In 1988, Honda introduced the Honda FourTrax TRX300FW, which became the best selling ATV in history.
It also turned out to be a major influence in the development of 4X4 ATVs of today. Here is my review of this popular four-wheeler from an owner’s perspective.
As an owner of the then popular and reliable Big Red three-wheeler, I had become a big Honda fan. So, in 1988 when the first Honda FourTrax 300 4X4 came out, I immediately went down to the Honda dealer and purchased one for $3,000.
After 19 years of hard use, my reliable Honda FourTrax still looks good, runs strong and Honda ATV parts and ATV accessories are readily available.
Standard Equipment for Honda FourTrax 300 4x4
My Honda FourTrax came with a carbureted 282cc (20 hp) air-cooled, four-stroke, single-cylinder engine, full-time four-wheel drive, a 5-speed manual transmission, automatic clutch, maintenance-free shaft drive, double-wishbone front suspension, a limited-slip front differential, foot pegs, a rear cargo rack and 3.3 gallon metal fuel tank, including the .7 gallon reserve.
The rear suspension consists of a swing-arm, single shock absorber with the differential, brake hub assemblies, and trailer hitch mounted on a straight axle. Also, in back are the taillight and a storage compartment located under a hinged portion of the rear rack.
The Honda's battery, electrical system and air box are under the seat. A back-up kick-starter is hidden just under the right side panel, a compression release lever is on the right front of the engine. The right brake pedal is just forward of the foot peg. The fuel selector, located just below the left side of the fuel tank selects on, off and reserve.
The front handlebar controls are, from left to right; hand-grip and rear brake lever switch, parking brake lock lever, reverse button, engine kill switch, light switches, choke, starter button and auxiliary 12 volt receptacle.
In the center console, is the reverse light, neutral light, oil temperature light and key switch. Located on the far right the, hand-grip, throttle lever, front brake lever and brake reservoir.
- 74.6 in. overall length
- 41.9 in. overall width
- 43.3 in. overall height
- 48.6 in. wheelbase
- 31.5 in. seat height
- 12.4 in. foot peg height
- 6.3 in ground clearance
- 5.1 in front suspension travel
- 5.1 in rear suspension travel
- 474 lbs. Dry weight
- 850 lbs. Trailer towing capacity
- 66 lbs. Front rack capacity
- 132 lbs. Rear rack capacity
- 11 X 6.5 AT front rim size
- AT 23 X 8-11 front tire size
- 9 X 9 AT rear rim size
- 25 X12-9 rear tire size
- 2.6 qt. engine oil capacity
- 3.3 gal. fuel capacity (includes .7 gal. reserve)
- 3.4 oz. differential oil capacity
- 3.4 oz. final drive oil capacity
- 6.8 oz front gear case oil capacity
My Installed Options:
- Front cargo rack and brush guard.
- Fender-flare extenders.
- 1,500 lb. Winch.
- Third headlight.
- Handlebar/hand protectors with gun-rack mounts.
- Backup light.
- Steel foot baskets (see photo) a must for foot safety.
- Oil temperature activated, engine cooling-fan.
- Soft padded grips
- Rear cargo bag.
- ITP Black water 6 ply tires (shown) I have since mounted MAXXIS Bighorn Radial tires.
Repairs/Maintenance In 23 Years of Service
1. I installed an upgraded Honda FourTrax rear axle in 1995 due to my failure to keep the axle lock nut tight, damaging the left hub spline. Cost was $65 for the new axle and 2.5 hrs. of my labor to replace. Note photo of new axle with electrical tape (keeps nut from backing off). Owners should check both L & R lock nuts occasionally. Maintenance access is very good.
2. I replaced fuel selector assembly and fuel line in 2007. They just wore out. 30 minutes of my labor and $66 for the new assembly.
That’s all except for spark plugs, 2 $74 batteries, tires, occasional valve adjustments and other scheduled maintenance items. The optional Honda FourTrax maintenance manual is well written and is easy for the average person to read and follow its instructions.
The little 282 cc engine performs more like a 400 cc with a top speed of 45 mph. When in the ultra-low first and reverse gears you never bog down or run out of power. The ride is really pretty smooth considering the stiff suspension. Steering and turning radius is good, even with full-time 4WD. Expect poor handling on pavement. The Honda FourTrax is an excellent starter ATV for novices.
Gas mileage is phenomenal; I once ran out of gas 25 miles from home and easily made it in on the .7 gal reserve. 4x4 performance is very good considering the low ground clearance. The engine and differentials are well protected by a skid plate that has stood up well from a lot of abuse from rocks. The front wishbones are very tough too.
I live at 5,000 ft. and often ride as high as 10,000 ft. utilizing the stock jetting with no problems, if I run a hotter spark plug and keep the valves adjusted properly.
This little four-wheeler has never let me down in over 23 years of very tough riding and still runs and performs like new. I’ve upgraded to newer more powerful ATVs, but still keep the reliable TRX300FW as a spare bike for me to ride.
As of October 2011 we still have the little Honda 300 and it still runs strong! It is parked in the garage side by side with a 2002 Honda Rancher. Both ATV’s are only used as spare bikes for our guests to ride.
Occasionally I compare the fit and finish of the two and always come to the conclusion that there is no comparison in later model ATV’s to the quality, endurance and fuel economy of the original Honda 300 Fourtrax.
If you are in the market for a used, inexpensive but reliable 4X4 ATV, take a closer look at the Honda TRX300 4X4. They just don’t make bikes anymore like the original Honda FourTrax.