We know how readers like to get first-hand accounts of how a piece of kit really performs in the field. So over the coming months we plan to pilot a new type of review called Farm Tested which involves handing over kit to farmers for them to try for several weeks or months.
First on our list is the Honda Fourtrax 420 FE. Launched last year, the 420 is now the company’s most popular ATV among farmers. Available in three models – mechanical foot shift, electric shift and automatic – prices range from £4670 to £5370+VAT.
Our first farmer-testers are Philip Robinson and his son Oliver at Stoneton Moat Farm, a mixed 325ha (800-acre) arable and sheep farm in Warwickshire. Their current ATV is used on a daily basis, so the farm is ideal for our first long-term test.
Regular duties include winter feeding and all-year-round management of the 650-ewe flock, slug pelleting arable land, boundary spraying, spot treating weeds and turning out during lambing time. The farm also has a shoot and in the lead-up to the shooting season the ATV is used to fill hoppers and check birds, while on shoot days it will be used to tow the game/beater trailer.
Terrain varies from heavy clay low-lying arable ground through to ironstone hillside and woodland. So traction, towing ability and stability will all be tested to find the bike’s strengths and weaknesses.
Over the next six months, the Robinsons will provide a practical review of how the 420 performs, both on a day-to-day basis and overall. Readers will be able to follow this in the magazine or, more regularly, online by reading our Farm Tested blog at www.fwispace.co.uk/farmtested, which will be set up soon. Using this blogging facility, it will be possible to ask questions about the Honda, so if you’re thinking of changing your ATV and have a specific question to ask, why not log on?
ATV facts: Honda Fourtrax FE
- Engine: 420cc liquid-cooled single cylinder
- Transmission: Electric push-button shift
- Driveline: Shaft drives to front and rear
- Suspension: Front – wishbones with coil and damper, Rear – swing-arm beam axle with single coil and damper
- Brakes: Front – discs, Rear – sealed drum
- Rack capacity: Front – 30kg, Rear – 60kg
- Towing capacity: 378kg
- Price: £4970