What makes the Honda Odyssey FL250 an iconic all-terrain gem is its classic aesthetic which invokes rarity and nostalgia. The buggy, which served as Honda’s first four-wheel prototype, heralded the era of off-road quads in its production line.
The Honda Odyssey came with two engine displacements during its run, namely: 250- and 350-cc. During that time, the Japanese company released three versions of these nostalgia-invoking machines, each classified as the first, second, and third generations.
When this quad was launched in 1977, three-wheeled all-terrain cycles ruled the market, making the Odyssey a classy iconoclast that appealed to off-roaders and dune buggy enthusiasts, particularly with its go-kart-like design. Unlike most ATVs produced nowadays, which had a bike-like appearance, the Odyssey had a longer frame, a roll cage, and a steering wheel.
Though a prototype, this dune buggy was a sight to behold, particularly among off-road buffs. Considering the innovative, cutting edge designs and features in the later versions of this ATV, the Odyssey is a vehicle that deserves respect and recognition, its limitations notwithstanding.
This buggy enjoyed a good eight-year run; it remained in production until 1985. Four years later, in 1989, the Japanese firm released the reliable and impressive Honda Pilot (FLR400), which was completed based on the Odyssey.
Are There Different Models of the Honda Odyssey ATV?
The First Generation FL250
The exterior of the first-gen Honda Odyssey, produced from 1977 to 1980, was completely different from the second and third generation FL250. The buggy had a tall rear roll bar and a front rack with a headlight attached to it.
With its distinctive yellow finish, the 1st-generation FL250 had an elongated body, standard steering mechanism, and low ground clearance. Unfortunately, this model had no rear suspension, making the frame susceptible to cracks and other damages when travelling off-road.
The Succeeding Variants
The 2nd and 3rd generation models (the former produced from 1981 to 1984, while the latter in 1985) looked different from the first-gen FL250. These variants had full roll cages and sported a red finish, which echoed Honda’s signature hue. The manufacturers repositioned the headlight on the topmost part of the roll cage, directly above the driver.
When compared to the 1st-gen Odyssey, the newer, revamped versions had a bigger fuel capacity, improved steering geometry, and sizable front shocks that enabled a narrower turning radius. Also, the overhauled model had a capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) system, a protective cushioned safety harness in the driver’s seat, and a solid torque converter.
Despite these similarities in appearance, the 2nd and 3rd generation Odysseys had differences in terms of their specifications. Though both models came with a torque converter transmission system and a two-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder engine, the ‘85 version had bigger engine displacement, which clocked in at 35-cc. The 3rd generation model was referred to as the FL350R, while the ‘81 to ‘84 versions, the FL250E.
Bigger, Badder 1985 Honda Odyssey FL350
The 3rd-generation Odyssey was a fantastic vehicle that wasn’t short of an innovative wonder given the technological standards during that time. The quad had a superb suspension design with decent wheel travel, ensuring a smooth and thrilling ride.
Apart from the forward and neutral gears, the FL350 was the first buggy to have a reverse gear option, which was a convenient addition to this vehicle’s features. Even more fascinating was that this ATV had an automatic clutch and V-belt torque converter transmission system, making the ‘85 model a decent entry-level quad.
Moreover, the buggy’s engine had a reed-type valve train and a 32-mm Keihin venturi-type carburettor, a larger bore-to-stroke ratio, and a higher compression ratio. Initially released as a 342-cc vehicle, Honda soon replaced the engine with a smaller displacement of 329-cc in response to a recall.
What Is the Current Value of a Honda Odyssey?
The cost of a Honda Odyssey depends entirely on the vehicle’s overall condition. The mods and upgrades also affect the buggy’s value. According to www.nadaguides.com, an ‘83 FL250 in very good to excellent condition would fetch around $485 to $685. The ’84 model, on the other hand, may range from $575 to $810.
In addition, there are several online sites dedicated to selling pre-owned Honda Odyssey FL250 and FL350 where you can find modded or reconditioned quads. Some 2nd-generation Odysseys cost anywhere from $2,700 to $3,200, while the 3rd-generation models around $4,200 to a whopping $8,500.
