTS
The Rincon is pretty much the only 4×4 ATV not offered with an Electronic Power Steering option. Before power steering was available on quads, we didn’t think the steering was stiff. When EPS became commonplace, we wished Honda would add EPS, but we didn’t quit riding the Rincon because it didn’t have it. Honda always has slightly stiffer steering than other brands, but it was tuned perfectly, and that was the case with the Rincon. However, something changed when the steel A-arms replaced the aluminum ones. The suspension went from what we would call “firmly plush” to stiff. It’s not that the Rincon is a rough ride; it’s just not as good as it was before. It takes the bumps better faster than it does slow. Turning is affected too. We feel the steering is a little stiff when moving straight, and loosens up about halfway towards full lock. It’s a little twitchy, too, going downhill, but not as bad as the Suzuki KingQuad.

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We still like the Honda Rincon, but unfortunately this change did not improve the machine for the better. Hopefully this will be the last year for the machine in its current state, and it will get a much-needed upgrade for 2017 that includes an EPS option. We would still recommend the Rincon to anyone looking for a quality 4×4 for both work or fun, but we would tell that friend if they found a deal on a good pre-2015 model, we would jump on it.

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The Rincon is easy to service. Most service points like drain plugs and filters can be accessed without tools.
The Rincon is easy to service. Most service points like drain plugs and filters can be accessed without tools.
We like the small compact racks on the Rincon, but wish it has larger enclosed storage for loose items. This small fender box is all that is offered.
We like the small compact racks on the Rincon, but wish it has larger enclosed storage for loose items. This small fender box is all that is offered.

2016 HONDA RINCON 675 4X4
Engine…………… Single-cylinder, OHV, liquid-cooled, 4-stroke
Bore x stroke…………. 102mm x 82.6mm
Displacement……………………………675cc
Starter………. Electric w/recoil back up
Fuel system………………………. 40mm EFI
Fuel capacity……………………….. 4.4 gal.
Transmission…..3-speed automatic or push-button shift
Final drive………………………………..Shaft
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front………………. Dual A-arms w/ 6.9”
Rear…………………. Dual A-arms w/ 8”
Brakes:
Front……………….Dual hydraulic discs
Rear…………….. Single hydraulic disc
Tires:
Front……………………………………. 25×8-12
Rear………………………………….. 25×10-12
Overall measurements:
Length/width/height.. 83.2”/46.8”/47.5”
Ground clearance……………………….9.2”
Wheelbase…………………………………50.8”
Curb weight……………………………657 lb.
Rack capacity:
Front…………………………………………66 lb
Rear……………………………………….133 lb
Colors…..Red, green, Phantom Camo
Price…………………………………………$9,299

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