Grunt for the mud

What does a bike that weighs 165kg and has a 450cc four-stroke liquid-cooled engine creating 40n/m of torque at 6500rpm have in common with my large, 120kg plus frame?

The answer is a lot of fun… and a lot of mud to clean up.

Honda’s TRX 450 is a great riding, easy-to-handle, sports ATV. With so much rain about, it was easy to find a paddock and stock banks to race around.

The bike was very manoeuvrable and exceptionally responsive when flung hard into corners or climbing the steep, muddy banks.

The wide foot pegs afford plenty of stability and grip when flinging the bike around, and the long narrow seat was comfortable and well-positioned to offer the rider a good centre of gravity (very important when throwing the bike into corners and jumps). This bike offers total handling control at all times.

The TRX 450 is built from a lightweight round tube steel frame, offering strength yet making the bike light as well.

The engine is very compact and easily accessible for cleaning up mud at the end of the day. The engine has been lightened by incorporating a magnesium cylinder head to add to the bikes handling.

The high out-put of torque is managed by eight clutch plates and a five-speed gear box, which has been set with new ratios to handle the ATV applications.

At 7500 revs the motor is producing 30kw of power, which was more than ample to jet me out of the slippery ruts and get me over and around the steep banks and dirt tracks.

The bike has an electric start and is easily started from both cold and hot. The bike we tested had not been run for a couple of weeks and cranked over first time.

The alloy-made shift and brake pedals are robust and the brakes are very responsive – the front being disc with duel piston calipers, and the rear a single piston and caliper.

Sliding down the stock banks and around the muddy tracks, the brakes gave plenty of control and stopping power when applied – so much so I nearly threw myself over the handle bars trying to be a little too tricky.

The large 11-litre fuel tank more than lasted us the day, we were well and truly buggered before we ran out of juice.

The 30 watt adjustable lamp at the front also allows for good visibility in twilight use. This sports bike also has the option of an HRK race kit for those who wish to get a bit more competitive with the neighbours.

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