HONDA 450R TRAIL MASTER
— Upgrading this popular sport quad —
By the staff of Dirt Wheels
It is no secret that we are huge fans of the Honda TRX450R. To be fair, we love all quads, but Honda built an easily modifiable sport quad that stayed competitive for almost a decade with a minimum number of changes. The 450R still tops podiums and earns championships even today. It makes sense that long-time Dirt Wheels reader and quad enthusiast Daniel Gonzalez would choose the TRX for his steed. He picked up a 2007 Special Edition model a few years back and began collecting aftermarket parts. Eventually, when he couldn’t fit everything in his bedroom and garage anymore, it was time to put the pieces of the puzzle together!
WHERE TO START
Daniel wanted a quad that he could shred in the desert, dice through trees and even take to the moto track on occasion. So, he spent a lot of time researching which parts would work well for his needs.
A Teixeira Tech +1 steering stem was mounted up with a new Pivot Works bearing kit. A GPR V1 ATV stabilizer found its home on the Honda. Daniel then installed a set of Teixeira WX +2.25 LT A-arms with an upgraded needle bearing kit. Elka Stage 5 piggyback reservoir shocks, which are dual-compression, rebound and spring-preload adjustable, fit quite nicely. The stock Honda spindles, rotors and calipers were reused after inspection and cleaning. Galfer brake lines were installed with Lonestar Racing brake line clamps on the wider front suspension.
The anti-vibe Teixeira stem was topped with a set of Precision Racing Products Shock and Vibe handlebar clamps. Then a Renthal Fatbar with a CR high bend paired with the clamps. A new set of ARC levers and a clutch perch fit next to Spider Slim Line SLT ATV grips. Daniel found a clean-looking and functional switch cluster that replaced the stock setup from Highway Dirt Bikes. This includes the start button and two more that control the impressive Baja Designs LED lights, and a rear amber light from Rigid Industries mounted to the Honda. Powermadd handguards with their LED light inserts found their way onto the bars, along with a Pro Armor ATV kill switch.
KEEP IT COMING
Gonzalez continued enhancing the handling by getting his stock seat recovered and new foam added by FourWerx Carbon. The seat is ribbed and made out of grippy material to keep him planted when needed. His feet rest on a set of Rath Racing Competition nerf bars with their Monster peg. The pegs on the Rath setup are sharp and offer insane foot traction. You may go through boot soles pretty quickly, though. A FourWerx oversized rear brake pedal was bolted up, and a shift lever from Hammerhead Moto gained a home on the Honda. The Fasst Co. rear brake clevis and return spring addition provides more braking feel than stock.
The rear end of Daniel’s quad was cleaned up and given many upgrades. The stock swingarm remained and was outfitted with Teixeira Tech’s linkage and linkage skid plate. A rear Stage 5 Elka remote reservoir shock joined the crew. An RPM Dominator II axle added strength and width to Gonzalez’s setup. A case saver, swingarm chain slide, greasable swingarm pivot bolt and rear parking brake block-off kit from Glann Innovations were installed. The bottom of the swingarm gained a Blackwater skid plate and chainguide from Ryland Johnson Racing that protects the chain, sprocket and rear brake rotor.
A set of Sunstar sprockets and a D.I.D chain drive the rear DWT bead-lock wheels that hold Track & Trail TT400 22-inch-tall tires. A set of DWT beadlocks and TT400 tires were installed on the front end. Now that the quad was back on the ground, it was time to finish dressing the engine and make the rest of the pieces fit.
Honda’s four-stroke Unicam 450 mill is stout out of the factory; however, more advanced riders require a bit more go. Reliability was more important than making a ton more power. Daniel gains his speed through great handling, but a few more ponies were welcome. A Robl Engineering airbox replaced the plastic stock one, and a Uni reusable foam air filter did the same. Uni airbox vents and a crankcase breather were also installed. Next, the carburetor was massaged with Tokyo Mods O-ring kit, a less-tension throttle spring and a sump plug that adds volume to the float bowl. The carb also received a Boyesen Quickshot 3 and an R&D Racing Flex-Jet carb fuel screw.
Daniel continued his engine mods with a Boyesen clutch cover for some style points, and a Boyeson Super Cooler kit helps the engine run cooler when pushed to the limit. A set of blue coolant hoses from Moto Hose found their home on this build, and an IRP oil cooler assists in keeping the engine temps down.
An exhaust system that flows well will pull more power out of your engine. FMF Racing has been in the exhaust-making business for a few decades, and they know how a Honda should run. A Factory 4.1 RCT anodized full system with a carbon end cap gave the quad a healthy tone and increased the engine performance. And last, an oversize IMS fuel tank lets Gonzalez ride longer in between fill-ups.
COULDN’T BE HAPPIER
We spent a few days out testing products, photographing Daniel’s rig and enjoying fun rides out in the desert. Without a doubt, we can say that this Honda is one of the nicer ones we have piloted lately. Gonzalez’s attention to detail and mechanical skills show how clean, maintained and dialed in this 450R is. All of the features on it work like they should, and that goes right down to the little upgrades.
While riding the TRX in rough desert terrain, the Elka shocks soaked up everything from little chop to 3-foot-deep whoops. The bottoming resistance and tunability of the shocks are a major plus. The Precision bar mounts felt like an additional inch of wheel travel was added on top of what the Teixeira arms provided. When we started taming some slower-speed trails in the trees, a quick few clicks down on the GPR stabilizer helped the Honda turn with ease while still feeling much more controllable than stock. The Teixeira A-arms clearance is great. We tagged a few larger rocks on the skid plates during our riding, while the arms didn’t show any impacts.
