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    2001 Honda 250EX

Model: 2002 TRX250EX
Suggested Retail Price: $3,899USD
Engine Type: 229cc air-cooled OHV longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Bore and Stroke: 68.5mm x 62.2mm
Carburetion: 22mm piston-valve
Ignition: CD with electronic advance
Starter: Electric
Clutch: Automatic
Transmission: Five-speed with reverse
Driveline: Direct rear driveshaft
Front Suspension: Independent double-wishbone; 5.9-inch travel
Rear Suspension: Swingarm with single shock; 5.7-inch travel
Front Brakes: Dual hydraulic 174mm disc
Rear Brake: Sealed drum
Front Tire: 22 x 7-10 knobby
Rear Tire: 22 x 10-9 knobby
Length: 68.3 inches
Width: 41.8 inches
Height: 42.2 inches
Wheelbase: 44.3 inches
Seat Height: 31.3 inches
Ground Clearance: 5.9 inches
Turning Radius: 9.2 feet
Dry Weight: 349.0 pounds
Fuel Capacity: 2.7 gallons, including 0.7-gallon reserve
Colors: Yellow

Well, Jo finally joined the "Dark Side" and got rid of her 4x4 in favour of the new Honda 250EX. While definitely not a full on performance or even sport atv, the 250EX does fit a niche. I remember thinking to myself - "Why the heck would Honda do a 250EX when the world is waiting for their 650 version, and there's a perfectly good 300EX already available??" Well, now I know.

The 250 is for people that don't want to be bothered with a clutch, but still want to have a "sportier" ATV then a utility machine. The baby Honda fits this market. My wife wanted something that would "keep up" and be "lighter" and would "jump". Now for all you xtreme riders out there, understand these quoted comments are comming from the lady I love, but she is "over thirty" and 6" of air, for her, is cause for video footage, so keep this in mind.

That said, the 250EX has a transverse mounted engine, good idea. A drive shaft for no maintenance, real good idea. An automatic footshifter, great idea. It is typical Honda with respect to fit and finish (perfect) and the ergonomics will suit a wide variety of shapes and sizes of riders. It starts with just a small hint of choke, which Honda thankfully moved to the same location as their 4x4's - on the dash, and it shifts into reverse in the same way that their 4x4's do too. That is; Press the little red button on the left brake lever, pull in the brake, and step down from neutral. I can just imagine how my wife would have felt if the baby Honda had a reverse shift like the 300EX.

Suprisingly, power is similar to the 300EX. Not so surprising, I suppose when you compare cc's. Unfortunately, the edge that makes the 300EX barely acceptable is lost on the 250EX either because of slightly less displacement, or because it's automatic. My wife thinks it's just fine and that it has tonnes of power. (No, she doesn't ride my Raptor). Just like I wouldn't want to ride a 300EX in the dunes, the 250 would stay on the trailer as well, nevertheless, Jo rides out there with us, and actually gets around pretty damn good. Better then her 4x4. But come the wheelie contest on the beach, I get the 250! It's so little and so light, it lofts the front end with ease, and it is totally controllable. Meaning that it is conceivable to do the never ending wheelie on this bad boy. Just make sure you've got lots of time, 'cuz you won't win any speed records with the EX in first or second gear.

I've actually jumped the little Honda. Maybe 4 feet under the tires and maybe 6-10 feet of distance. I remember closing my eyes and gritting my teeth for the landing, but it landed just fine! It actually has very impressive suspension. Now we're not talking Raptor/400EX or even 300EX suspension, but we're not talking about a performance or sport atv either.

The 250EX is kind of in a category all it's own. You could loosely say that maybe the Kawasaki Lakota or the Yamaha Blaster fit with it, but the Lakota is geared more towards the utility side and the Blaster with it's manual trans/manual clutch, no reverse, and kick starter is definitely more of a "sport" machine. When Jo and I went looking for ATV's to fit her new fancy, the list of "has to have's" was long. It had to have electric start, no clutch, but an automatic shift (Jo -> "I don't like those Polaris thingies..") reverse, straight gas (4 stroke) sporty looking and easy to steer. The list, long but defined, had to be complete to suffice. If there is another ATV better than the 250EX that fits the above requirements as effectively, I don't know what it is. So if that's what you are looking for, the choice is easy.

As always, comments and opposing opinions are welcomed.