Again, most of these units have been customized heavily. The mods and upgrades that can be seen on some of these units may range from a more comfortable seat and harness, clutch kit, new plastics, shocks, to a newer and more powerful engine.
Specification and Other Technical Features (Honda Odyssey FL250)
The FL250 has a 248-cc, air-cooled, single-cylinder, two-stroke engine with a 248-cc displacement and a piston-type valve train. The quad has a bore-and-stroke ratio of 70 x 64.4 millimetres (2.75 x 2.53 inches). A 28-millimetre (1.10 inches) PW-type Keihin carburettor delivers power to the engine, which produces a compression ratio of 6.6:1.
The 2nd-generation Odyssey has a starter valve choke system, which helps regulate air intake into the carburettor. This vehicle also requires a semi-dry air cleaner-type filtration system, ensuring quality airflow inside the engine. Moreover, this buggy has a 15-degree tilt from a vertical engine cylinder arrangement.
- Minor Engine Specifications
With a compression pressure of 9 kg/cm2 (800 RPM) and an idle speed of 1,500 RPM, the FL250 has an ignition timing of 5° before top dead centre (BTDC). Meanwhile, the recommended port timing for the intake should be 80° before bottom dead centre/after bottom dead centre (BBDC/ABDC), and the exhaust should be around 87° BBDC/ABDC. Moreover, the scavenge should have a recommended port timing of 60° BBDC/ABDC.
Depending on the outdoor temperature, the 2nd-generation Honda Odyssey requires an engine oil with a viscosity of SAE 10W-30 or 10W-40. A lubricant with an API service classification of SE would be a more compatible choice to the FL250’s engine.
As a two-stroke vehicle, the FL250 employs a forced and wet-sump lubrication system, which is different from the FL350, which uses a dry-sump instead. Apart from this, the 250-cc Honda Odyssey has a diaphragm-type mechanical fuel pump.
Unlike the FL350, which has both a capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) and recoil starter, the 2nd-generation Odyssey only has a recoil starter as its starting mechanism. In addition, the FL250 uses a flywheel magneto ignition system. This design is completely different from the 1985 version, which utilizes a solid-state CDI.
The FL250 uses an NGK B7ES spark plug with a 0.7 ~ 0.8 millimetre (0.027 ~ 0.031 inches) gap. Also, this buggy has an AC generator that powers its electrical components.
The ‘81 to ‘84 Honda Odyssey has a forward, single-speed Salsbury torque-sensitive V-belt converter with a manual clutch system. Though both the 2nd and 3rd-generation versions have a 2WD driveline, the latter is distinguished from its automatic transmission and a forward, neutral, and reverse gearbox.
This quad is fitted with dual-trailing arm-type front suspension with coil spring-type shocks that have approximately 4 inches of wheel travel. However, the FL250 does not have rear suspension since the vehicle has a rear solid axle instead.
In the case of the 3rd-generation Odyssey, as an improved version of the FL250, the fixed wheel axle was replaced with a diagonal link with shock absorbers. The rear suspension has wheel travel of 150 millimetres (5.9 inches). The FL350 retained the dual-trailing arm design front suspension design and has wheel travel of 110 millimetres (4.3 inches).
The 2nd-gen Honda Odyssey uses a self-adjusting cable-actuated disc as its main brakes. The disc has an effective diameter of 220 millimetres (8.66 inches). For the vehicle’s parking brakes, the buggy uses a cable-actuated leading-trailing shoe and drum system. The drum brake has a diameter of 140 millimetres (5.51 inches).
The main brake lever is located in the quad’s steering wheel, and the brake cable is connected to the left rear wheel. The parking brake, on the other hand, is situated on the driver’s right side and is connected to the right rear wheel of the FL250.
This all-terrain buggy is fitted with 20 x 7 – 8 front tyres and 22 x 11 – 8 rear tyres. The recommended pressure for the front and rear tyres are 0.35 kg/cm2 (5 PSI) and 0.21 kg/cm2 (3 PSI), respectively. The FL350, on the other hand, comes with RT101 Ohtsu 21 x 7 – 10 front tyres and RT502 Ohtsu 24 x 11 – 10 rear tyres.
