Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Kawasaki TERYX demo drives


Kawasaki wants to give you an opportunity to take the new Teryx side-by-side for a spin, starting this week at the UTV Rally in Moab, Utah. They will be on hand with a demo ride hospitality area and free technical seminars located inside the Old Spanish Trail Arena.

Kawasaki will be conducting additional Teryx Demo Drives at the following events:


  • June 14 at the Rumble on the Ridge in Adena, OH

  • July 21 - 26 at the High Mtn. ATV Jamboree in Wallace, ID

  • July 30 - August 3 at DuneFest in Reedsport, OR

  • August 22-24 at Ducks Unlimited in Oshkosh, WI

  • August 29-31 at the Black Hills UTV Rally in Rapid City, SD

  • September 15-20 at the Rocky Mtn ATV Jamboree in Richfield, UT

  • October 9-13 at the Hatfield/McCoy Trailfest in Gilbert, WV

For additional information on upcoming events planned by Kawasaki’s Consumer Events group, please visit http://www.kawasaki.com/NewsEvents/.

2008 Honda Foremans with electric power steering recalled

About 1,400 model year 2008 Honda TRX500 ATVs have been recalled by Honda. The electric power steering shaft of the recalled ATVs could break unexpectedly, although no incidents or injuries have been reported. See the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) page for more info.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

KTM reveals motocross ATV in Spain!


This had been rumored since the exciting release of the KTM XC quads last fall, and now KTM has confirmed they will have dedicated race-ready motocross ATVs in addition to their new cross-country focused XC lineup. KTM showed off what they are calling the 450 SX and 550 SX at the trendsetting Motorcycle Fair in Barcelona, Spain

According to KTM, they have created the perfect motocross quad with remarkably low weight in combination with wider front and rear dimensions. KTM also heavily focused on keeping the center of gravity as low as possible by introducing a newly designed fuel tank.

Unlike the XC, the SX moels will not have a reverse gear in an effort to save even more weight. They also feature a big airbox with easy filter access and a race-proven Keihin 41 mm. KTM again went the extra mile by topping it off with Maxxis Razr MX tires, rear Douglas beadlock rims and nerf bars as well as a protective cover for the headlight. The SX also has the same industry leading Magura front brakes, Chromoly frame, hydraulic clutch, Magura handle bar as the acclaimed XC models.

The specifically developed WP suspension elements are another highlight and feature a wide range of adjustments, most of which are unique to the industry: High & Low speed compression adjustability both in the front and rear, Crossover design both in the front and rear.

More to come on this!

0-60 mph 3.5 sec on new Quadster


Just one of the many specs listed on the newly added page to GG Quad North America's website. Check it out.

Barefoot electric ATV video now on Discovery site


An update from Melissa Brandao over at Barefoot on the Mythbusters show I mentioned awhile back. The video is now up on the Discovery Channel website and features a head-to-head comparison of the Model One and a Polaris 800 gas-powered ATV. And don't laugh, it actually looked similar to the now defunct WPSA Quad Terrain Challenge races.

Draw your own conclusions from the faster lap times on the electric quad, the point is that battery-powered machines are not at a disadvantage in power department. But actually, the line that struck me was that the Model One is around 100 pounds lighter than comparable gas ATV. That is huge not only in performance, but safety. Safety is going to be the battleground for ATVs in the coming years if it isn't already.

BRP forms distinct ATV division

Privately held Bombardier Recreational Products Inc. has separated its operations to encompass two different businesses, one representing Can-Am ATVs and Can-Am roadsters and one representing a new Ski-Doo/Sea-Doo division.

Yves Leduc becomes VP and general manager of the new Can-Am division while Alain Villemure becomes VP and general manager of the new Ski-Doo/Sea-Doo division, which includes Ski-Doo snowmobiles, Sea-Doo watercraft and Sea-Doo sport boats.

BRP says the split of Can-Am, Ski-Doo and Sea-Doo was implemented to help provide better flexibility, increased specialization and to improve processes for rigorous execution.

And if you have been to any of the quad racing series lately, you know Can-Am is serious about this ATV thing!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Honda's new TRX700 big bore sport quad


The most notable quad missing from the recent Dirt Wheels big bore sport ATV shootout was the all new IRS-equipped TRX700XX from Honda. I guess they couldn't wait for it to show up, but it has started popping up everywhere else, including a slew of first ride tests hosted by Honda at the Dumont Dunes Off-Highway Vehicle Area in Dumont, CA.

ATV Scene has extensive coverage of the technology and their impressions from the test, including what seem to be a couple pages just on Honda's innovative Centered Chain Drive System. Off-Road.com has a basic writeup that verifies some of the Scenes conclusions, and the new ATV.com has some videos from a beginner level rider from the same test. Now for my summary...

Centered Chain Drive System

Honda has engineered a whole new approach to the traditional driveline issues with independent rear-swung models in the TRX700. The centered chain drive is only 33mm off center of the chassis, allowing for longer double wishbone a-arms and longer axle shafts. This in turn minimizes wheel camber changes and decreases extreme angles for the CV joints, resulting in both a better handling and more reliable ATV. As I said, if you really want the fully story checkout the ATV Scene article.

Largest single cylinder ATV engine Honda has produced, but...

The TRX700 is powered by a 686cc dry-sump, liquid-cooled SOHC four-valve single-cylinder four-stroke engine, which no doubt traces its origins to Honda’s Baja-dominating XR650R dirt bike. In fact, the 700XX engine is the largest diameter single-cylinder that Honda has ever mass-produced.

When put to the test, most agreed that the Honda produces its power up high leaving much to be desired in the low and mid range department. While this is not uncommon in modern (read restricted) four strokes, all of the reviewers seemed to have trouble at lower speeds both from stalling and staying in a usable power range.

"Mid range power is decent, but still lacks that hit you expect in a high performance sport quad, especially one packing this many CCs. Up high the four-valve single-cylinder four-stroke engine comes alive and pulls nicely. It’s fast, but seems a little slower than Yamaha’s Raptor 700R." - ATV Scene


Ergonomics and handling

"Moving around on the 700XX is possibly the easiest of any quad." - ATV Scene


A lot of praise for the ergos and handling overall. Interestingly, the TRX700 is shorter and narrower than even the TRX450. Where the TRX450 is 73.3 inches long and 46.3 inches wide, the 700XX is 71.5 inches long and 45.9 inches wide.

There was some disagreement on handling through high speed whoops, some quite impressed and others feeling the requirement for aftermarket help. This may be a matter of the style of riding. Another problem area could be in low speed handling, partly due to the IRS design along with some front-end pushing. Jumping, and I guess more importantly, landing the large quad on the other hand proved to be quite enjoyable.

Reliability

Honda has a reputation in this department, and the TRX700 features tough high-impact urethane skids plates and possibly the most protected rear brake and sprocket system on an ATV. Honda is offering a one-year warranty plan for the first time, which might be an indivator of their confidence level in the new design.

Conclusion
Despite Honda aiming for the TRX700 to be a “category killer”, targeting current or would be utility ATV owners who really want something more sporty, it would seem that a different niche might be carved out. Given some of the above issues combined with the easier shifting in slow speed or tight situations you would get from an automatic utility quad, seems like desert and offroad racing might be perfect for the XX, especially considering the demands on reliability in those environments.

So I guess I agree with ATV Scene once again

"In stock form we just don’t see this as a good choice for tight woods riding or perhaps GNCC racing out east. But if you’re a high performance desert racer on the west coast, with a little aftermarket help, there isn’t a better machine available."