Honda TRX350TE

After 17 years as Honda's best-selling ATV, the TRX350 just keeps getting better. The latest TE version has a new look and new features but, most importantly, it still has a price tag that the cost-conscious will love.

The first thing you notice as you sit astride the new machine is the reshaped petrol tank cover. There is now more room and comfort for the rider’s legs and it is easier to grip with the knees when on the move. This promises to be a really great ride.
But there’s always a question mark over whether a workhorse needs to be stylish. This one is a “mid-sized” machine and it looks bang up to date. The new design gives the TRX350TE fully enclosed footboards to make it cleaner and safer for the rider — there’s less potential for a broken ankle with an enclosed footboard.
In addition, the structural strength of the mudguards and wheel arches has been increased and the new TRX350 also benefits from brake lights in the rear clusters. This should prove a bonus for commercial users.
The fact that the TRX350TE sports new bodywork doesn’t mean there is now a shortage of storage space. The latest model incorporates a forward compartment for the rider’s personal kit and a rear compartment for a manual and tool kit.
Our tester is impressed: “Look at the detail. The wheel arches actually cover the wheels to prevent you from getting covered in mud. And they arch downwards to stop mud flicking off the back.
“I think this should also be a good machine to wash down — there aren’t many nooks and crannies, yet it still has some good cubby holes for tool kits.”
There can be no question as to whether a workhorse needs to be powerful. Unlike competitor bikes, the TRX350TE has a longitudinally mounted engine and direct shaft drive. This puts the power where it matters — through the wheels instead of through belt- or chain-drive systems.
This model has a lot of power and will take you where you want to go. In our tester’s case, this is not only the challenging test-track carved into the local hillside, but also the seesaw obstacle. He drives the bike up the ramp, slows at the top, nudges the bike forward and balances the seesaw for a couple of seconds. Then down comes the plank and he is descending to safety again.
The ride is very smooth and reverse is easy to use — it’s handy to have when you need it. The OHV dry sump engine is frugal, which means it delivers power smoothly.
A low centre of gravity enhances the “perfect balance” driving characteristics. The weight distribution must also be good. “It feels a very stable machine,” confirms the tester, “and seeing as it is only two-wheel drive, it is going round the track very well. The bank is very steep in places and some two-wheel-drive machines can’t get up them — but this one does very well.
“It may be a two-wheel-drive bike but you really wouldn’t know it — there is no drag,” the tester adds. But it’s the smoothness of the gear changes that most impresses our testers.
“It changes gear very easily — there is no apparent snatch,” says one tester. “What I find particularly useful is the gear display on the dashboard. New operators often cannot feel what gear they are in. The fact that the gear is clearly displayed here makes operation much easier.”
The other tester agrees: “It’s an excellent ride. This is the first time I have driven an electric gear-change bike — it’s a very nice drive. It’s much smoother than a conventional manual gear change. There is no clunk, so you don’t feel the change at all. It went over the seesaw with no worries. I am very impressed.”
Considering all the facts, especially the ground clearance, power and Honda’s inherent durability, we can find nothing negative to say about this latest Honda machine as tested on the day.

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