2021 HONDA TALON 1000X-4 TEST
If you are in the market for a four-seat sport UTV from a Japanese manufacturer, your choices are limited to the Honda Talon 1000X-4 or Honda Talon 1000X-4 Fox Live Valve. Yamaha and Kawasaki have yet to release a family four-seater for high-speed fun. In fact, Honda still doesn’t have the long-travel R-version four-seater the people in the Southwest have wished for. Our 2021 Honda Talon 1000X-4 test machine is good for the smoother high-speed trails or tight-woods riding of say the Pacific Northwest or east of the Mississippi. Since a four-seat version of the 68-inch-wide Talon R does not exist yet, we are going to build our very own Talon R4 out of this machine as soon as we tell you how it works in stock trim.
HOW DOES THE COST COMPARE?
Honda’s Live Valve Talon has a list price of $23,999, and our 2021 Honda Talon 1000X-4 test unit has a $21,999 price tag. Polaris has two cars that could be contenders against this machine—the RZR XP 4 1000 at $21,499 and the General XP 4 1000, which is $3500 more. Can-Am has two as well that you may want to consider—the brand-new Commander MAX XT-P fits in this category at $21,199, and so does the 64-inch Maverick X3 Max ds Turbo at $21,999, which comes with a turbo for that price.
HOW FAST IS THE TALON X-4?
Smash the throttle and you can get the Talon up to 75 miles per hour, which is pretty quick with your whole family on board. The six-speed transmission really masks any kind of extra weight you are carrying. It feels just as quick full of passengers as it does with just a driver. The brakes do a great job slowing that machine down from any speed. This is one of very few cars that slows down just as well weighted down with passengers as it does empty. In most four-seaters, you feel the extra passenger weight a lot more. Turbo systems are available for the Talon, but we have yet to test any, so we can’t vouch for that upgrade.
DOES IT HAVE A BELT?
No, this is the only four seat sport UTV on the market from a major manufacturer without a belt. The 1000cc, single-cam, parallel-twin engine is mated directly to a six-speed, dual-clutch transmission. The beauty of this setup is that if you want the car to shift automatically, it does that for you. If you want more control, you can do that, too, via a set of paddles connected to the steering column. Either way, you still get the sensation of banging through the gears under hard acceleration and have absolutely no worry of a belt breaking. Furthermore, if you are into rock crawling, the Talon has a low-range sub-transmission that gives you all six gears—just with a lower starting ratio. It’s not perfect for extreme rock crawling, though, especially if you have big tires. As for obstacles at most public riding areas, however, this Talon can climb anything. The racers tackling King of the Hammers are having success experimenting with additional gear-reduction systems.
HOW ARE THE SHOCKS?
Our 2021 Honda Talon 1000X-4 test machine uses simple-to-adjust Fox QS3 shocks. They provide 14.6 inches of travel up front connected to a dual-A-arm setup. Out back, this Talon uses a three-link trailing-arm system that travels a full 15 inches. The shocks lack the adjustment that the Talon R has, but they hold up well with very little fade for casual, non-abusive trail riding. If you are hard on the throttle and like to “send it,” as the kids say, upgrade to the Live Valve version and you and your passengers will be happier. The Live Valve X-4 also rides smoother at low and high speeds.
HOW DOES IT HANDLE?
Thanks to a 116-inch wheelbase, this car handles the bumps very well. It can skip over the chop, dance over small whoops, and it drives straight and controllable. For most customers, the suspension works fine. One thing that can make the ride even better is getting rid of the 28-inch tires and upgrading to a 30-inch tire; however, you don’t want to get too heavy of a tire, as it will hurt acceleration and top speed slightly. If you are comparing this car to something like a RZR Turbo S or long-travel Can-Am X3, keep in mind that several companies are making long-travel kits for the Talon X that will help you out.
WHAT KIND OF 4WD SYSTEM DOES IT USE?
Honda calls it I-4WD. It’s a unique system that sort of uses an anti-lock brake system in reverse to apply a little bit of brake pressure to a front tire that may have less traction than the other. This in turn forces power to both corners. It works well and makes for a light steering wheel, no matter what speeds you are running in four-wheel drive. This system, coupled with the low gear from the sub-transmission, makes the car work excellently and saves you from worrying about clutch failure. This dual-clutch transmission setup has been used in Honda ATVs, motorcycles and cars for decades.
IS IT SAFE?
Your safety is primarily dependent on the driver and other drivers around you, but Honda does provide an additional safety feature with standard window nets that no other UTV like this has. All occupants get good passenger grab handles as well. So, add a couple of high-vision lighted whips and you couldn’t be much safer no matter where you ride.
WHAT IS OUR FINAL ANSWER?
We love the Talon 4. It’s a great family trail machine that is still compact enough for some tight, wooded trails and can stretch its legs when needed. The passengers we took along on our photo shoot had zero complaints. In fact, they commented that the ride was way more comfortable and the suspension more forgiving than expected. If you are looking for a four-seat car with a turbo for the sand dunes, this is not it; however, the six-speed transmission helps utilize all 104 horsepower, so the car works great even at high elevation. If you are looking for a wide, long-travel car to blitz the deep whoops in Baja, SoCal or Arizona, this is not that car, either; however, with help from companies like HCR Racing, it can be that car. Until then, find a smoother trail or back off a bit in the really rough stuff, and you will be very happy with the 2021 Honda Talon 1000X-4.
HONDA TALON 1000X-4
Engine type Liquid-cooled, Uni Cam, parallel twin,
Bore x stroke 92mm x 75.1mm
Compression ratio 10:1
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
Induction 46mm EFI (x2)
Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ brake on
Type Paper pleats
Access Behind panel in bed
Transmission Dual range 6-speed w/ rev. auto or paddle
Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”
Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ auto diff-lock
Final drives Shafts
Fuel capacity 7.7 gal.
Overall length/width/height 152.6”/64”/78.5”
Ground clearance 12.8”
Claimed wet weight 1735 lb.
Turning radius 21.3 feet
Bed weight limit 299lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel round tube
Front Dual A-arm w/ prel./comp.-adj. shocks/14.6
Rear IRS 3-link trailing arms w/ prel./
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Park position on range selector
Front 28×9-15 Maxxis MU9H radial
Rear 28×11-15 Maxxis MU9H radial
DC outlet Console
Front 2 LED hi/lo headlights w/ accents
Rear Dual LED brake/taillights
Instrumentation Digital or analog speed/odo/trip/
Colors Metallic Grey/Pearl Red
Minimum recommended operator age 16
Suggested retail price $21,999
See the new Special Edition Honda Talons here: HONDA INTRODUCES SPECIAL EDITION TALON AND PIONEER 1000S | UTV Action Magazine