130 miles flat-out in a bone-stock Talon with a Jackson Racing Honda Talon Turbo Kit
Jackson Racing Honda Talon Turbo Kit
Occasionally, we get to drive a car that we just cannot pry ourselves out of. That bug struck particularly hard during our noticeably short stint with this 2021 Honda Talon R Live Valve complete with a Jackson Racing turbo kit. We took delivery of the car with only its break-in miles on the odometer, the whole thing smelling like fresh rubber and showroom shine.
The quality of the Jackson Racing turbo kit is near flawless, as it should be for a company whose expertise lies in high-budget, OEM backed worldwide racing efforts. Jackson Racing is a company with a lot of history, and specifically a lot of history with Honda. Jackson Racing started modifying Honda cars and bikes in the 1970s and have gone on to win races and championships in multiple racing disciplines from SCORE Off Road to Ice Racing, SCCA and World Rally.
Aside from the Jackson Racing Turbo decals, this car is stealth. The giant air-to-air intercooler and fan assembly are tucked neatly under the bed, so far up that you can’t see it unless you duck under a fender. The turbo manifold mounting rod is about the only piece of the kit that doesn’t look like an OEM piece, only because it’s a billet rod finished in a slick black anodizing. Turn the key, and this Talon purrs to life like a stock car. Heck, at low speeds, it feels identical to a factory car.
Jackson Racing’s bolt-on kit is an aftermarket add-on that can be purchased through many dealers or online. It is 50-state legal, meaning even Californians can purchase the kit, and installs in 4-8 hours depending on your skill level with a wrench. It costs $5,799 and includes absolutely everything you will need to turn your non-turbo Honda Talon 1000R or X into a fully-fledged, fire-breathing turbo monster. Jackson racing claims a 60% increase in horsepower, which equates to an additional 55 or so horsepower at the tire. On a vehicle that makes around 90 wheel horsepower in naturally aspirated trim, this is a massive jump in power, and it feels every bit of 60% stronger.
Jackson Racing tunes the ECU as well as the transmission control module for the Talon’s dual-clutch automatic. It is the symmetry in tuning between these components that really delivers the goods with this kit. Acceleration and shift timing are so perfectly matched that we spent 5 minutes in manual shift mode before switching back to Sport Auto and leaving it there for the remainder of our drive. The car is always in the right gear, ready to pin you back in the seat and rocket to the next corner.
Driving the Talon 1000R with the Jackson Racing turbo kit is a lot like riding a fast sport ATV or dirtbike. Its strength lies in its corner-to-corner acceleration ability. It absolutely jumps out of the hole, often scrambling for traction until well past 60 mph. We longed for a taller tire or overall gear with the turbo kit installed, as the Talon rips right up to an indicated 76 mph and hits a speed-governed wall. When it hooks, it pushes you back into the seat every bit as hard as a Maverick Turbo R and makes a lot crazier noises while doing so. The combination of turbo spool, engine RPM, boost dumping and pops on full throttle upshifts turn the Talon R into an all-encompassing rally experience.
Power is only as good as the chassis it is harnessed in, and for this iteration, Jackson Racing picked the right base model to work with. Honda’s 2021 Talon 1000R with Live Valve is a riot off the showroom floor, delivering a strong balance of acceleration performance, usability, reliability, and suspension compliance. The JR Turbo kit does not throw that balance off, but rather enhances it- the Talon’s reflexes seem sharper in every dimension, and the chassis takes to the extra power and momentum very well. We opted to weight the bed down, as the Talon in stock form bucks and deflects a bit when fully unloaded. With about 70 pounds in the bed, we achieved a good mix of compliance and bottoming resistance.
The Talon is a great braker, which allows you to really throw it deep into a corner and set the front end. With the extra power, the car weight transfers a little better, pivoting on the outside tire under throttle. Whether you roll on the throttle or mash it, the engine comes to life with no hesitation and no hiccups. It is all power, all the time, and it ramps up in a hurry, allowing you to lighten the front end or wheelie over crests if you keep your foot in it.
We came away incredibly impressed with the Jackson Racing turbo kit. While a turbo kit is a large investment for most UTV owners, this is one that we can wholly recommend, as it transforms the driving experience of the Talon and is designed with long-term durability in mind. While Honda does not sanction the turbo kit installation officially, the end product you get is on par with OEM parts. Check with your local Honda dealership to see if they are a Jackson Racing dealer, and for some great information on the turbo kit, click here.