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Honda 700xx Build up with Austraco

Restoration Project - 1986 Honda TRX70 Part 2

After all that has gone on in the last 12 months the little '86' TRX70 has been feeling left out. With all the racing and then moving interstate it hasn't left much time for this project (plus a few others have taken precedence) but I finally got to spend a little time working on the little guy. The rotten old tyres have been taken off the rims, 2 of which needed to be cut off, the split rims sandblasted and then painted in CRC bright zinc which is a great corrosion protectant paint that can be painted straight onto bare metal, it also has the added bonus of being a pretty close match to the original silver paint that Honda used in the 80's

As mentioned in the previous installment on this restoration, Hardiman ATV were able to supply us with Maier replica guards which are the same deep red as the originals were in 1986 and a search on ebay netted us some reproduction graphics, which really werent that complicated to put on (be nice if some of the modern quads were like that.... so many different shapes on some of them, the sticker kits are like giant jigsaw puzzles) being just the graphics on the tank cover and the logos on the sides, back and front. The seat cover is also a reproduction item, also sourced on ebay, which gave my trusty Bosch staple gun a work out stapling it onto the original seat pan and foam.

This is as far as we got for this installment unfortunately but things are looking good for some new tyres to go on soon and then it is onto the frame and engine.......

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Race Project - TRX700XX Part 3

In the third part of out TRX700XX Project we start with the goal of being ready for this 700 to take on the gruelling Australasian Safari. With the short races for the season behind us (The Thumbpump 300 and Finke) it was time to turn the focus to setting this big girl up as a proper long distance rally racer which, as you can imagine, takes a lot of custom work on top of the regular prep.

Fuel Systems

First in line for our rally prep was to increase the fuel range again, Safari requires a 300km range which meant adding another 23 litres on top of the 18 already available from the IMS tank and also a change to regular fillers from the IMS dry break system. The descision was made to go with forward mounted tanks which goes away from our previous rear tank philosophy but it made it worked out much better for the overall balance on the quad with the tanks mounted over the front of the nerfbars. Leigh Giblin was responsible for the tanks final design, quickly turning our concept into a prototype then on to the final product in a matter of days with only minor modifications to the chassis needed to mount the tanks and make them easily removable. The tanks themselves are made from aluminium sheet with all the fittings neccecary to plumb them into the fuel system welded in, the tanks are then mounted into a cro-moly steel cradle and strapped down. All the fittings used to plumb the tanks were all Speedflow fittings with mini dry breaks in line to make it easy to remove the tanks in the event of a fuel pump failure. Because of where the mounts ended up for the tank cradle the radiator shrouds needed to be cut down quite significantly and the ignition switch also needed to re-locate.


With the tanks built they were then tested, full of water, at a club enduro event in SA as a shakedown while more development work was carried out with a 2nd 700XX. Having the second quad made life a little easier to get things sorted out by not having to drive to Warrnambool every time we needed to build something. The next step was to create a bracket to hold all the nav gear, the road book holder, trip computer and also a dash panel for all the idiot lights and also the switches for the igtition, indicators, horn and fuel pump. The bracket was mouted from the upper front shock mounts and also the front fuel tank mounts and was a challenging shape to say the least, although we did make life easier by grafting on a road book holder bracket from Smittys Kato 300 that he rode Condo on this year, once the bracket was in place the design process for the rallye screen could begin, taking a mould from a standard front guard which was then cut to fit around the nav tower and the upright screen surface then moulded in with the new guard to form a protective screen all the way to the top of the nav tower, complete with a little lip to deflect the air flow over the riders head. The screen was made from carbon fibre and mounted directly to the standard mount for the stock front guard (we modified the mounts slightly whist on Safari to incluce an upper mount from the top of the nav tower.).

Power Up

We had hoped to go with a Staintune exhaust system for this years Safari quad, fibreglass packed alloy mufflers just don't cut the mustard out there unless you want to re-pack one every 2 days or take a box of spare ones, but Staintune we not interested in developing a pipe at this time so a couple of second hand Staintune's from a similar capacty model were rounded up and modified to fit the 700XX header. After some teething problems with our tuned engine at Finke the option was taken to go back to a standard piston/cam configuration but to get some head work done and the throttle body modified, the end result being that the top end HP has dropped a few points but the torque curve has remained. There have also been some changes with the Vortex X10 ECU to allow for easier cold starting and better throttle response. To this end Richard from Vortex has been very helpful to us, supplying a change over ECU for us as changes were made to the fuel and ignition maps on our quest to get the big 700 tuned.

