HIGH PERFORMANCE TEST: 2007 HONDA TRX450R
Over the last couple of years, Honda had turned their high performance 450R into an episode of “TRX ATV Makeover,” making adjustments in nearly every department including to the front plastic and headlight, engine, carburetor, ignition, airbox, exhaust, seat height, swingarm linkage and an electric start version. But that’s not all; the Red Rider engineers also added wider A-arms (one-inch), including adjusting the camber and offsetting the hubs, and more.
These changes nearly pushed the TRX450R straight to the front of the pack, but its changes were all but overshadowed with the release of Suzuki’s LT-R450 racer. Built for the track and great for the trail, Team Yellow was on top of the 450-sport class for 2006.
In the year of high performance, that is 2007, Honda has surprised us again by not changing their TRX450R. Neither longer travel A-arms, nor motor mods or alterations. Honda introduced a new white plastic and called it a day. Here is the 2007 Honda TRX450R.
WHAT YOU GET
Honda, with their TRX450R, will again be the only manufacturer offering two versions of their high performance sport quad. One comes with an electric starter, and the other features the standard kick-starter.
Unlike on Yamaha’s YFZ450, you can’t easily add a kick-starter to the electric start version or vise versa; that’s the reasoning for the two models. The weight difference between the two machines is six pounds, the electric version being the heavier.
The TRX450R features that same 450cc liquid-cooled SOHC, four-valve, four-stroke motor that stood out as a power-packing stud last year. The engine draws air through a large airbox and a Keihin 40mm flat slide carburetor with a throttle position sensor. With a TRX of old, you had to replace the stock carb if you wanted to modify. Honda made the changes necessary and they did it to perfection; the carburetor is easy to adjust and make jetting changes to as well.
The TRX’s rev limiter hits up to 9850 rpm. This is one of the other reasons that a kick-starter cannot be added to the electric start version. The compression of the 12:1 piston (new in ’06) is hardly noticeable on start up thanks to an automatic compression release built in. Of course the electric starter is a simple push of the button, and unusual for Honda, it will start in gear.
The transmission will remain the same in 2007. Last year’s model featured a few alterations, making it a closer ratio gear set. This lowered first gear, and turned the TRX into a much better woods quad. Stalling this machine is very difficult, to say the least.
Power wise, there is plenty on tap to even run a gear higher in the woods. Though very quiet, the stock muffler hardly feels restrictive at all. This adjustment also made the machine a much more capable starter on the racetrack. Just look at Joe Byrd (Pro Honda rider), who was without a Pro holeshot until 2006.
The power is instant, and still arm-ripping strong! If you don’t hold on tight when you let it rip, it could possibly take off without you. This machine is not as smooth as it has been in previous years. It now revs fast and pulls hard on the bottom, in the mid range and up top, more like the YFZ450.
SUSPENSION AND MORE
The 2007 TRX450R is 6799 dollars worth of fun and excitement. This might seem like a large number, but it is the cheapest of the 450 high performers, and is one of the most fun and reliable.
Up front on the TRX450R is a double A-arm setup that offers 8.4 inches of travel. Last year, Honda added new lighter aluminum pre-load adjusters and stiffer springs. The piggyback reservoir shocks are fully adjustable for compression, rebound and pre-load.
Thanks to the one-inch wider stance, the Honda offered more stability in corners. However, with the stability, Honda tried to make the TRX corner faster by altering the front spindles and hubs. They have been tweaked to give the front wheels more negative camber. This means that the wheels will tilt slightly inward at the top during up travel. This was meant to improve handling, but it provides a jarring ride in stock trim. The steering in 2006 is worse than in 2005, and is now the same in 2007. Some racers have installed 2005 spindles and hubs on their ‘06 and ‘07 models to make them turn better. We will give it a try later this year.
The rear end features the same linkage swingarm that offers 9.3 inches of travel. The linkage was changed in 2006, and will stay the same this year.
The Honda is incredibly easy to wheelie but a simple stab of the throttle won’t throw you over backwards. The front end feels lighter than that of a YFZ450, but it stays planted to the ground.
We still have to muscle our TRX450R’s narrow chassis though the corners. A tipping sensation will be felt until you modify the 450R with longer arms and a wider axle.
In the woods, aggressive riders will love the new suspension settings but slower riders will want last year’s setup. The ride is harsh at slower speeds, but when flying this machine through high-speed
section and G-outs, the suspension soars. Pre-load and compression/ rebound adjustments can be made to soften the shocks.
The TRX450R will be available in a sweet new white color, as well as a black version with flames, for 2007. It’s a change from the Honda red (which is still available), and they both really stand out!
Honda again offers a power-up kit this year. It includes a different cam; exhaust tip, head pipe, CDI sub harness (10,000 rpm rev limit) and jets. Honda claims with this mod, the motor puts out close to fifty horsepower.
Price-wise, at $6799, the TRX450R is $200 cheaper than the Yamaha and $500 cheaper than the Suzuki. The engine is very versatile and, just like all Hondas, is extremely durable. Handling is where things go sour for the 450R. You will need to add aftermarket A-arms and shocks if you want to race this machine competitively.
With two choices available in this machine, you have the option to select an electric start version for the woods and trails, and the kick start version for the racetrack. Just like last year, we feel Honda should have added their hop-up kit to the MX version to help distinguish it as a racer, and help with the selection process for the buyer. As it stands the electric start version is a handful to hang on to for the trail rider, and the kick-start version needs to be amped up for the racer.
This year we will see the introduction of a couple of new high performance 450s that could again overwhelm the features of the TRX450R. However, only time will tell. Look for a high performance 450 Shootout later this year, this time with some new competition.
2007 HONDA TRX450R
|Engine Type: Liquid-cooled SOHC, four-valve, four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 96mm x 62mm
Compression Ratio: 12.0:1
Carburetion: 40mm Keihin
Starter: Electric or forward kick
Transmission: Manual clutch 5-speed w/no rev
Final Drive: Chain
Front: Dual A-arms w w/8.4″
Rear: Swingarm w/9.3″
Front: Dual hydraulic discs
Rear: Single hydraulic disc
Overall length/width/height: 73.3″x46.3″x43.3″
Seat Height: 32.8″
Ground Clearance: 4.4″
Fuel Capacity: 3.1 gal
Colors: Red, Black
Price: $6899 (electric start), $6749 (kick-start)
Contact: American Honda