2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT+EPS Review / Specs + NEW Changes Explained! (TRX520FA7) | Most expensive ATV Honda makes…

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– NEW 2020 Honda FourTrax Foreman RUBICON 520 DELUXE DCT + EPS ATV Specs / Buyer’s Guide: New Rubicon 520 Changes + Model Differences Explained, HP & TQ, Price, Colors + More! –

2020 FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 520 DELUXE ATV REVIEW / SPECS

The 2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS… The baddest and most expensive 4×4 utility ATV that Honda has ever built! Is it worth the hefty pricetag though for all of the technology Honda is cramming into this four-wheeler for 2020? That’s what we’re going to go over below in our detailed 2020 Rubicon DELUXE DCT + EPS Review / Buyer’s Guide.

Honda tries to make their ATV model lineup the most difficult thing to understand on the planet. I’m kidding. Well, I’m not but I am – kinda haha. They have been trying the last few years though with shrinking down their ATV model lineup model variations and discontinued certain ATV models to better streamline the purchasing process for you. It has worked, to an extent, from my experience with Honda for over a decade now but still isn’t perfect in making things easy to understand so that’s why this page is here and really all of the ATV model lineup explained posts I’ve made over the years explaining all of the differences between the Foreman VS Rubicon VS Rancher etc.


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  • Quick Overview of Key 2020 Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT + EPS Specs:
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Price / MSRP – $9,899
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Release Date – August 2019
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Colors – Matte Green Metallic, Phantom Camo
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Miles Per Gallon – TBA
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Horsepower – TBA 
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Torque – TBA
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Fuel Tank Capacity – 3.9 gal.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Weight – 722 lbs (curb)
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Seat Height – 35.8 in.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Ground Clearance – 9.4 in.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Suspension Travel – 8.5 in. rear / 7.3 in. front
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Width – 47.4 in.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Length – 84.5 in.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Wheelbase – 50.9 in.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Turning Radius – 11.5 ft.
    • 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT + EPS Towing Capacity – 1,322 lbs
    • 2020 Monkey 125 Changes – Yes, explained below.
      • * The specs above are only for the 2020 Rubicon Deluxe DCT / EPS (TRX500FA7) as not all Rubicon models share the same specs. 
      • For more 2020 Rubicon 520 specifications, scroll down to the bottom.

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS ATV Review + Specs | Buyer's Guide

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS ATV Review + Specs | Buyer's Guide

The model we’re covering today on this page: 2020 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 520 DELUXE DCT / EPS (model ID: TRX500FA7L). To make things easier, I will be excluding the FourTrax Foreman part of the Rubicon’s model name in this breakdown and just calling it a Rubicon Deluxe. The only way you can get the Deluxe package is with the DCT / EPS features so by default – saying Rubicon DELUXE will automatically include those.

If you’re looking for a true fully-automatic transmission in Honda’s 2020 520cc ATV model lineup – this is the most expensive four-wheeler option you have. If you still want DCT or EPS but don’t care for the Deluxe package features then by all means you have cheaper 2020 Rubicon 520 models to choose from. Below, I will explain exactly what the model ID means so you can better decipher what Honda’s confusing model ID’s mean. Honda makes multiple different variations of the Rubicon for 2020 even though they did discontinue some of the model options / variations a couple years ago which I break down in detail here. If you don’t “have” to have a fully-automatic transmission, you do have other options from Honda and some other cheaper options as well with some models having a manual foot-shift transmission (no clutch) or the ES transmission (ES = Electric Shift) that are different from the fully-automatic DCT (DCT = Dual-Clutch Transmission).

2020 Rubicon 520 DCT VS 2019 Rubicon 500 DCT Changes? Yes, loads! Explained below… For 2020, Honda’s extremely popular, do-it-all 500-class FourTrax Foreman Rubicon benefits from more of the very qualities that have long made this model such a popular choice with customers. All Rubicon models still come standard with Independent Rear Suspension (IRS) for exceptional traction and comfort, and they now get a 43cc displacement increase to 518cc, adding power where it’s used most, in the low- and middle-rpm ranges. On non-manual models, engaging the reverse gear is now a simple operation accomplished electronically via a single lever that fits a wide range of hand sizes and can be operated easily and quickly, without the need to engage neutral. Four Rubicon models are offered, three of which come with a high-tech Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT), and those three now feature manual-shift override capability so that riders can command gear changes at will, even in automatic mode—enabling use of engine braking for situations like corner entry and descents. (Automatic mode takes over again a few seconds after manual inputs.) The Rubicon models’ front and rear cargo racks now have expanded planar surfaces for more carrying options, and they integrate with Honda’s new Pro-Connect line of modular accessories. Off-road-legal in all 50 states, all Rubicon models get a new front grill, as well as an updated 50-watt LED assist headlight and a 1.9-liter front utility box that can be accessed from the rider cockpit when stopped.

