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Honda Odyssey ATV Specs and Review

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The Honda Odyssey ATV launched at a time when three-wheelers were enjoying popularity – breaking the norm in the process and becoming the only mass-produced four-wheeled dune buggy ever made.

The Honda Odyssey ATV is a hybrid four-wheeler that was produced from 1977 to 1985. Its full roll cage, low ground clearance, and aircraft-like yoke made it a huge success with consumers. This quad was the prototype of the famous Honda Pilot ATV.

With the production of the Honda Odyssey ATV, Honda took a massive step in making recreational riding more appealing and enjoyable. The firm’s efforts were so genuine and apparent that they were enough to overshadow the drawbacks that the four-wheeler had, among them transmission problems. Read on and find out why the Odyssey turned out to be more than just a dune buggy for the riding community and what makes it so well-loved even to this day.

About the Honda Odyssey ATV

Honda Odyssey ATV is a line of all-terrain vehicles designed to journey into the dunes – a predecessor to the Honda Pilot ATV, which many off-roaders consider the best single-seat buggy ever created. It is not to be confused with the Odyssey vans produced in the last two decades. The Honda 4×4 ATVs had a production run between 1977 and 1985. 

1983 Honda Odyssey ATV FL250

The Odyssey had three generations and two classes – a 250-cc and a 350-cc displacement. The 1st generation Odyssey FL250 (produced from 1977 – 1980) is easily distinguishable by its yellow body, black roll bar, and the absence of a front bumper. Its 1980 model had the headlight moved from the front to the top of the roll bar. Riders considered this ATV weak as its lack of rear suspension resulted in frame cracks and handling difficulties when in rough terrain.

To address the first model’s flaws, Honda made changes to the 2nd generation Odyssey before releasing it to the public in 1981. These alterations included:

  • An improved shoulder harness padding and water resistance in the belt converter
  • A 60-watt roll bar-mounted headlight
  • A larger gas tank
  • An electronic capacitor ignition
  • A tighter turning radius
  • A full roll cage
  • A redesigned steering geometry that allowed larger front shocks
  • The body also changed from yellow-black to Honda’s signature red color.

Features only got better with the 1985 Honda Odyssey ATV. This 3rd generation Odyssey was ahead of its time as it was the first buggy to include a reverse gear in its three-speed transmission. Its other stellar features include independent four-wheel suspension, high-mounted air intake, padded bucket seat with a competition-style safety harness, a full roll cage, and a triangular headlight mounted on the roll bar (changed from the rectangular ones on older models). Electric starting also came standard. Initially, it was released as a 342-cc displacement but later on decreased to 329-cc due to a product recall. 

All three models stayed true to Honda’s reputation for producing durable machines. They may have had a few drawbacks here and there. But the Japanese manufacturer addressed all these with the improvements done on the quad throughout its 8-year run. Eventually, these enhancements gave birth to the highly-praised Honda Pilot ATV in 1989.

Honda Odyssey ATV Specs & Features

Engine

There are very few differences between the Honda Odyssey FL250 and FL350 engine components. Minor tweaks were done to the cylinder arrangement, and the carburetor slightly increased in size from 28 to 32 millimeters.

ENGINE Honda Odyssey FL250E
(2nd Generation, ’81-’84)
Honda Odyssey FL350R
(3rd Generation, 1985)
Type Air-cooled, 2-stroke Air-cooled, 2-stroke
Cylinder Arrangement Single cylinder, 15° inclined from vertical Single cylinder, 11° inclined from vertical
Carburetion System Keihin Carburetor, 1x 28-mm (PW type) Keihin Carburetor, 1x 32-mm (Venturi)
Valve Train Piston-valve Reed valve
Bore x Stroke Ratio 70 x 64.4 mm 78.5 x 68 mm
Compression Ratio 6.6:1 6.7:1/6.0:1
Displacement 248 cm³ (15.1 in³) 329.1 cm³ (20.1 in³)
Top Speed 88.5 km/h (55 mph) 96.6 km/h (60 mph)
Lubrication Forced and wet sump Dry sump
Oil System Diaphragm fuel pump type Diaphragm fuel pump type
Air Filtration Semi-dry air cleaner type Semi-dry air cleaner type

Drivetrain

For both Odyssey models, power is delivered via a three-speed transmission. The main difference is that the Honda Odyssey FL350R included reverse in its gearbox – a first for UTVs in the ’80s.

DRIVELINE Honda Odyssey FL250E
(2nd Generation, ’81-’84)
Honda Odyssey FL350R
(3rd Generation, 1985)
Clutch Manual, 2WD Automatic, 2WD
Transmission Salsbury Torque-sensitive belt converter Salsbury Torque-sensitive belt converter (w/ FNR gearbox)

Ignition

The first two generations of the Honda Odyssey ATV did not have a CDI ignition. Additionally, lighting voltage differed for models released in Canada compared to the rest of the market. It was later standardized when the Odyssey FL350R launched in 1985.

