2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4×4 ATV Review

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2014 Honda Foreman

Need an ATV that can work hard, but is fun to ride too? The full-size 2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4×4 is equipped with an all-new chassis and suspension as well as a new, locking front differential, boosting capability, comfort and performance. Read how in this 2014 Honda FourTrax Foreman 4×4 review.

What’s New
The 2014 Foreman retains the existing 475cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder motor, housing it in an all-new chassis that’s designed to improve strength without adding weight. New suspension increases travel, boosting both ground clearance and comfort, while a new, locking front differential boosts outright, off-road capability in difficult terrain. That’s all wrapped in more aggressive bodywork optionally featuring, for the first time, Honda’s own, proprietary camo pattern.

Comfort is also aided by a seat that’s a full inch thicker, while convenience is taken care of by new digital gauges and easy, push-button controls for the Four-Wheel drive and differential lock.

Compared to the smaller, 2014 Honda Rancher we reviewed last month, the Foreman is fitted with a larger motor, four-wheel drive (with that locking diff), more capable suspension and a greater payload capacity.

2014 Honda Foreman
The 2014 Honda Foreman’s cockpit provides ease of use and comfort.

The Ride
We spent a day riding the Foreman around Camp 5 Outfitters‘ 25,000 acre property outside Paso Robles, California. Terrain included gravel roads, muddy barn yards, cow pastures, oak forests and 4×4 trails through the rolling countryside. It’d rained the day before, keeping dust down, but the dirt remained dry and firm during our test.

Impressively, the Foreman remains stable and confident even above 50 mph, at the top of 5th gear. Even crossing hillsides or crossing uneven obstacles, the ATV never gives the impression it’s about to tip over.

Steep climbs up loose dirt and gravel presented the chance to test the four-wheel drive system. That it’s capable and adds much traction doesn’t surprise, but its ease of use will. The big red button on the right handlebar is easy to reach with your thumb, as is the switch that covers it, locking the differential. Should you encounter deep mud, pushing and holding the starter button overrides the 20 mph speed restriction with the diff locked, allowing wheel speeds to reach 40 mph in that configuration. That will allow you to power your way through bogs.

One 4×4 nuance that requires a bit of a learning curve is that, in that mode, engine braking applies to the front wheels too. I nearly endoed down a steep hillside before my brain turned on and I remembered I just needed to power out.

Also impressive was the tractability of the fuel-injected engine. It could be lugged down to idle in a high gear and still pull away cleanly and hiccup free. Obstacles that would typically be tackled at the top of 2nd gear, could instead be cleanly taken in 3rd or even 4th gear. I preferred the low-rev torque to high-end power and spent most of the day in 3rd and 4th gear; the rear could still be broken loose at will, simply by thumbing the throttle aggressively.

The added suspension travel was apparent while hitting obstacles at speed or simply when riding along rough surfaces at high speed. Rather than respond to each and every rut, the Foreman instead floats luxuriously, with comfort aided by the new seat. It also made landing jumps easy and confidence inspiring, never once finding the suspension stops.

Read More, Page Two >>

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  • Theodore P Smart

    When are the generator and/or outboard motor reviews coming?

    • Piglet2010

      You forgot lawnmowers and trash* pumps (which of course, Honda also makes).

      *A water pump that will pass a limited amount of mud and debris; not a POS pump.

  • Brian

    how does this compare to the CanAm Outlander? The 500CC V-Twin ( which I think is a Rotax motor IIRC) seems like it would provide some more low end grunt torque possibly for the more utilitarian nature of this type of vehicle.

    • http://Rideapart.com/ Curtis

      Good Question. The CanAm has a CVT (Continuiously Variable Transmission) and falls under the Sport Utility umbrella, this falls under Honda’s utility quad umbrella. The purpose of use changes a little.
      The Honda has a very low first gear for grunt work, and like Wes said, the 500 is a fun bike to work lower down in the rev range. I’m always suprised by how hard the 500s pull. Best advice if you’re shopping is to ride both so you can see what you like best. If you decide that you prefer a CVT to a foot shift, consider a Rubicon 500 as well.

  • Richard Gozinya

    For some reason ATVs scare the shit out of me. Known more people who’ve suffered debilitating injuries on them than any other form of transportation. I’m not talking about just people who really push the things, but really, really tame stuff. Like using them for light duty transportation on a small farm kind of stuff. One guy who went from being totally brilliant, PhD, really a great mind, to being a drooling zombie. And that just from a bad fall getting off of one.

    Four wheels are just wrong.

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Wear a helmet, turns out they make them for a reason.

      • Richard Gozinya

        Yeah, there is that. But that was just one example of the weirdly severe injuries. It’s an utterly irrational fear, especially given the insanely stupid things I’ve done, and still do. But it’s still there.

    • Piglet2010

      You will fall a lot more off-road on a trail or dirt bike, but those do not have the crushing weight of a flipped ATV. And of course, despite having 4 wheels, they handle nothing like a car or light truck, which catches a lot of people out.

      • Richard Gozinya

        I know it’s an utterly irrational fear, but it’s still there. Part of it is because it was ingrained at such an early age, and part of it because a lot of them were doing such mundane activities. Also, the injuries always seem to be so much worse than what I and others I’ve known have experienced on motorcycles.

        And yeah, the four wheel thing makes people think they’re totally safe, very deceptive little beasts they are.

        • Piglet2010

          Yeah, if you want to be mostly safe off-road, get a vehicle with 4 (or more wheels), a roll cage, and seat-belts. But what fun is that?

          A Yamaha TW200 or other low-power, lightweight dual-sport is pretty safe off-road, even for someone with poor skills and talent, such as myself.