Twice The Fun: 1987 Honda ATC200X Pair

There are many dangerous things in this world. I sort of miss the days when people could buy things that were considered somewhat dangerous but were still in stores and showrooms. A show of hands for those of you who lived through the Lawn Darts era? Many people think that three-wheel ATVs were and still are dangerous but these 1987 Honda ATC200X three-wheelers look innocent enough, don’t they? They can be found here on eBay in beautiful Phoenix, Arizona and the current bid price is $6,100 for both of these preserved gems.

Certain vehicles hit key hot spots with readers as I’ve mentioned in the past. Deloreans always come back to “flux capacitor” just as Pintos always come down to rear crash fires. With three-wheel ATVs, it’s about broken necks and other bodily injuries and deaths. Are they really that dangerous? The early ATVs were inherently more dangerous because of the big, balloon-like wheels and the bounce factor but these later ATVs may not be as bad as some focus groups make them out to be.

The Honda ATC200X was made between 1983 and 1987 so this is the last year for this model. I’m a big proponent of buying a first or last year vehicle if you think that it may have some collector value and is in collector condition, which these beautifully-preserved Hondas appear to be in. With no odometer or really any gauges at all, it’s impossible to tell how many miles are on these two ATC200Xs, but they look like they haven’t been ridden too hard over the decades.

They’re widely known as great drifting machines for experienced riders, but they aren’t as hot as, say, a Honda ATC250R which was a two-stroke screamer. The ATC200X was redesigned for its last two years, 1986 and 1987, with all square tubing for the frame. The four-stroke engines were just under 200cc and they’re just a great all-around ATV.

They’re such a delicate looking machine, you’d think that they would just fold in half on the first bump, but they’re rock solid. The seller says that they were in longterm storage but they don’t say how long that was. The plastics, seats, cables, and other components are all in great condition. The redesigned 1986 and 1987 ATC200X came with a 6-speed transmission instead of a 5-speed and as I mentioned, a square tube frame along with a few other ways to tell them apart, for you car-spotters. Or in this case, ATV-spotters.

The current bid price for each of these ATVs is double the excellent condition NADA value so who knows where this auction will end up. Here’s a YouTube video showing the history of the Honda ATC200X, they look like a blast! I have never owned a three-wheeler if you don’t count a couple of oddball, pivoting 1984 Honda Gyros which aren’t even remotely the same thing other than having three wheels and a Honda badge. Have any of you owned a post-balloon-tire-era three-wheel ATV? If so and you’re commenting, you must have lived through that era. Let us know your memories of riding these things in the comments section!


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  1. Howard A Member

    Again, Scotty delivers! Another one for the “nuts” category, but for an entirely different reason. I’m flabbergasted there’s even 11 bids on these machines. I’ll tell you why they look so nice, someone was afraid to ride them. Originally, they were made for farmers checking fences, and such. I don’t think they were ever meant to fly through the air. After a slew of lawsuits, these ATV makers had to come up with something quick, hence the 4th wheel, and 3 wheelers were history. Anybody that’s taken a flop on one of these, probably never want to ride one again. I hope these 11 people, shelling out what I consider big bucks for a toy, and an inferior toy, at that, know what they’re doing. Like the person buying the 6 figure VW bus, are in for a rude surprise.

    Like 4
    • gus buster

      You’ve obviously never ridden…I’ve owned tons of trikes back in the day, and these 200x’s were great machines. Their suspension was plush and they weren’t nearly as hairy of a ride as the original ATC’s from the early 70’s. I’ve probably owned one of every model back in my youth. And I NEVER got hurt on any of them. I was part of a large group of riders and we all pushed them to their limits and we’re still fine to this day. Suzuki introduced the first quad before the government shut down production of ATC’s. Honda’s 250r is the reason why Honda doesn’t heavily compete in the horsepower market. It was the 250r that made them the focus of the lawsuits, when it was lesser sport trikes like the tecate and yamaha’s tri-something that were claiming the most injuries.

