tests the 2002 Honda Foreman S/ES with TraxLok

On-Demand 4WD - The best of both worlds!

Nov. 01, 2005 By ORC STAFF

On-Demand 4WD The best of both worlds!

August 2001 - Last month, staff had the opportunity to try out Honda's new TraxLok system at their Rider Education Center in Colton, California. Honda has a number of 2WD and 4WD quads in their lineup but they have been lacking a quad with On-Demand 4WD. Honda has diligently been working on a selectable 2WD/4WD system that could meets Honda's rigid standards for reliability. TraxLok is an on-demand four wheel drive system available on the new 2002 Honda Foreman S and ES models.   It is manually activated with a switch on the right handlebar. An electomagnetic mechanical clutch unit (EMCU) located on the center of the propeller shaft engages 4WD with a quiet two-way roller clutch. It is designed to lock up in very small increments, so the rider will feel virtually instantaneous response, whether accelerating or decelerating, on flat ground or on a hill, in a forward gear or in reverse. It is designed to allow a rider to enjoy all the riding characteristics of a 2WD quad, while having all the benefits of a 4WD at the tip of your fingers. Honda also added a Torque sensative, limited-slip front differential to the Foreman S/ES. This limited-slip has been proven on the Rancher and Rubicon models and reduces torque steer for less steering effort.

Let's see how it works .....

We hopped on a brand new Yellow 2002 Foreman ES for a test ride. The Rider Education Center offers a varity of terrain, all re-created in a small industrial area. With the Foreman in 2WD mode it could be ridden aggressively and was much sportier to ride than when in 4WD. This was definately the prefered mode of operation for much of the riding. But as soon as you encounter a difficult section of trail, you can simply slide the switch over to 4WD mode, and a light on the instrument display will show that you have switched into 4WD mode. You can now easily tackle the obstacle.
In the desert bowl we had fun sliding the Foreman around. You can't do this with a 4WD! But setting fun aside, the main use of the on-demand 4WD has to do with safety and utility, so a more technical trail section was required.







We tried the Foreman on a steep downhill stairstep section in both 2WD and 4WD. With the quad in 2WD, it was necessary to constantly and consistantly use the brake. This created tire slippage coming down the stairsteps. With the TraxLok activated it was easy to control the quad safely with true 4WD braking. As soon as we were down the steep section we just switched back to 2WD. The TraxLok system disengaged the front differential and the light went off, indicating we were back in 2WD. The TraxLok system will engage anytime the front and rear wheel speeds vary by less than 6 miles per hour. So what do we think about the new Foreman ES with TraxLok here at We just have to ask Honda "Why didn't you build this sooner?"

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