Honda CTX200 Bushlander
BY: Terry Stevenson, PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Daniel Phillips, Terry Stevenson
Since the Honda CTX200 was introduced back in 2002, nothing has changed on this farming staple
- Great handling
- Good stability
- Good suspension
- Top brakes
- Safer than an ATV
Engineering and appearance
The Bushlander has a massive rear guard and an equally large and wide front guard, with mudflap.
Protecting the motor is a large wrap-around engine bash plate for when you run out of the 238mm ground clearance, and a wide pair of side protection bars. During my test ride I didn’t feel any vibrations through the bars, most likely due to the rubber-mounted handlebar arrangement.
The Honda CTX200 has sidestands on both sides, and large “feet” to avoid sinking into mud.
But perhaps the best feature of all is the high-spec 80/100/21 front and 100/100/18 rear Pirelli MT18 tyres, to keep traction to the highest possible level.
Performance and safety
I tested the Honda CTX on rugged ground that I’d never go on an ATV.
A two-wheel farm bike is inherently safer than an ATV because you can ride around the side of a hill, change your track, then ride diagonally back up to your original track without the worry you’d have with an ATV.
Two-wheelers are also safer as the rider will already have a higher natural skill level, because you need to think about wheel position, traction levels and balance (among others) while riding them.
The Honda CTX Bushlander’s strong point is its handling. The frame geometry and the suspension package mean you can turn the bike very quickly, even when on a slope, at speed.
The large diameter 21” front wheel with a leading axle, coupled with the very soft non-adjustable front suspension let the 1363mm wheelbase Honda Hamilton CTX200 float over all the bumps while retaining good straight line stability.
Honda’s Pro-Link linkaged rear shock is also non-adjustable, however it remains perfect for a farm bike just as it is. These allowed me to keep good control over the machine in almost all situations.
The air-cooled 197cc Bushlander engine has a single overhead cam arrangement fed by a small Keihin carburettor. The power delivery is very smooth and controllable, and most of its 14.5 horsepower is made down low and in the mid-range. When I revved the engine to get across paddocks faster, the bike ran out of puff as the motor didn’t really want to rev all that much. No problem, all good farm bikes should be built that way.
But the Honda had enough power to get up some fairly steep places, although, I’d still prefer to see a bit more power from the motor. One trade-off might be earlier refills into its 8.5-litre fuel tank.
A few times I stalled the bike on a steep, rutted hill, but all I had to do was hold the brakes on and press the electric starter button, and away I’d go. There is also a manual kick starter available as a back-up.
My test bike was brand-new so the gears still needed bedding in, however the ratios were right for the job and changing gear was still pretty easy.
Importantly, first gear in the five-speed transmission was low enough to be able to follow your herd along the race without bother. I was more concerned about how first gear would get the 127kg bike up some of the rutted hills than how it changed gear, knowing they will bed in, but in practice I never had a single problem other than occasional traction loss, which you’d get from anything riding over some of the tricky places I poked the CTX200 into.
IThe twin piston front calliper clamps on a 240mm disc brake while the rear is a basic drum arrangement. Although the rear brake is now somewhat outdated because it won’t dry out as fast as a disc after a river crossing, both offered perfect feel through the levers and had stopping power to burn.
The Honda CTX200 Bushlander is worthy of its place on your farm – it’s safe and will take you places your ATV never could. But will it replace the ATV?
See the Honda CTX200 Bushlander for sale on Motorcycle Trader.
Engine configuration Four-stroke, air-cooled Displacement (cc) 200 Transmission Five-speed Front suspension 37mm forks Rear suspension Pro-Link monoshock Length (mm) 2196 Height (mm) 1152 Seat height (mm) 823 Wheelbase (mm) 1363 Tank capacity (L) 8.5 Claimed dry weight (kg) 127