Honda Motorcycles
2000 Honda TRX 350 4x4 Rancher


 

SPECIFICATIONS:

            MSRP                            $5199USD
            Model:                            2000 TRX350FM
            Engine Type:                  329cc air-cooled OHV dry-sump
                                                  longitudinally mounted single-cylinder
                                                  4-stroke
            Bore and Stroke:            78.5mm x 68mm
            Carburetion:                   32mm CV
            Ignition:                          DC CDI
            Starter:                           Electric with auxiliary recoil
            Clutch:                           Automatic
            Transmission:                 5-speed with reverse and ultra-low first gear
            Driveline:                       Direct front and rear driveshafts with
                                                torque-sensing front differential
            Front Suspension:         Independent double-wishbone; 5.9 inches
                                                travel
            Rear Suspension:          Swingarm with single shock; 5.9 inches travel
            Front Brakes:               Sealed dual hydraulic drums
            Rear Brake:                 Sealed mechanical drum
            Front Tires:                  24 x 8 - 12
            Rear Tires:                   24 x 9 - 11
            Length:                         78.1 inches
            Width:                          45.0 inches
            Height:                         44.3 inches
            Wheelbase:                  49.3 inches
            Seat Height:                 32.4 inches
            Ground Clearance:       9.7 inches
            Turning Radius:           10.8 feet
            Dry Weight:                 524 pounds
            Fuel Capacity:             3.4 gallons, including 0.8-gallon reserve
            Colors:                        Red, Orange, Olive

I owned a 1986 TRX 350 Fourtrax and admittedly it was starting to get old. It even broke once or twice so I figured it might be time to replace it. We have a Foreman 400 in our group so that was the obvious first choice, but frankly for the type of riding we do it is somewhat cumbersome. I'd been looking for a replacement for my old 350 for a few months when on a chance drop-in at the local Honda dealer I saw a new 4x4 ATV. No hoopla, no fanfare, just sitting there. The new re-released TRX 350!  I was immediately intrigued.

"Front Differential -   Both of the  4-wheel-drive  Ranchers™ get a  torque-sensing front
                                  differential for reduced steering effort, and both  feature a tight 10.8-foot turning  radius.
                      (http://www.hondamotorcycle.com/models/2000/atv/rancher_4x4/engineering.html?bname=2000+FourTrax+Rancher+4x4&bpage=atv/rancher_4x4)

Longitudinal engine, dry sump engine, SUSPENSION and a host of innovative new features like the torque sensing front end and the double wishbone suspension and I was getting close. Throw in a set of 27 inch Blackwater Mudders - well, put 'er in the truck.
"Dry-Sump Engine -  A revolutionary Honda  design, our dry-sump  engine is the first of
                                   its kind ever used in  an ATV. The design  reduces engine height  for better ground  clearance
                                   and achieves a lower center of mass by  locating the oil tank  inside of the engine  cases. Clean,
                                   simple and trouble-free."
         (http://www.hondamotorcycle.com/models/2000/atv/rancher_4x4/engineering.html?bname=2000+FourTrax+Rancher+4x4&bpage=atv/rancher_4x4)

I mostly ride two-wheel drive machines, but my wife (Jo) likes mud machines big time, and I've been know to do some mud-bogging or rock crawling myself. We had been to the Polaris dealer (belt drive) and Yamaha (too big) and Kawasaki, but it's hard, once you've owned a Honda, to ride anything else because the myths about Honda's reliability aren't myths at all - they're true, and frankly, you get a little spooked when you look at machines with plastic racks, or machines that are the size of a small SUV.

At first glance the new 350 is as aesthetically pleasing as one would expect from Honda. Most manufacturers are going for the bigger is better theory, and although I might subscribe to that with my Raptor, the wife does not. The Honda is smaller, or seems that way at any rate. It fit comfortably in the back of my short box full size Chev 1500, that is until we purchased the Inuk-Concept front and rear tubular bumpers. There nice. Real nice. Jo likes to make her own road through the tight coastal rain forests where we live - these bumpers illuminate any concern on scuffing the plastic. She also put a 2 inch lift underneath the Honda, as if it weren't high enough already with the 27 inch mudders. Surprisingly the machine is still not tippy. It does, however, eat Grizzly's for breakfast in deep mud.

The 350's power seems actually down from the '86 version I have. I would submit that the oversized tires have a lot to do with that. In fact, in high gear the machine is a bit of a dog. It tops out on the digital speedometer at about 75km/h.  I was still, however, able to use the machine as a skidder and tow 20'x12' logs around the property. The addition of the Warn 2500lb winch is a necessity if you are going to have a machine that it capable of going into places where only another machine of it's capabilities can pull it out.

A word about the electronics on the Honda. I was, at first, excited about the digital dash, then I became concerned. My wife (and I) have a tendency to cross rivers that are deeper then the height of the electronics. Would it hold up? A resounding YES! I personally have had the machine completely submerged and to date (about a year) have had zero troubles with any of the electronics on the machine what so ever.

The ventilation system on the Honda is superb. The machine can actually go underwater completely for short stretches at a time and not stall or be bothered by water intake. Further, the 350 will stand on it's back tires and "wheelie" through deep sections of stream or river, "bouncing" on it's back tires with no visible effect on performance. That allows 4 or 5 feet of water to be a non-issue. My wife is considerably lighter than I am (I'm 265lbs) and with her and the 27's the machine will actually float. The water level remains just below the exhaust and with aggressive balance she can actually not have contact with the bottom and make headway.

The only problems I have had so far with the 350 are related to the aftermarket parts I put on it. I had an issue with the wheels not seating correctly against the hubs - spacers fixed that. I had an issue with the wheels rubbing on the fenders - an exacto-knife fixed that. Again, the single largest flaw on the machine is the lack of power - it is after all only a 350. There are many machines of much more power that would have solved that problem should it have been a big issue to me. In first gear, the 350 will spin the 27's come hell or high water (usually the latter) and for cruising, the little Honda spins the tires more then adequately. In the words of the guy (The Panz) that has the Foreman in our group - "Man I shoulda bought the 350!" Yup. Other than power (which the Foreman does not lack) the 350 is better in all categories.

In the old days when Christ was a child, I did not subscribe to the Honda philosophy. In fact, I down right hated the product. (The CR Elsinore days). But, every time I go and buy a new machine I do an evaluation on the competition, and 'round about 1985 or so Honda started to get their you-know-what together. Well, it seems they have kept on the path of reliability because in just over a year, and with extremely hard (even abusive) riding, I can't break the thing. No bolts have fallen off, no wires corroded, no internal parts broken. What can I say?

Yes, the machine is manual shift. Yes Honda does make machines that aren't. I like MS, and so does the wife. I figure it you can't shift your 4x4 maybe you shouldn't be driving a 4x4???

In closing, if you are looking for the biggest baddest - look at Yamaha. If you are looking for a bulletproof machine that's likely to last you for the next 20 years - Well, the Honda TRX350 works for me.