Chupacabra Off-Road was invited to the release of the new Honda Talon in Los Angeles. After checking it out, here is how we think this new machine stacks up against the RZR, X3, and Wildcat. #HondaTalon #talon #honda #chupacabraoffroad
So you’ve seen the Honda Talon, the real question is, is it gonna be a hit for the Southwest? What’s up everybody, it’s Tom from Chupacabra Off-Road. We’re at Honda’s unveiling of their new sports side-by-side, their introduction in sports side-by-side market. And we just got done learning about two new models they’re bringing to the world. The 1000R and what’s behind me, the 1000X. Excited to be here at this event, let’s take a walk around this event space. Let’s take a walk around these cars, most importantly, let’s do it. So, thanks Honda for having us. Those were just some sights and sounds. If you haven’t seen the stats on the vehicles yet, you’ve got two models the R and the X. Starting off with the R, the R model has 17.7-inches of travel on the front, 20-inches of travel in the rear, 104 horsepower. The R model has a four plus link rear suspension system, while the X model has a more traditional three link setup. The first thing when you look at the specifications, I really think Honda did well with, with the R model is the 92-inch wheelbase, and 68-and-a-half-inch width. Those are great numbers to start off with for a two-seat vehicle. For the type of terrain, we have down here in the southwest. The X model gets the 14.6-inches of front wheel travel. 15-inches of rear travel, a little bit shorter wheelbase by about five inches and both models feature the six-speed DCT transmission, which is something that we expected and of course Honda delivered on that. Now, this isn’t the exact same transmission that’s in the Pioneer. It actually shifts about 50% quicker, the engineers told us, so should be better for a high-performance situation. I drove the Pioneer, I felt like it was a little bit sluggish but, to be expected. It’s not really a high-performance vehicle. First and foremost, a lot of, a lot of comments, that of course this didn’t doesn’t have as much horsepower as an X3 or RZR Turbo. I’m not really surprised, I think it’s a great first effort. I personally didn’t expect them to come out with a game changer or something with a 150, 160 horsepower. I hoped it would come stock with a turbo, but you know they’ve pretty much exceeded my expectations. Come stock with 28-inch tires on 15-inch rims, I was really hoping it was gonna come stock with 30-inch just because when we’re gonna go upgrade to 32-inch tires of course, all of us run 32-inch tires. I was really hoping it comes stock with 30, so that way you could put them on with that, not too much of an issue with the gearing change. Oh, a couple of interesting facts, both the X and the R model have essentially the same chassis. It’s suspension components that make up for the differences in wheel travel and wheelbase, and the X model comes with a hill start assist feature, which I think that type of customer is really going to enjoy. After getting to sit inside the vehicle, take a look at it, touch it, feel it, couple things definitely jump out. I think quality wise; we expect a very high level from Honda. The doors and the seats are very high quality. Really nice to see that stock, that the seats are already cut out for harnesses. The doors close with a secure latch, nice fit and finish. Two thumbs up on those. The biggest thing I think that really differentiates this model is, the DCT. Now, we’ve got another option of a side-by-side which you can shift, and on paper the DCT is what everybody wants. You’ve got six speeds, you’ve got an automatic mode, a manual mode, a sport mode. So, if you’re not really into shifting, a lot of consumers maybe thought they would like it when the YXZ was announced. As it turns out, a lot of side-by-side guys really enjoy having an automatic. So, one question I really have is, will automatic mode perform as well as an automatic CVT set up like a CanAm or a Polaris? You know, I’m a dirt biker so the thought of having a shifting side-by-side, it sounds really appealing. It can be fun just to be able to come in hot to a turn, maybe bang down a couple gears, keep the revs up, accelerate hard. The shifting transmission is really gonna add a whole new experience, like the YXZ did. This is gonna be different, get the paddle shifters, it’s gonna feel…I’m assuming it’s gonna be pretty fun. You know, being able to control that power. Honda claims that even though it is 104 horsepower, it’s putting more power to the ground than the biggest competitor, aka the RZR 1000, because of the efficiency of the transmission. And being able to shift gears is just gonna make it that much more fun to be able to use that power as much as possible. So, being a dirt bike rider, you know that having a lot of power isn’t necessarily gonna make you faster. There’s guys on 125, they can blow by me on my 350, but they know how to ride them, know how to use the power they have. Keep the momentum and have an overall more fun experience, in a lot of regards. So, let’s get into my short list of pros, neutrals and cons. Love the 68-and-a half-inches wide, really surprised Honda did this. Love the fact that you’ve got another player with a wider than 64- inch option. Wider is better, we don’t have any restrictions with trail width out here, it’s more stable when you add that with a 92-and-a-half-inch wheelbase. A little bit longer than a two seat RZR, I think those are some really good numbers for the vehicle. It’s gonna be really stable once you start talking a little