By Rick Sosebee
Having a great comfortable adventure is key when taking family or friends out into the wild off-road. Having a machine that is also capable of getting out into the most remote places is also key. Recently we had an opportunity to join Honda Powersports on a just such an adventure near Caliente Nevada.
The 2020 Honda Talon 1000 X-4 seat SXS was released not long after the original Talon and this would be our first dip into the multi-passenger machine. If you recall the Talon X-4 comes as a standard model and a live valve version with the FOX digitally controlled shocks. Both were on hand for our full day of testing.
Living in motorhomes in the Chief Mountain West ORV area parking lot for a few days would give us a comfortable setting to gather with many other journalists for this ride. Many had brought friends and family members along to get a feel for the extra three seats in the Talon X-4. This is how Honda wants you to think about their machine as they always say, “Life is Better SXS.” We truly believe this as well because loving this sport means that you share your adventures and build memories with those you love while finding new places to go and things to see in the outdoors. Before we dig into the ride lets peep into the rig a little.
This Talon X-4 is built on the 64-inch Talon X platform and obviously deeply reengineered to accommodate the other two spacious seats. There are several key features that make this Honda Talon X-4 a bit unique and not just a stretched Talon X. The rear seats are elevated just a bit higher than the front so that the passengers in the rear are able to see the trail ahead. The rear seats are also a bit closer together to give even more inclusion to those in the back seats. Honda also made the seating in the entire vehicle ready for four-point harnesses so that you can easily integrate those for added protection if you wish. I found even the rear seating to be comfortable as a taller rider and comfortably spacious as well.
If you remember the Talon X uses a 3-link suspension set up in the rear. This would be just like the Talon X-4 model and handling greatly resembles that. The Talon X is a very flat and steady handling SXS that seems to just hug the corners with authority and predictability as well. Straight line rough sections were a non-issue for the Talon X and this Talon X-4 seems to be the same. The trick standout feature however is on the Talon X-4 Live valve model. Honda has partnered with Fox suspension to build a “smart shock” (my words not theirs) to handle the duties of terrain. These shocks are continuously reacting to driver and terrain input to give you the best ride possible. It is pretty amazing to think that a computer is deciding adjustments in milliseconds. There are two adjustments that the driver can make from the cab and they are a standard mode or sport mode. Standard setting is great for cruising yet as the speed and technical terrain pick up the sport mode begins to enhance the ride even more with no input from the driver.
Riding the stock form Talon X-4 with the QS3 adjusters and the FOX Live Valve suspension in the same day gave us a great appreciation for the technology that is in the LV shocks. The LV version seemed to handle terrain with a little more comfort and hard cornering revealed obvious signs of suspension tuning during the ride.
Our ride location was the Silver State ORV area where the race of the same name is held. Some flat graded roads as well as rougher rocky sections gave a great variety of terrain for finding just how well we would like the newest Talon from Honda. If you are not familiar with the Chief Mountain west area and Silver State off road trails you owe it to yourself to make time to ride here. The trails are of all types and challenges are plenty but if you are a history buff like me, then you should do a little research before coming out. This location is just a mountain view away from the top-secret Area 51. There is also another portion of history in the area that includes the original 49’ers. Not the football team but the 49 adventurous men and women of 1849 who traveled across the desert terrain and Dry Lake Valley, not far from where we camped, in search of a new life in California. In fact, Death Valley was named by these same 49 pioneers who were lost during the 1849-1850 winter there and as they left one man turned to look back and said, “Goodbye Death Valley.” You will get great views of the Pahroc mountain range which is a sacred Indian mountain range where petroglyphs and other historical markings along the rock walls. If you want to visit our exact overlook use these coordinates to get there: 37’40’51.3N 114’40’52.6W or you could also follow our entire trip on the Lifetime Trail Maps App.
A gentleman named Scott Harden, who you might know as a champion desert racer, was our guide and he described the views from the highest point on our ride. As he mentioned seeing things he could not explain he also backed it up by commenting that he did not believe in Aliens, but that weird things do happen here. As we continued our first 40-mile ride (80 mile total) of the day we noticed what we thought were other off-roaders cruising along the dry Lake Valley. However, we quickly realized it was something slightly different when we were greeted by three A10 Warthog military aircraft who were slicing the air between the mountains right over top of us. It was indeed fascinating.
The second part of our ride in the new Honda Talon X-4 was up to an old mining town know as Delamar. This once booming mining town still has remains of old buildings and mining evidence all around. The tailings from classifying gear to timbers still standing where a huge mills and homes once stood leave a lasting mark in your mind and just a brief look into how bad they did live to achieve their dream is something that most people will never know in any lifetime from now on.
Silver State trails offer many great adventures and it is well worth the time to explore these regions. Our 2020 Honda Talon X-4 performed very well and switching between the standard version to the Live Valve suspension gave us an appreciation of the technology that is in this new rig by Honda. Be sure to get out and enjoy life with family and friends because just like Honda says, Life is better side by side.