Sunday, March 13, 2011

2009 Honda Rincon Project ATV Update

If there’s one thing we all like to do it’s getting some new stuff to put on our motorcycle or ATV. We thought dirt bikes were bad enough, but as we sized up the 2009 Honda Rincon it became apparent that there’s even more options thanks to the utility nature of the Honda ATV and all the storage and towing capacities. We were like kids in a candy store, but we narrowed our wish list to include items that weren’t too specific, increased the Rincon’s general capabilities and remedied some of the minor shortcomings.

The Trail-tec Crossover Front/Rear Bag from Kolpin expands with removable wire supports.
The first order of business was to figure out how to carry more gear along for our rides. Stock racks seem like a great thing, but they are really very limited in what they can carry. Having to strap down every load is inconveniencing and very time consuming. Kolpin is a known leader in the ATV luggage world so we started perusing their online catalog. Depending on what we’re up to on any particular outing, we need to carry anything from expensive photo and video equipment to fence-building hardware and hand tools. The Trail-tec Crossover Front/Rear Bag looked to be a good all-around performer with some unique features.

The Trail-tec line uses a zipperless, hinged lid which allows it to open and close very easily. A pair of buckles at the front is simple to use even with gloves on, allowing easy access to the contents. Mounting the Crossover

The interior is large enough to hold a wide variety of items and the exterior holds up well to abuse.
bag on the rear made it difficult to swing a leg over without kicking our muddy boots all over it, so we elected to mount it up front, but a set of adjustable straps holds the luggage in place on either rack. It deserves its crossover name by not only fitting front or rear, but it uses a wire support frame on the interior that provides the structure and roominess of hard-shell luggage. A brief shower proved that the available Kolpin ATV Luggage Rain Cover should definitely have been on our list as well. The bag will handle a very slight mist, but our stuff got wet pretty quickly with the springtime rain. However, that was the only area where we weren’t completely happy with the performance. The 600 denier nylon proved tough as we dragged it through piles of overhanging blackberry vines which explains the three-year warranty from Kolpin. The dual mesh water bottle holders on the rear are accessible by the rider regardless of bag placement. For $114.99, the 13.5”x29"x10.5” capacity has been very useful. It’s great to be able to toss a spare jacket, gloves, lunch or work tools inside, clip it shut and head out without cinching anything down.

ITP SS312 Alloy wheels and TerraCross tires gave our Rincon a better look and increased traction. The larger tires do take a bit more effort to turn.
Honda didn’t put the greatest tires on the Rincon at the factory, and ours would slowly lose pressure. Whether it was the rims or the tires, we figured the best way to ensure a better solution was to order a set of both. ITP tires offer plenty of variations with their complete wheel and tire packages. The SS Alloy line is a popular set of rims for ITP and the SS312 Alloy wheel is the latest version. Lifetime warranty against bending or breaking comes from a 700-pound rating for the 12-inch ATV wheels. The one-piece aluminum wheels are finished with a matte black and machined accents. A clear coat has kept them from suffering any damage yet, and we couldn’t be happier with the new looks of our Rincon. Adding to the beefier image was a set of ITP TerraCross R/T XD tires. The 26x9-12

front and 26x11-12 rear tires are one inch larger than stock. Traction is greatly improved in all areas. We noticed it most during braking and on sidehills where the Honda ATV refuses to slip. However, the taller tires to make the Rincon feel more top-heavy. Combined, the ITP wheel/tire package adds 58 pounds compared to the stock arrangement, and the footprint is noticeably wider. We could instantly feel the weight with considerably more effort required at the bars to initiate turning. Once the turn begins, however, the TerraCross’ interlocking tread pattern digs in and gives the rider a precise feel.

One of the more specific items we selected also came from the good people at Kolpin. The Gun Boot 6.0 Transport ($105.99) is a must-have for hunters or gun enthusiasts. Using the Rincon as a hunting rig is a natural fit thanks to its all-day comfort and rugged abilities, but slinging a rifle or shotgun over our shoulder all day wasn’t what we had in mind. The Transport has a soft case within the hard outer container, with room for firearms up to 51 inches in length and 50mm scopes. The polypropylene hard shell has a lockable flip-open base which allows for quick access without having to entirely remove an endcap.

We got the mounting bracket installed, but haven't had an opportunity to take the Kolpin Gun Boot 6.0 Transport out for a full test.
The gun boot is straightforward and it has accommodated every rifle and shotgun we’ve slipped into its protective clutches, but we’ve yet to mount it for a ride. However, we did get the Gun Boot IV Loop Bracket ($57.49) bolted on and ready to go for our next outing. Installing the actual mounting hardware to accept the 6.0 boot was pretty basic. The universal design means it comes with vague instructions. We bolted ours to the right side of the rear rack and the installation took about 15 minutes. The biggest issue that we had was figuring out which wrenches to use. The kit came with a mixture of metric and standard nuts and bolts. The u-bolts fit securely and small rubber safety tips are a nice feature to help protect gear and body parts from the exposed bolt ends. Now that it’s ready to go, we’re looking forward to exercising our Second Amendment ATV-style. More on the entire gun boot setup in the next installment.

You can expect to see some more interesting items on our trusty Rincon in the near future. A K&N air filter just showed up which we hope will give Big Red a little boost in engine department. It lacks a little pop with the automatic transmission and we’ve found that a jerky thumb will stall the motor at low rpm. We’ll see if some better breathing will help.

The Rincon's work load keeps getting heavier. Our homemade trailer hitch works for now but a legit setup will give us the proper towing capacity in addition to other upgrades which will keep this project ATV moving forward.
Also, even though there have been very few things to stop our Honda ATV, as we get more comfortable, the envelope starts to stretch. Since the stock wheels are just taking up space, we went ahead and ordered a set of Maxxis Mudbug tires. These are supposed to give some extra digging ability in the nasty stuff and still provide a relatively comfortable ride. It seems a few trips to some mud holes are in order. We want to compare the Maxxis rubber to the awesome ITP digs we’re using now since both are aimed primarily at mud, sand and snow. There might even be some dunes action if we’re lucky.

With our confidence growing and some extreme tire testing on the horizon, we’ve also requested a Warn XT30 winch. If that bad boy shows up we’ll really have no excuses for getting stuck. The Warn name is synonymous with durability and rugged performance, so we’re looking forward to not only the peace of mind it brings for getting out of tight situations, but for other benefits as well whether it’s retrieving a carcass while hunting or pulling logs for firewood.

The whole utility quad mentality is starting to make more and more sense as we rack up the hours. Stick around and don’t be bashful about giving some feedback on our Honda Rincon. Have any experience with these items or other ATV products? We’d like to see some project tips and suggestions of your own.

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