ELECTRICAL Honda Odyssey FL250E
(2nd Generation, ’81-’84)
Honda Odyssey FL350R
(3rd Generation, 1985)
Ignition Flywheel magneto Solid-state CDI
Starting System Recoil starter Starter motor and recoil system
Spark Plug NGK B7ES DENSO W22ESR/ND W24ESR NGK BR9ES/Champion RN-2C
NGK BR8ES/Champion RN-3C (below 5 degree C/41 F)
Lighting Headlights: 6V-35W; (Canada: 12V-45W) / Taillight: 6V-3W (Canada: 12V-3W) Headlights: 12V-25W
Taillight: 12V-5W
Honda Odyssey ATV FL350

Tires, Brakes & Suspension

Rear suspension was added to the FL350R in 1985 to make the quad more stable, as the first two generations of the Honda Odyssey ATV flipped over easily. Front and rear brakes were changed to hydraulic discs, replacing the old mechanical drums. Fuel capacity likewise increased for the 1985 model.

FRAME Honda Odyssey FL250E
(2nd Generation, ’81-’84)
Honda Odyssey FL350R
(3rd Generation, 1985)
Type Space frame Space frame
Front Suspension, Travel Trailing arm type w/ coil spring shocks / < 4 in travel Double trailing arm w/ shocks, 110 mm / 4.3 in travel
Rear Suspension, Travel Wheel axial type
(no suspension)
Diagonal link w/ shocks, 150 mm / 5.9 in travel
Front Tire, recommended pressure 20 x 7-8 (2-ply, 5 psi) Ohtsu RT101 21 x 7-10 (5 psi)
Rear Tire, recommended pressure 22 x 11-8 (3 psi) Ohtsu RT502 24 x 11-10 (6.4 psi)
Front Brake Self-adjusting cable actuated disc, 220 mm Hydraulic-operated leading trailing shoe
Rear Brake Parking rear cable actuated shoe and drum Single disc, 446 cm2
Fuel Capacity 12 L / 3.2 US gal
(reserve – 2.5 L / 0.7 US gal)
14.5 L / 3.8 US gal
(reserve – 2.5 L / 0.7 US gal)

Dimensions

The width and ground clearance of the Honda 4×4 ATV were increased to make the quad more stable, in addition to changes done to the rear suspension. As a result, the buggy’s dry weight changed dramatically from 407 to 602 pounds. The turning radius was made tighter for cornering angles. All other alterations were relatively negligible.

DIMENSIONS Honda Odyssey FL250E
(2nd Generation, ’81-’84)
Honda Odyssey FL350R
(3rd Generation, 1985)
Length 2,095 mm / 82.5 in 2,160 mm / 85 in
Width 1,230 mm / 48.4 in 1,475 mm / 58.1 in
Height 1,525 mm / 60 in 1,390 mm / 54.7 in
Seat Height 280 mm / 11 in 280 mm / 11 in
Ground Clearance 140 mm / 5.5 in 210 mm / 8.3 in
Turning Radius 17.4 ft / 208.8 in 14.1 ft / 169.2 in
Wheelbase 1,440 mm / 56.6 in 1,540 mm / 60.6 in
Dry Weight 185 Kg / 407 lbs 273 Kg / 602 lbs

Honda Odyssey ATV Price

Secondhand Honda Odyssey FL350Rs hold their value exceptionally well. Online traders list their selling price between $3,400 and $6,750 and are mostly found in Washington, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Kentucky. They typically have add-ons such as LED lights or aftermarket carbs. Others are full custom rides with 1,000-cc snowmobile engines, dirt tires, new light bars, powder-coated rims, new gas shocks, and a centrifugal pulley belt. Some even come with a clean title!

For Honda Odyssey FL250s sold for cheap, expect scratches, broken fenders or camshafts, choke cable installation, the need for new brake pads or suspension starter if you buy any of these. Price ranges from $135 to $645. The Odyssey ATVs that seem to be in the best condition usually come from either California or Florida. FL250s in these areas are valued between $1,800 and $3,900.

Long Travel Suspension

The Honda Odyssey ATV is an excellent base vehicle to experiment with, which is why a lot of owners have fun doing rebuilds and upgrades on the vehicle. Among these are suspension mods that run the extent of modest spacer lifts to insane pre-runner style mods that leave your four-wheeler almost unrecognizable. Long travel suspension is somewhere in the middle of these upgrades and is very popular with dune buggy owners. Some enthusiasts hunt down Odyssey ATVs just for the sole purpose of tinkering with their suspension system.

