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Hill Test for Honda
by Eilidh MacPherson
The first week of lambing saw the arrival of a split new – plastic still on the seat and big zeros on the clock – Honda Foreman S 2/4wd arrive for a weeks trail on farm, courtesy of Lloyds of Dumfries. A covering of snow on the hilltops was not quite so welcome.
The big armchair of the range, the Foreman scores highly on comfort. A well padded seat and independent double wish-bone front suspension, teamed with updated dual rear shock absorbers on a fixed beam cross-axle, to ensure ground clearance, makes for smooth maneuvers even over bull snouts!
Good pulling power is a trait most young farmers would love to have, one the Honda Foreman S 2/4wd has in trailer loads!
Richard had a tow bar bolted onto the back of the snacker so he could pull the trailer at the same time – like a mini road train. The idea was to have one trip round the lambing field in the morning – to feed and take any needing attention home. The Honda Foreman lived up to expectations and pulled the load no bother at all.
When then going gets tough, 4wd can be engaged by the flick of a button with the Traxlok switchable 2wd-4wd system. The two-wheel drive option saves wear and tear on tyres if a lot of roadwork is included in the daily dirge.
Enhanced safety and durability also comes from dual front disc brakes with a patented built-in scraper system to ensure consistent stopping
performance, reads the literature accompanying the Foreman.
On steep and slippery ground good traction is of utmost importance. Over the years I have found the Honda reliable, both climbing and descending very steep gradients.
Having borrowed a neighbour’s Honda for a couple of days, with an electric handlebar gear shift, I was delighted with the 5 gear manual shift model. With the electric button shift on the left hand side and the accelerator thumb lever on the right, it was darn near impossible to change gear when holding onto a lamb or any other multi-tasking operation. In my opinion hands free is the way to go!
Another feature, which I found a great help during lambing was the in-gear starting mechanism. By holding the right hand brake in the braking position, while starting the engine, led to a faster turn around time and no need to faff about finding neutral when there was work to be done!
I must admit since we moved here at the beginning of October I have bogged the quad bike more times than in my lifetime at home on Skye. With softer ground and numerous drainage ditches and a larger, heavier quad than I have been used to I’ve had to hone my recovery technique, rather than walk a few miles home. HSE read no further! I have found the bull bar guarding the front a great help! Put a knee in each silver hoop in front of the headlights and hold the handle bars (back to front) and ease the throttle. It normally pulls you out of a muddy wet hole!
My only negative is that the Foreman is a bit of a beast to physically push out of a ditch, but Richard seems to manage with relative ease!