The Honda TRX 90 is one of the best youth ATVs of all time. This small but mean machine does not benefit from technological advancements, unlike its competition. But this is a good thing, as the quad’s simplicity makes it a perfect learning tool for young adventurers and a well-loved toy for nostalgic adults.
The TRX 90 is Honda’s only youth-oriented entry in its entire sport-ATV lineup. Since its inception in 1994, the four-wheeler has remained unrivaled in its category. This 4×4 features racy aesthetics, superb handling, and an excellent power-to-weight ratio, making it the ultimate pit bike.
It would do better with long-wheel travel, double A-arms, and a bigger carb. But that is just enthusiasts talking. For youngsters, the performance of the TRX 90 is more than enough to provide thrill and merriment. This classic 4×4 is proof that a vehicle does not have to be fancy to be functional.
Stick around, and discover more of this little stunner that single-handedly dominated the youth ATV segment of Honda.
Setting the Gold Standard
Being the only youth 4×4 in Honda’s sport lineup, the Japanese manufacturer ensured that the quad set the bar for what a modern entry-level off-road vehicle should be. It has all the right ingredients to be a young driver’s ultimate first machine – electric start system, manageable power, reliable handling, race-ready suspension, and straightforward controls.
Mate this with Honda’s high-quality standards, and you get an unmatched quad meant to sharpen the skills of any first-time trainer before they graduate into quicker, big-sized machines.
First produced in 1993 (for the 1994 model), the TRX 90 instantly became the go-to vehicle for consumers who wanted to expose their children to outdoor fun at an early age. The bike’s manual transmission and semi-automatic clutch charmed tons of enthusiasts. Its aggressive styling and low center of gravity not only enticed riders but also boosted their confidence.
Because of these simple but practical features, it stayed undisputed in its category, even with the influx of fuel-injected, automatic-transmission kid ATVs in the first decade of the millennia.
The Honda TRX 90 has three versions:
- TRX 90 base model
The latter two models were offered in black, white with pink accents, and olive/camouflage colors, whereas the base model was only available in Honda’s signature red.
Apart from the finish, the only other major difference between the initial versions and the later ones is the age limit. It changed from a minimum of 12 years old (for 1994-2016 models) to 10 years old and above (from 2017 to present).
Honda TRX90 ATV Specs and Features (1994 – 2005)
- Engine: It is brought to life by a longitudinally installed four-stroke, air-cooled single-cylinder OHC engine. It has a bore-stroke ratio of 47 x 49.5 mm, and the engine displacement is 85.8 cm3 (5.23 in3) delivered by a 16-mm piston-valve carburetor. The compression ratio is 9.2:1. It has a forced pressure and wet-sump lubrication system with urethane-foam-and-screen air filtration. The standalone engine weight is 43.7 lbs/19.8 Kg, and the fuel tank capacity is 1.58 US gallons/6 liters with a 0.34-gallon reserve.
- Lubrication: Oil capacity at disassembly is 0.75 US quarts/0.71 liters. Use Honda GN4 4-stroke oil or its equivalent with an API service classification of at least SJ for best results. Avoid using variants with friction modifiers or additives as these can cause engine and Honda TRX 90 parts damage. Recommended viscosity is SAE 10W-40, but you may use SAE 5W, 10W-30, 20W-40, or 20W-50, depending on the ambient temperature.
- Drivetrain: A four-speed transmission, wet, multi-plate centrifugal semi-automatic clutch, and chain-and-sprocket setup bring power to the wheels. The primary reduction is 4.058 (69/17), and the final reduction is 3.846 (50/13). Its gearshift is left-foot-operated and has an N-1-2-3-4 pattern. The quad features a keyed ignition switch for added security and an adjustable throttle limiter for younger riders.
- Ignition: It originally has a recoil pull-rope starter and CDI ignition system, which changed to DC-CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition) electric starter system beginning 2006. It requires an NGK CR7HSA / Nippon-Denso U22 FSR-U spark plug and a 12V 4Ah 80-CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) battery with assembled dimensions of 4.40 x 2.75 x 4.25 inches (112 x 70 x 108 mm – L x W x H), not including wire harness or mounting accessories.