Pros and Cons

Long travel suspension improves your vehicle’s vertical travel and track width – making it perfect for dirt mile trips and semi-races on vast stretches of sand. This upgrade will make your suspension system extremely capable and will boost your confidence in conquering diverse terrain. However, the trade-off is the fact that your suspension will require more maintenance, better-trained senses to spot issues, and improved focus on the road to keep things under control.

Additionally, this suspension upgrade comes with the need for longer axles and scarcity of custom axles in shops and through parts dealers. Shops that specialize in off-road vehicles are quite rare – most mechanics veer away from touching systems that have been tampered with or outside of manufacturer specs. The absence of sway bars will make your Odyssey sway during turns. And since it’s already very lightly built, taking off the sway bars could further aggravate the tendency of your Honda 4×4 ATV to do a side somersault. Tedious installations and huge expenses also come with modifications.

Other Known Issues

Both modded and stock Oddys (a nickname the off-roading community coined for the Honda Odyssey ATV) have their fair share of issues, such as tweaks or wear and tear. Here are some of the most common hiccups the Odyssey has that you should be aware of:

Steering Wheel Is Stuck

Especially for pre-loved FL250s and FL350Rs, a known issue is the buildup of rust inside the steering wheel shaft, resulting from a lack of thorough cleaning. When this happens, steering can get stuck and can get you stranded in the middle of nowhere. Fixing this will require a lubricant and some patience – getting to the steering shaft can be quite tricky. You will need to get the steering stem out by disconnecting it entirely, removing the tie rods, and pulling the shaft out from the bottom. Take the frame apart and give it a nice scrub while you’re at it.

Noise When Shifting

A probable cause of this is the absence of oil in the gearbox; hence, there will be noise when going forward or reversing. This is to be expected of 35-year old machines like the Odyssey.

Pull-start Problems

FL250s usually have this symptom where the pull-start rope would not retract or locks up at 20 cm or so. This can be traced back to a loose flywheel/pull-start cage, a bad stator, or a fault with the entire pull-start mechanism. To rectify the problem, take the pull-start mechanism apart, clean it, lube all the needy parts, and reassemble the whole thing. Do this, and your four-wheeler will be back to being good as new! It is best to revert to your service manual as you do these steps, and take note that pre-winding your pulley may require more than 2 ½ turns as old springs need more preload. Follow the recommendation if you’re using a new spring.

In more severe cases where the stator is impacted, engagement dogs fall out, or wires are pulled out, you may need to do a complete pull-start rebuild. There are available kits online – choose where you get your parts wisely.

Heating Issues

Heating issues were an issue with the Honda Odyssey ATV as early as its 1980 model. This is primarily why the headlight moved from the front rack to the roll bar’s top, and the 6V-system that powered the lights was later changed to a 12V one. Nowadays, this is no longer a concern, especially if you decide to replace stock bulbs with LED lights, which are more efficient.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What oil does a Honda Odyssey ATV take?  Both the Honda Odyssey FL250 and FL350R take SAE 10W-30 or 10W-40 motorcycle oil with an API classification of SE.
  • What size battery does a Honda Odyssey ATV have? A Honda Odyssey FL350R requires a 12V, 180-CCA (Cold Crank Amp) battery with an assembled dimension of 5.91 inches x 3.43 inches x 5.12 inches (L x W x H – not including wire harness and mounting accessories). This is a high-performance sealed battery with good vibration resistance to ensure maximum conductivity and extended battery life.
  • What is the Honda Odyssey ATV top speed? Advertised top speed for the Honda Odyssey FL250 is 55 mph and 60 mph for the FL350. However, some outfitters rebuild the Honda Odyssey ATV to get a top speed of 73 mph on a washed-out road.
  • Is it expensive to rebuild a Honda Odyssey ATV?  Rebuilding costs usually depend on whether it is a partial or full rebuild. You should factor in your mechanical skill level versus the need to have a mechanic do the work for you. A rough estimate could be anywhere between $1,500 and $5,000 or higher.

About Honda

Honda Motor Company Ltd. is one of the best-known name brands in the world of motorcycles, utility vehicles, and power equipment, and is the maker of the Honda Odyssey ATV. Almost 75 years have passed since Soichiro Honda founded the company in 1946. The Japanese manufacturer continues to lead the industry with its innovations in mobility, robotics, AI, and energy solutions. Recognized as the world’s largest manufacturer of motorcycles, Honda also produces a wide range of general-purpose engines, top-of-the-line automobiles, and commuter/dynamic sports models.

Conclusion – Honda Odyssey ATV

After three and a half decades since its last production run, there is still much clamor for the Honda Odyssey ATV. Both the FL250 and FL350R have earned a loyal following – thanks to their lightweight built, sturdy girder-type chassis, and retro-style roll bars. But more than these exterior features, what riders love most about the line is its floppy tires, skeletal space frame, and the thrilling, wobbly riding experience that it provides. Whether in stock form or modified, this classic guarantees that you’ll have a blast when you ride!

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