Freezing temperatures, snowy conditions, dusty ranch work, and enormous mud bogs – the Honda Foreman 450 can deal with anything you throw at it, thanks to its unstoppable character. As many consider it one of the best ATVs ever made, it would be interesting to know what else it can do.
The Honda Foreman 450 goes down in history as one of the most reliable utility ATVs. Dependable and uncompromising, it continues to be a popular choice for farmers, recreational trail riders, and price-point shoppers.
Efficient fuel delivery, minimal maintenance, and superior ergonomics form part of this all-terrain vehicle appeal. Learn all this and more, as this article helps determine whether the Honda Foreman 450 is the right quad for you.
About Honda Foreman 450
The Honda Foreman 450 is a high-performance all-terrain vehicle introduced in 1998 and remained in production until 2004. Known to Honda as its leading and most powerful ATV, it came in two versions: the manual-shift Honda Foreman 450 S and the electric-shift Honda Foreman 450 ES. With a market increasingly drawn to automatic transmissions, the Honda Foreman 450 ES was named the ATV of the Year by ATV Magazine in the same year it debuted.
From pig farms to banana plantations to golf courses, this multi-purpose machine performs a host of jobs more efficiently. It is reliable and used over rough roads, sandhills, wooded trails, muddy fields, and water crossings. It is even considered by some enthusiasts to perform a lot better than a Yamaha Grizzly and a Polaris Sportsman.
Honda Foreman 450 Specs & Features
- Engine – It is powered by a four-stroke, air-cooled single-cylinder OHV engine that is mounted longitudinally – helping reduce overall weight. It has a bore of 90 millimeters and a stroke of 68 millimeters. The engine displacement is 433 cubic centimeters delivered by a Keihin carburetor, and its compression ratio is 8:5:1. Fuel tank capacity is 3.2 gallons/12.1 liters.
- Drivetrain – Power is delivered via a five-speed transmission inclusive of a reverse gear and is available with the Electronic Shift Program (ESP) that makes this ATV a joy to ride. In place of a foot-shift lever are two handlebar-mounted buttons that allow riders to shift with push-button ease.
- Ignition – It has an electronic Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) with an electric/pull starter system.
- Tires – The front wheels are equipped with Dunlop® 25 X 8-12 tires, while the rear wheels with Dunlop® 25 X 10-12 tires. The vehicle wheelbase is 50.2 inches.
- Brakes – The front brakes use dual-sealed hydraulic drum brakes while the rear one is a single-sealed mechanical drum. Should you need to rebuild, check out the Complete Front Brake Rebuild Kit (view on Amazon), which includes everything that you need from grooved brake shoes and wheel cylinders to hardware.
- Suspension – The front suspension is an independent double-wishbone with vertical upper and lower control arms that boost the negative. It allows 5.9 inches of travel and provides for more stability and consistent wheel alignment. The rear suspension utilizes a swing arm and has a steel finish with two shock absorbers that allow 5.9 inches of travel – perfect for hard work or hauling.
- Dimensions – The overall length of it is 77.28 inches, and the width is 45.3 inches. Its height from the ground is 45 inches with a ground clearance of 7.7 inches. Seat height is 33.6 inches. Dry weight is 595 lbs.; GVWR can go up to 1,102 – a combination of curb weight, passengers, and cargo. Not to mention that its turning radius of 11.5 feet makes for smooth handling.
- Exterior – It does not matter if you leave your quad outdoors or in the garage, as it is composed of a steel frame and plastic body material that is sturdy, light, and easy to clean. It also comes with full floorboards that are great as a safety feature. But if you want to further protect it from the sun, snow, or debris, you can get a Weatherproof ATV Cover (view on Amazon).
- Lighting – Two lights mounted on the front fenders and a 45-watt handlebar light all use multi-reflector lenses for superior light distribution.
- TraxLok™ – this innovative mechanical system gives the driver the freedom to choose between lighter steering (2WD) and maximizing available traction (4WD) whenever needed.
In this video, Mainland Cycle Center talked about the specs and features of a used 2004 Honda Foreman 450 ES. He highlighted the lights, front and rear racks, crankshaft, and other parts of the vehicle in detail. The reviewer did have some funny moments calling the Foreman a Rancher. But all in all, he discussed the specs and features on point.
Pros & Cons of Owning a Honda Foreman 450
One of the things that enthusiasts are crazy about is the manual transmission and ESP combo of this vehicle – they love the thumb shifting feature of the Foreman. You also have to appreciate that Honda did not sacrifice functionality for convenience with this model. This sport ATV allows you to go down long steep hills without having to touch the brakes. It also has decent power for hill climbs and is probably one of the toughest ATVs ever built – with its bullet-proof motor and bodywork.
When taken care of really well, the Foreman 450 would need very minimal maintenance and repairs. You might see some scuffs on the body, but that would usually be the extent of your worries. It never backs down from occasional mud holes and narrow winding trails. It is easy to cold start even when left outside your garage overnight during winter. Its seat is just the right height and does not require compressing the shocks to be short enough to ride under obstacles or fallen trees.