- Tires: The front aluminum wheels equip Ohtsu AT101 AT20 X 7-8 tires, while the rear wheels with Ohtsu PU302 AT19 X 8-8 TRX 90 tires. The vehicle wheelbase is 38.8 inches (985 mm). Kenda Scorpion K290 ATV Tires (view on Amazon) will be good replacements for front knobbies in case of wear or tire damage.
- Brakes: The front brakes use dual-sealed 110-mm hydraulic drum brakes, while the rear one is a single-sealed 140-mm mechanical drum. A standard parking brake further strengthens halting power. Should you need to rebuild, check out the Water-grooved Brake Shoes & Springs (view on Amazon), which fits all 90-cc SporTrax models and even comes with free decals.
- Suspension: Enclosed in a double-cradle-type frame are a swing-axle-type independent front suspension and a swingarm rear suspension with single shock, both allowing 2.56 inches (65 mm) of wheel travel. The suspension design lends to the overall turning radius of 8.3 feet, allowing for sharper turns – perfect for whoops the racetrack.
- Dimensions: The vehicle dimensions are 58.6 x 35.2 x 36.1 inches (1,489 x 895 x 917 mm – L x W x H). Its ground clearance is 4 inches (102 mm) when unloaded, and seat height is 25.5 inches (648 mm). Front and rear treads are 27.6 inches (700 mm) each. Dry weight is 243 lbs (110 Kg); GVWR can go up to 441 lbs – a combination of 254-lb (115 Kg) curb weight and a maximum weight capacity of 187 lbs (85 Kg).
- Exterior: The TRX90 has a double-cradle steel frame and plastic body material made available in red, black, and white. It comes standard with footpegs, handlebars, skid plates, and unique floorboards that simultaneously allow smaller-size feet to grip the footrests and keep away debris and mud. An enclosed crankcase vent system protects the machine against engine oil contamination.
Improvements Post 2005
It took 12 years, since the TRX90 inception in 1993, for Honda to make changes to the quad’s styling, capacities, and suspension. While its avid followers welcomed these changes, most of the racing community were a bit disappointed, as they expected more from the widely-known pit bike. Here is a summarized list of enhancements made on the four-wheeler:
- Electric starting was added.
- Body styling was tied up with the rest of Honda’s sport lineup and looked similar to the 450R.
- The use of taller handlebars and smaller brake levers (repositioned closer to grip) improved ergonomics.
- Floorboards with raised footpegs replaced the old design.
- Newly-added centered mud guards prevented mud from piling on the floorboards.
- The pit bike received larger bottom-out bumpers, minor suspension updates, and a more durable skid plate.
- Fuel tank capacity slightly increased from 1.58 US gallons/6 liters to 1.7 US gallons/6.43 liters.
- The Honda TRX 90 was in a new silver frame and black, white, or olive bodywork.
- Stock tires changed from Ohtsu to Maxxis radials with the launch of the TRX90X and TRX90EX models.
- Honda freshened up the look of this 4×4 with bodywork-matched shock springs and new graphics.
TRX90 Known Issues
If you suspect this, check for debris in the petcock and fuel lines when cleaning the carb, as alcohol in winter blends can cause residue (if you have used this variant). Inspect the jets and get rid of gummed up gas (especially if the machine has sat for long). Use a fuel filter and make sure to clean out the tiny orifice tubes in the carb (you can remove them).
Spray (not just dip) brake cleaner through the tube the can comes with and couple this with high-pressure air. When you have completed the cleaning process, replace old stale fuel with a new one, and your quad should work like brand new. Change the oil and replace your spark plug too.
Usually, when a quad sits unused for a long time, the slide inside the carburetor will stick and cause the machine to idle high. Or it could occur after a carb replacement and is often accompanied by a glowing exhaust. Should any of these happen, make sure to check the carb slide, air/fuel screw setup, and CDI.
It is also good to change the oil, clean the airbox unit, grease all fittings, lube the chain, drain the fuel tank, and clean the carb. When cleaning the carb, remove any rubber part before spraying the carb cleaner.
