For decades, Honda has set the standard for sport-oriented dirt bikes with its CR and CRF lineups, and more recently the Pioneer family has introduced unmatched capability to the multipurpose side-by-side category. Now, Honda’s all-new, highly anticipated Talon marries the two worlds, bringing a new level of off-road excitement, precision and quality to Sport side-by-side driving. Drawing on countless hours of performance development in both two- and four-wheel design and racing, as well as automotive and motorcycle manufacturing know how and safety expertise, the Talon pushes the envelope of what is possible in a production Sport side-by-side.
Aware that a single offering would be a compromise for some conditions and driving styles, Honda has developed two versions of the Talon, each of which works across a broad array of conditions but specializes in a different area of the off-road spectrum. The two vehicles share 85% of their parts, including the entire 999cc parallel-twin engine and one-piece frame, but have wheelbases and suspension configurations that are designed to specialize in different applications.
At 64.0 inches wide, the Talon 1000X is maneuverable and precise, whereas the 68.4 inch-wide Talon 1000R is appropriate for when bump absorption and stability are the priority. Both models function at a high level in a wide variety of terrain types, bringing a new level of control, style and refinement to a Sport side-by-side market that is hungry for innovation, reliability and an improved driving experience.
Designed in Honda R&D America’s Torrance, California, office, the Talon’s body style represents the purest blending of function and form, an advanced, performance-based look that exudes capability. Inspired by the CRF Performance line of dirt bikes, the vehicle is dominated by a high bodyline and a body side that has a continuous flow from front to rear.
The design lends the look of a serious machine, but it also serves the practical purpose of providing lateral support to the driver and passenger, for a feeling of safety and security inside the vehicle. A pronounced, strong stance was created by placing the four wheels at the extreme corners of the vehicle, and aggressive fenders and wheel wells appear eager for speed while effectively keeping mud and debris off the vehicle and its occupants.
The Talon’s silhouette is low, and minimization of bulk was a focus during development. (Approximately 25% of the vehicle’s mass was shed during the design evolution.) Knowing the rigors through which customers would put the Talon, designers stressed efficient engine cooling, with motorcycle-inspired shrouds and four side vents, all of which are unique to the side-by-side world.
The roof, which comes standard on the Talon, incorporates a front lip to keep moisture from reaching the interior (even when braking in rainy conditions), and a horizontal pass-through slit both creates a functional spoiler (providing downforce at higher speeds) and allows appropriate aerodynamics when the vehicle is towed on a trailer, whether it’s facing forward or backward.