With so many ATV options these days, it is easy to get lost in all the advertising. Every once in awhile, a new machine comes along that is worthy of notice. Taiwan Golden Bee (TGB) is a newcomer to the ATV market in North America. Squarely aimed at the owner who needs a tough and versatile ATV, the TGB Outback 425 comes loaded with some great features that are sure to please.
We gave the Outback units a thorough test over steep hills, up rocky slopes, and through big mud holes, with the occasional stream crossing thrown in for good measure. We did it all, multiple times, to get a feel for the handling and durability of these machines.
Our testers came equipped with 403cc engines, constantly variable transmissions (CVT), and Mile Marker™ winches, all of which was included as standard equipment. We tried the winch within the first ten minutes of operation, as my riding partner ended up seriously high-centered in a long, deep mud hole. The winch worked great, and we were underway in short order.
At first, it seemed strange that the engine speed would stay the same for a given throttle opening as the machine went faster. However, I adapted easily to the CVT operation and found that I was fine with not shifting gears. The high and low range on the CVT was easy to operate. Low range worked great for the rock crawling and goat trails we found ourselves upon. The shifter is centrally located on the right hand side of the fuel filler cap.
The units sported chunky Innova Mud Gear™ tires. These tires allowed me to pick a line through tough terrain, and the machine would stick to that line every time. The suspension was progressive. The first few inches of suspension travel was soft before becoming decidedly stiffer, although the ride never got to the point of being harsh. The solid rear axle and independent front suspension gave the impression of being able to carry substantial weight without protest. Front and rear disc brakes round out the package and provide plenty of stopping power.
The Outback is longer, taller and wider compared to the Honda 400s we were also riding. The rider sits a bit higher compared to the Hondas, but at no point does the Outback come across as top-heavy.
The carbureted Outbacks always started easily and ran without missing a beat. No choke was required for the morning start-up as the ambient temperature was around 12° Celsius.
The TGB is available with one of two trim options. The C model comes with steel rims and an analog instrument cluster. The SE model included aluminum rims, hand guards, high beam lighting, and a digital instrument cluster. The halogen lighting worked well on both models, and the controls were simple and intuitive to operate.
The racks on both the C and SE were nicely manufactured. The SE has an additional rack to cover the front end of the machine. My only complaint with any of the racking is that it appears to scratch easily, but on a working machine, this is inevitable anyway.
Both models come with lockable, water-resistant storage compartments in the front fenders. I used these compartments the store my rain gear and they worked great. The right side storage compartment features a 12-volt electrical outlet on both models. The SE features as second outlet on the exterior bodywork.
The bodywork itself was very effective. Well-designed fenders and boot wells keep the rider dry through most sensible terrain. Did I get wet? Yes, but I had to work at it.
My only real complaint centers around the shift interlock system. Neither unit would start without the brakes being applied, which was fine. But, one unit would start in gear, whereas the other unit would not. The Outback is designed to stop running if the operator shifts without applying the brakes, but one machine would stop running on occasion even if I did apply the brakes. I saw these operational differences as more of an adjustment issue versus an engineering fault, so neither of these observations would stop me from purchasing an Outback. Overall, I really liked these machines.
Special thanks to Don and Anita McKellar of Go 4 It Sales in Okotoks, Alberta, for lending us two brand-new machines and a trailer. These machines are now available through Canadian Tire stores across Canada!
Specifications, TGB Outback 425 C and SE 4×4
Engine: 4 Stroke Liquid-Cooled
Piston Displacement: 403.13 cc
Carburetor: 32mm Mikuni
Starting System: Electric with recoil back-up
Fuel Tank: 5 gallons
Transmission: CVT automatic with high/low, 2WD/4WD front differential
Final Drive: Shaft
Turning Radius: 10.1 feet
Total Length: 85.5″
Total Width: 45.3″
Total Height: 47.5″
Seat Height: 33.3″
Dry Weight: 590 lbs.
Ground Clearance: 9.8″
Front Suspension: Independent, double A-arm, oil-damped
Rear Suspension: Swingarm-type, oil-damped
Front Brake: Hydraulic Discs
Rear Brake: Hydraulic Disc
Front Tire: 25 8×12
Rear Tire: 25 10×12
Wheels: Steel (C model), Aluminum (SE Model)
Steering Wheel Light SE model only
Protection / Guards: Lower Bumper and Skid Plates (C model)
Full Frontal Protection and Aluminum Skid Plates (SE model)
Luggage Racks: Front & Rear