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Ron Lawson

      In the August print issue of Dirt Wheels, our modified 450 MX shootout was a massive project that involved six ATVs built by six different companies. The object of the test was simple: we compared the quads in full-race form. The only limit was that they all had to represent a similar investment; somewhere in the $15,000 range including the initial purchase price. To give you a little more detail on each of the projects, we’ll be featuring the machines one at a time on the web over the next few weeks.
      Honda’s TRX450R is a proven race winner, but in stock form, it’s set up for trail riding. The stance is narrow, the tires are bouncy and the motor is mild. But the Honda has the second-lowest MSRP, and its good, old-fashion carb and single overhead cam make motor hop-up easy and cheap.
      Former MX Champion Gary Jones built a Honda 450R for his son Justin to race. With only a few changes, it fit into our parameters perfectly. First on the list was the width. Walsh A-arms were installed that were two inches wider than stock. The kit comes with tie rods and ball joints. Brake lines are another issue; the stockers aren’t long enough to deal with wider A-arms. PEP came to the rescue with brake lines that are rated much higher than stock. To get the rear end to the same width, we used an RPM Dominator 2 axle, which is currently discounted at the factory level--normally it’s the most expensive axle you can buy, but now it’s priced in the $400 range.
      We love the stock Honda motor as a trail ATV, but to get it up to race speed we took a few steps. First was a Motoworks stainless steel exhaust system. Then we installed a new Yoshimura cam. We were somewhat involved in the development of this cam, so we knew it would have good results. For the intake, we removed the airbox lid and installed a Pro Designs Pro Flow filter, and all of that required the switch to an NCVQ needle in the center position, a 55 leak jet, a 45 pilot and a 170 main jet. The next mod was the cheapest of all. We disconnected the green wire on the ignition, which raises the rev ceiling. Cost: nothing.
      For the clutch we tried something new. Most of the Pros are running Hinson BTL slipper clutches, but we didn’t have enough money in the budget for that. So we tried the new Hinson single-spring clutch, which lightens the clutch pull and provides a more solid engagement.
      Stock handlebars on the Honda are somewhat embarrassing, so those had to be upgraded. And we installed DG nerf bars with built-in heal guards. For the steering damper, we installed a Precision Pro Series. Like all the other quads in the shootout, the Honda got a set of Fox Float Evol shocks up front and a Podium X in the rear. The Douglas wheels and Gold Seal tires were on the Honda too.
Honda TRX450R …$7649
Walsh A-arms … $1500 … (386) 364-4942
RPM Dominator 2 axle … $417.95 … (928) 771-9363
PEP brake lines … $200.00 … ( 909 ) 590-4111
Yoshimura cam kit … $399.00 … (909) 628-4722
Motoworks SS exhaust … $549.99 … (951) 587-9222
Hinson single spring clutch …$599.99 … (909) 946-2942
Basket … $249.99… (909) 946-2942
Pro Designs Pro Flow filter … $99.99 … (714) 534-0620
DG nerfs w heal guards … $329.95… (714) 577-7499
DG bumper … $109.95… (714) 577-7499
Pro taper handlebar … $85.00… (951) 736-5369
Precision Pro steering damper … $559.00…(209) 365-1850
Fox Float front shocks … $1495 … (800) FOX-SHOX
Fox Podium X … $895… (800) FOX-SHOX
DWT wheel set (G2Beadlock & Rok-out) … $452.95 (760) 758-5560
2 DWT MXFV2 front tires … $143.90 ... (760) 758-5560
2 DWT MXFV1 rear tires … $233.98 … (760) 758-5560

Topic: Tests

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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.
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