PROJECT REPORT: SUZUKI LT-R450 BUILT FOR THE TRAIL, PART II
Suzuki recently announced only minor changes to the 2009 Quad Racer LT-R450. A steel braced seat base and new color choices was the extent of the news. We had hopes of Suzuki introducing a narrow, maybe big bore version of the popular machine. No such luck. On the good side, that allows us to take a second look at our Project Trail LT-R450 machine. Back in the July 2008 issue, we brought you the first look at this unique machine. This month, we put some more miles on the all terrain quad, as well as added a few more products, to make it even more trail worthy.
PART ONE The first goal with this machine was to narrow it up and give it some ground clearance. To achieve that goal, we turned to OMF. They assembled a set of their adjustable offset wheels, with the adjustment plates set as narrow as possible. This narrowed the front end 2.5 inches and a full three inches in the rear. At $250 per wheel, these OMF products are pricey, but are much cheaper than getting a short axle and shorter A-arms which would reduce wheel travel. This way, you get to keep all of the wheel travel the LT-R450 has to offer, but can ride comfortably on tight trails. The wheels offer beadlock protection and the adjustable offset will allow you to widen the machine for track riding as well. To gain the height needed for rough trail riding, we installed a set of Dunlop’s taller Quad Max trail tires. On the front, we installed 21-inch knobbies while the rear was outfitted with 20-inch meats. These are the same size tires that are found on trail machines like the Suzuki Z400 and Yamaha’s Raptor 700. More trail protection was provided by a Pro Armor swingarm guard, nerf bars and bumpers.. Also in part one, we tuned the motor to be more trail friendly. We wanted a big bore piston with tractor-like torque, so we turned to CP Pistons and Hot Cams and installed their 474 kit along with an FMF complete exhaust system. This combo gave us the power to turn the taller tires without having to change the gearing.
With a narrowed chassis, the stock front shocks get a little stiffer. For more comfort, we backed off the preload two turns and eased up on compression five clicks on the front end. That made test rider Tony Crispen very happy.
PART TWO For the second and final part of this project Quad Racer LT-R450, we turned to the off road experts at Trail Tech. They have a complete line of on-board computers, handlebars, lights and flywheels for popular dirt bikes and ATVs. For our ATV we started with a handlebar/computer mount, along with a set of Trail Tech’s low cost XBar handlebars. The bar mount installed easily after we removed the stock bars and clamps. To complete the installation, we had to relocate the stock indicator lights that once were found in the stock plastic handlebar cover. They popped right into the new bar mount. The $100 dash/bar mount was an easy way to upgrade to the larger 1-1/8 oversized handlebars. The Xbars have an incredibly low retail price of $50 and come in low, med and high bar bends. Colors include silver, high polished silver, titanium, red, blue, gold and black.
(Left) We installed the temperature sensor for the computer in the center of the upper CV Powersports water line. The 474cc engine never got hot, even in the tightest of woods we rode in. (Right) The Trail Tech computer easily plugs into the stock wiring harness with the labeled connectors that gets placed under the front cowling.
Next we installed one of Trail Tech’s signature products, the Vapor on-board computer. This battery operated system moniters air and engine temperatures, wheel-speed, saves max speed and rpm. The dash also includes shift lights, ride time calculator, engine hour meter, distance traveled, a stop watch and a clock. Trail Tech has been constantly improving this product over the years and installation is getting easier every year. The computer plugs right into the stock ignition system and senses wheel speed after a magnet pickup sensor is installed. You have to install a bracket to the caliper mount and replace one rotor bolt with a supplied magnetic unit to provide needed data.
(Left) Trail Tech has been improving their computer systems on a regular basis. Now they display mph, rpm, engine temp, hours, a clock, odometer, trip meters and shift lights. We installed a set of very inexpensive ($50) Trail Tech Xbars on this project as well. (Right) Trail Tech has come up with a unique and practical way to mount the lights they sell. For this project we mounted one pair on the handlebars and one pair to the top front shock mounts.
FINAL TOUCHES Since this yellow beast is turning into the ultimate trail machine, we wanted to make sure we could ride it day or night. To light the trail after the sun goes down, we are relying on two sets of $330 Trail Tech HID lights. These micro two-inch lights are fully self-contained and wire directly into the stock wiring loom. We mounted the first set on the upper front shock mounts. This installation was simple, using the supplied brackets and easy to follow instruction sheet. The next set was installed using handlebar clamps. There was just enough room left on the Xbars to install the lights and utilize all of the stock switches for operation. To cap off the project, we installed a high-rise ultra soft Quad Tech seat cover. The non-slip cover raises the seat height about a half an inch. This taller seat height reduces rider fatigue by not requiring you to bend your legs as much when sitting and standing. The cover also matches our yellow and white graphics scheme much better than the all-blue stock seat. The bars’ new handlebars also got a fresh set of Cycra handguards installed to keep the riders hand protected from the elements. Our lighting choice was perfect for high or low speed riding. We ended up using one “flood” and one “spot” light in each location. If we were riding fast in a straight line, the “spots” would light up the trail in front of us and the "floods" would keep the sides of the trial illuminated. Then in the twisty stuff, the handlebar mounted light point wherever the bars and our eyes look.
WRAP UP Building the ultimate trail quad out of one of the best MX machines wasn’t easy. However, it can be done in a way as not to break your bank. Even at $250 per wheel, the OMF products will save you about that same amount in the cost of narrow A-arms and an axle. Plus the stock arms and axle are quality components. Goodyear’s new QuadMax tires provided traction as good as the stock Goodyears and the ground clearance you need to hit the trails. And those trails have never been smoother than in a Quad Tech High-rise seat cover. At $185, the Quad Tech desert seat is much cheaper than a new set of shocks. Our 474cc big bore kit is everything we expect out of a trail machine. You could ride a gear high in the tight stuff without hunting between gears. Out on the open road, the high compression piston and pair of new Hot cams gave the former track machine top speed comparable to a Raptor 700 or Honda 700XX. If you have a LT-R450 that sees as much trail time as it does on the track, these products can help you get the most out of your machine.
At $250 a corner, the OMF wheels with Dunlop tires are the best way to narrow up the LT-R450. It’s way better than ordering expensive narrow A-arms. The wheel selection removed 2.5 inches of width. These mods can make any LT-R450 trail ready.
WARNING: Much of the action depicted in this magazine is potentially dangerous. Virtually all of the riders seen in our photos are experienced experts or professionals. Do not attempt to duplicate any stunts that are beyond your own capabilities. Always wear the appropriate safety gear. Copyright 2008 Hi-Torque Publications, Inc. All rights reserved. Console Login