Overall, the 2nd-generation Honda Odyssey has a length, width, and height of 2,095 millimetres (82.48 inches), 1, 230 millimetres (48.43 inches) and 1,525 millimetres (60.04 inches). The vehicle’s wheelbase is 1,435 millimetres (56.50 inches) and has a ground clearance of 140 millimetres (5.51 inches). Plus, the minimum turning radius of the FL250 is measured at 14.1 feet (169.2 inches).
The FL250 has a combined dry weight of 180 kilograms (396.83 lbs). The quad’s maximum curb weight is 265 kilograms (584.3 lbs). Moreover, the Honda Odyssey FL250 has a fuel capacity of 12 litres (3.2 US gallons) with a reserve tank of 2.5 litres (0.7 US gallons).
By comparison, the FL350, which has a larger fuel tank capacity, clocks in at 14.5 litres (3.8 US gallons) with a reserve of 2.5 litres (0.7 US gal). Regarding the fuel-oil mix ratio of the 2nd-generation model, the recommended amount should be 20 (gasoline) : 1 (oil).
The maximum stabilized inclination for this vehicle is 53°, while the maximum climbing angle is around 35°. Also, the FL250 has a stopping distance of 66 feet (20 metres) from 50 kilometres per hour (31 MPH) to zero.
Both the FL250 and FL350 come with a modular roll cage/roll bar (for the 1st-gen Odyssey) for easier travel. The steering system consists of a yoke with the brake pedals integrated behind it. The FL250 uses a 6V-35W headlight and 6V-3W tail light, while the FL350 has a 12V-25W headlight and 12V-5W tail light.
In addition, the exterior of the 2nd-generation Odyssey is painted red, much like the 3rd-generation model. Though the plastic front and rear fenders of the Fl350 come in white. The driver seat has comfortable cushioning and also comes with a safety harness.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Having a Honda Odyssey ATV?
Being a decades-old all-terrain four-wheeler, the Honda Odyssey ATV is one of the oldest quads in existence. The fact that a lot of people, enthusiasts especially, still love riding their FL250s or FL350s, proves that this vehicle is more than just a relic of the past.
This classic ride is an iconic automotive marvel that has proven its worth many times over. However, the Odyssey ATV is not gifted with the best of both worlds. It may have its positives but it has shortcomings, too. And those items are as follows:
Perfect Dune Off-Roader
There’s no doubt the Honda Odyssey makes a great ride across dirt trails, hard packs, and even across water crossings. However, if there’s one thing the FL250 and FL350 are great for, it’s the vast desert. For sure, this vehicle is no Yamaha Warrior 350, but it performs remarkably well across the flat, rolling sands.
Thanks to its long travel suspension design, the quad gets to maintain its stability while running parallel along uneven surfaces, such as berms and low hills. Coupled with the ATV’s low ground clearance and considerable track width, the Odyssey offers a smooth and enjoyable ride, while out in the dunes—or any type of terrain, for that matter.
Operating the Honda Odyssey, whether it’s the FL250 or the FL350, does not require complex procedures. Once you get this vintage machine going, you’re up for a thrilling ride the next. That’s what makes this quad great for beginners. Its simplistic, go-karty design, along with the safety features, such as the cushioned harness and full roll cage, make the quad quite a fun off-road vehicle to drive around.
- FL350 has a good suspension design
- Convenient starter system on the ‘85 model
- Improved steering capability
- Decent top speed, especially when upgraded or modded
- Remarkable torque converter transmission system
Lack of Rear Suspension in the FL250
The rear wheel design of the 2nd-generation Odyssey is based on all-terrain cycles, which used balloon rear tyres, which tend to be bouncy, especially on rough terrain. This design can be pretty rough for the driver.
Considering the vehicle’s strap-in feature, there’s no way drivers can get up to their knees to help damper the impact. Despite this limitation, the FL250 remained appealing to some owners, especially those who prefer dune riding.