bit bigger tires, the vehicle should handle really well. Doors, awesome fit and finish, I don’t have to upgrade it. Maybe just get the little inserts to cover the bottom opening on the doors and call it a day. The DCT transmission on paper sounds great. I wasn’t completely impressed when I’ve ridden in it in the past in a Honda Pioneer 1000, but I’m gonna give them the benefit of the doubt. A 50% quicker shifts, you kind of got all three modes, something that’s definitely unique to a CVT. A lot of o-7 driving high-performance side-by-sides for a while use the same old thing, and this would be kind of a breath of fresh air so, I’m excited for that. A couple things I thought were neutral were, while the suspension as a whole was wide and a great wheelbase, they did just go with the Fox QS3 shocks which, I’ve just a couple clicks of adjustment. There are some crossover rings but, I was really hoping the shocks were going to be spec, similar to a CanAm with high and low speed compression, rebound adjustment. And I was really hoping for some 3.0s in the rear, these are only 2.5. So, while those shocks can be tuned to work quite well, I was just a little disappointed when you talk about the great numbers of the width and the wheelbase. One big con is, we get all the hype, we get a new vehicle, no price yet and it’s not even releasing until Spring so, in this market, in power sports, people get really excited. It’s a very passion-driven purchase. And people just don’t want to wait, I mean we’re used to this iPhone culture. They announce a new iPhone, we go buy it. In the past, CanAm and Polaris they come out with a new vehicle, it usually ships within you know one to three weeks. So, the fact that Honda is not gonna have much going on in terms of having these in stock at dealers in a while, it’s a big bummer. I think a lot of people gonna have some deposits. It may be kind of, just throw their hands up in the air and go with something else. Another con, the i-four-wheel drive system sounds good on paper. A lot of technology, but if it’s not a true locking differential, it’s not gonna cut the mustard when you’re in Moab, when you’re in hardcore rock crawling situation. So, now that CanAm’s got the smart lock, they’ve finally got over their issues in terms of having a nice legit four-wheel drive setup with the front diff. Polaris I think is definitely an industry standard, the on-demand four-wheel drive works stellar, so it needs to be on par with those two to be a great all-around vehicle. And for guys only in the southwest, but all around the country to buy this vehicle, you’ve got to have real four-wheel drive. Ultimately, if Honda wants to sell a lot of units, that four-wheel drive’s gonna have to work well, anywhere. The rear suspension, even though I like the numbers, I really don’t like the added complexity. Looking at it, it just doesn’t look as beefy and burly. Doesn’t look like a beefy race car, you know it’s obviously not a race car, but you know I like it more, they keep it simple in terms of just a big trailing arm, minimal radius rides and make it all beef. The sway bar looks a little flimsy to me, kind of was hoping for something a little more simplistic. On paper I think the, the better geometry sounds good, but whether or not that’s gonna lead to better handling, and that much better handling to potentially compromise reliability, I’m a little skeptical. And the last con which, after speaking to some engineers at the show, was they told us the shift points were really optimized for a 28 to 30-inch tire. We’re running at least 32-inch tires. It’s all about 32s in the southwest. Everyone that rides knows what I’m talking about, and if you can’t put 32s on this vehicle without some type of regear, which on this type of transmission is not gonna be cheap, if available at all, that could be a big letdown. Now, the DCT does have a high and low, and six speed, so you would assume throw on 32s, you’d still have a low enough gear for some real rock crawling, but really we’re not gonna know until the first customers get these things, throw tires on them and get them out in the field. As a whole, I think Honda did great. The real question is, what’s the price gonna be? I think at $18, $19,000, $19,999 even, this thing is gonna do well. If Honda goes $22,999, $23K, 100 for a horse, it’s gonna be really hard. I mean obviously, a lot of people are gonna buy it because it’s a Honda, because it’s a transmission, but after those first early adopters, it’s gonna be, it’s gonna be a big battle to see who’s gonna win on the showroom floor. So, that’s what I think, let me know what you guys think in the comments. What do you think you’re interested in, demoing it, potentially buying it, or there’s no way you’d consider it. Whether you want to wait a year, looks like on their website the first demo ride is rally on the rocks and Moab in May. Hopefully they will do something sooner just to kind of keep that hype like I mentioned. That hype’s a big deal in power sports, and you don’t want to lose it, and today’s world we’re all used to getting things fast. So, hopefully Honda can do some demo rides, or keeping the public eye as much as possible, maybe give it a couple of these demos to some aftermarket brands, let them accessorize them, ride them. Get some real ride reports, and hopefully get a chance to drive this thing soon and give you our honest feedback, once we get some wheel time. All right YouTube, that’s a wrap from Honda’s unveiling of the Talon 1000X in LA. Thanks, like always for tuning in, we appreciate your support. So, until next time, we’ll see you then.