Additionally, use a blower and compressor to blow through all of the passages to ensure that nothing gets stuck. You may need a new CDI electric starter if the problem persists.
Restricted Top End
The CSPC regulates all 90-cc four-wheelers to have a top speed not exceeding 23 mph. But if you do the following mods, you will be able to make the TRX90 fly:
- Remove the restrictor plates and snorkel cap
- Fit it with an Exhaust (view on Amazon)
- Change gearing (and replace the rev limiter)
- Get a high-rev CDI and a bigger-sized carb
- Cut the pink wires
- Port cylinder heads
You may experience difficulty in starting the engine during cold weather or find your quad stumbling to take fuel thru midrange. Both are indicative of a starting problem. When this happens, check that the regulator and rectifier are not toasted, that all lights are working correctly. Also check that the tanks, fuel line, inline fuel filter, air filter, and carb are thoroughly clean and clog-free.
Be sure to check for any vacuum or intake boot leaks. Lastly, your 4×4 should have an air filter in it. It is rare, but secondhand purchases may come with missing parts that new owners may not be aware of.
Honda TRX 90 reviews are very positive. Despite some limited features, consumers and riders appreciate the 4×4 as a fun machine and a great educational tool for young riders. Kids can easily learn the value of safety and obtain a basic understanding of the unit’s working mechanism.
As a beginning driver, owning and riding a TRX90, changing the oil and filters, and keeping the quad spic-and-span for your next ride truly fosters responsible driving in these youngsters.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What does TRX stand for on a Honda? TRX represents either a FourTrax or SporTrax-series four-wheeler. It is relatively easy to distinguish the SporTrax because it is the only 90-class 4×4 with the TRX designation. Anything with a larger displacement would instantly mean an adult sport ATV.
- How fast does a Honda TRX 90 go? The top speed of a stock TRX 90 is 35 mph. Minor adjustments, like cutting the pink wire, may increase it to 50 mph. You can find rebuild suggestions to increase the top end in earlier sections of this article.
- Does the Honda TRX 90 have reverse? Unfortunately, the 4×4 does not come with a reverse – so riders need to be aware of the vehicle’s turning radius.
- How much is a Honda TRX90 worth? The MSRP of the Honda TRX 90 ranges from $2,649 to $3,099, depending on the model year and finish. This Honda TRX90 price is not inclusive of destination charges, dealer prep, or assembly fees. Average retail pricing is between $1,600 and $2,725 – typically units in excellent condition. Auction listings can go up to $3,250. Expect these vehicles to either be near stock or with loads of mods and newly-replaced parts.
- Is there a year model I should avoid when buying a Honda TRX90? Selecting which is the best model year to buy depends on the rider’s skill level. That is, if the quad is for your child. If your child is under 12 and may have difficulty with a pull-rope starter, it will be better to purchase a 2006 or later-year model. But if your kid is an experienced rider, then any model year would do.
Honda Motor Company Ltd. is the maker of Honda TRX90 and has been creating ground-breaking sport ATVs since the ’80s. The Japanese manufacturer came a long way from being a well-known motorcycle producer, releasing luxury nameplates such as Acura, to taking the ATV scene by storm. Thanks to Honda’s continuous efforts in making top-of-the-line automobiles, power equipment, and commuter motorcycle models, it has become a world leader in robotics, energy solutions, AI, and mobility.
Conclusion – Honda TRX 90 ATV
This youth sport ATV has been on the scene for 26 years, and for obvious reasons. It is the only kid ATV with a manual transmission, which turns youngsters who grow up on the quad into more skilled adult riders on the track. It is an excellent platform for getting the young ones acquainted with off-roading basics. Its styling, age-specific ergonomics, and ease of operation make it a joy to ride.
Perhaps, its only downside is the lack of a suspension upgrade and its limited wheel travel. But even with a mere 2.6 inches of travel on all fours, the suspension is still race-ready. This small machine may not be the biggest or most technologically advanced in its class, but it has all the right elements that make it tough to beat. If you are in search of a challenging but fun way to ride, then you have found the right vehicle!
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.