A look at unique suspensionBy the staff of Dirt Wheels

Quite often in the racing world we see builds that start with a quad purchased new off a showroom floor. By the end, all that is left of the original machine are the cases. A large percentage of the stock parts are scrapped and replaced with expensive, high-end aftermarket products. Sometimes these quads can out-price a quality sport UTV or four production sport quads! If people think that is what it takes to enter racing, the notion can seem intimidating to those looking to get into the sport. A price tag and labor like that do not have to be the norm. Fifteen-year-old WORCS star Dakota Hibler is making her way up the ranks to run with the big dogs. And while some may think she is playing it safe with her quad, we think she is playing it smart and innovative.

Dakota hopes to expand her horizons in the upcoming seasons by racing ATV/MX and trying her hand at GNCC. She is already comfortable with jumps.


After successful years in the youth classes on the Yamaha Raptor 250, Team DirtHalo chose to step up from the little air-cooled machine to a 2020 YFZ450R for more than just the added horsepower. Durability, reliability and the easy access to factory replacements, as well as aftermarket parts, made the choice easy.

Race modifications were made to drop some weight while increasing longevity and safety of the build. The frame and motor were left stock, which can mean less downtime for wrenching and replacements mid-season. Every seasoned racer knows that riding your hardest only helps if your ride doesn’t break. That’s why Alba bead\lock wheels and a Campbell Racing Fabrication skid plate and sprocket guard were vital additions.

Beaten-up racers are also no bueno, so a Fasst Co. Flexx handlebar was installed to help absorb the terrain and add more control. This bar also allowed for a more fitted bend for Dakota’s size and riding style. Having a good fit can make all the difference for the connection between a rider and their quad. While the factory seat was the right fit, the custom Fourwerx Carbon seat cover adds welcome body traction for sitting or hanging off in turns. It also adds style points.

Combining an HMF competition full exhaust system and maps with the Dynojet Power Commander fuel controller increased the horsepower and speed of the quad. The Dynojet easily supports quick tuning for when changes were necessary.

One unique feature of this build is the XTravel suspension. The five-link front assembly uses tie-rods and Heim joints instead of the traditional A-arms. This adds ground clearance and reduces bump-steer.


The real show stopper on the DirtHalo build, besides its appearance, is the XTravel suspension system. Using modified stock shocks, this YFZ has 12.5 inches of travel in the front and 14.5 inches of travel in the rear! The BVS five-link front assembly uses tie-rods and Heim joints instead of the traditional A-arm setup. This allows for Dakota’s quad to gain much more ground clearance and wheel travel compared to a stock bike. That added travel is accomplished using stock Yamaha KYB shocks that have been valved and tuned, producing 3 additional inches of front travel (12.5 inches) and a total of 14.5 inches in the rear.

The front five-link steering is claimed to allow the front suspension to mirror a trophy truck and absorb the terrain with the suspension rather than sending it through the steering components and into the rider’s hands and arms. XTravel’s front end includes billet-aluminum dual-pivot upright spindles, upper and lower XLinkX setup to replace the A-arms, a lower shock mount, a steering-rack assembly, and all FK Heims and hardware. 

Although this race build isn’t an over-the-top “no stock parts left” deal, it works great for Dakota’s riding style, and it also allows for less mandatory downtime to make adjustments and repairs between races.

The no-link rear construction is a direct fit to the stock swingarm. It allows the rear shock to travel further than a link setup. XTravel claims the linkage limits full-shock extension. This added travel and revised leverage ratio helps gain control and reduces bounce and rebound. This also means longer travel with less moving parts to break or adjust.

XTravel claims that no steering stabilizer is needed, and Dakota races without using one. The company has video of a quad hitting a curb with just one front wheel. The opposite side of the quad stays completely calm, and the bar doesn’t jerk at all. No bump-steer, no problems. Eliminating steering feedback cuts down on rider fatigue.

Dakota insisted that she was getting arm pump and fading towards the end of races with the standard suspension. She had to work hard to control the quad during motos. The customization, extra power and the proprietary XTravel suspension with the added bump absorption of the Fasst bar made it so Dakota can now build endurance over the course of a moto. She gets off the quad feeling energized. The end result is consistent lap times from start to finish versus faster lap times up front and finish-line fade.

The rear NoLink construction is a direct fit to the stock swingarm and gives the rear shock more travel with less harsh rebound.


Dakota currently races the Rocky Mountain ATV/MX WORCS and QuadCross NW Series with this YFZ build. This season she had to bump up a class to avoid protests after racing in Women’s C and beating all the B-class times. She had been preparing to move up eventually, but improved more quickly than expected. Other than a switch in tire size and a rear shock-collar height adjustment, nothing really needs to be changed on this build between the two very different race series. That ability shows just how versatile her quad and suspension is. In the future, Dakota and her team hope to race ATV/MX and GNCC Nationals, possibly as early as the 2022 season.

