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PROJECT ATV: CV Products Honda 500R

Honda is the last company we are all waiting for to release an improved 450R, trail or race quad. It was way back in 2006 when Honda made any major changes to its flagship sport quad. However, that does not keep top racers from choosing the TRX450R as a platform to build upon. In fact, former factory Can-Am racers John Natalie, Joel Hetrick and Adam McGill have all chosen to ride Honda quads this year, even without a factory deal.

We got together with CV Products with the goal to build a pro-level woods machine showcasing their catalog of parts and services. These are bolt-on parts available to the public. In fact, instead of starting off with a brand-new 2013 machine, this race machine was constructed using a $3000 Honda bought out of the local newspaper. So follow along and you, too, could assemble a winner like this with that tired old quad sitting in your garage. Keep in mind that your quad might not need every single part that the guys at CV Products installed. So no matter if the Quad needs suspension mods or the full engine treatment, the guys at CV Products can steer you in the right direction.


The suspension, bodywork and major motor parts used in this build are all part of the catalog at CV Products. However, there are some unique in-house products that the company has developed and produced themselves. That list includes a 12-cell lithium battery. Not only is this battery half the weight as the stocker, it starts the machine quicker and should last years longer. CV also developed their own compact kill-switch mount that takes up very little handlebar real estate and actually makes the tether easy to attach.

More CV4 Products are found at the rear of this Honda. A custom-designed sprocket guard called a Gator Guard actually has teeth around the circumference to help you claw over roots and rocks. It’s a much-improved design over the original sprocket guards that XC racers started using 10 years ago. A small, billet, parking-brake block-off plate is also found attached to the stock swingarm.

Closer to the engine compartment, the list of CV4 parts grows. High-temp, blue silicone radiator hoses are employed, as well as a Fuel Kool gas-tank heat cover and fuel-line heat sleeve. The builder also added some more blue color when he replaced all of the carburetor vent tubes. Keeping heat out of the engine is one of the best ways to conserve the horsepower you are trying to gain with modifications. To keep an eye on the temperature, small CV4 temp strips ($14 per pack) are strategically placed on the cylinder and a $475 extra-capacity Fluidyne radiator. They also keep a close eye on engine run-time with a small, $40 CV4 hour meter.

Inside the motor is where the magic happens. CV Products offers a transmission service that will benefit any sport quad engine. It’s called an ISF Finish, and it basically smooths out any rough edges on your transmission gears or shift shafts. It’s a $300 investment when you send in your gear set, and it will dramatically improve shifts and reduce false neutrals. We have tried it in several quads and are always impressed.

Next to that happy Honda transmission, a new +3mm stroker Hot Rods crankshaft was installed. For less than $460, it comes complete with a new connecting rod and all lower-end bearings and seals. To come up with the full 500cc of this build, a 12.5:1, 99mm CP-brand piston was installed for $225.

Further up on this engine, CV Products uses more in-house pieces. The head gets equipped with Xceldyne titanium valves (four at $148 each), valve-seats ($100 total) springs, guides, locators and retainers for an additional $500.

CV Products also developed their own CV4 foam air filter ($52) to use on this project, while the exhaust side had a Leo Vince complete, $875 titanium system installed. Without the expense of the exhaust system, the entire investment into the engine was around $3000, which isn’t bad for a total upper- and lower-end rebuild, plus some extras.


The biggest investment into this build was in the chassis department. And believe us, you need a good-working chassis to handle a 500cc powerplant that is this strong. A stock chassis might spit you into the woods like a spent sunflower-seed shell. On the good side, any current aftermarket suspension setup you might be currently using should work well in controlling extra power.

On this Honda, CV Products turned to Houser for a complete front end. They used a plus-12-inch-wider, Pro Series Slicast, maximum-ground-clearance, A-arm setup ($910) connected to a Houser ($350) steering stem that is 1 inch taller than stock and comes with a handlebar clamp that will accept 1 18-inch fat bars.

The front hubs remain stock; however, they were rebuilt with new ball-bearing wheel bearings from All Balls for under $15. The rear-axle carrier bearings were also replaced for $50. Pro Armor supplied the full-chassis skid plate ($139), swingarm guard ($139), bumpers ($220), nerf bars/footpegs ($229) and kill switch ($35). Quad Tech was commissioned to make the matching blue hump seat ($205) and race hood ($135).

Maier Mfg. aftermarket bodywork for the Honda looks trick and can be purchased in a ton of different color options, including the white carbon fiber look used here for $600. An IMS 3.7-gallon tank fetched another $275. Renthal Kevin Windham bend handlebars ($90) topped off the project and were outfitted with Spider-brand grips ($17) and Cycra Pro bend ($83) handguards. The Cycra brand is now owned by CV Products. Renthal also provided rotation to the rear wheels in the form of a Z-ring chain ($116) and ultra-light, aluminum, 38-tooth rear sprocket for $65. The chain slider ($47) and case saver ($55) were trick, thick and slick TM Design products.

To put all of that power and performance to the ground, the guys at CV Products chose to install a complete tire and wheelset from DWT. Up front, 20×6-10 XCF V2s were mounted on Rock Out wheels. The G2 wheels featured double beadlocks and had 20×10-9 XCF V2s also installed.


The CV Products Honda performed as well as any factory GNCC quad we have tested, and it should. You see, the top Pro classes are limited to 450cc, so it’s almost impossible to get a 450 to go as fast as a 500. Plus, if you do, it won’t be nearly as reliable. On the good side, most of the amateur and age-group classes have no engine limits, and a big bore usually has huge torque gains that makes the engine more rideable.

The CV Products Honda is super easy to ride, never tires you out and runs as smooth as a top. Our test ride took place in the woods around Durhamtown Plantation in Georgia. Some areas are tight and rough, while some are tacky and fast. The Honda performed great everywhere. You could wander between gears and always have power to spare. It rolls through the corners and rockets out of them. Top speed with the 38-tooth sprocket is about 80 mph, and it gets there in a hurry. The transmission shifts smoothly, even though we didn’t need to do much gear-changing. Around our test loop we could keep it in second or third for the tight stuff and look for fourth for the open trails.

The Fox-equipped Houser front end was flawless too. We deliberately looked for roots and rocks to hit to see how well the quad could take it. Rocks turned into marshmallows and square-edge bumps turned flat. The DWT tires helped it turn or stop on a dime. We don’t think we could have picked a better selection of handlebars, seat or footpegs. And, the quad felt like it was built just for our riding style.

We do see why some top racers still prefer to use the Honda platform to compete on. And after riding this machine, we can see why so many of them riding other brands turn to CV Products to help their own program. No matter if you are a factory racer, a fast trail rider trying to beat your buddies or a normal guy who wants the best performance out of your sport quad, give CV Products a call at (800) 448-1223—they can help. Also, visit www.cvproducts.com.


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