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.
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.
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.