Here's Why the Honda TRX 400EX is Still Popular

The Honda TRX 400EX is a well-known entry level ATV. The kind that leads to the harder, scarier ATVs able to make tears run down your cheeks in the first second, and dry them all up in the second. You won’t find that kind of power on a base model TRX400EX, but it’s perfect for a beginner or someone graduating from a lower class of bike with less cc’s. Now, just because some see it as an entry level ATV it doesn’t mean the 400EX doesn’t have lots of low end power to whip anyone around the trails and have tons of fun. In many ways though, it’s a jack of all trades but master of none. People might then ask, if it’s not powerful or one heck of a performer then why is it still so widely remembered in the ATV community? In this blog we’ll explore that status and the 400EX’s history ending with it taking a permanent place in the hearts and minds of ATV riders everywhere.

Why the Almost Mythical Status?

Word of mouth is what gives something mythical status, a status that is either good or bad; no one cares or remembers about the all-around average. Generally, we remember the bad easier than the good, which means the good we do remember has to be pretty darn great.

The 400EX is one of the greats, up there with the Yamaha Banshee 350. Where the Banshee has an extraordinary powerband that can almost suck the vehicle right from under your hands, the 400EX has reliability and ease of use. There is no ATV forum online that doesn’t have countless topics about the 400EX and this just goes to show how popular the machine still truly is. It is without a doubt one, if not the best vehicle for longevity and user-friendliness.


When the 400EX first came out it was considered a really good vehicle; however, the powerful two-strokes usually kept them out of major races. And yet, whenever someone goes on a forum and asks “what vehicle should I get if I’m a beginner.” The forum is always full of 400EX responses because it was made tough and durable so new riders didn't have to worry as often about costly maintenance beyond the basic oil and filter changes.

The Honda TRX 400EX is also well-known because of when it launched. It was the light at the end of a long and dark tunnel that stretched for 10 years until a new sport ATV came out. Sure the Banshee and Blaster were still being made, but there was no other competition, at least not until the 400EX came out. In many ways sports ATVs were smeared as dangerous toys, manufactured by companies that cared little for human life and less still for children. The biggest factor in this dark period was the Consent Decree of 1988 which held numerous requirements that immensely affected those “evil” manufacturers. Three wheel ATVs were completely banned from being manufactured and although nothing explicitly banned sport ATVs in the decree, no one really had the needed willpower to fight for their place in the industry.

Then we jump 10 years to 1998, It was a good year for the sport ATV enthusiast because the Consent Decree finally came to an end and sport ATVs had their sudden resurgence with the launch of the TRX 400EX.

In the car world, Honda Civics and Toyota Corollas are seen as invincible lackluster cars that will get you through the years from A to B without many stops at the shop and in the ATV world, the Honda TRX400EX is exactly that. They’re not often raced these days because there are many more powerful vehicles out there, but that also means many of those being sold today are OEM or close to it. The 400EX also has no shortage of aftermarket parts either and aftermarket manufacturers have made it so that if you want to change something on your vehicle, you can, from big bores to suspension and axles to coolers. Nothing needs to be original if you so choose.

It does have a couple weaknesses, putting in mods that generate additional power means putting increased stress on the gearbox and the clutch, which have been noticeable weak points with the machine. But no machine is perfect and the benefits of owning this one outweigh the negatives.

With the 400EX you can truly customize it to your likes and needs. If you’re looking to add some aftermarket parts to your 400EX and keep it just as reliable as before, take a tour of our 400EX section on where we have numerous OEM replacement and high performance parts waiting to make it purr or howl, depending on what you’re looking for.



2008 Honda TRX400EX:


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