Powersports / ATV / Utility
The New-Generation Honda Foreman
With the introduction of the Foreman® 4x4 with Electric Power Steering (EPS™), Honda has once again added an innovative twist to an industry benchmark-the Foreman line of ATVs.
As one of the best-selling ATVs in history, it was a daunting task to re-create the Foreman in 2005. For months, Honda R&D personnel spent countless hours visiting ATV owners across the country to see how they put their machines to work in a myriad of ways, under an unimaginable variety of conditions: deep mud, freezing temperatures, snowy conditions, dusty farm usage, towing trailers and other work implements, running up and down hills-under all kinds of real-world situations, many of which expanded Honda's notion of tough usage. From this, engineers drew a bead on where they wanted to go with the next-generation Foreman.
The New Machine Takes Shape
Of course, increased performance was a given expectation in both the engine and chassis departments. Introduced in 1998, the Foreman 450 engine had been derived from the 395cc Foreman powerplant, which dated back to 1995. While each had been a masterful stroke in its time, the new Foreman was due for an all-new engine, and the natural course pointed toward a 500-class machine.
In 2005, Honda engineers gave the Foreman an all-new, air-cooled, longitudinally mounted OHV engine featuring an entirely different cylinder head configuration and valve arrangement. Feeding this combustion chamber is a 36mm carburetor (up from the previous engine's 32mm mixer) with a throttle position sensor for increased response and performance all through the rev range. This engine features the convenience of electric starting, but with the 500 the starter also operates when the machine is in Reverse for even more ease of operation. This powerplant is also blessed with a five-speed gearbox with Reverse, plus a larger, beefier clutch to handle the increased power output.
Displacing 475cc, the current Foreman engine is only 9.6 percent larger than the 433cc engine used in the TRX450, yet it churns out about 15 percent more power than its precursor. And it's not just the quantity of the Foreman's power that sets it apart. This engine is distinctly freer-revving than the previous engine, which gives greater performance and a big boost in the fun-factor department.
Taking the Foreman Chassis Upscale
Naturally, this 500-class engine was housed in a larger, more sophisticated chassis. To accomplish this upward transition, the Foreman borrowed heavily from Honda's renowned workhorse, the FourTrax® Foreman Rubicon™. As a result, the TRX500 features a wider track front and rear compared to the 450, and it has grown 1.5 inches in overall width to tape out at 46.8 inches. It stretches to 83 inches in overall length, almost 6 inches longer than the TRX450, over a wheelbase of 50.7 inches compared to the former machine's 50.2-inch wheelbase.
Making It Better, Making It Smarter
The Foreman 500 boasts a fuel capacity of 4.2 gallons; that's a full gallon more than the 450 used to hold. Dual front disc brakes add significantly to the 500's stopping power. These disc brakes feature collet-style brake calipers that are self-centering, and the calipers also feature integrated scrapers that eliminate buildup of debris such as mud or ice that might otherwise impede their stopping capacity. The 500 also enjoys large rear drum brakes, which measure 180mm in diameter versus the 160mm drums used on the 450. Knowing that Foreman ATVs are often subjected to heavy-duty tasks in extreme mud conditions, the engineers devised a dual oil-cooler system, with the second cooler mounted high in the fender area where it won't get clogged with mud over the course of a long, soggy day's work. Naturally, this bright-think idea for extra cooling is patented, so you'll see this great idea appear only on the TRX500.
For 2007, the Foreman's suspension was juggled to accommodate the demands of EPS. Many hours were spent developing shock valving that specifically meets the handling demands of EPS. The high-quality Kayaba shocks, which deliver 6.7 inches of travel front and rear, feature increased spring and damping rates in front and stiffer springs in the rear. The result is a noticeably plush ride that perfectly complements the EPS system, especially in rough conditions.
Other Foreman Innovations
The Foreman with EPS also features four-wheel-drive with Honda's acclaimed Electric Shift Program (ESP™) for push-button shifting. The four-wheel-drive system features Honda's lighter, smaller, new-generation version of TraxLok®, which enables the rider to shift between 2WD and 4WD with the simple flick of a switch.
The Proof Is in the Riding
Once again, the 2007 FourTrax Foreman 500 with EPS is positive proof of Honda's commitment to ongoing progress and innovation. With the introduction of EPS, Honda has revolutionized the ATV riding experience and launched the entire ATV industry into the future.