PRODUCT EVALUATION By the staff of Dirt Wheels:
WITH CAMBER & CASTOR ADJUSTABLE SLICAST SYSTEM —
There are a lot of applications where the term “wider is better” is quite true in the ATV world. Wider A-arms help your machine corner better, stay more stable through rough terrain and the chassis won’t act as tippy. Wider A-arms means you also get the option of installing long-travel shocks if you so choose. Houser offers multiple setups—from wider short-travel arms to narrower cross-country arms and motocross long-travel A-arms. We picked up their $999 long-travel +2.25 MX A-arms that are incorporated with their Slicast system and installed them on a 2014 Honda TRX450R.
Houser’s A-arms are strong and durable with a design that increases the front end’s ground clearance.
The Houser A-arms are more adjustable than most. You can adjust the caster and camber separately from each other and adjust the toe of the front end of your ATV with this system. The A-arms add 2.25 inches of width onto each side of the front end. Houser also designed the lower A-arms to utilize a long-travel shock while increasing the ground clearance. The arms are made from TIG-welded 4130 chromoly steel tubing for strength and durability. The bushings on the arms are a maintainable needle bearing and seal type. The kit includes heavy-duty ball joints, stronger tie-rods and Nyloc nuts, and lock washers for the ball joints. There are dust caps in the kit that help keep grease in the bushing and dirt and mud out of them.
The Slicast system involves cam-shaped plates that go on the upper arms with 11 different caster settings. Each setting gives you .05 degree of change. To adjust the caster, you simply loosen the upper ball-joint jam nut on each side, rotate the Slicast cam to the setting you desire, press it onto the pegs and tighten the jam nut back down. Make sure both sides are adjusted evenly. It is best to align the front end of the machine first before you start trying out different caster settings.
We took our Honda through wide-open and tight, technical terrain for this test. For starters, the gull-wing shape of the arms helped the quad go through ruts, rocks and roots easier without hanging up nearly as often as the stock arms would. The ability of having a longer-travel shock installed on the quad and arms was very beneficial to the handling of the machine as well.
Once we did a few laps on our private GP-style course that has jumps, whoops, rocks, sand and mountains, we started adjusting the Slicast system. First, we started by rotating the Slicast system towards the rear of the machine little by little. Each adjustment helped the Honda go faster in a straight line, but near the end of the rear adjustments, cornering was hindered. Then, we set the system back to zero, took a few laps and started moving the Slicast cam forward on the A-arms. As expected, the TRX450R started cornering better and better! Each adjustment made the quad turn easier and sharper, but the straight-line speed decreased. Adjustments are never-ending once you realize what great products can provide for you. We ended up leaving the Houser Slicast cams more forward on the Honda so it turned quite well, and then started adjusting our Precision Elite steering damper to calm down the straight-line play. Go to page 68 for a test on the stabilizer.
The Slicast system allows you to adjust the caster of your front-end alignment separately from the camber. There are 11 adjustment settings to choose from.
Alignment and ATV setup aren’t easy, and sometimes you want more adjustability out your front end that a lot of A-arm kits won’t have. Houser Racing designed a kit that gave us what we were looking for. The A-arms are wider, which made the quad more stable at high speeds and handle better in corners. They are also strong and durable with great ground clearance. We have many hours left of testing to get the right adjustment numbers for each terrain we like to ride, but that makes us happy with the adjustability of the Slicast system. Go to www.houser-racing.com to check out all of their ATV and UTV products or call (877) 646-3278.