2014 Honda FourTrax Development
12/4/2013 12:10:00 AM
2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman Utility ATV Series
The FourTrax® Foreman® series of Honda ATVs has carved out an enviable reputation for making life easier-and a good deal more fun. No matter what's on the to-do list, these hard-working ATVs can help you tackle the big jobs, and they also know how to have plenty of fun when it's time for that well-earned getaway. Now that reputation grows stronger than ever as the next generation of Foreman models arrive for 2014 with an all-new chassis, upgraded suspension components, new 2WD/4WD drive system featuring an all-new locking front differential, fresh styling and more.
Machines to Match the Job
The manual-shift FourTrax Foreman 4x4 is the machine of choice for riders who prefer a conventional gearbox, while the FourTrax Foreman 4x4 ES boasts Honda's renowned Electric Shift Program (ESP®) that delivers push-button convenience for upshifts and downshifts. Both versions can be had with the option of a new, updated Electric Power Steering system as well, and both come equipped with a powerful liquid-cooled 500-class engine that's as durable and reliable as it is strong-just what you'd expect from Honda. Adding to the Foreman's already impressive versatility, owners can select add-ons from a wide assortment of Honda accessories that increase comfort, work capabilities and convenience.
Better Riding Through CAE
The biggest news for 2014 focuses on an all-new chassis built on a new double-cradle steel frame that wraps around the engine. Developed with the use of Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) to design and analyze every part of the vehicle, this in-depth analysis allowed the development team to confirm the design of every part before a prototype vehicle was ever built, and then fine-tune the actual mechanicals.
This new chassis offers increased stiffness (up 20 percent over the 2013 Foreman) to accommodate higher operating loads, along with improved compliance for a smoother ride while simultaneously delivering even more precise handling. Honda's CAE studies also analyzed major masses to achieve the lightest weight possible; as a result, this new frame also yields a five-pound reduction in weight over the previous-generation's frame.
An all-new enclosed-axle-type swingarm further enhances strength and rigidity in the chassis. A sturdy sleeve over the rear axle not only strengthens it but also gives better protection, and it allows the swingarm to support more of the rear-wheel loads-a thoughtful design that adds to driveline durability. To enhance rider comfort, this new swingarm mounts in new rubber swingarm pivot bushings that absorb loads at the swingarm/frame junction. As another plus, since these rubber bushings are bonded to the inner and outer swingarm collars, dirt can't enter the swingarm pivot area to cause wear-and that increases long-term durability. In addition, this rear-axle design locates the sealed mechanical rear drum brake in a more shielded area inside the right rear wheel for improved protection and more ground clearance-now increased to 7.5 inches. In addition, dual front hydraulic disc brakes add strong stopping power.
This new chassis also features completely redesigned front and rear suspension components that offer increased travel. These all-new shocks feature brand-new damping characteristics plus an increase to 7.3 inches of travel at each corner for a plush yet well-controlled ride. Adjustable spring preload capabilities front and rear allow quick and easy suspension tuning to match varying loads and riding conditions. Also, new sealed steering knuckle bearings extend durability, and a full-length composite lower skidplate with integrated front brush guard adds protection for the mechanicals.
New improvements have also been added to the Foreman models that incorporate Honda's Electric Power Steering. A new mounting system incorporates three anchoring points for the EPS mechanism and that locates the entire unit more solidly in place. As a result, these models now return even more precise steering than before. This EPS system is a next-generation setup for 2014 that incorporates new settings for improved linearity in steering response, reduced low-speed steering effort for enhanced maneuverability and decreased kickback traits for improved all-around steering action.
The Foreman Formula for Power
Much of the Foreman's stellar reputation among ATV riders can be traced to its muscular liquid-cooled 475cc single-cylinder OHV four-stroke engine that has earned proven creds for power and performance since its introduction. The overhead-valve design churns out a broad, easy-to-use powerband from an engine with a shorter cylinder head and notably compact dimensions. Furthermore, this reduced engine height works to lower the machine's center of gravity (CG) for better handling while also helping to yield excellent ground clearance. Because the engine is mounted longitudinally in the frame (front-to-back in the chassis) it allows direct driveshaft alignment to the front and rear wheels, thereby eliminating unnecessary power-sapping right-angle changes in the flow of power. That means the Foreman enjoys improved drivetrain efficiency compared to designs from other manufacturers with conventional engine mounting.
New mapping for the Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system combined with new oxygen sensor feedback technology improves power delivery and throttle response, while also improving engine emissions and increasing fuel economy for greater range. All models feature super-heavy-duty clutch construction for excellent driveability and towing capability. Elsewhere in the drivetrain, new tougher, plastic CV joint boots add long-term durability thanks to their more puncture- and tear-resistant qualities.