2020 FourTrax Foreman Rubicon

  • 2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Changes:
    • New larger displacement 518cc engine (a 43cc displacement increase) with updated mapping provides stronger power and torque where it’s used most—in the low end and midrange—for quicker acceleration, better ascending and improved hauling and towing.
    • An all-new reverse-gear actuation mechanism for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models makes shifting to reverse a one-lever, fully electronic operation that is quicker, simpler and easier for all hand sizes. This simplified process is particularly helpful for work such as plowing snow, when constant shifting between forward and reverse is required.
    • For DCT models, all-new manual-override capability allows the driver to manually change gears even when in automatic mode. (The transmission reverts back to fully automatic mode after a few seconds.) This provides a new level of control, making it possible to downshift on corner entry or upshift on descents, for example.
    • A new shift map for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models monitors engine rpm in real time during shifting, not just prior to the shift, to deliver smoother transitions from gear to gear.
    • A 1.9-liter utility box with weatherproof cover is added to the front deck. Designed to keep sundries like phone, map and camera within easy access from the riding position (when stopped), this new storage compartment complements the utility box that is placed within easy reach on the left front fender.
    • Newly engineered front and rear cargo racks provide more area and accept new Honda Pro Connect accessories for smooth integration.
    • All-new line of Pro Connect accessories designed for precise fit, simple attachment with quick-connection latch system, and integrated function.
    • New guards extend the full length of the lower suspension arms for full coverage of the driveshaft and outboard CV joints.
    • For California models, a new evaporative emissions device complies with Green Sticker requirements for year-round off-road use at public riding areas.
    • Newly redesigned front bumper and grill further emphasizes the Foreman Rubicon’s aggressive stance.

Here’s a few pictures of the new reverse system:

 2020 Honda ATV Announcement / Update #1 – Click Here 

 2020 Honda ATV Model Lineup – Click Here 

2020 FourTrax Foreman 4x4

Before we dive any deeper into the 2020 Rubicon Deluxe, let’s quickly go over the entire 2020 Rubicon 520 ATV model lineup options and let you know what the differences are etc as you may not really be interested in this “Cadillac” version of the Rubicon and may be looking for a different Rubicon model all-together.

The four-member (models listed below), 520-class family of premium Foreman Rubicons is packed with powersports-category exclusives. For example, the Rubicon 4×4 EPS is the only ATV offered with a combination of a tough manual-shift transmission and independent rear suspension, and for those who’d rather not do all the shifting themselves, the other three variations come with Honda’s revolutionary DCT gearbox, a durable geared system that has dual ranges and can execute shifts seamlessly. The IRS contributes to an impressively comfortable ride, even when spending long days in the saddle, along with excellent handling over the roughest terrain. The long list of available features includes Electric Power Steering (EPS), and all models can be switched between three drivetrain settings: 2WD, 4WD and 4WD with differential lock. 

  • 2020 Honda TRX500 Rubicon Model Lineup Options / Explained + Prices:
    • 2020 Rubicon 520 EPS (TRX500FM6): 4×4 Manual / Foot-Shift model with EPS and straight axle (EPS = Electric Power Steering)
      • 2020 Honda Rubicon EPS Price / MSRP: $8,799 (Phantom Camo / Matte Molasses Brown $9,299)
    • 2020 Rubicon 520 DCT (TRX520FA5): 4×4 DCT Automatic model with IRS (IRS = Independent Rear Suspension)
      • 2020 Honda Rubicon DCT Price / MSRP: $8,699
    • 2020 Rubicon 520 DCT / EPS (TRX520FA6): 4×4 DCT Automatic model with EPS and IRS (EPS = Electric Power Steering) & (IRS = Independent Rear Suspension)
      • 2020 Honda Rubicon DCT / EPS Price / MSRP: $9,399
    • 2020 Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS (TRX500FA7): 4×4 DCT Automatic model with EPS and IRS plus Painted Matte Green Metallic Plastics with painted suspension or Phantom Camo finish (EPS = Electric Power Steering) & (IRS = Independent Rear Suspension)
      • 2020 Honda Rubicon Deluxe DCT / EPS Price / MSRP: $9,899
        • What does the 2020 Rubicon DELUXE package give you? With the Deluxe package, you get: Aluminum wheels, painted plastics, painted suspension. By default, all Deluxe Rubicon models also come standard with DCT / EPS.
2020 Honda Rubicon 520 & Foreman 520 ATV Model Lineup Comparison Chart | Options / Variations:
  2020 Foreman 4×4 (TRX520FM1) 2020 Foreman 4×4 EPS (TRX520FM2) 2020 Foreman 4×4 ES / EPS (TRX520FE2) 2020 Foreman
RUBICON
4×4 EPS (TRX520FM6)
2020 Foreman
RUBICON
4×4 DCT (TRX520FA5)
2020 Foreman
RUBICON 4×4
DCT / EPS (TRX520FA6)
2020 Foreman
RUBICON DELUXE 4×4
DCT / EPS (TRX520FA7)
Independent Rear
Suspension (IRS)
      X X X X
Straight Axle Rear Suspension X X X        
Electronic
Fuel Injection
X X X X X X X
Traxlok
2WD/4WD
X X X X X X X
Front Differential
Lock
X X X X X X X
Manual
Transmission (foot-shift)
X X   X      
Electric Shift (ES)     X        
Automatic DCT
Transmission
w/ Drive / Low Range
        X X X
Electric
Power Steering (EPS)
  X X X   X X
Aluminum
Wheels / Painted Plastics &
Suspension
            X

