Honda finally unveiled the much rumored (and leaked) Honda Talon 1000R and 1000X in a short livestream on November 27th. Despite the lackluster presentation, the Talon looks to be a solid competitor to other naturally aspirated 1000cc models.
999cc Parallel-Twin Engine
Both the 1000X and the 1000R are powered by the same 999cc liquid-cooled, parallel-twin, Unicam® engine. It's similar to the Pioneer 1000's engine but tuned for sport rather than multipurpose use. Honda hasn't provided a horsepower spec, but that engine is known to put out 104 HP. That number isn't far off from the Talon's biggest competitor—the Polaris RZR 1000, and they might even be able to eke out a few more horses by adjusting timing as well.
They claim that the Talon has better weight distribution and balance than other sport UTVs because they're using the compact parallel-twin engine design. That's something that we'll only get a sense of when we get some time behind the wheel and get the thing into some hair-raising situations.
The difference between the 1000R and the 1000X comes from the suspension. Basically, the 1000R is the 68.4" wide race version, and the 1000X is the 64" trail version. The "R" has 17.7 inches and 20.1 inches of front and rear travel respectively, and the "X" has 14.6 inches and 15.1 inches of front and rear travel respectively. Both have around 13 inches of ground clearance. That's not too shabby.
The 1000R has 3 radius arms and 1 trailing arm connecting each rear hub. The idea is to provide a more stable hub. Even with all that travel, the rear wheel's toe is said to vary only 0.3 degrees from full drop to full compression. They finish the suspension on both machines with piggyback style, dual-rate Fox Podium 2.0 Shocks. It sounds like both machines should have a smooth ride for their respective widths.
Both machines use a six-speed automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission with Normal and Sport mode settings along with full manual control using paddle shifters if you so choose. They can be driven in 2WD and I-4WD. The I-4WD system is essentially four-wheel-drive with computer controlled differential locking. When the diff slips, the system senses which wheel has more grip and transfers torque to that wheel. It takes a little bit of control out of the driver's hands but should lead to better vehicle control and constant traction that you don't have to think about. Sounds pretty good to me.
Body and Bed
Both machines absolutely look the part of a sport UTV and are identical in appearance with sporty angles and high body lines. It's obviously a machine that's designed to shred.
One small but surprising feature is the depth of its cargo bed. It's open to the rear but looks to be 18-24" deep on 3 sides. It'll be easy to close off with a net attached to the roll cage and crammed full of cargo. It even has a few tie-downs for lashing down your cargo.
Lastly let's talk about the price, or lack thereof. Honda hasn't announced a price yet, but based on other competitors in this class, it's sure to come in under $20,000. If I were to speculate, I would stick the price right at $18,999. That would be $1000 more than its RZR counterpart and comparable with the YXZ. The bump in price makes it slightly more premium in the eyes of consumers without being out of line for a non-turbo 1000cc machine. We will see what Honda thinks the Talon is worth in the coming months.
You can be sure that we at SuperATV will be among the first to get our hands on one. We'll be taking measurements and building prototypes as soon as we can so you early adopters have some aftermarket options.
It's exciting any time a new sport UTV enters the market. The Wildcat XX made waves earlier this year and we're hoping the Talon does the same. The better these new UTVs perform, the more everybody needs to up their game to compete. And when everybody ups their game, we get better, more exciting UTVs to ride every year.