On the contrary, second-hand purchases can be quite troublesome. For instance, veteran drivers typically recommend replacing all seals and bearings to ensure that water does not go past and fill the axle tube. Otherwise, this will rust the splines off the rear axle in the process. Rear brakes also tend to seize up from lots of water and mud use. So if these are not working well, the brakes need to be cleaned or replaced entirely.
Because the Honda Foreman 450 is considered very reliable, it also tends to be abused without getting enough care, which results in part or function failures. Some examples are as follows: speedometer not working; quad not shifting out of reverse while running; top-end noise and oil leak, among others. Even if it’s inexpensive to replace Honda Foreman 450 parts or fix these failures, it can become a hassle if it happens often.
Cost of a Honda Foreman 450
The original price of its 2004 model was at $5,999. Nowadays, the price range could go anywhere from $1,250 to as high as $6,000 – dependent on whether the quad is stock or modified. Models from the year 2000 or earlier should not cost more than $2,000 unless the quad is in mint condition with little to no damage.
Used, reasonably priced thumpers can be bought in farm auctions, and would typically be models from years 2000 to 2004. Trader sites may sell older models for cheaper. But these quads may either be overly worked or may come with non-functional parts. When buying a Foreman 450, make sure to inspect the condition of the left rear wheel, rear brakes, shifting, and speedometer. Be extra meticulous when particularly eyeing a 1999 model, as owners have shared that it came with the most problems when purchased second-hand.
Foreman vs. Rubicon
The specs and features of the Honda Foreman 450 ES versus the Honda Rubicon 500 are comparable and almost similar, but with a few differences:
- Engine – Rubicon has a tad bigger engine displacement at 499-cc compared to Foreman’s 433-cc
- Transmission – the Foreman has a manual-automatic clutch while Rubicon has a shiftless transmission (CVT), which is ideal if you are after quicker acceleration
- Dimensions – Rubicon has a slightly more substantial dry weight, fuel capacity and wheelbase compared to Foreman
All in all, Honda Foreman 450 ES and Honda Rubicon 500 are both capable machines. Dependent on driver preferences, one model may stand out better than the other. For instance, if you are after quicker acceleration, then the Rubicon will be the better choice. If you want a slightly lighter engine, then Foreman 450 will be the way to go.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What oil does a Honda Foreman 450 take? Three quarts of Honda Pro GN4 10W-40 four-stroke motorcycle oil should be enough to fill up.
- What size battery does a Honda Foreman 450 have? Battery dimensions fit for a Foreman 450 would be 6 inches x 3.44 inches x 5.75 inches (not including wire harness and mounting accessories). This battery is shock-resistant, rechargeable, and can be mounted in any position.
- How much weight can a Honda Foreman 450 pull? The Foreman can heave or tow up to 850 lbs., has a rack capacity of 66 lbs. up the front and 133 in the rear, making it ready as a pack mule when you need to carry a heavy load.
- What is the top speed for a Honda Foreman 450? Based on forums, Foreman 450s run between 40 to 45mph top speeds on asphalt. Downhill speed can go up to 55mph. Max speed depends on so many things – flat road, dirt or pavement, wind behind you or in front plus your rev limiter. Reducing the length of the pipe and putting in a jet kit can gain you around 4mph more.
- What is high mileage for Honda Foreman 450? Generally, 8,000 miles can now be considered high mileage for the Foreman 450. Of course, there are pampered brutes with up to 25,000 miles under their belt that run even better than models with lower mileage.
- How do I know if a Foreman 450 has been beaten up hard based on mileage? If you want to get a proper indication of its previous use, divide the total distance by total hours. Quads with mid to high mileage with reasonable hours may be more desirable. By calculating it this way, you would likewise be positive that your Foreman has not been a mud duck in its previous life.
- Is it expensive to rebuild a Honda Foreman 450? Rebuilding costs usually depend on what part you want to upgrade, where you purchase it from, and whether you prefer original to aftermarket parts. Nowadays, you can find many smart deals for reasonably priced parts online that will allow you to turn your quad into a beast. Need to replace your carburetor? You can invest in a new Honda Foreman 450 Carburetor (view on Amazon). Need expenses to go cheaper? Visit your local mechanic, and maybe they will give you a few helpful tips.
- Should I buy a Honda Foreman 450? Apart from driver skill and personal preferences, your intended use for this quad should help you decide whether or not to buy one. If you are looking for a work machine that gets out on the trail but does not shy away from mudding, towing and pulling big logs, then purchasing the Foreman 450 would be a definite yes!
Honda Motor Company Ltd. is one of the world leaders in mobility, robotics, AI, and energy solutions, and is the maker of Honda Foreman 450. Since it was founded in 1946 by Soichiro Honda, the company has continued to manufacture a wide range of general-purpose engines, top-of-the-line automobiles, and power equipment. It has also been the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles since 1959 and currently leads in the production of commuter models and fun-to-ride dynamic sports models.
Conclusion – Honda Foreman 450
The Honda Foreman 450 is one of the best ATVs produced by Honda since the introduction of four-wheelers into the sports racing scene. In mint condition, it resells well and can surpass higher cc counterparts. It is a hardworking beast, but can also be surprisingly pleasant when used for leisurely trail rides. If you’re looking for a quad that you can use for off-road fun and fieldwork, then the Honda Foreman 450 is perfect for you!