 

  • 2020 Honda Rubicon 520 ATV Transmission Options:
    • Manual / Foot Shift (No clutch) | Models: TRX520FM6
    • DCT / Automatic – Fully Automatic so you can just hit the gas and go | Models: TRX520FA5, TRX520FA6, TRX520FA7
      • *–> When I say “manual” above, I do not mean a manual clutch. It has a semi-automatic clutch so all you have to do is push the shift-lever up and down with your foot to choose the next gear versus DCT where you can choose between fully-automatic mode or ESP (Electric Shift Program) where you can manually change the gears by clicking the Up / Down arrows on the left handlebar with your thumb.
  • 2020 Honda ATV Model ID / Code Key:
    • TRX – Generic prefix for all Honda ATV Sport / Utility 2WD & 4WD models
    • 520 – 520 cc engine
    • T – Two Wheel Drive
    • F – Four Wheel Drive
    • A – Fully Automatic (DCT Transmission)
    • M – Manual Shift
    • E – Electric Shift (ES = Electric Shift)
    • 1 – No Power Steering / EPS (straight axle)
    • 2 – Power Steering / EPS (straight axle)
    • 5 – IRS + NO Power Steering (EPS)
    • 6 – IRS + Power Steering (EPS)
    • 7 – Deluxe package (by default, all Rubicon Deluxe models have DCT, EPS with painted plastics and aluminum wheels)
    • L – 2020 Model Year
      • DCT – Dual Clutch Transmission (Fully Automatic Transmission with Electric Shift option option to manually change gears via the ESP)
      • AT – Automatic (Fully Automatic Transmission with Electric Shift option to manually change gears via the ESP)
      • EPS – Electric Power Steering
      • ESP – Electric Shift Program (Normally referred to as ES)
      • ES – Electric Shift
      • IRS – Independent Rear Suspension
      • FourTrax – Honda uses this as a generic model name for all of their utility ATV models in the lineup. Some confuse FourTrax as a certain model from Honda or that it means 4×4 but that is not the case as even 2×4 models use FourTrax.

Model EXAMPLE: TRX520FA7L

Now lets put the key above to use… What is a TRX520FA7L? It is a 520 Rubicon Deluxe Four Wheel Drive with a DCT Automatic transmission with EPS and is a 2020 model. TRX = ATV / 520 = 520cc / F = Four Wheel Drive / A = Automatic DCT / 7 = will always mean it’s a Deluxe and by default has DCT, IRS and EPS / L = 2020.

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS ATV Review + Specs | Buyer's Guide

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS ATV Review + Specs | Buyer's Guide

  • 2020 Rubicon 520 Color Options:
    • TRX500FM6 Foreman Rubicon EPS: Red, Phantom Camo, Molasses Brown
    • TRX500FA5 Foreman Rubicon DCT: Red, Olive Green
    • TRX500FA6 Foreman Rubicon DCT / EPS: Red, Olive Green
    • TRX500FA7 Foreman Rubicon Deluxe: Matte Green Metallic (painted), Phantom Camo
      • * Phantom Camo available on select Rubicon models = +$500 MSRP / Price increase (Except on Deluxe models)
  • 2020 Rubicon 500 DCT Performance Numbers:
    • 2020 Rubicon 500 DCT Horsepower: TBA (previous year: 27 HP @ 6,250 RPM)
    • 2020 Rubicon 500 DCT Torque: TBA(previous year: 28 lb/ft TQ @ 5,000 RPM)
    • 2020 Rubicon 500 DCT ATV Miles Per Gallon: TBA (previous year: 33.6 MPG)

2020 Honda Rubicon DCT (TRX500FA5) Features & Benefits:

 

 

 

Honda Foreman Rubicon 500 ATV Review / Specs / IRS / DCT / TRX520 Horsepower & Torque Performance Rating