      Like 15
      • Howard A Member

        Oh, I sure have. The injuries came from inexperienced riders, they were fun for seasoned riders and like I say, I bet the reason these look so nice, is someone took a flop, and that was it.

        Like 6
    • Lemble

      More people get hurt on the 4 wheelers than got hurt on these. Why, because adults thought a 4 wheels was safer than 3. Spent hours and hours ridding these. Yes I had one roll on me more than once. All my fault going to fast to turn in the snow was the worst. Safer ridding these in the winter than the old 250 moter cycle. I had the 85 200X, what a sweet ride it was.

      Like 4
  2. Doc

    ATC was the bomb back in the 80’s. Being a 11 yr old back in the day, we used to fly through the woods , up and over everywhere out there rain, shine and snow. Loved it. Rolled several times but never gave up enjoying it..
    These are beautiful

    Like 13
  3. PETE W.

    I worked for a Honda dealer back in the ’80s and we sold a ton of these things.

    Yes, they were dangerous as hell, if you didn’t pay attention or try to make it do things it wasn’t meant to do.

    A lot were purchased by well meaning parents and a lot of kids learned about pain the hard way. More came back shortly after delivery with serious crash damage.

    That said, if you took your time, learned how to ride one correctly they were a lot of fun. We used to race them around the dealership on snowy Saturday afternoons when there were more employees than customers in the building.
    They were a hoot in the snow.

    We even snuck them out onto the public roads on real snowy evenings. We’d blast right past the local police station, knowing there was no way in the world the cops could chase us.

    Like 10
  4. Grandpa Lou

    Dangerous is not a harsh enough word. The first time the front wheel comes up and you go upside down with the machine on top of you, you will agree. I will stick with my humble little Mule UTV. Not fast (like me), but gets me where I want to be in safety with my honey at my side. Though I will add, these are nice looking little machines. The Honda company in general was at the top of their game during this time period.

    Like 3
    • Boris

      You sound like an old fuddy duddy, these look awesome!

      Like 2
  5. Ian C

    A friend of mine had a 250R 3 wheeler. That thing was a blast to ride! Sure, they can kill you…. but so can a golf cart with the wrong person at the helm. Live a little!!!

    I raced quads (Banshee, then Suzuki QuadRacer) during the mid 90’s and every now and then a guy would show up at the track during test & tune days with a 250R-3 and it would surprise you what these things are capable of with the right rider.

    Like 7
    • Lemble

      Yes the absolute king of the hill THE 250R. Yes that was a beast of a machine in the correct hands and feet. Just not me. LOL

      Like 2
  6. Brian

    I had one, loved the heck out of it too. And yes, it did end up on top of me a few times. Would I ever give up the memories.. heck no! People have gotten so, so soft these days. Back when you didn’t need knee pads and a helmet to cross the street.

    Like 8
  7. Todd Zuercher

    I grew up in the 3 wheeler generation but never had one – due economics and my parents would never have allowed one anyway due to safety concerns. I rode some of the smaller ones (110s and 185s) but never anything this large. The 200X was always my favorite because it was sporty AND a 4 stroke – less temperamental than the 250Rs. These last year models had the best looking livery in my opinion too. Tempting since they’re here in Phoenix…

    Like 5
  8. Gary Bortz

    I had an 86 350X. I could keep up with my buddies 250R. It was fast and fun as heck to fly. Never got hurt on it. But my brother broke his collar bone on it showing off to my mom.

    Like 2
  9. AZVanman

    Back when you had to be somewhat involved to drive, unlike todays softheads. This aint no safe space, kiddies.

    Like 5
  10. Mark Pastor

    I loved them! Started with a 185s no suspension then had a mod suspended frame built for that. Then in ‘86 got a 200x. Love that way that rode. Sure miss it!

    Like 2
  11. JimmyJ

    If anyone has a death wish my buddies selling a 250r

    Like 4
  12. Dangerous Dave

    One of the major problems with these is that an inexperienced rider would put their foot down in a turn and run over their leg. The result was almost always a broken leg or worse.

