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Talon X4 First Ride 83 miles

jamesh

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Apr 11, 2019
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I took my X4 (base model) for its first ride last Wednesday at Texplex. For those of you not familiar, Texplex is a facility in north Texas with multiple tracts for motocross, pit bikes, Raptor style trucks, and side by side short course.

Since I do not have lower doors and a harness yet, I was limited to the trail system. Their trail system is like a short course track with a small number of mostly milder jumps. It is to side by sides what single track is to dirt bikes.

I managed to run the trail loop about six or seven times and put 83 miles on the Talon X4 in a matter of 3.5 hours. First few laps were at shock setting 2. I have nothing to compare it to since my other side by side is a P500 and have not ridden anything else. But I can say the handling is so confidence inspiring that I was pushing speed right away which was not my intent initially. In fact, after the first lap I called my insurance agent to get it insured. Setting 2 felt really, really good. landings from small jumps were very satisfying. Yes, the back hops up more than the front. I think this is going to happen more so on longer four seat models than two seat models in general. Several corners were bermed and banked, and several were negatively banked (sloped in the same direction as body roll). The car handled them all very well with a lot of control. I could get the back loose and drift even at high speeds.

I was thinking about reviews on the Live Valve and how flat reviewers say it handles. With no frame of reference, I can't say the X4 base is more or less flat. But I was still curious. So I set the shocks to 3 and ran around some more. This definitely made the car flatter. I'm not super sensitive to the nuances of handling, so it was a clear improvement - not that it was bad at setting 2. Some jump landings were a little firmer, but still very good. The difference between front to rear hitting was more apparent because the landing was harder, not because of more rear hop.

Then I remembered a Wax Racing youtube video where they adjusted the front to 3 and the rear to 2 to get the X2 to fly really good over a jump they were testing. So I did the same. I think it helped, but am not 100 percent clear. I needed a few more laps to work up the courage to hit the jumps harder and get more flight time to check it out.

I did not tough setting 1 on the shocks. I will use that setting when I go out on the rocks.

Power-wise it felt good. Not like "om my god!", but very strong and competent. Ironically, I did give a couple guys a ride back to the pro shop because their RZR's broken belt stranded them on the trail. With the extra 450 to 500 lbs, the car still was very strong. There was some difference in acceleration, but it was very slight and I was surprised. Yes, I hauled ass around the track with these two stranger passengers, lol. They said they came to the track all the time so it seemed okay? The car jumped and landed nearly the same with those guys. The car did feel slightly more tippy on the side where the two guys were sitting (both bigger than me by a good 20 to 30 lbs).

The car got up to about 72 and once 74 mp, but I ran out of room on straight stretches to get it to the limiter.

The tires were great for the track. I'm getting 32s to put on bead locks, but will slap the stock set on when I go to the track. I used probably half a tank? Not sure how accurate the gas gauge is. Shows a little more than half. I filled it up very full in the morning.

Door stoppers needed adjustments for rattling. I'll add more as I think about it.
 
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jamesh

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Apr 11, 2019
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Okay, second ride report. This was an all day ride at Cross Bar Ranch in Oklahoma. This place is mostly rocky terrain with several tight trails and a few nice and steep rocky hill climbs. Rode with a group of RZRs and a Teryx with long travel suspension.

Touchy throttle? Hell yeah and I love it! Will it jerk your ass around if you let your foot flop around on a bumpy section? Yes it will. One, this thing jumps when you push the throttle. Two, it slows down quick when you let off due to engine breaking. It's not a design flaw. It's the nature of the transmission. If you've ever driven a stick shift, its the same thing. But you can't push the clutch in so you have to keep your foot steady. For all the awesomeness of throttle response, I'll take that compromise. If you want a lazy beer wagon on rough trails, this is not the machine for you.

Long car in tight trails? There were a few places I had to do 3 point turns, but not many. And there were even less places I needed more maneuvering than the 72 inch wide two seat RZRs in the group. I have 32 inch tires with 4/3 offset making me about 68 inches wide too.