  • Rubicon 500 Engine / Drivetrain
    • 518cc engine (a 43cc displacement increase) with updated mapping provides stronger power and torque where it’s used most—in the low end and midrange—for quicker acceleration, better ascending and improved hauling and towing.
    • Honda’s programmed fuel injection system provides clean, responsive power delivery and great fuel efficiency.
    • Though larger in displacement, the engine is still compact, with a low height that helps centralize mass for optimum handling, and a narrow width that allows for a comfortable rider compartment.
    • An all-new reverse-gear actuation mechanism for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models makes shifting to reverse a one-lever, fully electronic operation that is quicker, simpler and easier for all hand sizes. This simplified process is particularly helpful for work such as plowing snow, when constant shifting between forward and reverse is required.
    • For DCT models, all-new manual-override capability allows the driver to manually change gears even when in automatic mode. (The transmission reverts back to fully automatic mode after a few seconds.) This provides a new level of control, making it possible to downshift on corner entry or upshift on descents, for example.
    • A new shift map for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models monitors engine rpm in real time during shifting, not just prior to the shift, to deliver smoother transitions from gear to gear.
    • The Automatic DCT features a dual shift-mapping program that automatically selects between two transmission shifting modes—either Cruise or Sport mode—for optimum shift timing depending on the rider’s pattern of throttle operation. During aggressive use, the Sport mode kicks in and holds the transmission in gear longer before shifting to deliver more aggressive performance. During more casual operation, the Cruise mode allows the transmission to shift up sooner for more casual performance and enhanced fuel efficiency.
    • The Automatic DCT provides the compact size and strength of a manual transmission (no belts to slip, break or burn out) with the convenience of an automatic transmission, while giving the rider the option of push-button manual control via Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP®).
    • On DCT models, switch between fully automatic and manual paddle shifting.
    • Honda TraxLok® 2WD/4WD allows both 2WD and 4WD riding with the flip of an electronic switch; 4WD with locking front differential, also engaged electronically, maximizes traction over very rough terrain.
    • On DCT-equipped models, Drive / Low range sub-transmission effectively doubles the number of gears and offers two selectable gear ranges to match varying riding conditions.
    • Speed Override mode in TraxLok 2WD/4WD delivers improved performance in deep mud and other extreme terrain, by allowing faster wheel speed with front differential locked.
    • Honda’s Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) system yields improved throttle response and smooth power delivery, and aids fuel economy for greater range.
    • 1,322 lb. towing capacity.
    • Strong 570 watt generator produces enough power to run electrical accessories.
    • For California models, a new evaporative emissions device complies with Green Sticker requirements for year-round off-road use at public riding areas.

2020 FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 520 Deluxe

 

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 ATV Frame / Engine - Review / Specs / Price / HP & TQ Performance Rating

  • Rubicon 500 Chassis / Suspension
    • Double-cradle steel frame engineered for optimal balance of stiffness, compliance and torsional rigidity for precise handling and a comfortable ride.
    • Rubber mounting of engine and exhaust system for reduced vibration and high-quality chassis feel.
    • Independent double-wishbone front suspension delivers 7.3 inches of travel.
    • Independent dual-arm rear suspension design offers a more optimal shock ratio and increased suspension stroke for 8.5 inches of travel while offering a smooth ride, outstanding traction, long travel and good ground clearance.
    • Adjustable spring preload featured on all shocks to allow suspension tuning to match varying loads and riding conditions.
    • Dual-purpose lever makes it easier than ever to engage Reverse gear as well as setting the parking brake. Simply pull the lever to engage Reverse; push the lever to set the parking brake.
    • Larger 190mm dual hydraulic disc brakes up front and 170mm hydraulic disc brake in back for strong stopping power.
    • Aggressive styling includes an all-steel full-coverage front bumper with integrated mounts for an accessory winch.
    • All-steel front and rear carriers are larger and offer more load capacity: 99 pounds up front, 187 pounds in the rear. Flat plates on carriers facilitate loading and offer multiple tie-down points.
    • Heavy-duty trailer hitch with 1322-pound towing capacity.
    • Seat is thicker than the standard Foreman, softer and sport-grip-textured for increased rider comfort and performance.
    • More open rider triangle ergonomics for all-day comfort.
    • Bold 50-watt top assist light operates independently of front headlights.
    • Electronic digital meter display includes a Maintenance Minder system that signals when it is time for service.
    • Maxxis tires feature a more aggressive tread pattern for improved traction and a new carcass design for improved rider comfort.
    • Available Deluxe model with aluminum wheels, special red-painted suspension components, power steering and decals.
    • Assembled in Timmonsville, South Carolina, using domestically and globally sourced parts.
    • Fully serviceable wheel bearings, pivot bushings, and ball joints.
    • Electric Power Steering available for lower steering effort (especially beneficial when front differential is locked) with a system that adjusts for vehicle speed and the steering force being used by the rider. EPS also reduces kickback through the handlebar.
    • Ergonomics engineered for a riding position that allows rider mobility, control, comfort and safety. 
    • Contoured and comfortable seat (compare it to the Foreman seat…) for long days of work or play.
    • Handlebar-mounted shifting and drive mode controls are positioned for easy reach and give positive tactile feedback, even through gloves. 
    • LCD multifunction display is easy to read and provides information on up to 13 functions.
    • Dual 190mm front disc brakes and a single 170mm rear disc brake provide strong stopping power.
    • A 1.9-liter utility box with weatherproof cover is added to the front deck. Designed to keep sundries like phone, map and camera within easy access from the riding position (when stopped), this new storage compartment complements the utility box that is placed within easy reach on the left front fender.
    • Newly engineered front and rear cargo racks provide more area and accept new Honda Pro Connect accessories for smooth integration.
    • All-new line of Pro Connect accessories designed for precise fit, simple attachment with quick-connection latch system, and integrated function.
    • New guards extend the full length of the lower suspension arms for full coverage of the driveshaft and outboard CV joints.
    • Newly redesigned front bumper and grill further emphasizes the Foreman Rubicon’s aggressive stance.
    • Transferable one-year limited warranty. Extended warranty coverage available with a Honda Protection Plan. Check out my discount Honda ATV warranty prices by Clicking Here.

