Honda wanted the full outdoor experience for testing the 2020 Talon 1000 X4 and X4 Fox Live Valve edition, so three years ago we headed to Caliente Nevada. We made two 40-mile loops through the desert, switching between the base and Fox Live Valve models.

2020 Honda Talon X4 Live Valve Edition

Without the Live Valve system, the ride is a little stiff. Because of input response from Hona’s I-4wd, the handling is great for both high-speed and controlled movement situations. The Fox Live Valve setup allows for a slightly softer spring rate, and then option to choose sport or normal modes. Sport mode rides great through smooth fast terrain, while normal makes chatter and trails feel softer. So whether you’re just cruising or going top speed, any driver can make the Talon work to their advantage.

The Live Valve model uses a Bosch control unit that makes up to 200 shock adjustments every second based on information it takes input from the throttle sensor, brake pressure, steering position and more. The 5 axis stand alone IMU allows adjustments to go from full compression to full droop in 20 milliseconds. Some might argue that 15 inches of travel wont be enough, but sometimes it’s about quality more than quantity.

The 2020 X4 comes with launch modes, a color match look, and stadium seating for a better passenger experience. The 4 seat is based on the X platform with 88% commonality in the build design. The X4 is said to be the platform for the Honda off road race division in conjunction with Proctor and Jackson racing.

2020 Honda Talon X4

A four seat option just makes sense for any machine since 35% of sport side-by-side sales are four seaters, and that percentage increases significantly in the southwestern U.S. The stadium seating definitely makes for a more comfortable and enjoyable ride for the back seat passengers. With a 116-inch wheelbase, this 64-inch car works hand in hand with the suspension to give you better cornering and smoother response, especially with the torque biased limited slip I-4wd system.


If your intentions are to upgrade your suspension down the road with long travel, or high-end aftermarket shocks, Then Live Valve obviously isn’t worth the extra expense. Save the money and get yourself a set of four Elka shocks (starting at $2,650 for Stage 3s) or have Shock Therapy (now a Fox owned company) rebuild the stock shocks with stronger springs and upgraded valving.

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