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  ATV of the year
Honda TRX450R Wins Our 2006 Sport Quad ATV Of The Year Award!
Robert Boop

 You don't have to look back very far to track the success of the TRX450R. But you'd better be ready to compile a long, long list of accolades. Since its introduction in 2004, this amazingly versatile machine has won races in just about every venue imaginable, from long-haul desert races to pounding motocross contests - indoors and outdoors - to rocky, sandy and wooded GNCC events from coast to coast. Amateurs and professionals alike have garnered championships galore, and that's not to mention its overwhelming popularity in the hands of weekend warriors who love to ride the big TRX-R from sunup to sundown, just for grins.

Now, just two short years after its introduction, the 2006 TRX450R emerges as a tool that's sharper than ever, one that's been honed for superior racetrack ability - with quicker, sharper turning ability, lighter weight and more power than before - without sacrificing its amazing versatility and all-day comfort.

And to make a good thing even better, riders now have the choice of two models, one with the convenience of electric starting and another that's kickstart-only to keep weight at a minimum. Tipping the scales at 363 pounds, the electric-start 2006 model weighs only six pounds more than the kickstart version.

As would be anticipated, changes abound on the TRX450R in both iterations, so much so they could be considered virtually brand-new. The engine features new bore and stroke dimensions identical to those in the CRF450R and 450X motorcycles, 96.0mm by 62.1mm. The TRX-R cylinder head is now like the unit from the CRF450X, and while valve sizes remain unchanged from last year (36mm intake, 30mm exhaust), the intake poppets are now titanium, not steel. In addition, the new TRX450R camshaft sports a hotter profile with more valve lift than the previous model and is unique to this machine, as is the cylinder-head porting.




Engine revisions also include a new ultra-short-skirt piston very much like those in both CRF450s, and the compression ratio has taken a huge jump up from 10.5:1 to 12.0:1, a figure also common to the CRF450 motorcycles. The 40mm flat-slide FCR-type carburetor represents another page taken from the CRF book; the flat-slide design with a throttle position sensor (TPS) delivers exceptionally crisp throttle response, while four rollers on the flat slide result in very light throttle effort and smooth operation. The TPS system helps maintain linear throttle response throughout the range of operation, regardless of engine speed. The engine now revs to 9850 rpm, up substantially from the previous engine, and a racing-use power up kit will soon be made available, which, among other things, will raise engine speed to a full 10,000 rpm in the hunt for more performance.

On the intake side of the engine, the '06 TRX450R airbox is totally new and freer breathing, thanks to airflow improvements through enhanced shaping and venting, and there's a new air filter that provides 1.4 times more surface area than before. On the exhaust side, a new CRF450X-style muffler delivers improved flow for better power, yet still remains commendably quiet.

Other hot-rod changes include a new, closer-ratio gearbox, and the final drive and primary drive feature lower ratios. As before, the transmission gears in the TRX are physically wider than those used in the CRFs, thereby adding durability to handle the higher loads found in an ATV. Also, by reducing airflow resistance through the radiator, Honda engineers have increased engine cooling efficiency enough to allow elimination of the oil cooler, thereby saving even more weight.







In the chassis department, a longer swingarm (up 15mm) together with new, stouter A-arms, steering knuckles and spindles sharpen the TRX450R's steering characteristics while maintaining a wheelbase identical to last year's model (1251mm, 49.2 inches). As a result, the rear suspension features a new linkage system to accommodate the new swingarm.

Up front, lessons learned at the race track have led to new camber and toe-in settings, as well as other changes in steering geometry that create a more neutral attitude throughout the range of front suspension travel. Bottom line: a sharper steering package that relinquishes none of the fabled TRX450R versatility or day-long comfort. In addition, the dual shocks now feature aluminum spring preload adjusters for lighter weight (225 grams lighter each), and stiffer springs replace last year's setup. Also, stronger solid spindles replace the previous hollow units, while the hubs at both ends are tougher as well.

Another move to enhance handling concerns the rider's positioning on the TRX450R. Relatively speaking, the R's much-lauded ergonomics remain unchanged - that is, the rider triangle between the seat, pegs and handlebar - but all three elements are now 8mm lower to reduce the overall center of gravity when taking into account both rider and machine. As a result, the TRX450R maintains the best rider ergonomics in class for day-long riding comfort, while sharpening its on-track handling performance.

More power. Better handling. Lighter weight. What more could a rider want in a high-performance sport ATV? Well, there's always the new electric starter, if that suits your style in the 2006 TRX450R.

M.S.R.P. $6,649.00
ENGINE Single-cylinder four-stroke four-valve Unicam
BORE X STROKE 96.0 mm x 62.0 mm
CARBURETION Keihin 40.0 mm flat slide with throttle position sensor (TPS)
STARTER Electric or forward kick
FINAL DRIVE O-ring-sealed chain
IGNITION CD with electronic advance
SUSPENSION Front: Independent double-wishbone w/ Showa shocks, adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping; 8.4 in. travel
Rear: Pro-link w/ single Showa shock, adjustable spring preload, rebound and compression damping, 9.3 in. travel
BRAKES Front: Dual hydraulic 174.0 mm discs w/ twin-piston calipers
Rear: Single 190.0 mm disc w/ single-piston caliper
TIRES Front: 22 x 7-10 knobby radial
Rear: 20 x 10-9 knobby radial
LENGTH 73.3 in.
WIDTH 46.3 in.
HEIGHT 43.3 in.
WHEELBASE 50.2 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 32.8 in.
DRY WEIGHT 363 lbs. (electric start)
357 lbs. (kick start)

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Composed: 11/25/2005 | Modified: 11/25/2005
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