Maximum Optimization: Great Parts, Better Sum

2020 Honda Rubicon DELUXE 520 ATV Review / Specs

When planning the FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 4×4 models with Independent Rear Suspension (IRS), ride comfort and handling were front-of-mind for Honda engineers in Ohio, but they knew that just adding IRS wouldn’t be enough. At least as important would be getting the entire package to work efficiently as a well-balanced whole, with matched suspension and engine performance.

Chassis

The development team’s priorities included managing overall size and keeping the center of gravity low, since these attributes lead to good maneuverability and handling in rough terrain, as well as rider comfort on all-day outings. “We wanted a machine that doesn’t move as it goes down the trail because the suspension is doing all the work, but we didn’t want a vehicle that was too large,” explains Eric Stevens (HRA-Ohio), Large Project Leader (LPL) for the Foreman Rubicon.

* Pictures below of the Rubicon chassis / frame are using the previous year model Rubicon Deluxe.

 

2020 Honda TRX520 Rubicon 520 ATV Review / Specs / Horsepower / Torque Performance Rating

Front and rear suspension travel comes in at to 7.3 and 8.5 inches, respectively, but engineers stopped short of making sacrifices with vehicle size and/or handling. “We wanted to keep that Honda character,” explains Matt Alexander (HRA-Ohio), the project’s Sub-LPL. “That meant we had to avoid a high center of gravity or a really wide vehicle, so we worked hard to squeeze maximum performance out of every millimeter of suspension travel.”

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 IRS ATV Review / Specs - TRX520 Horsepower & Torque Performance Numbers

To that end, all four shocks are preload-adjustable, and every suspension component was completely redesigned to optimize rigidity and comfort. The all-new double-cradle steel frame was also designed to provide enough torsional stiffness for good performance during aggressive trail riding while still offering plush character for all-day comfort. The front brake rotors are now larger at 190mm, and the single 170mm hydraulic rear disc brake’s integrated, inboard position keeps it out of harm’s way while reducing unsprung weight and increasing ground clearance (now 9.4 inches, a 1.9 inch increase).

Tires

On ATVs, tires actually work as part of the suspension system, as they absorb smaller trail impacts. When designing the new Foreman Rubicons, Honda engineers worked closely with Maxxis tire technicians to develop a special tire that would be compliant without sacrificing handling or precise steering. “We experimented a lot with the actual plies of the tire to make it work well,” Stevens reveals. “We went through several different tire iterations before we got the right one.”

2020 Honda Foreman Rubicon 520 IRS ATV Review / Specs / Price / HP & TQ Performance Rating

Of course this tire development didn’t occur in a vacuum; at the same time, Honda was tuning suspension settings and frame rigidity to ensure that all of the components worked with the tires in a complementary fashion while still meeting Honda’s rigid strength criteria. It’s a balancing act that results in a refined, cohesive package.

Engine / Drivetrain

2020 Honda TRX520 Foreman Rubicon ATV Horsepower & Torque Performance Numbers

As with the chassis, the Foreman Rubicon’s engine is designed to provide maximum performance, as its longitudinal mounting is more efficient than a power-robbing across-the-frame orientation. A new larger displacement 518cc engine (a 43cc displacement increase) with updated mapping provides stronger power and torque where it’s used most—in the low end and midrange—for quicker acceleration, better ascending and improved hauling and towing. The automatic DCT gearbox is also inherently more efficient than a standard CVT design.


