Farm favourite Honda has revealed two new ATV models which update and replace its offering in the 400cc and 500cc sectors.
While Honda’s 420 ATV range receives a modest styling update, including new cargo racks, beefier CV joint guards and a 1.9-litre storage bin, it is the 520 where most of the updates have occurred.
The engine has been increased by 43cc to 518cc, producing just over 29hp. This is in part due to the requirement to reduce emissions under the Non-road Mobile Machine directive.
The other reason is to enhance performance, and this is certainly the case, with a 4 per cent increase in power and torque over the previous model, most notable in the low to mid torque range.
It uses many of the same components as the previous generation, including its dry sump, crank, housing and pistons, just the bore has been enlarged.
The company still uses overhead valves for a smaller, simpler engine. A counterbalance shaft is also present and is said to reduce vibrations from the engine to a similar level of a twin cylinder engine.
The other area Honda has concerned itself with, and arguably more important than upgrading the engine, is the transmission. As with previous Hondas, a mechanical transmission is used rather than the continuously variable transmission (CVT) belt style most other manufacturers are now fitting.
The reasons for this are simple, according to the manufacturer, which says fuel efficiency, engine braking and robustness is superior with this method.
The same transmission is used across the range, whether it is a manual foot change model, such as the most basic TRX420FM1, or the auto-shifting TRX520FA6.
However, functions for gear changes, whether fully automatic or electronically prompted, are added to offer users a choice of three ways of changing gear.
Most notably, the company has changed the mapping of the dual clutch transmission (DCT) and electro-shift models. This has given the transmission a much smoother change of gears, with the DCT, similar to many tractors, preselecting the gear before changing.
The manufacturer says this provides near CVT smoothness, and it is not wrong, with only the faintest clunk perceivable when the quad is cycling through the gears. Coupled to this, the holding power of the transmission when heading down a slope is much improved, compared to the old Foreman 500.
The brains between the engine and transmission also allow for different driving styles. Ram the thumb throttle forwards and gear changes will be delayed for long aggressive acceleration, or ease it forward and gears will shift up at the earliest opportunity, boosting economy.
On top of the new transmission arrangement, the manufacturer has simplified the process of selecting reverse.
Gone is the button which had to be pressed with the brake lever held on. Instead there is a small trigger switch on the rear of the electro-shift housing. Provided the quad is travelling less than 5kph, hit the button, select down and it will shoot backwards, skipping neutral. Useful in tight spots.
Selecting forwards again is simple, with the shift up button needing to be pressed twice. The automatic transmission can also now be overridden should the rider wish to select a different gear.
All 520 models now feature a brighter 50W main beam in the centre of the handlebars.
There are two suspension options on the 520 quads, with single shock swingarm offering 185mm of travel, or independent dual arm offering 215mm.
The later can be specced with the fully-auto or manual foot-shift transmissions, and can tow 600kg.
The former is limited to electro-shift or foot-shift and 385kg towing.
Powder-coated racks now have more flat surfaces and tie down points, with the company indicating it will be releasing a range of accessories to fit in the square holes.
On the top model, as well as a new more aggressively styled grille, steel bull bars protect the front.
Under the front rack on all models is a 1.9-litre weatherproof box, big enough for a few tools or medicine bottles. A neat inclusion.