HIGH PERFORMANCE 4X4 TEST 2011 HONDA RINCON 680 Big Red’s sportier 4×4
Photos by Brad Howe
q Honda’s largest displacement utility quad, the Rincon 680, is a solid all-around ATV. Not because it’s a fire-breathing hot rod, or even a stump-pulling brute; it is, however, a high-quality and extremely versatile 4×4 that is a sturdy tool during the week and also a fun ride on the weekends.
WHAT DO?YOU GET?
A 675cc OHV single-cylinder four-stroke mill powers Honda’s 2011 Rincon 4×4. Like many of Honda’s sport and utility ATVs, the Rincon’s motor is mounted longitudinally instead of perpendicularly. This method allowed their engineers to eliminate a 90 degree turn in the drive-train to save weight and gain horsepower. The Rincon is smooth as can be and offers good power on command.
Electronic fuel injection (EFI) feeds fuel to the powerplant via a 40mm throttle body. EFI is seen on just about every top-of-the-line 4×4 these days. The electric starter will fire the Rincon up in extreme cold temperatures, and it will run strong at altitudes of over 10,000 feet.
Honda’s biggest 4×4 uses a unique transmission. Most of today’s other big-bore 4x4s use a CVT transmission, whereas the Rincon uses an automatic transmission with a hydraulic torque converter containing three forward gears and a reverse. There are two methods of operation: The easiest being auto, where the machine does all the work by automatically shifting when necessary and giving the rider the freedom to ride the quad without the worries of changing gears. The gear selector is nicely located on the center console, operated by your left hand and actuates D (drive), N (neutral) and R (reverse) features. The second option is Honda’s Electronic Shift Program (ESP). The ESP option, which has been on the Rincon since its release almost 10 years ago, allows you to manually shift the transmission through electronic up-and-down switches with your left thumb. The ESP feature is beneficial while hauling heavy cargo, when running at a higher rpm, before shifting is preferred. Steep downhill grades are another locatio
n where the ESP option proves to be beneficial, by limiting the transmission to the lower gears for increased engine braking. For the aggressive rider, ESP makes the Rincon seem more like a sport quad than a 4×4, giving the rider control over shift points.
For the die-hard ATV 4x4er, Honda’s Rincon will disappoint. There is no low range option other than first gear. Four-wheel drive is solid and features an on-the-go switch, but there isn’t a locking front differential. Both of these missing features are a must-have to tackle the gnarly. It’s a shame, because this motor would get you through most situations where low range and diff-lock is required.
Those of you looking for a sportier 4×4, you will feel right at home with the Rincon. Its sleek look is matched with a compact and more aggressive feel, which is noticed as soon as you sit down. It’s as comfortable as other 4x4s in its class, but feels much smaller and sportier between the legs. Its 34.5-inch seat height is only a couple inches taller than most 450 sport quads.
Up front on the 680 Honda is a double A-arm front suspension with 6.9 inches of travel. The fully independent rear suspension beats the front with 8 inches of wheel travel.
The suspension offers a plush ride over the smooth and fast trails, as well as the rocky and rutted. For our 170- to 200-pound test riders, the stock preload adjustments were right on. Lighter and heavier riders have a few clicks of adjustment in both directions. There are no other forms of adjustment with these shocks. Though unfortunate, if you outperform these shocks, there are many aftermarket replacements to choose from.
The Honda Rincon offers 10 inches of ground clearance and is great for railing through mud, over large rocks and logs and other types of rough terrain.
At 600 pounds, the Rincon 680 feels light and turns on a dime. Punch the throttle and the machine powerslides predictably around corners.
Honda’s Rincon rides on 25-inch, bias-ply Dunlop tires mounted on aluminum wheels. The Dunlop tires offered great traction in a variety of terrain. They hooked up well in mud, sand, loose gravel and fire roads. We did not get one flat while testing.
The Dunlop treads are slowed to a halt by dual hydraulic disc brakes up front and a single hydraulic disc in the rear. Only the right-hand lever controls the front brakes, while the left-hand lever and a right-foot pedal control the rear disc. Honda’s braking system is near perfect.
Honda’s Rincon 680 4×4 does not offer many special features. There is a front and rear rack for hauling cargo (300-pound capacity), a very small, semi-dry storage compartment for tire tools and trail snacks and a digital instrumentation panel with a 12-volt power plug-in.
To our surprise, a tow hitch does not come standard on the Honda Rincon. However, the hitch is available as a Honda accessory and can be purchased through the parts department of your local dealership for around $50. Not too costly, but when you just handed over nearly $9000 for a utility machine, one of the first things you expect to see is a tow hitch.
Honda’s 2011 Rincon is a sporty, fun ride on the trails! Its 675cc motor isn’t overwhelming with power, but it’s super smooth and easy to ride. Its 4WD system works well and will get you up and over most trail obstacles. However, without a low range or a locking front differential, this 4×4 will be a bigger hit with the trail rider and ranch hand. Rock crawlers and black-diamond trail enthusiasts need not apply. q
Engine Liquid-cooled OHV semi-dry
Bore x stroke 102.0mm x 82.6mm
Carburetion Fuel injection;
40mm throttle bodies
Starting Electric w/ auxiliary recoil
Transmission Automatic w/ hydraulic torque converter,
3 forward gears,
reverse & electronic controls
Final drive shaft
Front Double A-arm; 6.9″ travel
Rear Double A-arm; 8″ travel
Front Dual hydraulic discs
Rear Single hydraulic disc
Seat height 34.5″
Fuel capacity 4.3 gal.
Ground clearance 10″
Turning radius 10.8 feet
Curb weight 648 lb.
Colors Red, olive, camo
Manufacturer American Honda