Rubicon Engineering Spotlight

2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Deluxe DCT / EPS ATV Review + Specs | Buyer's Guide

The FourTrax Foreman Rubicon is the best-handling, most comfortable model in the full-size market, but the IRS is only part of what makes it such a rider-friendly ATV. Here’s a look at some of the features that give all-day comfort to riders at work, on the trail and in the garage:2020 Honda Foreman Rubicon 520 ATV Review / Specs / Price / HP & TQ Performance Rating

  • Comfortable cockpit
    • The Rubicon 520 seat is larger than the Foreman 520 and has thicker foam, while a new “gripper”-texture cover prevents things from getting slippery in challenging conditions.
    • A raised handlebar provides a more open ride position, while a 2mm larger half-waffle eccentric handgrip design (similar to the popular grip on Honda’s CRF motocrossers) insulates the rider from impacts and vibration. The grips have an optional heated accessory as well, a welcome detail in cool weather.
    • The bodywork is stylish and rugged, and it provides excellent protection from mud.
  • Rider-friendly trail manners
    • With the Automatic DCT gearbox with a new dual-range Drive/Low shifter, riders can choose between automatic or manual settings. In automatic mode, sensors monitor variables like vehicle speed and the ECU can select from a broad range of shift points. A dual-zone shift map seamlessly and intuitively adjusts to the rider’s style, whether it be mellow or aggressive.
    • For DCT models, all-new manual-override capability allows the driver to manually change gears even when in automatic mode. (The transmission reverts back to fully automatic mode after a few seconds.) This provides a new level of control, making it possible to downshift on corner entry or upshift on descents, for example.
    • A new shift map for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models monitors engine rpm in real time during shifting, not just prior to the shift, to deliver smoother transitions from gear to gear.
    • With Honda’s electronic TraxLok system, riders can select from 2WD and 4WD, and when in the latter mode, differential lock can be selected as well—great on tough ascents or when riding over rocks or through mud. Engaging it is as simple as flicking a switch with the right thumb. When the front differential is locked, a Speed Override mode can be engaged, allowing increased wheel speed in challenging conditions like deep mud.
    • The Electric Power Steering has an optimized ECU map, resulting in reduced rider fatigue. The system has three mounting points instead of the previous two, increasing rigidity.
    • A lantern-style, handlebar-mounted 50 watt assist light enables riders to direct illumination where they choose, augmenting the two fender-mounted headlights. The light can be turned off when there’s a load on the front rack, to avoid glare reflecting into the rider’s eyes.

2019 Honda Foreman Rubicon 500 DCT ATV Review / Specs - TRX500 Horsepower & Torque Performance Numbers

2020 Honda Foreman Rubicon EPS 520 ATV Review / Specs / Price / HP & TQ Performance Rating

  • Easing the workload
    • An all-new reverse-gear actuation mechanism for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models makes shifting to reverse a one-lever, fully electronic operation that is quicker, simpler and easier for all hand sizes. This simplified process is particularly helpful for work such as plowing snow, when constant shifting between forward and reverse is required.
    • The front and rear racks were both redesigned to increase functionality and versatility, while weight-carrying capacity has been increased (99 lbs. front, 187 rear). Flat steel plates are incorporated into the racks for more surface area to secure loads, and there are multiple tie-down points.
    • All-new line of Pro Connect accessories designed for precise fit, simple attachment with quick-connection latch system, and integrated function.
    • The frame has a heavy-duty hitch, and towing capacity has been increased significantly, to 1,322 lbs. Towing heavy loads is simplified by the sub-transmission, which effectively adds an extra five low gears on the Automatic DCT models. Meanwhile, the front bumper wraps around the headlights and has integrated mounts for an accessory winch.
    • A neodymium magnet stator design helps the new, more powerful AC generator to produce more electricity, enabling running of more Honda Genuine Accessories.
    • Optional EPS (Electric Power Steering) is available on the Fourtrax Rubicon 520 too.

2020 Honda ATV Power Steering Review / Specs - Rancher 420 / Foreman 520 / Rubicon 520 Four Wheeler

2019 Honda Foreman Rubicon 500 ATV Diff Lock 4x4 - Review / Specs / Price / HP & TQ Performance Rating

  • Easy to live with
    • Programmed Electronic Fuel Injection (PGM-FI) comes standard for the Foreman Rubicon, which boasts great cold-weather starting and improved fuel efficiency.
    • The digital display has a maintenance minder, signaling when it’s time for routine service.
    • The one-piece fuel tank/side cover can be removed without tools, making for easy access and maintenance.
    • As usual, Foreman Rubicon owners can expect to enjoy Honda’s legendary durability, quality and reliability.

Rubicon DCT Automatic Transmission Spotlight 

A first in the world of ATVs, Honda’s premium Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) in the Rubicon 4×4 Automatic DCT model makes it a standout. As mentioned above for the Rubicon 4×4 Automatic DCT models, they employ a DCT with an elevated level of sophistication: dual-zone shift logic offers adaptation to all riding conditions based on rider and vehicle inputs, effectively and intuitively adjusting shift points whether riding under normal or aggressive conditions. Thanks to this, the DCT significantly reduces gear “hunting” – that is, shifting back and forth repeatedly between two gears – as it performs the most appropriate shift actions automatically. As a result, the net benefits to the rider are many-fold: better automatic transmission feel as the Rubicon reacts more intuitively to the rider’s operational style and intentions; enhanced power feel; increased response; reduced engine lugging; plus less fatigue and more rider comfort.