This 450 sticks out on the starting line with its pink, teal and gray accents against white graphics. This is certainly a unique look for a unique build.


38 MOTORSPORTS: (563) 357-3672,

YFZ-R breather box kit: $120

YFZ-R AIS block-off kit: $20

Speed sensor block-off: $20

ALBA RACING: (619)-562-0188,

10×5 (4+1) front wheel desert/MX: $109.99

9×8 (3+5) rear beadlock wheel desert: $109.99

8×8 (3+5) rear beadlock wheel MX: $109.99

YFZ450R grab bar: $49.99

Gas cap: $29.00

Parking brake block-off plate: $10.50

ASV INVENTIONS: (714) 861-1400,

C6 Series off-road/quad pro model clutch lever: $165

C6 Series off-road/quad brake lever: $120

BNR MOTORSPORTS: (330) 549-9799,

YFZ-R clutch sensor bypass: $7.49

YFZ-R spark plug hold down: $29.99

Front seat extension: $11.99

BLUD LUBRICANTS: (833) 258-3123,

Pro Elite Series 10w40 Oil: $20.95 qt.

Pro Series chain lube: $14.95 can

Pro Series penetrating lube: $14.95 can

Bludline Detailer: $14.95 bottle

CYCRA RACING: (800) 770-2259,

Pro Bend CRM Racer Pack ATV Flexx Bar direct-mount white shield: $94.95

CUSTOM COATERS OF MESA: (480) 926-2628, contact on Facebook, @customcoatersofmesa

Powdercoating and sand-blasting: pricing varies on size of job


3/8-inch-thick YFZ-R EFI skid plate pink: $110

3/4-inch-thick Sprocket Guard Rut Buster: $65

DURABLUE INC: (949) 770-5533,

X33 axle with billet wheel hubs: $914

Aluminum axle sprocket hub: $296

Aluminum axle housing: $473

Aluminum axle brake hub: $156

FASST COMPANY: (877) 306-1801,

Flexx handlebar quad low 15-degree bend: $359.99

Pink/black bar pad cover: $10

FOURWERX CARBON: (262) 501-9696, 

Carbon fiber universal head-pipe heat shield 9-inch: $80

Carbon fiber universal ATV rear heat shield: $60

YFZ450R custom seat cover: Pricing varies

Carbon fiber taillight eliminator: $80

Master cylinder guard: $48

Carbon fiber YFZ450R battery brace plate: $35

Carbon fiber front number plate for Rath bumper: $50

Carbon fiber universal rear number plate: $65

Yamaha YFZ450R billet oversized rear brake pedal black: $75

FIREPOWER: (208) 376-8400, 

Lithium battery: $99.95

HINSON RACING: (909) 946-2942, 

Complete Billetproof conventional clutch kit: $1084.99

Yamaha primary driven gear complete: $225.70

Yamaha thrust plate 1: $7.40

HMF RACING: (216) 631-6980, 

Competition complete exhaust system elliptical: $635.95

DynoJet Power Commander fuel controller: $299.95

HIFLO FILTRO: (770) 948-8880, 

Oil filter HF140: $4.95

ITP TIRES: (800) 827-1001, 

Holeshot MXR6 for MX style racing, Holeshot GNCC for WORCS Racing: Pricing varies

JT SPROCKETS: (770) 948-8880, 

Front sprocket (14-tooth): Price varies

Rear sprocket (38-tooth): Price varies

JSR MOTODESIGNS: (484) 221-8811, 

Custom nerf nets with reinforced heels: Pricing varies

MOTION PRO: (650) 594-9600, 

Twist throttle kit YFZ-R: $50.39

RATH RACING: (320) 234-7223,

Signature Series nerf bars with Monster Pegs: $500.95 ea.

YXZR front bumper: $139.95

SSI DECALS: (877) 955-7446, 

Graphic kits: Pricing varies

SEVEN MX: (877) 240-4778, 

ODI grips Aqua: $12

TUSK: (800) 336-5437,

Hour meter bracket silver: $5.99

Multi-function tach/hour meter: $24.99

XTRAVEL SUSPENSION: (619) 654-0230, 

BDS front suspension (includes patent-pending BVS technology, dual-pivot upright spindles, upper and lower XlinkX setup, lower shock mount, steering rack assembly: $3500

No-link rear suspension: $425

Modify Yamaha shock: $550, plus shipping


Front fender assy. grey: $99.27

Rear fender assy. White: $229.79

Rear fender cover: $5.09

Protector: $6.79

Cover #2: $4.41

Top cover grey: $20.39

Cover side 1 grey: $23.19

Cover side 2 grey: $23.19

Cover side 4 white: $14.95

Cover side 3 white: $15.63

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