Hill climbing? YES! I walked right up a hill that a Can Am Max four seater with 35 inch tires was struggling on. Driver might have had a little to do with it, but my car just hooked up really well. Tires make a difference too since this was mostly a big slick rock face. A steam runs in front, so it makes it more slick. The I-4wd must have been working extremely well.

Suspension? I'm actually, maybe, kind of, but hate to admit it, wishing just a little bit that I might have gone with the Live Valve. Not because the suspension on this one is bad by any means. In fact, it is quite excellent. However, I set it to 1 for super rocky sections. Then when we got into more open but slightly rocky stuff, it would have been nice to pop it into setting 2 until the next choppy rock section came up. Instead, you leave it where it is and its just not quite as firm as you'd like for the in-between section. It might be that I can tune the suspension so that setting 2 works better in the rock gardens and then I won't use setting 1. Might end up costing $2K to do it - the same as the extra cost on the Live Valve. That said, I haven't driven a Live Valve and maybe its not so wonderful. But most people that have it like it. I was just paranoid about the tech and the potential maintenance/repair costs. Automatic adjust-ability aside, the suspension works very well. I really like its actuation. It just feels nice and tight. No rattling around and not all squeaky. Number 1 setting is still probably as firm as a RZR, even if it's not as firm as setting 2. When I started, I was on 3 on the front and 2 on the back (from last ride at the track) and that was too stiff! I'm also thinking setting 2 will be better after I get some more miles on it. All in all, I really like the suspension.

Ground clearance? Well, with 32 inch tires, it's good enough. I imagined sliding the bottom allover the place and bought a massive Trail Armour 1/2 inch skid plate with built in rock sliders. I hit bottom very few times. One obstacle that high sided me also high sided a two seat RZR. I did not find myself needing to pick different lines than any of the two seaters, even the long travels. Some of our group commented on easily mine just crawled right up everything. I highly recommend the Trail Armour skid plate. They are the only ones making a skid for the X4 right now, but that will change soon.

32 inch tires? YES! I was so worried about 32s soaking up all the power. Not at all! At least not a trail speeds which got up to maybe 50 mph in some very limited sections. I think they will slow it down up top, but I have the stock set for track riding (and dunes if I don't get paddles for that). They rubbed on the skid plate at full lock in reverse at one point, but otherwise I didn't notice them rubbing. I thought I made them rub at full lock bouncing a curb at the house, but now I'm not so sure. I had to trim some of the skid plate front edge off to fit the tires. I might need to cut back a little more. If you're considering 32s, I think you will be very happy. Keep the stock set around for those times when you want top end.

Tires and Wheels? ITP Terra Hooks. They have a claimed weight equal to Carnivores. One tire I weighed on my bathroom scale showed a pound heavier. I was really concerned about weight and went with the lightest tire/wheel combo I could short of getting OMF wheels with Tensar DT tires. I ended up with 14X7 (4/3 offset) Alba Crusher Bead Locks and 32 inch Terra Hooks. The Terra Hooks are pretty new and don't seem to be that popular. I can tell you, they are excellent tires and they look great. The wheels are a light 15.6 lbs (claimed 15) and tires are 38.1 lbs (claimed 37). So a total weight of 53.7 lbs...plus whatever the 1.5 inch spacers on the back weigh. Unless you go with OMF (as little as 13 lbs per wheel starting at $800.00/wheel) you won't find a lighter set. DWT has similar wheels to ALBA at similar pricing). The Alba wheels (and DWT for that matter) are three piece wheels. One of them had a bad seal and I had to re-seal it. Alba had also included a bead lock ring bolt that must have been a cull off the assembly line. I called them about it and they sent me two extra bolts, not questions. They were also very helpful when I called to ask about sealant type and wheel bolt torque specs. I could be mad and b**** about the wheel being leaky, but I got a $1200.00 set on sale for $900.00 and resealing 3 piece wheels is a maintenance item I'll have to do to all of them in the future. I'm sure they would have let me ship it back, but it was quicker to fix it myself and better to learn how to do it.

