The new Rancher features a similar
frame and body design as the larger Rubicon and Foreman. The 420cc
engine has no problem moving this
bigger chassis around, and the whole
machine is much more stable if ridden
Power to this machine is provided by
a liquid-cooled, OHV, electronically
fuel-injected mill. The transmission on
this model can be used in either auto
mode or by pushing buttons by your
left thumb to go through the five gears.
Honda also made the reverse actuation
lever easier to operate this year.
on if you want the IRS model or solid-axle version. The solid-axle version
is built more as a workhorse and has
slightly less wheel travel at both ends.
In the back you will find 6. 7 inches of
travel through a single shock, and
up front the dual-A-arm setup also
moves 6. 7 inches. Ground clearance
on this unit measures 7. 2 inches.
The IRS version uses two sepa-
rate shocks out back moving 8.5-inch
A-arms. The front A-arms travel
7. 3 inches. The shocks are preload
adjustable only. The IRS version was
a blast to ride on the trails no matter
how rutted, thanks to ground-clear-
ance measurements of 9. 2 inches.
It’s comfortable and easy to thread
between trees and over rocks. The
new chassis and bodywork make the
Rancher about 1.5 inches wider and
2 inches longer, which makes it more
but is no slouch, either. It has torque
to rock crawl or dice in and out of the
woods with ease. Honda recalibrated
the shift points of the automatic trans-
mission, and it now learns your riding
style so it shifts much better. Unlike
before, it doesn’t downshift prema-
turely or wander between gears in
auto mode. We do prefer running
in manual electronic shift program-
ming (ESP) mode when we are riding
aggressively still. Auto mode does a
perfect job the rest of the time.
Two different suspension setups are
used on the Rancher line depending