Motorcycle History - The Honda TRX450R
December 12, 2012 - San Diego, CA
The Honda TRX450R is a high-performance ATV first introduced in late 2003 for the 2004 model year. It has a wide following from ATV enthusiasts, even spawning a website dedicated just to the TRX450 (www.trx45or.org).
Initially, many riders were disappointed because the first TRX450R was very weak compared to its motorcycle counter-part, the Honda CRF450R. Honda claims this is because the TRX450R engine was designed for ATV purposes with the ability to produce more torque. In 2004 and 2005, the only Honda OEM part that was interchangeable between the ATV and motorcycle engines was the camshaft.
In 2006, Honda overhauled the TRX450R engine to make it more similar to the Honda CRF450R. This included a more aggressive cam profile, a larger bore with a shortened stroke, a new, short skirt piston and titanium rather than steel valves. In addition, Honda changed the carburetor from a 42 mm Keihin butterfly type to a 40 mm Keihin FCR. This increased the power from about 33 horsepower (25 kW) in the first generation to over 40 horsepower (30 kW) in the second. The first generation engine had a 10.5:1 compression ratio while the second generation had a 12:1 compression ratio.
Along with the introduction of the TRX 450R, Honda announced that it would once again support factory sponsored racing (after 17 years out of the game). The 450R would be the first factory sponsored bike out of any of the other ATV manufacturers. Honda's first sponsored rider on the new 450r would be Tim Farr.
The sponsored Honda team would compete in the ATVA MX and TT Nationals in the Pro-Production class. The 450r's first national race would be the 2003 Baja 1000. The 450r was first across the line in the ATV class with a total time of 181 hours, 27 minutes, and 24 seconds (that's an average speed of 43.78 mph (70.46 km/h)). In the 2004 National MX races, the 450r would place 3rd overall.
Here are some more of the changes that the Honda TRX450R has undergone, year by year:
2004: Available in red only
2005: Untouched from the 2004 version, except black plastic option now available
2006: Electric start or kick start models available.
Engine compression raised from 10.5:1 to 12:1.
Engine bore increased to 96 mm and stroke lowered to 62 mm.
Maximum engine RPM is raised from 9800 to 9850.
New transmission ratios designed for racing applications and trail use.
Swing arm extended to help alleviate the "bucking" of the previous models.
Rider position is lowered by 8 mm.
Rear suspension travel is extended from 9 inches (230 mm) to 9.3 inches (240 mm).
Head light changed to a more "race-derived look."
2007: New White and Black/Flame colors on the electric start version
2008: New Black/Blue color joins White on the electric start version.
Reposition of the auto decompression feature to other side of cam carrier.
Black Wheels became an option with the Orange Frame/White plastics.
Gas tank dropped from 3.2 gal to 2.6 gal with a plastic cover.
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