Issue with the Steering Wheel Shaft
The wheel shafts of the Odyssey ATV are prone to rust, especially those that have not been cleaned for a long time. That could lead to steering problems, such as the steering mechanism getting stuck or difficult to turn. This issue is common in pre-used FL250 and FL350 models.
Regular maintenance and proper cleaning and oiling is the only remedy to this dilemma. For that matter, you will have to dismantle the steering assembly and clean the components thoroughly.
Pull Starter Problems
Bringing the FL250 to life is like firing up your lawnmower—that’s how vintage these models are. And speaking of vintage, some Odysseys display issues with their pull starter mechanism, especially the pre-owned units. Often, the problem can be caused by a loose spring or a dysfunctional stator.
Use the user manual when dismantling the recoil assembly for cleaning and lubing. Usually, the whole component is easy to work on, as long as you have a manual handy. Make sure the recoil spring and dogs are well-oiled and replace the rope if it’s worn.
In the case of part replacements, you can find some components online, even in Honda dealerships. Also, there are sites dedicated to Honda Odyssey ATVs that continue to sell components, recoil starter kits among them.
- Both FL350 and FL250 can be susceptible to overheating
- Sometimes, shifting can cause noise from the gearbox; attributed to lack of gear oil
- Suspension requires regular maintenance, especially if your Odyssey uses long travel-type coil shocks
What Is the Top Speed of the Honda Odyssey ATV?
When it comes to a vehicle’s top speed, take note that the weather and the condition of the road are factors that may affect the overall performance or top speed of a quad. Bone stock, the Honda Odyssey FL250 can go up to speeds of 55 MPH, while 60 MPH for the FL350. Some owners of rebuilt and modded Odyssey ATVs could make their quad go anywhere up to 73 MPH on a level road.
Identifying the VIN of the Honda Odyssey FL250
The vehicle identification number or VIN is a 17-digit combination composed of alphanumeric characters that help identify a particular vehicle. Similar to how fingerprints work, the VIN is unique to every vehicle. So, it’s crucial that you should know the VIN of your ATV for security measures or know the year of manufacture.
In the case of the Honda Odyssey ATV, Honda developed their system of identifying the FL250 models. Therefore, these combinations have more than 17 figures in all. You can find the Honda Odyssey ATV’s specialized VIN stamped on the frame rail above the brake disc. The following table contains the VIN for the 1st- to 2nd-generation Odysseys:
|1977||FL250*1000001 – 1011921|
|1978||FL250*1100001 – 1112345|
|1979||FL250*2000001 – 2012620|
|1980||TB04*2000001 – 2006315|
|1981||TB040*BC400001 – BC406324|
|1982||TB040*CC500001 – CC514700|
|1983||TB040*DC600001 – DC617555|
|1984||TB040*EC700051 – EC703225|
About the Manufacturer
Honda Motors, Ltd. is the biggest motorcycle manufacturer in the world since the company began in 1954. Also, the firm is the leading producer of internal combustion engines (ICE). Based in Minato, Tokyo, Honda focuses mainly on automobile, motorcycle, and commercial and luxury vehicle production, which includes the Honda Odyssey FL250 and FL350.
Recently, the Japanese firm has started to involve itself in the manufacture of zero-emission vehicles as part of its global campaign to end climate change. As Honda concentrates on developing innovative cutting-edge industries, such as robotics and AI, the company starts to shape the future of the world’s technology.
Final Takeaway — Honda Odyssey ATV
Let’s face it, both the Honda Odyssey FL250 and FL350 are decades-old machines that have seen the light of day. However, the day is yet to settle on these ATVs thanks to its cult classic-like following. The quad’s ingenious and sturdy design, the seemingly endless possibilities for rebuilds, and even the thrill of riding on bouncy rear tyres are what makes this off-road vehicle a legendary, nostalgia-bearing die-hard.
As a side note, one can even marvel at the Mad Max-dune buggy appeal to it, which adds to its character and aesthetics. For sure, they may have limitations, but we all understand that these were produced when mixtapes were still the rage. So if you are planning on getting or riding in one, go forth and have fun!