Bits and Pieces

So with the big stuff out of the way... as part of the requirements for Safari all the quad have to have working indicators, head lights, tail/brake lights, dust light, horn and to top it off at least one mirror (a fold away enduro mirror was what we used this year), which ususally ends up missing after the first or second day. Whilst wiring up all of this we also wired up a small electric fuel pump and plumbed in the extra tanks for the pump to be able to transfer the fuel up to the main tank which then fed the EFI fuel pump the regular way, with the addition of a small inline fuel filter. All the fuel tank breather were then linked together and run to a breather filter up behind the screen.

To aid in some sort of rider comfort over the 4000+ km event a Quad Tech desert seat foam and cover were fitted and the steering stem had a cut and shut job with 2 inches being added in to give a more comfortable standing postion. On top of the steering stem the Fasst Flexx bars from the first part of the project were removed to make way for a new set of Precision Race Produsct Shock & Vibe Clamps which, because of thier design, meant a change back to a regular style handle bar so a set of Pro Taper ATV Race bend bars were fitted in thier place. The Shock & Vibe clamps, offering a similar effect to the Flexx, but with a better feel of control for Smitty. Once again we opted to run Tyre Balls as a flat preventative. The tyre balls were fitted up inside Kenda's latest offering in the Kutter XC which has only recently been released in a size to fit the 700XX's 11 inch rear wheel. Dan from Xibit images also chipped in at the last minute with a custom graphics kit to spice the look of the TRX up .

All in all the Honda has been a great quad to deveop for this kind of racing and proved itself over the course of the event to have been the right choice for Paul this year by taking the win at this years Australasian Safari comfortably and giving us a great base to build next years Rallye special from, with the aim being that hopfully a few other riders might like to have the same thing set up for them.

Thanks to the Contributors to the Project: Honda Australia, Barry Francis Motorcycles Honda, Hardiman ATV, Quad Squad, Vortex Ignitions, Cernics, Austraco, Hustler ATV, Quad Wreckers Australia, LGM Race Products, Powerflow Engineering, Legend Quads, Carlisle Tyres, Xibit Images

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Race Project - TRX700XX Part 2

Part 2 of our TRX700XX sters with the lead up to Smitty's first event with the big Honda, the notorious Thumb Pump 300 enduro at Pinnaroo in SA. Smith has never managed to finish the TP300 so the aim was to build something stright up that could handle not only the terrain but the punishment that Smitty would dishout looking for an outright position (Jumping ahead Smith finished 2nd in the Open Class and 3rd Outright..... not bad for the first time He's managed to finish).

First up the clutch is a known weak point for the Offroad racers in the US, Wayne Matlock Racing supplied a HD clutch kit with replacement Steel and Fibre plates along with HD springs, as part of the clutch work we also installed a CR125 aftermarket clutch perch and lever to replace the bulky stock perch (also the park brake lever,cable and mechanism were all ditched) and lighten the action a little. The clutch kit was the extent of the internal work for the first stage so we then move onto the engine bolt ons, a DMC full exhaust system was supplied by Hardiman ATV, a long time sponsor of Paul's, along with a Pro Design Pro Flow kit with dual stage air filter both to aid gas flow through the engine.

Accompianing the pipe and filter kit Vortex Ignitions supplied a Vortex X10 ECU which they have just released for the 700XX, the X10 ECU gives fuel adjustment to + 12.5% or -10% in a range of 3 bands much like thier EFI Interceptor except direct from the ECU instead of as an inline fuel mapper and also gives a choice of 10 pre programmed ignition and fuel maps. All user adjustable settings on the ECU are via the 4 rotary switches on the unit, 1 for ignition/fuel map selection and the 3 switches for the 3 bands of fuel adjustment available which makes for some easy tuning on the dyno bench and at the track. OK so as far as stright performance mods go we haven't gone a long way just yet but enough to see some reasonable gains (see dyno chart below) over the stock configuration. The biggest change being the lift in the torque curve making the engine much more responsive off the bottom to which the Vortex ECU as made a large contribution over the standard ECU and also raising the rev limiter giving a little more room up top. Much like its brother the X10 CDI the X10ECU also has an optional handlebar mounted switch to change between the standard on board map and which ever one you have selected on the unit.

So with the performance stuff out of the way we move on to some handling, a Roll Design +2inch long travel front end was aquired, not everyone makes part for the 700xx the same way that they do for the 450 models so options are limited, in fact at the time, aside from a couple of small manufacturers, Roll were the only mainstream A arms manufacurer to offer a +2 kit for the 700XX. The Roll arms have Heim joints with a pin set up instead of traditional ball joints, making the camber adjustment much easier than normal but have no castor adjustment. Onto the Roll front end went a set of Fox Shox Float Evol's (which we have been running on Smittys race quads for the last 4 years) and a set of Fox Podium X shocks went onto the stock rear A Arms to soak up the bumps. A Sonic sway bar was also added to the rear to help reduce body roll a sharpen the heavy IRS's sterring up (thanks to Brett from Quad Wreckers Australia for lending us the one of his own 700XX). To get the width in the rear to match the front, a set of wheel spacers have also been fitted to push the stock offset wheels out. To help out the steering an Elka System 3 steering damper was mounted (with some modifications to a TRX450R mounting kit and also the requirement to move the voltage regulator rectifier which normally resides just in front of the steering stem) up and a set of Fasst Flexx 14 Degree High bars were also put into service at the other end of the stock steering stem with Pro Taper ATV grips to hang on to.