A note on wheel offset. I was worried about scrub radius after reading the Shock Therapy article about that topic which is now internet gospel. I didn't have any issues with steering with the 4/3 offset. Not one time did I feel like the front end was pushing. In fact, the steering felt great. I can't say it was better or worse than stock offset since that would also be comparing 28 vs 32 inch tires also. It felt great stock and it felt great with 4/3 offset wheels and 32 inch tires. I am sure that I would like the new setup less on the track, but that would be more due to body roll from taller tire sidewalls. I'm keeping stock wheels and tires for the track, so that doesn't matter to me. There's also something to be said for pushing the stance out when increasing the height. This is a big topic when going taller tires in the P500 forum but not so much in the Talon forum. If there's extra stress on components, so be it. That is something I'll deal with when the time comes.

NOAM sound system? Works well. Even with the sub-woofer, could use a little more base, but all in all, it is plenty loud and has enough base for the conditions. I put the amp behind the back seat which required purchase of a 3 ft extension to the input line. I bought two extension thinking it would need more, but one was fine. No I have an extra $20 extension with no purpose. Oh well. I have not doubt this is much better than a sound bar or blue tooth speaker. You can hear it at all speeds.

Trail Armour Skid Plate? Very nice. It does have eight self tapping screws but I think that's par for the course. It has nice hardware and the built-in rock sliders are awesome. I refused to take this on the trail before getting a skid plate after the carnage I caused to the underside of my P500 underside. I also got the A-Arm guards. I don't think I hit anything with them. If I did, I didn't notice. The weight of the skid plate and the A-arms is about 125 lbs. Very beefy. Looks really sharp the way it wraps up around the rocker panels too. The gold anodized bots and washers go nice with my gold bead lock wheel rings.

Tanaka 5 point harnesses? They're okay. I bought the cheapest ones they sell since I had to get four sets. I am learning that harnesses suck for getting in and out quickly, but I',m getting quicker with the harness. Glad to have it for safety. I bought the seat belt delete plug so no wire cutting. You can buy it from this website. I think it is cheapest here by a couple dollars.

EVO exhaust? Sounds great, looks great. Got some compliments on how it sounded from some other people. That't the point of a custom exhaust note right? Its satisfying to you and other people notice. I got one that did not require a tune because I may add a turbo next year and don't want to mess with that stuff right now. It claims 4 hp increase, so basically its all about the sound.

I'm ready for first service now. Need to go pick up all the oils and filters from the dealer... Need to wash the beast now too.
 

jamesh

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Apr 11, 2019
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Talon x4
Crossbar Ranch is a fun place. I had fun with screen door and rockface!
Yeah, these are really the only two spots I have found challenging there, though. It's a nice ride and fairly bumpy in some spots, but I could stand have more rocky technical hill climbs. There may be more out there that I just haven't seen yet.
 

jamesh

Well-Known Member
Lifetime Member
Apr 11, 2019
202
279
63
DFW
Ownership

500,
Talon x4
Third ride report - Hidden Falls Adventure Park in Burnet, Texas.

I thought I posted this review, but maybe not. This OHV park is mostly rock and hard pack riding. I took a hill called Loose Rock which is one of the sketchier climbs you can do. I was just going to try the first ledge and then come back, but after clearing the first ledge, I took it on up the rest of the way. One of our crew followed behind in a two seat RZR Turbo and rolled his machine. I think his short wheel base is what did him in. He got his front wheels up in the air and then tipped over to the side and rolled. I don't think my tires were even close to coming off the ground. This is exactly why I wanted to get a four seater. So far, there is nothing I have not been able to do due to the longer wheel base, yet things I can do that the shorter wheel base machines cannot. This thing is truly a joy to drive.

I4WD worked great. Lots of places at this park have big rocks surrounded and partially covered with loose and dry soil. Not much of a better test for the drive train and it works great.
 
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