The Honda TRX 450R was the first high-performance and race-oriented quad introduced by the brand after the iconic TRX 250R, discontinued in 1989. That same year, Honda also announced its return to factory-sponsored ATV racing after a 17-year break.
The first edition of the TRX 450R was designed against the clock, as Honda didn’t have a race-ready quad on its model line, and other brands were about to release high-performance quads like the Yamaha YFZ450R. Honda needed to act fast to prevent their customers from starting to buy other brands’ ATVs and published a press release announcing the imminent release of the new TRX 450R, “the long-awaited replacement of the legendary TRX 250R”.
Honda’s fans and potential buyers expected the new quad to come with a wild CRF450R dirt bike engine, but the 2004 and 2005 models came with a new 450 (449.70cc) engine that was reliable and more suitable for an ATV. This disappointed some people but didn’t affect sales. The overall result was great; the TRX 450R was light, had superb handling, and was an exciting machine that earned quick popularity among amateur and professional riders. By 2006, Honda introduced many changes, mainly to the engine, increasing the power by 25%. The changes include an increased compression ratio of 12.0.1, a new 40mm Keihin FCR carburetor, titanium valves, a more aggressive cam, and other mods that allowed the engine to overpass 9,000 RPM. Honda heard the feedback from their fans, and the TRX 450R, much to the joy of the fans, was closer to being the ultimate machine.
As happened to its predecessor, the TRX 250R, in 2014, stricter emissions regulations and environmental concerns marked the end of the TRX 450R, leaving a void in the high-performance quads world.
TRX 450R Tuning
When Honda released the TRX 450R, it launched several HRC (Honda Racing Corporation) upgrades. The quad was meant to be tuned and customized from its conception, which helped official and private teams to succeed in the ATV racing world, winning races in Baja 1000, desert racing, ice racing, MX, XC, and others.
Tuners and aftermarket part manufacturers didn’t take long to offer upgrades to make the already powerful and advanced TRX 450R even better. This quad is still present in the racing scene, and among adrenaline enthusiasts, so plenty of high-performance parts are available in the market.
For example, the ELKA Suspension STAGE 4 FRONT & REAR Shocks for the 2004 and 2005 TRX 450R are a great choice to refresh the almost 20-year-old shocks with a modern, high-performance suspension kit that provides an outstanding balance between race-performance and riding comfort.
2006-up models came with stronger A-arms than the previous models; however, kits like the Houser Racing A-arms Honda Trx450r Long Travel MX are even stronger and increase the suspension travel, improving the quad’s handling, ride quality, and stability.
Other interesting upgrade is the Lonestar Racing LSR +2 Length Swingarm, a great performance upgrade that helps keep the rear wheels against the floor when accelerating, increasing traction even in the most challenging terrains. Besides, the extended wheelbase increases the vehicle’s stability and handling.
Another popular and effective modification is installing larger and wider rear wheels and increasing the rear track's width. For this, an extended rear axle is required, and the Rpm Dominator II 2 Rear Extended Axle Adjustable Honda Trx450r Mx +1/+4 Race Hub is the best product available. It's tougher than the original axle and is used by the most prominent ATV racers and teams.
The 2006-up exhaust of the TRX 450R is ok for a standard vehicle, but for the race track, the factory exhaust it’s just not enough. The Sparks Racing X-6 Stainless Steel Race Core Full Exhaust for the TRX 450R was designed to unleash the engine power in all the power band. This is a true racing exhaust system, dyno, and track tested by Pro-level riders, making this exhaust perfect for racing enthusiasts.
Driving a TRX 450R to the edge requires a lot of skill and physical effort. Improving the riding position and absorbing shocks on the handlebar help to enhance the driving experience and comfort, reduce fatigue, and gives riders better control of the machine. That’s why products like the Houser Racing Steering Stem Honda Trx450r +2 & 1 1/8 HandleBar Clamp and the Precision Racing Elite Steering Stabilizer Damper & Mount Honda Trx450r help riders to focus on the road, especially after several high-speed laps on the race track or several miles of rough and bumpy terrain.
The Honda TRX 450R is an excellent quad still present in the ATV racing world. The recent release of the new CRF450R dirt brings some hope for a new version of the TRX 450R. Meanwhile, the old and legendary TRX 450R remains winning races, and it’s one of those quads that fanatics dream about. The wide range of high-performance and original spare parts available in the market shows that the TRX 450R is far from disappearing.