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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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 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.
2021 HONDA TALON TURBO
Engine type Liquid-cooled, parallel-twin,
Bore & stroke 92mm x 75.1mm
Lubrication system Wet sump
Additional cooling Auto fan
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
Fuel capacity 7.3 gal.
Overall length/width/height 123.9”/68.4”/75.6”
Ground clearance 13”
Claimed wet weight 1570 lb.
Bed weight limit 600 lb.
Towing limit N/A
Frame Steel tube
Front Dual A-arm Fox shocks/17.7”
Rear Trailing arm Fox shocks/20.1”
Front Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Rear Hydraulic discs/left-side pedal
Parking Park position on range selector
Front 28×9-15 Maxxis Big Horn
Rear 28×11-15 Maxxis Big Horn
DC outlet Console
Front LED hi/lo headlights
Rear LED brake/taillights
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
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