The Automatic DCT provides the compact size and strength of a manual transmission (no belts to slip, break or burn out) with the convenience of an automatic transmission, while giving you the option of push-button manual control via Honda’s Electric Shift Program (ESP). At times this is also just referred to as Electric Shift (ES).

With the Automatic DCT transmission on the Rubicon you have a dual shift-mapping program that automatically selects between two transmission shifting modes which are:

Cruise Mode / Sport Mode

With these two modes you have optimum shift timing depending on your pattern of throttle operation. During aggressive riding, the Sport Mode kicks in and holds the transmission in gear longer and closer to redline before shifting to deliver more aggressive performance. During more casual trail riding, the Cruise Mode allows the transmission to shift up sooner for more casual performance and enhanced fuel efficiency.  What is the result of all this technology at your fingertips? The best-performing Automatic DCT transmission Honda has ever put in an ATV that offers the right gear, at the right time, all the time, all automatically without any needed input from you to create an entirely new riding experience. Something that no other ATV on the market whether it be Polaris, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Arctic Cat, Yamaha, etc can match. When you compare the nitty gritty details you’ll see why Honda dubbed their ad slogan “Follow the Leader”…

This new Automatic Dual-Clutch Transmission is light-years ahead of the other automatic transmissions that Honda has offered in the past on ATV models. The Honda DCT setup is something you truly have to hop on and ride to appreciate. It’s amazing the technology Honda has crammed into the transmission of an ATV. Just a few years earlier, the only thing with a DCT transmission were high-end sport cars and super cars.

NEW 2020 Honda FourTrax Foreman Rubicon Deluxe 520 Changes Explained!

The key to the DCT design is the innovative dual-clutch configuration coupled with a two-piece mainshaft. The first mainshaft has first, third and fifth gears all driven by the first clutch. The second mainshaft is sleeved over the first shaft. It carries second, fourth and reverse gears, and it’s driven by the second clutch. This designs allows two gears to be engaged at the same time, and each gear is pre-shifted before power is applied. Shifting is then accomplished by disengaging once clutch and engaging the other.

One advantage to this DCT system is extremely quick shifts for less driveline lurching between shifts, especially under load, which means the chassis attitude remains more consistent during gear changes. When engaging downhill slopes, this system also provides true controlled compression braking. In addition, this automatic five-speed transmission’s maintenance needs are greatly reduced, while power-transfer efficiency is improved to make the riding experience all the more enjoyable. Furthermore, since this DCT uses conventional transmission gears, it’s as rugged and durable as Honda’s conventional manual transmission. This fully automatic transmission also gives the rider the option of using the ESP push-button shifting mode as desired.

With the DCT Automatic transmission you have the option of using the ESP mode (Electric Shift Program) also known as ES in years past (Electric Shift). With ESP, an onboard Electronic Control Module (ECM) monitors information from four sensors – engine rpm, countershaft speed, shift drum angle and shift spindle angle – to control the speed of the electric-shift motor’s gear and clutch engagement. Gear-engagement speed varies according to rider usage: The transmission shifts more quickly when the riding style turns sporty. For DCT models, all-new manual-override capability allows the driver to manually change gears even when in automatic mode. (The transmission reverts back to fully automatic mode after a few seconds.) This provides a new level of control, making it possible to downshift on corner entry or upshift on descents, for example. A Neutral lockout at speeds greater than two mph ensures available engine braking when descending hills. For smooth shifting, the transmission cannot be shifted from Neutral to First gear or Reverse at engine speeds above 3000 rpm. ESP is not dependent on battery power; it operates whenever the engine is running. Should the rider ever need to shift manually, DCT models are also equipped with an auxiliary shift lever in the toolkit. Honda builds a “backup” into everything. Just in case you do have a problem on the trails, your DCT will not leave you stranded and having to walk back out of the trails. On the subject of emergency situations, the Rubicon also has an optional auxiliary backup pull-start should your battery die.

An all-new reverse-gear actuation mechanism for DCT equipped Foreman Rubicon models makes shifting to reverse a one-lever, fully electronic operation that is quicker, simpler and easier for all hand sizes. This simplified process is particularly helpful for work such as plowing snow, when constant shifting between forward and reverse is required.


Rubicon Development & Testing

When development work for the latest all-new generation FourTrax Foreman Rubicon began at Honda R&D Americas in Marysville, Ohio, engineers’ targets were clear, but it wasn’t until later that they would have the opportunity to see whether they had hit the bull’s-eye. That verification came at Transportation Research Center (TRC), an independent proving ground that sits adjacent to the Honda R&D facility. During the interim, technicians had spent countless hours on the project in the virtual world, performing computer-aided engineering (CAE) and finite-element analysis (FEA) tests to design components and evaluate performance before beginning the prototype phase. Now they finally had their first physical prototype, and they were eager to evaluate real-world performance. “You can simulate a lot, but sometimes you don’t really know how a product is going to be until you get on it,” explains Matt Alexander (HRA-Ohio), Sub-Large Project Leader for these models. “There are times when that first ride serves as confirmation that you got it right, but it’s also possible it might send you back to the drawing board.” 

