Pioneering a new path
by Andy Bryenton
When Honda says that it has taken all the things they have learned from constructing quad bikes and off-roaders, and put that knowledge into a new project, they aren’t just talking about a few pages of lab notes. With a history stretching back to the 1970s and the venerable XR250R, and many more years before that evolving small engines, the Japanese auto giant many have discarded more info on vehicle development than some of their rivals have formulated.
That makes their latest side-by-side, the Pioneer 1000-5, a very interesting proposition indeed. With a 999cc parallel twin engine at its heart, this SxS deploys the same Unicam cylinder head design found on Honda’s motocross bikes. It also delivers better power and economy with fuel injection, a system that, let’s not forget, Honda helped pioneer for bikes in the 1980s.
The bike in question, the CX500, was also fitted with a turbo, making for a wild surge of power. There’s no such over-exuberance here, though, as the Pioneer is designed not for the racetrack but for the farm.
To make it fit for all manner of duties in the field, Honda has deployed another strand of knowledge from their vehicle design history. Back when the people-mover was new, Honda experimented with modular, movable seating, allowing drivers to choose more load space or more passenger space. You can select three, four or five-seat configurations for the Pioneer 1000-5 on the fly, and the delivery of power via a six-speed dual clutch paddle shift transmission feels unrestrained, even with the full crew on board. Flip the seats down and haul 450kg or tow 900kg behind. Massive suspension travel and acres of grip means that your passengers and payload will get where they’re going.
Honda has combined a whole lot of experience to come up with this fresh recipe. A key ingredient in spreading its popularity is sure to be something else from their back catalogue.
Farmers all across the country already trust and rely on Honda machines, on two or four wheels.
That goodwill will guarantee a whole lot of test drives and an expectation of quality.