New for 2014 and also a first in the Honda ATV lineup, the Foreman now incorporates a new 2WD/4WD drive system with the added benefit of a selectable, locking front differential for extra pull when the going gets really tough. As a result, this system now offers three drive modes: 2WD; 4WD with TraxLok® torque-sensing front differential; and now a new 4WD mode with locked front differential for maximum traction. This new TraxLok system also features a Speed Override mode that can be engaged when the front differential is locked, which allows increased wheel speed under severe conditions such as deep mud. (See sidebar for full details).
Sweating the Details
Other changes for 2014 include a new fuel pump that is derived from Honda automobile technology, which mounts in the fuel tank for better heat isolation and increased filter life. AC generator output has also been boosted to 481 watts-a 16 percent increase-to allow powering of more electrical accessories. The stainless-steel exhaust system includes a USDA-qualified spark arrester/muffler designed for quiet operation without servicing for long-lasting performance.
The new, aggressively styled bodywork on all the Foreman models also provides more effective mud protection, and now there's a one-piece tank/side cover that allows easy access (no tools required) for maintenance to the air intake, electrical components, engine, fuel tank and more. Outdoorsmen who prefer an ATV that blends in with the background will love the new Honda Phantom Camo scheme. In addition to its excellent camouflage properties for use in a wide range of field environments, new Honda manufacturing processes also provide better graphic adhesion of the camo scheme, excellent durability and improved resistance to fuel spillage to keep things looking better, longer. Also, load capacity for both front and rear carriers has increased 33 percent to a total of 264 pounds-88 pounds up front and 176 pounds on the rear-to keep the Foreman ready for a hard day's work.
A newly upgraded meter display for the Foreman line features handy added functions: clock, coolant temperature gauge, a "maintenance minder" system that tracks both hours of run time, plus miles driven and a differential lock indicator. For improved visibility after dark, the twin-headlight system has been redesigned and now features 35-watt headlights with a more focused light distribution pattern. As another thoughtful and practical touch, the top assist light now operates independently of the front headlights; it can be turned off while carrying a load on the front carrier to eliminate reflected light bounce-back. A newly optimized rider triangle promotes added comfort, while a 0.8 inch-increase in seat foam thickness and softer seat foam density add further to rider comfort.
The Foreman is very feature-rich in stock configuration, yet Honda Genuine Accessories offers another 17 accessories that can make life even more pleasant and allow this favorite among ATVs to work even harder and more efficiently.
And in the end, that's what the Foreman is really all about: This is an efficient, hard-working and versatile machine that gets even better in so many ways for 2014. Thanks to its completely redesigned chassis, new selectable 2WD/4WD drive system featuring a locking front differential, greater load capacity, added drivetrain durability, fresh styling and more, this new Foreman series is the perfect way to lighten the load when work calls, or get far away from it all when it's time to have some weekend fun.
2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman Expands 4x4 Capabilities
Innovative Honda technology plays a big role in giving Honda ATVs a decisive advantage. Honda's 2WD/4WD drive system is a prime example of such technology, and the 2014 FourTrax® Foreman® 4x4 models now feature a new, selectable locking front differential with a fully locked mode that provides even more traction in really tough terrain.
The basic TraxLok® 2WD/4WD system has long served riders well aboard Honda 4x4 ATVs. TraxLok utilizes a two-way mechanical roller clutch incorporating a series of hardened-steel rollers. These rollers lock up in a mere six degrees of rotation, which makes for a smooth, virtually instantaneous response either accelerating or decelerating on flat ground or on an incline.
In addition, the system also operates when Reverse gear is engaged. To promote smooth operation, the TraxLok system engages only when the speed differential between the front and rear wheels is less than six mph. Once engaged, the system remains engaged on downhills to deliver true 4WD braking.
For 2014, the FourTrax Foreman 4x4 ATVs feature a brand-new TraxLok system that incorporates the option of engaging a locked front differential. As before, riders can enjoy the option of an easily selectable 2WD or 4WD mode. However, the 2014 Foreman now has the capacity to operate in a third mode: a locked front differential in 4x4 mode that gets power to both front wheels equally, effectively locking them together, for maximum traction in challenging terrain. This option is very easy for the rider to engage; after pressing the 4WD selector button on the right-side handlebar, just rotate the differential lock switch and it's set to go. An indicator light on the instrument display shows when the differential lock is engaged.
In addition, the Foreman features a Speed Override mode that can be engaged when the front differential is locked, which allows increased wheel speed under severe conditions such as deep mud. When riding with the front differential locked, speeds in normal usage are limited to 20 mph. However, when encountering conditions such as deep mud that slows the ATV while the wheels spin, pushing and holding the starter button for the Speed Override function allows higher wheel speeds for extra pulling power-quite a benefit when the going gets tough.
Without a doubt, Honda's TraxLok 2WD/4WD system adds a significant degree of versatility to 4x4 Honda ATVs, and these new additions to the FourTrax Foreman 4x4 TraxLok system reflect Honda's commitment to advancing Honda ATV technology to benefit riders in real-world conditions.