Fans of the big H looking to play in the 1000cc sport side-by-side class now have an answer in the new Honda Talon.
Unveiled as part of Honda’s party at this week’s L.A. Auto Show, the Talon signals that the company is finally taking a plunge into the madcap world of 1000cc sport side-by-side machines. They’re leading off with two options: the 1000X and 1000R. Think of them as wide and wider.
At 64 inches wide and 123.9 inches long, the two-place Talon 1000X takes on other competitors in the industry with machines of roughly that width. Its 2.0-inch body Fox Podium Quick Switch 3 shocks (QS3) have 5/8-inch shafts and combine with the double-wishbone front-suspension design and 3-Link rear system to offer suspension travel of 14.6 and 15.1 inches, front and rear.
Powering the X is a 999cc liquid-cooled four-valve twin, paired to a six-speed dual clutch automatic. Three shift modes are available: standard, sport, and manual with paddle shifters. The latter sounds like a hoot in a side-by-side making about 100 horsepower.
Its bed is good for 299 pounds but Honda hasn’t yet rated the towing capacity. Ground clearance is 12.7 inches with a curb weight just under 1500lbs. The whole works of it stands 75.3 inches tall.
Meanwhile, the Talon 1000R seems suited for high-speed running. Compared to the X, it has a longer wheelbase, a wider vehicle track, and more suspension travel. Honda says the two machines do share 85% of its parts with the Talon 1000X, including the entire 999cc parallel-twin engine and its one-piece frame
Divergent are the R’s dimensions. It is 68.4 inches wide, an increase of 4.4 inches, and rides on a 92.7-inch wheelbase which is 5 inches more than the X. Ground clearance is a smidge higher at 13.0 inches. With more body to haul around, the R is understandably a bit heavier at 1550lbs. Length is the same at 123.9 inches.
The suspension is different, too. The Talon 1000R has a double-wishbone front-suspension layout and a 4+ Link rear configuration, while the shocks are 2.5-inch body Fox Podium QS3 units that have 17.1 and 20.1 inches of front and rear suspension travel, respectively. That’s an impressive 2.1 and 5 inches more than the 1000X. While we’re only looking at paper for now, the specs read very well. The R should move well in high-speed conditions.
Oddities? Not a lot, though the shifter gate looks out of place in a side-by-side. Those shift paddles are cool. A centrally-mounted LCD screen displaying speed and such looks straight out of a Sega catalog from the ‘90s. And at just over seven gallons, the fuel tank is a couple of gallon’s smaller than the RZR’s.
Honda’s not talking pricing but a sticker in the $20,000 ballpark shouldn’t be too far off given the cost of comparable rigs from other manufacturers. Don’t be surprised to see turbo and four-seat models sometime in the future, too. For now, the X and R shown here will be available in Spring 2019. We can’t wait to try them. Until then, check out the gallery below.
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