ATV TEST: 2017 Honda TRX250X

A manual transmission and manual clutch give sport-quad riders A manual transmission and manual clutch give sport-quad riders control over their machines’ performance that fully automatic transmissions can’t, but controlling a manual clutch can be a struggle A transmissions can’t, but controlling a manual clutch can be a struggle A for some learning riders. The 250X’s unique SportClutch works manually or as an automatic clutch to give riders performance and ease of use.

HOW DOES COST COMPARE?
The 250X is $4699 in white and the red/white Special Edition is $4899. Can-Am’s DS 250 is $4199. Kymco’s Mongoose 270 is $3899.
WHAT’S NEW? Just a minor finishing touch. For 2017, the 250X with white bodywork gets new silver wheels. The 2016’s were black.

The rugged, 229cc, air-cooled engine has an oil cooler to keep temperatures stable during hard riding.
The rugged, 229cc, air-cooled engine has an oil cooler to keep temperatures stable during hard riding.

WHAT POWERS IT?
An air-cooled, 229cc, pushrod engine with two valves. It’s fed by a 22mm carburetor. Air injection, which adds air to the exhaust port to help burn exhaust gases, was added on the 2016 model to reduce emissions. The 250X’s shaft drive means there’s no drive chain to lube or adjust. Longitudinal engine mounting provides direct, efficient power transfer to the shaft.

WHAT’S IT LIKE TO RIDE WITH THE 250X’S SPORTCLUTCH FIVE-SPEED TRANSMISSION?
The 250X has five speeds, neutral and reverse. You have to shift gears, but the SportClutch works as an automatic clutch to prevent stalling when pulling out or stopping. Riders can pop the clutch for fast starts or slip the clutch whenever they like. You don’t have to get a 2017 250X to get this cool feature; it was introduced in 2006.

The light, compact 250X is easy to handle, and its narrow 41.8-inch width helps on tight trails.
The light, compact 250X is easy to handle, and its narrow 41.8-inch width helps on tight trails.

IS IT FAST?
For a 250, it’s quick. The manual transmission helps the Honda get its power to the ground instantly, so it accelerates well from a standing start or any time you hit the throttle.

HOW IS THE POWER ON THE TRAIL?
Snappy. The Honda has crisp, strong low and midrange power, and the 250X’s manual transmission gives faster throttle response than machines with fully automatic transmissions. There’s enough power on tap for tough trails, and you can get the front end in the air to clear obstacles or just for fun. The 250 pulls well at the revs where most riding is done, but there’s not much top-end power. Honda doesn’t list any tuning changes for the 2016 and 2017 models with air injection, but we found our test unit warmed up more quickly and had a throatier exhaust tone than earlier models.

The double-A-arm front suspension works well, but the shocks aren’t adjustable. The 250X’s excellent hydraulic front disc brakes are straight from the faster, heavier 400X.
The double-A-arm front suspension works well, but the shocks aren’t adjustable. The 250X’s excellent hydraulic front disc brakes are straight from the faster, heavier 400X.

WHAT KIND OF SUSPENSION DOES IT HAVE?
A more basic version of what bigger sport quads have. The 250X has double A-arms up front and a single shock swingarm rear suspension with a solid axle. The shocks are the biggest difference from larger sport quads. The 250Xs are non-adjustable.

Shaft drive means there’s no drive chain to lube or adjust. Longitudinal engine mounting provides direct, efficient power transfer to the shaft.
Shaft drive means there’s no drive chain to lube or adjust. Longitudinal engine mounting provides direct, efficient power transfer to the shaft.

HOW DOES THE SUSPENSION WORK?
It’s right on target for this type of machine. It rides smoothly at relaxed trail-riding speeds, and you can ride aggressively with good control and no excessive bottoming. There isn’t a ton of travel on hand—about 6 inches at both ends—so big jumps will bottom it, but the suspension has a refined, highquality feel.

Thanks to great throttle response and the extra control the manual transmission and SportClutch provide, the Honda is willing to wheelie over obstacles just for fun.
Thanks to great throttle response and the extra control the manual transmission and SportClutch provide, the Honda is willing to wheelie over obstacles just for fun.

HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Easily and predictably. At 384 pounds full of fuel, the 250X is a feather compared to most quads, and it feels like it. It’s compact, so it’s easy to handle for smaller riders, but the ergonomics are roomy enough for 6-footers. With a width of 41.8 inches, the agile Honda works extremely well on tight trails, and you feel like you’re on a dirt interstate on wide ones. The downside of the narrow width is a more tippy feel in hard corners than you get with wider machines, but the Honda is stable and well-planted for its size. Crisp power and predictable handling make the 250X fun to slide. Thanks to great throttle response and the extra control the manual transmission and SportClutch provide, skilled riders will find the Honda willing to wheelie over obstacles or just for fun.

HOW IS IT FOR HILLS?
The better you are, the better it is. Since the Honda has a manual transmission, you have to pick the right gear to climb some hills and use some gear-shifting skill on big, difficult hills, but that’s part of the fun. The 250X’s healthy low-end and midrange power help it climb, and the option to slip the clutch makes it easy to keep the engine pulling hard. Natural engine braking and excellent front and rear brakes with separate controls make getting down hills safe and secure. The front brakes are from the faster, heavier 400X. The rear is a drum, but its power and feel are impressive.

The 250X is compact, so it’s easy to handle for smaller riders, but the ergonomics are roomy enough for 6-footers.
The 250X is compact, so it’s easy to handle for smaller riders, but the ergonomics are roomy enough for 6-footers.

HOW ARE THE DETAILS?
Most are great. Honda quality makes the 250X extremely reliable and nearly indestructible. With reasonable care, it can be passed down from kid to kid and generation to generation. The 250X starts easily, but it doesn’t start in gear like most quads, so you have to shift back to neutral every time you fire it up. The shaft drive provides more ground clearance than chain drive and no chain-maintenance chores. The seat is comfortable and well shaped.

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WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
The 250X gives the fun and control of a manual-transmission, manual clutch sport quad without the normal distractions of riding with a manual clutch. It’s not just a small sport quad with a clever transmission; it’s an excellent machine overall.

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SPECS
HONDA 250X
ENGINE/TRANSMISSION
Engine type ………..Air-cooled, OHV, 2-valve 4-stroke
Displacement ………………………………………. 229cc
Bore x stroke ……………………… 68.5mm x 62.2mm
Compression ratio …………………………………..9.2:1
Lubrication system ……………………………Wet sump
Carburetion ………………………………….22mm Keihin
Additional cooling ………………………………. Oil cooler
Starting/back-up …………………………… Electric/none
Starting procedure ………………………..In neutral only
Choke location …………………………………Center pod
Idle adjustment ……………..Screw on left side of carb
Air filter …………………………….Washable oiled foam
Access . Unlatch seat, unlatch 4 thumb clips, remove
lid and filter (no tools)
Transmission …..Manual shift, 5-speed w/ automatic/
……………………………….. manual clutch and reverse
Reverse procedure.. In neutral, move fender-mounted
………………… selector to “R”, press shift lever down
Drive system ………………………………………….2WD
Final drive …………………………………………….. Shaft
DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS
Fuel capacity ……………………………………… 2.5 gal.
Wheelbase …………………………………………….44.3”
Overall length/width/height ……….. 68.5”/41.8”/42.4”
Seat height ……………………………………………31.4”
Ground clearance ………………………………………5.9”
Wet weight ………………………………………… 384 lb.
ROLLING CHASSIS
Frame …………………………..Round mild-steel tubing
Suspension/wheel travel:
Front ……… Double A-arms w/ non-ad. shocks, 5.9”
Rear ……………….Swingarm w/ non-adj. shock, 5.7”
Brakes/actuation:
Front …………………Hydraulic discs/right hand lever
Rear …………………. Drum left hand lever, right foot
Parking brake ……………………..Rear brake lever lock
Tires:
Front …………………………………………….. 22×7-10
Rear ……………………………………………… 20×10-9
ELECTRICAL
DC outlet ……………………………………………… None
Lighting ………………………….. Single 30W headlight
Rear ……………………………………Taillight/brake light
DETAILS
Gears ………………….. Neutral and reverse indicators
Colors ……………………………………………Red, black
Suggested retail price ………………….$4699 (white),
……………………… $4899 (red/white Special Edition)
Contact ………………………. Honda, (310) 532-9811

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