Honda FourTrax Rincon- The Chameleon

Some lessons in camouflage are more easily learned than others. In the opening days of the first World War, the French infantry still embraced the spirit of fashion and dash evidenced by the pantalon rouge--their uniform consisted of red hat, red trousers and vivid blue jacket. The Germans, on the other hand, wore a much more practical Feldgrau--field gray--and were soon standing near the roads leading to Paris.

The science of camouflage is all about blending in with your environment. You wouldn't wear a suit and tie to a tractor pull, right? In the terrain where you ride your ATV, a more traditional form of camouflage is called for, one that lets you disappear among the trees, rocks and vegetation where you'll be riding. That's why this year Honda is pleased to offer the new Rincon in a new NaturalGear camouflage scheme, in addition to Honda Red and Olive Green.

Any freshly minted second lieutenant or savvy bowhunter can recite the factors of recognition that effective camouflage must address: position, shine, shadow, color, texture, outline, height, tone and location. NaturalGear, based in Little Rock, Arkansas, has a unique take on developing camouflage patterns. The company constructs its camouflage on seven natural laws.

First, the law of tone. Much camouflage is either too dark or too light, especially for the black-and-white range in which many animals see best. NaturalGear patterns are photographically derived, so its natural tone blends well.

Second is the law of gravity. Trees and other vegetation grow vertically, so NaturalGear patterns have a vertical orientation.

Third is the law of shadows. While other camouflage patterns add dark, "shadowed" areas which blob up, NaturalGear figures that shadows occur in nature, and that there's no need to add them.

Next is the law of the open. Too much camouflage yields to the temptation of adding and adding to the pattern. Sure, it looks great from a couple of feet away, but it turns into a single dark mass at distance. NaturalGear camouflage uses an open pattern to blend at a greater variety of ranges.

Some camouflage is highly specific, working well only in pine forests or the desert. NaturalGear embraces the law of versatility: Since it's not situation specific, it blends over a wide variety of outdoor areas.

Finally, there's the law of definition. Animals identify objects as threats by their shape or image, so NaturalGear has soft, blurry edges that are hard to focus on. This is part of the reason it doesn't feature the "sticks and leaves" details of other familiar camouflage patterns.

The new Honda FourTrax Rincon uses a thin-film application technique to print the camouflage pattern directly over the bodywork. It's an extremely durable process that bonds perfectly and leaves no wrinkles or bubbles. And because the bodywork's base color is a tan/beige, even if you do suffer a deep gouge, the camouflage effect isn't compromised.

Some riders note that the Rincon's fender lips and seat remain black. Honda's tests determined that these shapes don't compromise the overall camouflage in the least--in fact, they may help by breaking up the overall outline. Remember the factors of recognition: These undefined dark shapes are simply unrecognizable.

Effective camouflage is a total package. If you want your ATV to blend in, you've got to pay attention to all of the details. Don't skyline it; parking in the shadows and against an irregular background will work much better. And don't think that you'll be hiding from much if you're riding around with a big, red ice chest strapped to the rear rack. Another aspect to consider is the Rincon's acoustic camouflage--its fuel injected, liquid-cooled, four-stroke single with spark arrestor and snorkled intake won't spook game as you ease your way into your early morning position.

In fact, if there's any single drawback to the Rincon's new NaturalGear camouflage bodywork, it may be this: You'll have to pay close attention to where you do finally park, because the Rincon blends so well, you may have a tough time finding it when it's time for the ride out.

To learn more about NaturalGear Camouflage, including its line of clothing, log on to its Web site at www.naturalgear.com or call 1-800-NATGEAR.

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