ST. GEORGE, Utah — Apologies to the talented Honda Powersports design team, but the Honda Talon 1000X and 1000R are — like most side-by-side ATVs — homely contraptions by enthusiast car standards. They look chunky and top-heavy. Plastic bodywork covers plastic fittings inside. The inline two-cylinder engine thuds and whines, sounding a bit like a generator crossed with a moped. They aren't elegant devices, with none of the passion or emotion that radiates out of two-wheeled enthusiast machines like, say, a Triumph Bonneville.
Notice that I haven't said a whit yet about how the Talon twins move, because the first time I barreled into a whoop the size of a foothill at 45 mph and braced for a violent impact that never came, I started scheming, doing some desperate and feverish math. Could I sell my old, tired 4x4 pickup and pull one of these on a trailer with my Subaru track car? Use a Talon as intended, and you have too much fun to sweat the rough edges.