    Like 5
  13. Ryan Hilkemann

    I remember running my leg over plenty of times, but I guess I learned the hard way.

    Like 1
  14. Dave

    You can watch these being ridden in the music video for “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” .

  15. Jack Quantrill

    Friend went head over heels on one on these and sustained detached retinas! Had to lay on his back for 3 months!

    Like 1
  16. Unobtanium Matt

    His and Hers neck fracture machines.

    Like 3
    • Howard A Member

      I bet you aren’t far off. Thinking, foolishly, this is something they can do together, brings these home, in the 1st 5 minutes, she takes a flop, and that’s it. Life is full of these “swings and misses”. Probably makes up half the ATV sales.

      Like 3
  17. Matt R Member

    I had one flip on me going up a hill. I still loved them. They were great sled-pullers in the snow. Winters were a blast.

  18. Jimmy

    I didn’t own these bone crushers but I did buy 2 new Honda Odysseys the yellow ones not the red ones or pilot red white & blue ones and other than a seat belt and rollbar that was it for safety features. I was told at the dealership that if you roll it which I did quite often DO NOT stick your arm out as it will drag it back into the rear wheels. I never let my boys drive them because they were too young and never paid attention to safety rules. What family and friends I let drive them were told right up front you are taking control of something that can and will hurt you if you don’t listen to warnings and it is at your own risk not mine otherwise stay out of the drivers seat. Back in the good old days we didn’t sue others for our own stupidity, god I miss those days.

    Like 2
  19. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    Oh yeah, I drove my sister’s Honda ATV a few times. I drive headfirst into a tree and the darn thing started to climb it and dumped me off the back. Not going fast enough to get injured, but I did laugh my arse off.

    Like 2
  20. Djjerme

    Man, I miss the old metal tipped lawn darts. Those summed up my childhood..

    Like 5
  21. Bob

    Bought one of the first ATC’s that were 90 cc’s at a Maryland dealership in ’71, I believe. Tons of fun once you figured out the correct way to ride it. Kids in the neighborhood loved to ride it but I made their parents sign an accident waiver, just in case. Stupid brother-in-law wanted to try it out on a hill and I cautioned him about doing that. Next thing I see is him, the bike, him, the bike rolling down the hill. Never laughed so hard in my life.

  22. Tony T

    Todd: Join “ATCanon”for 12-step support. What’s “fun” about 3-wheelers is that the pilot has to look for rocks, etc., in THREE lines … not like one on an MC or even two on an ATV.

  23. Mood-O

    Rode and crashed many of these back in the early 80’s
    Always felt “safer” on a 2 wheeler aka MX bike
    Was a lot younger and “smarter” then…
    Hit a jumping Cholla cactus on a 250r way out in nowhereland Verde river area in AZ.
    Took about a month for all the little needles to work their way out of my legs
    Great times though
    Brother had a QuadZilla about this same time. That thing was SCARY FAST not stock, man were we fearless back then

  24. Mood-O

    Looking back now, its funny how Kids and Mortgages sometimes knock us into Adulthood!
    Kicking and Screaming…

    Like 1
  25. Michael Streuly

    The big problem with 3 wheeler’s is most people thinking that they where a toy would unplug there brain before riding one. The first thing i tell people now days that i let ride my TRX400 is never never never put your feet down when you where out riding it. I rode many 3 wheelers in my day and never got hurt. Most people that rode 3 wheeler’s did not understand that you had to lean a little when you where making a turn. Also most people did not know that having a solid rear axle is you had to slide it through the corners at speed as apposed to trying to turn it through the corner like you would at low speed.

    Like 1
  26. thomas glashaw Member

    you are only as smart as the machine if you don’t use your head for something you mite as well have an ass at both ends, still have my 1970 atc 90 us model and the grand kids still drive it around the yard lol bad grampa .

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