ATV TEST: 2020 HONDA TRX90X

Aces for your adolescent

 By the staff of Dirt Wheels

The rear 19-inch-tall Maxxis tires have a round profile, which helps float in the sand but won’t slide around corners as easily as a flatter 18-inch tire.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

Honda’s 2020 TRX90X is one of the most rambunctious and enticing mini quads of its class. The current iteration of the 90 was born into production as a 2005 model, and it has soldiered on with few upgrades throughout the years. It remains the only youth quad in its class that is built with a 4-speed auto-clutch transmission. Go, Honda! Shifting gears is not only more fun, but it also helps prepare your young one to progress to bigger sport quads as he or she ages.

Your offspring might even learn to drive a stick-shift car one day—if you can find one by then. Until that day, the TRX90X will keep a smile on your kiddo’s face for many trail miles, with Honda’s durability and excitement paving the way.

A single-A-arm suspension design is used on the front end. Wheel travel rests at 2.6 inches.

 

2020 HONDA TRX90X

CRUISING AROUND

Team Red fills the TRX90X frame with a single-overhead-camshaft, 2-valve, single-cylinder four-stroke engine that is air-cooled and boasts an actual displacement of 86cc. The basic design has passed its 50th birthday! While this little engine doesn’t pump out the most power in its class, it does make plenty of boost to produce huge fun, especially since the auto-clutch manual 4-speed doesn’t waste much power.

Neutral is easy to find at the bottom of the shift pattern. Each upshift gains your youth more speed through the four forward gears. The Honda tops out just under 30 miles per hour. If you are mechanically inclined, you can remove a small rubber washer that sits between the carb and the intake, which adds a touch more go when your rider doesn’t want to keep things slow.

Should you tend to stick to the cautious side, Honda incorporated a throttle-adjustment screw that is built into the throttle housing. If you turn the screw further inward, the 90X won’t accelerate as quickly.

If you are worried about your little loved one taking joy rides when you aren’t around, you can take the key and keep it in a safe place. The starting procedure is pretty straightforward—key on, engine kill switch on, and pull the choke for the carburetor, and hit the electric-starter button.

A few years after the original TRX90X came to fruition, Honda ditched the pull starter for an electric starter. Unfortunately, it does not come with a pull starter as a backup like a lot of other models in its class.

Honda paired up with Maxxis to offer the TRX90X with 20-inch-tall front tires and 19-inch-tall rear tires.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

HAPPY HANDLING

We would be lying if we stated that only youth riders got behind the bars of this Honda TRX90X. How could we get an accurate test on such a fun little machine without a few grownups taking it for a spin? If it wasn’t for the fact that we didn’t want to see our kids shed tears, as we kept spinning laps, while they impatiently waited for a turn, we doubt that they would ever get a turn.

The engine and brakes don’t work nearly as well for a grown adult as they do for our much lighter youth riders. The front brakes are drum, and the rear utilizes a single drum brake to slow down the solid rear axle. The right handlebar-mounted lever actuates the front brakes, and a left-side lever works in combination with a right-foot-operated pedal to slow the rear wheels down.

The Honda’s gear shifter can easily be utilized with larger riding boots, and all of the controls are easy for small hands and feet to manipulate. The seat is plush, and the 90X is plenty roomy for growing kids to maneuver around. Honda designs all of their ATVs with a handlebar that is swept rearward in a fashion that aids in turning while seated.

Floorboards encapsulate the foot controls, keep mud and trail debris out of the way, and they help keep feet on the machine. Metal footpegs are raised off of the floorboards. They allow your youth rider to tilt forward and back easily during ambitious riding.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

SOFT AND SAFE

Single-A-arm suspension with 2.6 inches of wheel travel provides a smooth ride upfront on the little Honda, and the rear swingarm-style suspension offers the same amount of wheel travel. A solid rear axle is turned via chain drive from the engine. If you open up the power of the TRX90X, the solid rear-axle-style suspension will let your youth get a little sideways in dry corners, but that is not an easy task for how tame the 90X rides.

Honda runs a Maxxis tire package of 20 inches on the front wheels and 19-inch tires in the rear. All four tires offer a round profile, which allows great floatation in the sand and softer soil. We would like to see a flatter-profiled, 18-inch-tall rear tire that would still offer great traction but slide better through corners.

Honda’s 86cc engine was derived from the air-cooled, single-cylinder ATC90 engine back from the ’70s. Current engines have electronic ignition, but little else has changed.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

TESTY

Team Red created a winner with the TRX90X. It may not be a true-bred racer, but it takes the gold in the hands of our young ones. Starting the mini is quick and easy, with the twist of the ignition key and the push of the starter button. The little 86cc single produces tame power, yet has enough gusto to keep the smiles wide for around two hours of fun before the 1.7-gallon fuel tank needs to be refilled.

The seating position is comfortable according to our tiny and growing riders, and limber adults fit as well. Honda designed the thumb throttle, brake levers, shifter, handlebar, and more to complement small hands and feet.

One downfall of the TRX90X is cornering the little machine. The single-A-arm design upfront causes the steering to twitch at times when the shocks compress. It is more apparent for riders skilled enough to push the machine hard. Since the machine does not have an upper A-arm, the top of the front tires arc inward during the suspension stroke, which hinders front traction.

We have found kits like the one from Diamond J Customs that allows you to take the front dual-A-arm suspension, brakes, and more from a Honda TRX300EX, and implement them on the TRX90X. Aftermarket upgrades are easy to come by, which is a major benefit of this youth-class quad.

Our favorite feature of the TRX is the foot-shift, 4-speed semi-automatic transmission. Shifting gears is not only fun, but it makes the 90X more responsive than most CVT transmissions in the Mini ATV class. The downfall of Honda’s 90X transmission is that it doesn’t have a reverse gear.

Honda is the only manufacturer with a foot-shift transmission that has four forward gears. We do wish it came with reverse like most others in its class.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

WRAP-UP

Honda’s four-wheeled TRX90X mini sits as the only youth model in the Honda lineup. Whether you and your family are weekend warriors, cruising around camp or competition seekers, the TRX90X is great for beginner or experienced young riders. The ability to shift gears is an added fun factor, and Honda’s dependability and longevity make the 90 a great purchase. Look at how many ATC90s are still running around. The basic package will last generations with modest care. The 2021 TRX90X has updated color schemes for an easy price of $3199. Go to www.powersports.honda.com to check out their impressive ATV and UTV lineups!

 

Honda rates their TRX90X for riders ages 12 and up. Taller riders can enjoy this machine as easily as shorter ones.

2020 HONDA TRX90X

Engine Single, air-cooled, 4-stroke

Displacement 86cc

Bore and stroke 47.0mm x 49.5mm

Starter Electric

Fuel system Carburetor

Fuel capacity 1.7 gal.

Transmission Four-Speed Automatic

Final drive Chain

Suspension/wheel travel:

Front Single A-arm w/ 2.6”

Rear Swingarm w/ 2.6”

Brakes:

Front Dual sealed drum

Rear Sealed drum

Tires:

Front 20×7-8

Rear 19×8-8

Length/width/height 58.6”/35.2”/36.5”

Ground clearance 3.9”

Wheelbase 38.7”

Curb weight 262 lb.

Colors Red, white

Price $3,199

Contact www.powersports.honda.com, local dealer

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