One of the main parts of the decision to retain the stock A Arms and run spacer was that until a viable aftermarket altenative was found we could run stock offset rear wheels which would mena if we had to use a standard wheel as a spare there would be no geometry changes required, conveniently OMF have released an 11 inch bead lock in the standard offset specifically for the 700XX, obviously becaue of odd the 11 rear wheel size it makes wheel combinations hard to find, with the most common option to go to a 10 inch rear wheel with a wider offset, so the OMF option made things easy on the wheel front (not so easy on the tyres though) and just as we were taking delivery of the TRX Hustler ATV in Adelaide had a shipment of wheels arrive with some in it which made the decision even easier again.

Smitty knew that the big 700 would need a big fuel range so an IMS 18 litre tank was procured, and with the IMS tank saw the opportunity to also run with an IMS dry break system which he had from a previous race quad that never made it into service. As part of fitting the tank we also decided to give the front guards a little trim, completly removing the massive sheet of ABS plastic that was wrapped around the front of the front of the quad and cutting down the Darth Vader looking grill to a reasonable size. Continuing the guard cutting process, the side covers were also trimmed off where they meet the standard foot wells, mostly to accomodate the fact that the standard footwells were tossed in favor of a set of Sheppard Customs Pro Peg nerf bars with integrated heel guards. The Sheppard Customs nerfs were also accompianied by a bumper designed by Shane Hardiman, which was also handy to bolt the Vision X head lights to for the Highbeam 100 night race that I raced this 700XX in myself.

After the first oil change a decision was made to also trim the shroud plastic around the oil tank drain plug (highly reccomended)

So thats it for the first stage of the TRX700XX project, as we stated earlier Smitty has already taken the big TRX to a podium in its first outing which is a promising sign for us in the lead up to the prestigious Finke Desert Race (in which Smitty has one the Quad class twice in the last three years) for which we will have continued our development into the next stage.....

Thanks to the Contributors to the Project so far: Honda Australia, Barry Francis Motorcycles Honda, Hardiman ATV, Quad Squad, Vortex Ignitions, Cernics, Austraco, Hustler ATV and Quad Wreckers Australia.

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Race Project - TRX700XX Part 1

Honda's big bore sport quad offerings had been non-existent until the TRX700XX was released in 2008 and Honda's take on the established market to go against the Yamaha Raptor 700, Polaris Outlaw 525, KTM 525XC and to a degree the Kawasaki KFX700 was well received even if not overly enthusiastically in the US and for the past 2 years has barely even got a mention here in Australia. Honda's massive reduction world wide in their racing and promotions has not helped the big TRX get off the ground in a big way although it has developed quite the cult following around the world now as a much underrated and very capable trail and off-road racing ATV.

When the decision was made earlier this year by Victorian off-road racer Paul "Smitty" Smith to jump ship from the Can Am X-team and develop a 700XX as a desert race machine we of course jumped at the chance to be able to show the process on (also convenient as I would have been building Smittys quad anyway.) so stay tuned as we bring you a development story in 3 stages, as I write this we have of course already begun, (event to the point of being into the middle of stage 2....) but the for first stage we will be focusing on the initial setup in the lead up to the Thumbpump 300 enduro (which was the 700xx's first outing for us) then stage 2 will be some more modifications in the run up to the Finke Desert Race where Smitty once again hopes to stand on the top step of the Quad Class podium as he has twice already in the last three years. Finally will be the Rallye set up for the Australasian Safari which is the biggest part the of development process as it requires so much fabrication of components to get the quad ready to compete in this kind of event.

Before we commenced proceedings however, the TRX went for a quick visit to the dyno at the Quad Squad where Adam gave it a run for us to give some base readings (shown below) so that we can keep track of what gains we are getting from the mods we make. Adam says that his dyno reads about 15% down on real HP/Torque figures which means that the numbers on the chart can be upped to approx 46HP and 41ft/lb of torque, not too bad for the stock 686cc engine to be pumping out and show lots of promise for improvement.

In the meantime you can keep up with Smittys results on his riders page here on or at

Contributors to the Project so far: Honda Australia, Barry Francis Motorcycles Honda

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