HONDA TALON TURBO

HONDA TALON TURBO

For 2021, Honda released a two-seat “R” version of the Talon with Live Valve electronically adjustable suspension. Until now, Live Valve was only available on the narrow four-seater. Honda also made available the Jackson Racing turbo kit for any Talon. We recently had the opportunity to jump into the new Talon 1000R Live Valve-equipped turbo and take it for a spin. According to Jackson Racing, “The system delivers an impressive 60-plus-percent increase in horsepower over stock. The Garrett turbocharger unit is designed with robust OEM technologies and has been engineered to handle the abuse of a performance SxS.”

HONDA TALON TURBO
The Live Valve suspension keeps the Honda Talon turbo cornering flat in most situations. Its low-profile tires help in this area also.
HONDA TALON TURBO
The Honda Talon is the only sport UTV that comes stock with window nets. It’s a great safety feature. The two-seat Live Valve version is only available in this black/blue color, and the turbo can be added to any model.

The unit takes up very little room, and you can barely tell the system is installed at a glance. The only major outside change on the Honda Talon turbo is the intercooler positioned in the area at the front of the cargo bed where the OEM air cleaner used to reside. It’s a $5800 add-on and can be installed by the dealer. Labor costs are extra. “The result is an ECU re-flash that takes care of all tuning parameters via an included Jackson Racing ECU tuning tool. For the engine, precise tuning is done for proper boosted performance and reliability using minimum 91-octane fuel. With the DCT, shift schedules have been optimized to match turbo feel and performance, giving the Jackson Racing turbocharged Talon a real advantage on trails and the racecourse,” Jackson Racing tells us.

HONDA TALON TURBO
The Garrett turbo is compact and hides under the rear cargo bed. You can’t even see it if you are standing next to the machine. It’s a sleeper and will help you hustle a couple of races.

HOW’S THE POWER?

With a heavy foot, it’s almost impossible to stay off the rev limiter when driving in manual mode. The engine revs so fast, you have to think and shift quickly to keep up. So, for most of our drag-race tests, we kept the transmission in automatic mode. We lined up next to a Yamaha YXZ1000R with a GYTR turbo for comparison. Off the line, the Honda smokes the Yamaha. It jumps out to an easy three-car-length lead and holds it until about 70 mph. At that time, the YXZ moves ahead and keeps going. Honda limited our test unit to 74 mph, but we are sure that limit can be removed if needed. On the trails, the Talon was just as exciting and fast. Accelerating out of corners, there was zero hesitation. The transmission is busy but did a great job keeping up. In sport mode, it shifted as we expected up and down. We did drive in manual some of the time, but more often than not, we let the Honda DCT transmission do its magic. When we get more time with the car, we will experiment with a slightly larger tire and take it into the sand dunes where we feel it will shine even more.

HONDA TALON TURBO
Under the access panel in the rear cargo area where the air cleaner used to sit, you can now find the intercooler. The entire install is very clean and factory-looking.

HOW DOES LIVE VALVE WORK?

According to Honda, “Every 5 milliseconds, each shock gets a signal to make an adjustment. With the Honda/Bosch/Fox Live Valve combination, the changes are virtually instantaneous. Your Talon’s suspension can react fast to changing terrain and driver inputs to maximize handling and ride comfort.

For $5799 you can buy a turbo for any model Talon two- or four-seater. Installation is extra. The system looks easy to install; however, the dealer would have to do the programming of the ECU for you.

Furthermore, the Live Valve unit is sharing the same engine, frame and body as the entire two-seater Talon platform. The Talon 1000R Fox Live Valve uses the combination of high-tech Fox Live Valve technology and Honda’s 4+ Link rear-suspension configuration to excel in situations where bump absorption and high-speed tracking are priority while retaining comfort and versatility. A 68.4-inch width combines with Fox Podium 2.5 shocks, offering 17.7 and 20.1 inches of travel front and rear, respectively, helping the vehicle shine in areas of the country where vast, open terrain is the norm. Speed, power and style are what the Talon 1000R Fox Live Valve is all about.”

