Real World Rides: Honda Talon, Tuscon Episode 3

The Final Ride And Results

Our Honda Talon 1000R Real World Ride wrapped up with some more test riding in the wide-open Tucson, Arizona desert.

Welcome back to the final story in our Real World Rides: Honda Talon, Tucson series. We’ve been following along as Brent and Haley Culbertson from Tucson, Arizona have been introduced to the Honda Talon 1000R, we heard their first impressions heading out for a nice local ride and we enlisted their help in customizing the Honda Talon with a bunch of accessories.

Now, it’s time to really let it rip and see what they think. For this ride, we’re going on a bigger adventure, further off the beaten path and into the dark to escape some of the Arizona heat and to play with our new light bar!

We’ve got a bunch of parts to try out and a lot more exploring to do in the Tucson, Arizona area so enjoy the final video, and keep reading for more insight into the Honda Talon’s final grade from Brent and Haley.

Honda Talon 1000R Real World Ride Final Grade

We’re looking for more technical terrain with the larger System 3 Off-Road tires and wheels on all four corners. 

After the end of our multi-day test, Real World Rides tester Brent and Haley came away impressed with the Honda Talon 1000R. From a background of off-road, the Honda Talon seemed to fit their needs and desires for a fun, reliable and capable SXS vehicle.

Honda’s DCT Continues to Shine in Talon

One standout benefit of the Honda Talon 1000R was the dynamic and seamless Dual-Clutch Transmission.

Brent and Haley have a lot of friends with SXS, and even they were somewhat surprised in the Honda’s performance compared to the others in their group. While the Honda Talon doesn’t have the horsepower numbers to blow the competition away in comparison charts, Brent (the primary driver) felt the power delivery, combined with the directness of the power delivery through the DCT, meant the Honda felt just as potent on the trails.

The DCT was almost always a point of conversation in our talks. Brent loved how it shifted in standard mode and in Sport mode, the fun was simply elevated. He felt like the gear shifts were spot on and the downshifts helped the Talon settle into corners with a bit of engine braking. Likewise, the real engine-braking performance of the direct, gear-driven transmission meant less brake use on steeper downhills and a more confidence-inspiring experience all around.

This was especially true when overriding the DCT with the manual shifting paddles. Here, Brent found he could drop a gear when needed and let the engine do the work for him. Although manual shifting was fun, even Brent admitted the DCT was so good at shifting that he started to not use it as much.

Honda’s I-4WD On The Talon Wins, Again.

While most SXS use in the West is in 2WD mode, Honda’s I-4WD system has proven itself in this test as an extremely useful tool in faster-paced situations. As we mentioned in the First Impression story, the always available traction provided by I-4WD means the Honda Talon 1000R simply moves forward, faster, in challenging and slippery situations. Our testers really appreciated this as terrain got steeper and more challenging, as well. They weren’t simply spinning wheels and hoping for traction. The I-4WD system actually finds traction and puts the power to the ground. It’s one of the most efficient traction systems in-play in the market, for sure.

Handling the Hits

The standard Fox Podium 2.5 shocks front and rear worked absolutely flawlessly in Arizona. Brent and Haley weren’t exactly nice to them, either. But they also were riding trails they’d actually like to ride and not hitting sand whoops for miles on end. For mobbing the local stuff and hitting some rocky hill climbs, they didn’t even touch the QS-3 quick adjusters. For most owners, these shocks are serious performers. And in our testing at the launch, we felt they worked great when pushed to the limits we were comfortable doing.

Honda Quality Shines Through

Honda’s in-house line of accessories installed perfectly with little-to-no modifications and the fit-and-finish was superb. 

Brent and Haley commented multiple times during our stay about how the fit, finish and comfort of the Honda Talon 1000R was a step above their expectations. From the way the seats feel to the comfort of the steering column placement, all the intricacies of ergonomics and dimensions seemed to just fit right.

While installing accessories, the Honda Talon platform seems extremely well thought out. Parts line up with mounting locations, wiring harnesses are the right length, soft goods fit in the dimensions they’re supposed to without stretching or sagging. The product designers and suppliers have really done a nice job keeping the quality and cleanliness intact.

Looking Good – Feeling Good

The elevated stance of a simple tire and wheel upgrade make the Honda Talon stand out. 

The Honda Talon 1000R in red is a good-looking machine. Bolting up the System 3 wheels and tires made Brent extremely happy—it also made him a bit angry when we told him we were taking the whole thing home with us. More than once he commented on wanting the same wheels for his truck, as their bronze finish and style just looked great. The new tires were really nice, as well. Adding some enhanced ground clearance and much more dominant stance to the machine. Combining that small aesthetic upgrade to the high-quality bodywork finish and black/red color themes made this one bad looking ride.

On the feel-good side of things, Haley was sure the Honda Talon 1000R was easier to get into than any other SXS she’s ridden in. The door entry and spacious seating area were a luxury for her, as was the clever-yet-simply adjustable grab handle. She’s ridden in a lot of SXS, including those with custom “comfort” seats and she thinks these stock seats are just as good as many of those.

Decisions Decisions Decisions

Back at camp, we get Brent and Haley to download a couple days of testing. Turns out two seats won’t be enough for their growing family, soon!

In the end, Brent and Haley are seriously considering the Honda Talon 1000R as the SXS to add to their family’s recreation stable. It has plenty of power, is very comfortable, has cool tech that actually enhances the performance of the machine and the accessories available are top-notch. The only problem is… their family is growing.

Soon after our video work wrapped up and the Honda Talon went back to its home base at Honda HQ, Brent and Haley announced to the world a soon-to-be addition to the family was on the way.

Looks like this couple is going to need to look at the all-new Honda Talon 1000X-4 before long…