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Friday, 02 March 2018 12:55

A big tick for XR190

Written by  Mark Daniel
Honda Ag-XR190. Honda Ag-XR190.

Sometimes when you throw your leg over a motorcycle it feels just right, which is certainly the case with the new Ag-XR 190 launched in New Zealand late last year.

Its single cylinder, 184cc, four-stroke with electronic fuel injection -- a first for Honda on a farm bike -- starts instantly without the need to hunt for a choke, and it runs smoothly from the get go. 

Started by push-button and backed up with a kick start, the motor has no ignition kill switch -- a godsend for the rider who forgets to turn off the ignition and so comes back to a flat battery.

A slick 5-speed transmission offers a speed for every occasion, with selection smooth and neutral easy to find. 

Acceleration is smooth, without hesitation, even with a cold engine, and rider comfort is right up there, with a well sorted suspension -- tele-forks up front and a long travel mono rear swing arm that soaks up the roughest terrain. 

A 20-inch wheel up front and 18-inch at the rear, fitted with off-road profile rubber, plug through the mud with ease; bringing things to a stop is the job of a front-end disc and rear drum set-up, both combining to deliver sure, safe stopping. That mud is kept under control by wide mudguards and oversized mud-flaps on both wheels.

Living with the XR190 day to day is easy, helped by the attention to detail of the Honda designers. A 12L fuel tank should last for a long day’s work, and heavy-duty front and rear racks offer 3kg and 20kg capacities, respectively, with the front unit also having a heavy spring to keep things secure 

Mounting is a breeze with an 823mm seat height, and once aboard the wide comfortable seat pad delivers a comfortable ride. Parking up is by twin Big Foot side-stands that resist sinking into soft ground

For the operator, a clean, concise dial delivers machine and speed information, sensible lever guards protect the rider and the machine in the case of a tumble or fall over, and a broad beam halogen headlamp brightens the darkest mornings. 

Importantly, the XR 190 seems to be geared just right, with tick-over in bottom gear being slow enough to follow a lethargic mob of cows back to the milking shed, without needing to slip the clutch.

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