Along with Live Valve electronically adjustable suspension, this setup also comes with Launch mode, which allows you to do full-throttle starts. The shock-adjuster button is on the other side of the steering wheel. Unlike other e-systems, this one only has two settings—Normal and Sport.
Live Valve suspension finally made it to the Talon 1000R. Travel up front is still 17.7 inches and the rear has 20.1 inches.

One of our chief complaints about the Talon initially was that the ride quality was a bit harsh. Honda set up the suspension so that the Talon had a go-kart feel and very little body roll. The 28-inch tires on 15-inch wheels exaggerated that feeling. With Live Valve, the computer knows when you are cruising or going fast, so it will adjust the suspension for your style accordingly. This adds to the comfort, but it’s not night-and-day different. Unlike the Polaris/Fox e-shock setup (with three), this system only has two positions a driver can control—Normal and Sport. Those settings were noticeable. In fact, we were trying to clear a small double jump, and we noticed the firm setting did a great job soaking up the landings well and controlling rebound and kick in the back. Live Valve is just as important of an upgrade as the turbo. It truly makes the Talon a better machine; harsh rides are eliminated.

For this test we brought out a GYTR turbo-equipped Yamaha YXZ1000R SS for a couple of drag races. The Honda was consistently quicker off the line, most likely due to its quick-shifting, six-speed transmission. However, the Yamaha made the pass right at the big end of the 1000-foot run.

CONCLUSIONS

For the guy who has to have a turbo and doesn’t want to deal with belts, there are only two choices—this and the YXZ. We love the fact that Honda has so many two- and four-seat versions of the Talon, so there’s probably a machine to fit your needs. The Talon still has the smallest cockpit of any full size UTV, but even tall guys can squeeze into it. While it doesn’t approach 190 horsepower like the Polaris or Can-Am, we feel the dual-clutch, six-speed transmission does a better job getting the power to the ground than any CVT system. Besides, banging through the gears on this Honda sounds so much better than the single tone of a belt drive. Adding Live Valve to the two-seat Talon 1000R provides the comfort we have been asking for, and the turbo is a big plus in the power department. For the two-seat customer, we highly recommend this car. Now, if Honda can add this type of power and wider suspension to the four-seater, we will finally be completely satisfied.

SPECS:

2021 HONDA TALON  TURBO

ENGINE/TRANSMISSION

Engine type Liquid-cooled, parallel-twin,

4-stroke

Displacement 999cc

Bore & stroke 92mm x 75.1mm

Lubrication system Wet sump

Additional cooling Auto fan

Induction EFI

Starting/back-up Electric/none

Starting procedure Turn ignition switch w/ brake on

Type Paper pleat

Access In cargo area tools required

Transmission Six-speed dual clutch w/ reverse

Reverse procedure Move range selector to “R”

Drive system Selectable 2WD/4WD w/ I 4WD

Final drives Shafts

DIMENSIONS/CAPACITIES/WEIGHTS

Fuel capacity 7.3 gal.

Wheelbase 92.7”

Overall length/width/height 123.9”/68.4”/75.6”

Ground clearance 13”

Claimed wet weight 1570 lb.

Bed weight limit 600 lb.

Hitch None

Towing limit N/A

ROLLING CHASSIS

Frame Steel tube

Suspension/wheel travel:

  Front Dual A-arm  Fox shocks/17.7”

  Rear Trailing arm Fox shocks/20.1”

Brakes/actuation:

  Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

  Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal

Parking Park position on range selector

Tires:

  Front 28×9-15 Maxxis Big Horn

  Rear 28×11-15 Maxxis Big Horn

ELECTRICAL

DC outlet Console

Lighting:

  Front LED hi/lo headlights

  Rear LED brake/taillights

DETAILS

Instrumentation Multi-function digital meter

with speedometer, fuel gauge, clock, hour meter,

odometer, dual trip meter and parking-brake

indicator, R/N/P/4WD, water temp and

low-oil-pressure indicators

Colors Metallic Gray/blue

Minimum recommended operator age 16

Suggested retail price $23,099 (turbo + $5799)

See UTV Action’s full test on the Talon 1000X-4 here: 2021 HONDA TALON 1000X-4 TEST | UTV Action Magazine

Contact www.powersportshonda.com

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