This article provides some pros and cons of the 1982 and 1983 Honda BIG RED 200E ATC. I will include the other model BIG REDS in the future in an effort to provide a guide to help choose the best model for you. I will bunch the 1982 and 1983 together since they are very similar. Let’s get started.
The 1982-1983 first generation BIG REDS had the model designation 200E. The “E” stood for electric start. The 1982 model was the first BIG RED and was the first Honda ATC (all terrain cycle) to be designed specifically as a utility machine. It basically created a whole new market segment that offered ATC’s that could be used for work and play. Living in a rural area I have been told by many locals that they purchased these vehicles brand new for work on the farm, hunting, and recreation. The early year BIG REDS have a 200CC four stroke motor with a sub transmission. These ATC’s were chain driven as opposed to shaft driven that came starting with the 1984 model. The early BIG REDS (1982-1984) were smaller and shorter than the 1985 - 1987 models which can be a comfort issue with taller riders. Both of these models had no rear suspension and used a non rebuildable front fork. The power output is 13 HP @ 7,000 RPM 10.6 ft-lbs @ 5,500 RPM. The dry weight is 342 lbs. The load capacity is 330 lbs. The front rack weight limit is 22 lbs. and 100 lbs. for the rear rack. The tow rating is 700lbs and the tongue weight is 30lbs. Here are some pros and cons I came up with for the 1982 and 1983 BIG REDS:
- Shares many parts with other early model Honda ATC’s
- More affordable as compared to the later model BIG REDS
Low range transmission for pulling and moving over difficult terrain
Cool factor. In my opinion the 1982 model has the best looking decals
Light weight so it is easy to load and unload and pick up if it gets stuck
Very simple machine that is easy to troubleshoot and work on
Cannot do a top end rebuild with the motor in the frame like on the later model BIG REDS (1985-1987)
Chain drive. The later (1984 - 1986) BIG REDS were shaft driven. The chain and sprocket drive will wear over time and will require adjustment. The shaft drive does not require a lot of maintenance and is much more reliable as compared to chain drive.
No reverse. This is huge for me. Once you have a BIG RED with reverse you will not to ride one without it since it is so handy.
No Auxiliary power outlet. (1982 ONLY) The 1983-1986 BIG REDS all had auxiliary power outlets.
Non rebuildable front fork. Replacement dampers for these forks that are in good working condition are basically non-existent.
Low seat height- This can be a comfort issue with taller riders
No rear suspension. Can be an issue if you plan to ride over rough terrain
No neutral indicator light.
Here in 2017 I have found that most 1982-1983 Honda BIG RED 200E’s sell for $500 - $800 in good running order and missing no major components. I have seen a few all original one owner examples and they were asking $800 to $1,600. I typically have a more difficult time selling a quality 1982-83 BIG RED as compared to the newer models. Some people don’t realize that they made chain driven BIG REDS that do not have reverse. Once they find out about this they tend to lose interest. It is easy to put more money into these early models than what they are worth. Parts availability is still pretty good for these models. Most engine wear parts, the front fender, and replacement seat are still available new. In my opinion these are the least desirable models of the BIG REDS made so unless it is a really good deal I tend to save my money for a newer model BIG RED.
1982 Honda BIG RED 200E Pics