We’ve surveyed what’s new with Honda dirt bikes and watercraft over the course of the past several months, but we haven’t explored Honda ATVs for over a year. Turns out, Honda has been quite busy tweaking its line of ATVs, and one of the latest and greatest is the all-new adrenaline-producing TRX450ER.
Classified by Honda as a “sport” machine, the TRX450ER is designed for those who want to go fast. It is not a utility ATV by any stretch of the imagination. The engine in this monster is closely related to the engine found in the race-ready CRF450R motocross bike, and it spits out serious power. New for ’06, the four-stroke 450cc liquid-cooled four-valve Unicam engine has new cylinder-head porting; a new exhaust system; a 40mm Keihin FCR-type carburetor for improved engine response; a larger airbox with bigger air filter; an increased compression ratio from 10.5:1 to 12.0:1; and a forged slipper piston that’s lighter and creates more high-rpm power. And the machine comes with leg-saving electric start.
The engine is bolted to a durable five-speed transmission that has all-new lower ratios designed for racing applications and trail use. Good thing the TRX450ER has race-ready CRF handlebar grips.
Significant changes were also made to the machine to improve handling. A longer swing arm, new A-arms, knuckles, and spindles all help to improve turning. An 8mm lower riding position for a lower center of gravity also improves handling. Both the independent front suspension with fully adjustable Showa remote-reservoir shocks and the Pro-Link rear suspension with Showa piggyback shocks have been lightened to improve handling and bump absorption.
Vehicle model: ’06 Honda TRX450ER
Base price: $6,799
Colors: Red, black
Engine: Single-cylinder, four-stroke, four-valve, liquid-cooled
Displacement (cc): 450
Bore x stroke (mm): 96 x 62
Compression ratio: 12.0:1
Carburetor: Keihin 40mm flat-slide with throttle-position sensor
Starter: Electric or forward kick
Final drive: O-ring-sealed chain
Front suspension: Independent double wishbone with Showa shocks; adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping; 8.4 inches of travel
Rear suspension: Pro-link with single Showa shock; adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping; 9.3 inches of travel
Front brakes: Dual hydraulic 174mm discs with twin-piston calipers
Rear brakes: Single hydraulic 190mm disc with single-piston caliper
Tires, f/r: 22×7-12 knobby radial/20×10-9 knobby radial
Weight (lb): 363
Ground clearance (in.): 4.4
Length (in): 73.3
Width (in): 46.3
Height (in): 43.3
Seat height (in): 32.8
Wheelbase (in): 50.2
Fuel capacity (gal): 3.1