By Marissa Baecker
Some of the best scenery that British Columbia has to offer cannot be seen from the window of the car. Getting you to the top of that peak for as close a look at the heavens as you will get while still living can be achieved in an assortment of ways and various levels of physical assertion (and exhaustion). Not everyone is in top physical shape to tackle these personal triumphs nor can everyone ride a horse, a bicycle or a dirt bike, so sometimes the successes are not shared with all you may want to share it with.
Enter the ATV. Yes those four-wheeled rugged machines that will take you just about anywhere you want to go into the wild and the best part is – the whole family can do it and share the experience.
New to quadding? No problem. The 2010 Honda TRX 420 Canadian Trail Edition is designed for the newbie and has been full-featured for ease of operation and comfort. This little machine packs a punch of power and torque for only a 420 cc, liquid cooled four-stroke engine. Honda took an entry level model 420 and full featured it to be independent suspension, twin clutch automatic transmission, fuel injected, power steering, fuel efficiency, etc.
The Honda TRX 420 was put to the test recently when I set off into the wild blue yonder. Sharing the experience is great and so with children in tow, a picnic lunch, a lake destination and plenty of sunshine off the asphalt and onto the gravel.
Teeth began to fill with the grit of fine dental polish as the dust rose and I was not able to wipe the smile off my face from beneath my helmet. Over rocks, up hills, through the bush and having a blast.
One of the best features of the 420 is the way point GPS system. You can ride to wherever your curiosity takes you and mark your path along the way.
“It is like putting a flag in the ground,” said Brad Regnier of Kelowna Honda Powerhouse. “Every time you want to put a flag in the ground, you push a button and the GPS will make a note of the position. You can go back to anywhere you have been and the GPS will direct you back.”
Don’t expect to hear your British Butler or Jane Jetson yelling out directions. The way point system is not a moving map system. The way point system will provide direction and distance using a compass and will direct you back to where you marked your trail. It has the ability to remember 100 way points for up to ten years.
There is nothing like a hot lunch in the woods on a spectacular day. Martha Stewart may think she is the goddess of the kitchen but by inserting foil wrapped hot dogs into the engine of an ATV, they will be fully cooked 30 minutes later.
The TRX 420 has rugged performance thanks to its final drive. A two-wheel to four-wheel drive stick shift sits in ease of reach of the handlebars and can be changed on the fly with no speed restrictions.
To lock up all the wheels Honda uses a torque-sensing differential to aid in evenly distributing power. This is an automatic system that does not require rider input . On the majority of trails I rode (slick, muddy, and rocky) rarely was I out of two-wheel drive.
“As far as transmission goes, it is a dual clutch transmission,” continued Regnier. “That means that there is a clutch on each drive shaft and all the shifting is done for you . Honda is the only manufacturer that makes an automatic ATV that isn’t a belt drive. You can drive in automatic or with the flick of a switch you can shift up and down through a five-speed transmission by just using your thumb.”
I loved how balanced it was, and that power steering is just soooo easy on the arms.
Normally, on a non-power steering unit having the steering axle engaged puts a certain amount of extra strain on the rider during steering. The Honda power steering unit seems to counteract that extra effort. This certainly aids in reducing rider strain, especially when maneuvering at slow speeds (where the effect of four-wheel drive strain is felt the most.)
The TRX 420 is one of many entry level ATV’s out there. MSRP is approximately $8499. Drop in to your local ATV dealer and check it out.