First Ride - Honda TRX700XX ATV

Great handling and comfort

Mar. 31, 2008 By Ricky Sosebee

When thinking of ways to impress the general public, Honda decided to go into a world that had be visited but not perfected by other ATV manufacturers. The Honda name has been synonymous with top quality race and working class ATV’s for many years now and with every line in the market place exhausted the engineers decided to give the newest Sport/Recreational ATV a spin that would set it apart from its competition.

Since the 1970 ATC90 rolled out for production, the Honda engineers have been cranking out reliable and user friendly ATV’s. You might remember a very famous staple in the sportquad market commonly referred to as a 250R. Honda hopes that the 2008 TRX700XX can grab as much attention and have the same or greater following as its last phenom.

So what is the TRX700XX, you might ask?

The large displacement sport quad market has become nearly limitless, and with the TRX700XX it just keeps getting bigger. The engine is a 686cc fuel-injected single with a dry sump oiling system. The engine has been built on the same principles as its XR650 dirtbike counter part. The single overhead cam and liquid cooling of this new TRX family member is not a great surprise, but it will be the largest single cylinder machine that Honda has ever put into production for the masses.

Looking for great handling and comfort, the engine in the newest Honda has been redesigned a bit to give the rider confidence and longer ride times than other models. With Honda's mass centralization efforts in order, the next step was to make the engine run smoother and with less vibration. That’s where the gear-driven counter-balancer and a newly-designed ball bearing crankshaft come into play. Getting the vibration out of such a large displacement single cylinder might have been a challenge, but Honda came to the field with their game on.

Moving into the engine itself you will find the same technology that Honda uses on the MX side of their engines. The 700XX utilizes a forged piston, which will make the engine more reliable under heavy loads and harsh conditions. There is another minor but important detail - a small cooling jet located in the center of the cases that shoots a shower of cooling oil to the bottom of the piston. This is innovation at its finest.

Moving into the chassis we find the reason for the XX at the end of Honda's TRX700XX. The rear end of this sporty new-comer has been broken into an independent rear suspension system. The technology has been in the market for a while but it has not been perfected until now. The driveline has long been an issue with the independent rear-swung models and Honda has developed a new way of thinking on this very subject. The chain is merely 33mm off center of the chassis and with the new triple-threat gearing design, the engineers at Honda feel this will not only get the gearing and chain to the center of the TRX700XX’s centerline but it allows for longer double wishbone a-arms as well. The longer a-arms minimize wheel camber changes and makes for a better handling ATV.

With the longer arms you need longer axle shafts which help decrease the extreme angles for the CV joints to operate in. All this results in a better handling and more reliable piece of equipment. With five gears and reverse, there is no where this ATV cannot go and come back from.

The chassis and suspension on the new TRX700XX has taken advantage of maximum ground clearance at a incredible 10.2 inches and utilizing the 10.5 inch travel of the front shocks along with the 9.3 inches of travel in the rear, most obstacles will become nothing more than trail scrub. The frame is made of steel and has a removable rear sub frame package. With Piggyback reservoir shocks on the rear independent suspension, it should be easier to dial in the handling of this new design. The front shocks are a dual single rate spring set up that gets the weight down on the nose of this monster.

We have listed many features of this new TRX700XX and it would take many pages to get them all in, so let's go over the finer points and get to the ride. The electric start is a great feature on this model and having an automatic-style decompression system when the starting system is engaged, will make this 686cc engine rip to life without ripping out the battery. The washable air filter is a bonus and its large capacity air box at 7.6 liters will make plenty of room for the animal to breathe.

Honda is now offering a one-year warranty plan and it is fully transferable if you should ever want to give the used one to the younger brother or sister and get you a new one.

There are tough high-impact urethane skids plates on the underbelly of the beast that will keep your engine protected in the rough stuff.

The instrument cluster is very simple as it has only idiot lights to let you know positions such as neutral and reverse, as well as temperature and engine indicators. The key switch is located on the right fender at about knee level. There is a reverse lever located also on the right side down around the bottom of the fender.

First Ride

So I guess you may be wondering how we felt about the newest niche in the ATV community?

It’s a blast to ride and has plenty for the advanced riders. The power delivery is on the light side, but as we all know there are ways of getting more out to the rear wheels without breaking the bank. The rear independent suspension works like a charm and with some tweaking of the shocks it could be a Cadillac. Engaging the throttle a bit at a time you will notice very linear power curves and if you get right down to business the TRX700XX will rocket to life.

The looks of this new quad have us baffled a bit, but I have grown to love others in this camp after a bit of time, so I'll give myself a chance to see if this one can grow on me as well. The front bumper is just a bit weak for the general trail abuser, only because it is generally the first thing that gets in trouble when we get a bit too absorbed in our own abilities. I think covering an aluminum bumper in this material could have been a better choice and may reduce the risk of frame damage in the event of an accident.

The WOT, or wide open throttle as we know it, yielded a few surprises of its own. When riding at lower speeds the handling is a bit harsh and somewhat twitchy, but as we gained confidence in this new ride and speed I noticed the TRX700XX really settled into its comfort zone. Hitting rolling whoops and stutter bumps at faster than Average Joe speeds made the front and rear suspension really start to shine. WOT across the whooped-out desert made me realize a new and longed-for ride comfort.

Overall I feel that the engineers have really stumbled upon a great new market and the machine is good enough for the general ”sit down” rider, as well as the rage racer that lives in all of us. The TRX700XX is made for comfort and speed so when they hit the floor at your local dealer, make sure to at least sit on this one and just feel the excitement emitting from the fire below.



2008 TRX700XX Specifications

MSR $7,899

Model - TRX700XX
Engine Type - 686cc liquid-cooled SOHC dry-sump single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke - 102mm x 84mm
Induction - Keihin PGM-FI with a 44mm throttle-body fuel-injection system
Ignition - Full transistorized with electronic advance
Starter - Electric
Clutch - Manual
Transmission - Five-speed with Reverse
Driveline - O-ring-sealed #520 chain

Front - Independent double-wishbone with dual single-rate springs; 10.5 inches travel
Rear - Independent double-wishbone with piggy-back reservoir shocks; 9.3 inches travel

Front - Dual hydraulic 174mm discs
Rear - Single hydraulic 200mm disc

Front - 21x7R-10
Rear - 22x9R-11

Length - 71.5 inches
Width - 45.9 inches
Height - 44.7 inches
Seat Height - 32.7 inches
Ground Clearance - 10.2 inches
Wheelbase - 49.6 inches
Curb Weight* - 505 lbs.
Fuel Capacity - 3.6 gallons

Colors - Metallic Black/Silver, Metallic Black/Red

*Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel-ready to ride.

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