2019 Honda Talon Review: a Vibrant Very First Effort Raises the Bar for Sport Side-by-Sides

Honda’s no complete stranger to either off-roading or powersports, which makes it odd the company took so long to jump into the sport side-by-side market. But the Talon 1000 X and 1000 R mark the brand’s entrance into the high-performance SxS sandbox for 2019, and those makers include a sector initially: a dual-clutch transmission. From the powertrain and suspension to the styling and resilience, Honda squandered no time bending its know-how in this fast-growing sector.

The Good: The performance and balance from the Talon 1000 R’s suspension beggar belief. Plowing over washboard trails, skipping over dips and small jumps, a two-seater SxS must feel more chaotic. A short wheelbase can get swallowed up in between high-frequency crests in the tail, upsetting the whole maker, however the adjustable Fox Podium shocks soak up everything for a stable, planted trip.

Who It’s For: There’s extreme brand name loyalty in the SxS section– in truth, it appears Honda’s banking on it with the Talon duo, wagering most customers looking to purchase a Talon won’t be first-time Honda purchasers, whether that indicates previous vehicles, bikes or any other of the countless devices Honda manufactures. The Japanese brand name’s first sport side-by-side is positioned to lure the faithful into the way of life, and if they happen to sway a few purchasers away from Can-Am and Polaris, all the better.

Watch Out For: The slightly more inexpensive Talon 1000 X starts at $19,999, which is a great deal of cash for what the Talon brings to the table. The likewise priced Polaris RZR Turbo and Can-Am Radical X3 Turbo are, as their names suggest, turbocharged and more powerful. Honda claims the rivals’ CVT belt transmissions bleed horsepower and their last figures aren’t accurate, however purchasers who swear by the spec sheet might not be convinced, and there’s no arguing with Honda’s sporadic interiors. Honda justifies its price by declaring their engineering and architecture is more durable, however you’ll need to take a pricey plunge to prove them right.

Alternatives: Honda was in advance that they benchmarked the Talon against the Polaris RZR and Can-Am Maverick The turbo-powered machines are section stalwarts; if there’s a crown to be taken, it’s originating from among those 2 devices.

Evaluation: Worldwide of side-by-sides all of it comes down to weight, power and control. Style and aesthetic appeals take a rear seats: nail the very first three and it doesn’t matter what the machine looks like. The Polaris RZR and Can-Am Radical are horrible handfuls of plastic, metal, and rubber, however expertly bolted together and some of the most capable off-road devices I’ve ever driven. As Honda’s first foray into sport side-by-sides, the Talon requires to come packing heat. Thankfully, Honda has a deep and storied well of engineering proficiency from which to draw.

When Honda revealed the Talon, its dual-clutch transmission got the headlines. A DCT is hardly a new creation– it’s been shifting car gears for several years, and Honda currently features the innovation in its utility-minded Pioneer side-by-side– however on the sport side of the SxS market it’s a first, and a huge offer.

For several years, the constantly variable transmission was the unwritten law in the segment. Numerous still swear by it, but it has its drawbacks. From an efficiency perspective, the CVT uses a belt and pulley-block system that tends to slip under hard acceleration, which can cause power loss, getting too hot and, ultimately, belt failure. Additionally, there’s no engine braking, so you can’t rely on the compression of the engine under deceleration to help slow you down. Lastly, without defined equipments a CVT invariably imbues an engine with an unlovely droning noise. So Honda’s DCT is truly viewed as a game changer in the sport SxS market.

At crawling speeds the DCT is a little jerky, constantly making up for the lack of power input to keep the engine from stalling. Once up to speed and clicking through the equipments, it’s tough to imagine returning to a CVT and not dying of dullness. The transmission is specially tuned for the Talon, changed for holding higher revs and moving more aggressively than in the Leader from which it was pulled. Plus, there’s engine braking to assist bring the 1,545- pound device to a reasonably fast stop, even on loose surfaces. Going into sweeping turns or medium speed corners, the brake pedal isn’t even needed; just raising off the throttle suffices to adjust the Talon’s speed.

The DCT might have been the story when Honda initially paraded the Talon around the EICMA and IMS shows, however the machines grace when transporting over dunes and through turns is the real story. The 1000 R gets a longer wheelbase, wider stance, and more suspension travel over the X; it’s developed for high-speed desert blasts. The narrower and lower (though hardly) 1000 X isn’t a lower machine, it’s just designed for tight trails and quick cornering. The 1000 R has larger, more remarkable numbers, however whether it’s a better device depends most on where you’ll be driving the important things.

You’ll have to trust Honda’s claims of better build quality and resilience to validate, together with that DCT gearbox, a near-$20 K cost for something that takes a look at a glimpse to be a $16 K maker. But it holds true that the Polaris and Can-Am rivals don’t included as much standard equipment, look more affordable, and are afflicted with breakdowns and remembers (CVT belts are the most changed parts on both machines). Honda’s was worthy of track record for mechanical dependability and durability must reasonably apply to the Talon too– but only time and range will tell.

Verdict: Honda took its sweet time signing up with the sport SxS celebration, but such a hold-up can have its benefits. While the Talons were under advancement, Can-Am and Polaris dominated the space until Yamaha brought out the YXZ1000 R and its non-CVT consecutive transmission. Those machines might have had more time to gain a track record in the market, but Honda’s credibility implies it has a leg up when it comes to establishing the Talon name– whether it’s your high school pal’s ’95 Civic, your neighbor’s CB500 X, or the gas generator your father utilizes to keep the lights on throughout a storm, Honda items are known to simply work, every time. Add an amazing application of DCT technology and it’s reasonable to say that while the Talon 1000 R and 1000 X aren’t always game changers, they have actually sure as hell raised the bar.

What Others Are Stating:

” The brakes, hardly ever utilized due to considerable engine braking, are wonderfully grabby with great deals of feel. The necessary takeaway here is that when you romp on a Talon, with some space to play, there’s a delightfully seamless interaction between steering, suspension, and power.”— Alex Kierstein, AutoBlog

” With both eyes open we struck the whoops and pushed the pedal down up until we reached our takeout and simply a tap on the brakes got the front of the Talon fit to make the righthand turn … The FOX Podium 2.0 shocks soaked up the hits well and I was truly satisfied.”— Rick Sosebee, ATV.com

2019 Honda Talon Specifications

Powertrain: 999 cc Paralell Twin, Six-speed Double Clutch Transmission


Horse Power: 104


Ground Clearence: 13 in. (1000 R)


Weight: 1,545 pounds


Leading Speed: 74 Miles Per Hour

Honda hosted us and provided this item for evaluation.

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