* Pictures below of the Rubicon chassis / frame are using the previous year model Rubicon Deluxe. This doesn’t highlight the new and larger a-arm guards for 2020.

2020 Honda Foreman Rubicon 520 ATV Skid Plates / Guards - TRX500 Review of Specs

2020 Honda Foreman Rubicon 520 ATV Skid Plates / Guards - TRX520 Review of Specs

The TRC facility comprises a 7.5 mile paved oval, inside of which are a number of varied test courses, including approximately 25 miles of trails through a section of woods. It was in this setting that Alexander and his colleagues tried out the prototype for the first time. In addition to their engineering qualifications, the group’s members all have years of hands-on powersports experience, having grown up riding ATVs, dirt bikes and on-road motorcycles. “It’s a very cool, unique blend of people,” says Eric Stevens (HRA-Ohio) who, as Large Project Leader, oversaw the entire project. “They genuinely understand the segment and the products.”

The group’s common goal is to make ATVs that enthusiasts like them will want to use, and from that very first ride, it was clear to them all that they’d hit their targets for performance, handling and comfort. Alexander recalls the conversation when the riders removed their helmets at a ride break. “Everyone was like, ‘Wow, the comfort on this vehicle is even better than we expected,’ but at the same time, the center of gravity was low and the control was great. It was a really positive first outing.”

Honda Foreman Rubicon 500 ATV Review / Specs / IRS / DCT / TRX500 Horsepower & Torque Performance Rating

Of course there was still plenty of work remaining before production could begin at Honda’s Timmonsville, South Carolina, assembly plant. More advanced prototype iterations needed to be built, and during that process, it’s typical that small modifications to the vehicle necessitate changes elsewhere, which must then be subjected to confirmation testing and ultimately durability testing. “Throughout the development process, you’re always balancing hard criteria like strength and durability with soft criteria—ride position, steering, handling,” Stevens says. “That continues until you finally get a package that’s completely refined, where you’ve satisfied all the objective items and the subjective items too.”

Nonetheless, the auspicious beginning helped that long refinement process to go smoothly, as no major changes to the frame body would be required. “We were really impressed with how well it performed right from that first ride,” Stevens says. “We were very, very happy, because when your first prototype is excellent, it means that the team did a great job.”


2020 Honda Rubicon 520 DELUXE Pictures / Photo Gallery:


2020 Honda Rubicon 520 Model Lineup Specifications:
 

Model

FourTrax Foreman Rubicon DCT EPS Deluxe 
(TRX500FA7)
FourTrax Foreman Rubicon DCT EPS 
(TRX520FA6)
FourTrax Foreman Rubicon DCT 
(TRX520FA5)
FourTrax Foreman Rubicon 4×4 EPS 
(TRX520FM6)
ENGINE    
Type 518cc liquid-cooled longitudinally mounted single-cylinder four-stroke
Valve Train OHV
Bore x Stroke 96.0mm x 71.5mm
Compression Ratio 9.5:1
Induction Programmed Fuel Injection (PGM-FI), 36mm throttle body
Ignition Full-transistorized w/ electronic advance
Starter Electric
Driveline Direct front and rear driveshafts w/ TraxLok® and locking front differential
Transmission Automatic Dual Clutch Transmission; 5-speed + Reverse and High/Low Manual 5-speed + Reverse
Clutch Automatic Manual
SUSPENSION  
Front Double wishbone; 7.3 in. travel
Rear Independent dual-arm; 8.5 in. travel
BRAKES  
Front Dual hydraulic calipers w/ 190mm discs
Rear Single hydraulic caliper w/ 170mm disc
TIRES  
Front 25 x 8-12
Rear 25 x 10-12
MEASUREMENTS  
Rake (Caster Angle) 1.0º
Trail -.1 in.
Length 84.5 in.
Width 47.4 in.
Height 48.6 in.
Seat Height 35.8 in.
Ground Clearance 9.4 in.
Wheelbase 50.9 in. 51 in.
Turning Radius 11.5 ft.
Fuel Capacity 3.9 gal., incl. 1.3 gal. reserve
Rack Capacity 99 lbs. F / 187 lbs. R
Towing Capacity 1,322 lbs.
Curb Weight* 722 lbs. 729 lbs. 715 lbs. 700 lbs.
OTHER    
 

Colors

Honda Phantom Camo®, Matte Green Metallic Red, Olive Honda Phantom Camo, Red, Matte Molasses Brown

* Includes all standard equipment, required fluids and full tank of fuel—ready to ride. Meets current CARB and EPA off-road emissions standards.


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