Doug Dubach himself was on hand to lead the charge in our modified 450 shootout.
We produce a hard copy issue of Dirt Wheels every 30 days. But some of them are much, much longer in construction. The August issue was like that. It has two stories that took more than their fair share of effort, time and manpower. The first was the Blaster 200 versus Raptor 250. You might say this comparison was years in the making. The Yamaha Blaster 200 was the most popular quad of all time. From its beginning, it was the perfect recreational four-wheeler and Yamaha literally sold millions of them over a 20 year production run. It finally was superseded by more modern machines, but it earned a permanent place in the quad hall of fame.
Today, the Raptor 250 is the closest thing in Yamaha’s line up to the original Blaster. Yes, it’s a four-stroke and the Blaster was two-stroke, but the two machines are aimed at essentially the same market. We found a perfect example of a vintage Blaster, and to even out the playing field, we bored and stroked it until the displacement was similar to the Raptor’s. Then we took them riding. The results? We had fun. You’ll dig the story.
The other monster project in August was the modified 450 sport shootout. Every year we struggle laying down the parameters for a sport shootout. The problem is that no two manufacturers make machines that are directly comparable. Some are 50 inches wide and designed specifically for the track. Others are narrow for the woods. Some make a specific race version. Others make trail machines and expect the buyer to make the final modifications. For this shootout, we wanted to test 450 quads as they are raced in the real world. That means they all had to be modified. But how much? We set a price limit of $15,500 (including the initial purchase price) and asked six of the national’s top quad builders to go to work. The quads were a Gary Jones Honda TRX450R, a Motoworks Can-Am, a DRD Kawasaki KFX450, a Yoshimura Suzuki R450, an H-Bomb Polaris 450MX and a Hinson Yamaha YFZ450R. In the end, we had a surprise winner that’s sure to stir controversy for months to come.
We also have the first look at Can-Am’s new side-by-side, a test of a Supermoto Suzuki and a whole lot more. It’s amazing how many months of stories we can fit into one issue.
Wes Miller of H-Bomb films built the Polaris, DRD built the Kawasaki and Motoworks the Can-Am.
Yoshimura built the Suzuki and Gary Jones assembled the Honda, but all three of these had heavy influence from Wayne Hinson, who is probably the most successful crew chief in ATV racing history.
Insider info: Polaris rider Seth was late for our photo shoot. He still appears in the photo through Photoshop magic. Don't tell anyone.