I was once a major ATC enthusiast. I always enjoyed and preferred 3-wheelers over 4-wheelers. Perhaps it’s because my first bike was a three-wheeler: a 1985 Honda ATC200X.
Whatever the case, I spent more hours in the saddle of that 200x than any other ATV or motorcycle I’ve owned since. I knew that machine so intimately well that it was an extension of my senses. I could handle terrain and perform feats that only the most seasoned rider would dare attempt, whether it be wheelies through all 5 gears, one-wheel wheelies, or conquering steep side-inclines or long steep vertical climbs. I guess if you spend enough time practicing and operating a machine, you know its capabilities well enough to do those things.
My favorite activity on this trike was hill climbing. For some reason, I could really climb on this thing, more so than I could on my four wheelers which I can climb quite well on. Maybe it’s because the front-end was so much more controllable. Most people think of three wheelers as poor climbers, and most of them are, but the 200x had a longer rake on the front-end than any other ATC and that, combined with responsive power and a great power-to-weight ratio, made it a superb hill climber.
A second benefit of having good chassis geometry was smooth wheelies. During wheelies, it had a good balance point that was lower than most bikes so I could easily and smoothly ride a wheelie through all five gears without constantly fighting an over-wheelie, and yes, I used the clutch when shifting.
I had as much fun on that three-wheeler as a person can have with a machine. I think it even helped form my path in life because without having owned that particular trike, I may not have gotten so involved with mechanics and machines. Between my dad teaching things and me rebuilding this trike from one end to the other several times, I learned the most important part of anything in life: the basics.
My 1985 Honda ATC200X (fully restored from the frame up with a race engine and many other performance parts) the week I sold it back in 2001:
General specs for the 1985 200X obtained from Honda brochures:
Frame number JH3TB0524FK400001~
Engine number TB05E-6200001~
Engine type 4 stroke, Air cooled
Bore x Stroke 65 x 57.8 mm
Compression ratio 9.6 to 1
Compression 142 - 170 psi
Transmission speeds 5 speed
Clutch Type Manual
Oil Capacity 1.3 Qt
Carburetion 24 mm Keihin
Starting system Kick Starter
Fuel capacity 2.56 Gal , 0.31 Gal res.
Wheelbase 47.6 in.
Overall Length 72.8 in.
Overall Width 41.3 in.
Ground Clearance 4.9 in.
Seat height 27.8 in.
Front tire 23.5 x 8 x 11
Rear tires 22 x 11 x 8
Front suspension Hydraulic Telescoping Forks
Rear suspension Mono shock
Front brake Hydraulic Disk
Rear brake Hydraulic Disk
Final drive Chain
Dry weight 282.2 lbs
Approx. retail new $1,798.00