A few clicks back up on the GPR stabilizer kept the bar in our hands over high-speed rough. The added width of the front suspension and rear Dominator II axle let us plow harder into corners with more stability over stock. The Track & Trail tires became one of our favorite upgrades. The additional ground clearance was nice to have in the desert, but where they excel is in traction. The lugs are supple while still retaining their shape. They clawed up icy terrain and dug deep in sand.
The power output from Daniel’s TRX wasn’t a handful by any means, but it was useful. This engine wasn’t torn apart and heavily modified, because that tends to reduce life expectancy and reliability. Gonzalez goes out riding trails for hours at a time, and it was important to him to make it back. So, the FMF exhaust, Uni filter, Robl intake, cooling-system upgrades and carburetor work added quite enough go.
The best part of this whole project and riding with Daniel was his enthusiasm about the Baja Designs XL Pro and XL Sport LED headlights. We went on a few long night rides. After riding his quad in the dark, we would have to say we loved the brightness and reach of his headlights, too.
THAT WAS A DOOZY
It is pretty great to ride with long-time readers and off-road enthusiasts who love this sport as we do. Gonzalez took a used 2007 Honda TRX450R, researched for years what parts he should install and slowly collected them piece by piece. Just a few of these parts could help your quad reach the potential you want, so get to collecting and building your dream ride!
CONTACTS & PARTS LIST
APPLIED RACING: www.appliedrace.com, (951) 694-3267
8mm crankcase vent filter $16.99
ARC LEVERS: www.arclevers.com, (714) 543-0362
RC-8 clutch assembly $189.99
Front brake lever $74.99
Brake slipper clamp $19.99
BAJA DESIGNS: www.bajadesigns.com, (800) 422-5292
XL Pro high speed spot LED $349.95
XL Sport driving/combo LED $199.95
LED rock light – Blue $64.95
XL rock guard – Amber $10.95 each.
ATV Light mount discontinued
BOYESEN: www.boyesen.com, (610) 756-6818
Quickshot 3 $119.95
Spectra Supercooler kit $199.95
Factory racing clutch cover $95.95
D.I.D: www.didchain.com, (615) 323-4020
Gold low friction X-ring chain $108.95
DIRT FIEND: www.dirtfiendracing.com, (888) 777-8068
DWT WHEELS: www.dwtracing.com, (800) 722-3746
Champion in a box
WORCS Rok’N Lock kit $649.95
ELKA SUSPENSION: www.elkasuspension.com, (800) 557-0552
Stage 5 front shocks $1,724.99
Stage 5 rear shock $1,309.99
FASST COMPANY: www.fasstco.com, (877) 306-1801
Rear brake clevis $39.99
Rear brake return spring $19.99
FMF RACING: www.fmfracing.com, (310) 631-4363
Factory 4.1 RCT anodized full system/
carbon end cap $699.99
FOURWERX CARBON: www.fwcarbon.com, (262) 501-9696
A58 gloss blue plastic hood $130
Billet oversized rear brake pedal $75
Universal carbon-fiber rear head shield $60
Carbon carburetor heat shield $60
V2 wave seat cover $158
Replacement seat foam $95
GALFER USA: www.galferusa.com, (800) 685-6633
Stainless steel ATV rear brake line- pro cooler series $42
Stainless steel ATV front 3 line kit $78
GLANN INNOVATIONS: www.glanninnovations.com, (515) 528-9056
Case saver $60
Swingarm chain slide $80
Grease-able swingarm pivot bolt $55
Tie rod end “castle nut” upgrade kit $20
Block off plate w/ cooling fins $50
GPR STABILIZER: www.gpstabilizer.com, (619) 661-0101
V1 ATV stabilizer kit $525
HAMMERHEAD MOTO: www.hdmoto.com, (650) 365-3172
CNC billet aluminum shift lever $64.99
HIGHWAY DIRT BIKES: www.highwaydirtbikes.com
Switch mount stand alone 3 button $40
12v 2amp momentary switch $5
12v 10amp on/off switch $5 each.
IMS PRODUCTS: www.imsproducts.com, (800) 237-9906
3.7 Gal fuel tank $274.95
IRP: www.irp-llc.com, (503) 860-5712
Oil cooler $329.95
LONESTAR RACING: www.lsracing.com, (480) 834-2990
Steering stem chassis clamp $22.50
Billet brake line clamps $32.95 each.
MAIER USA: www.maier-mfg.com, (530) 272-9036
Radiator scoops $140.85
MOD QUAD: www.modquad.com, (541) 791-2887
Throttle & brake cover set $57.95
MOTO BAT: www.motobatt.com
QuadFlex 12v AGM battery $68.50
MOTO HOSE: www.motohose.com, (704) 340-7958
ATV radiator hose kit $69.99
Crankcase hose $29.95
Off-road hose clamps $19.95
4-stroke vent hose full kit $29.95
PC RACING: www.pcracing.com, (951) 698-4962
RYLAND JOHNSON RACING: www.rylandjohnsonracing.com, (870) 566-1276
Blackwater skid plate $230
Chain guide $120
R&D RACING USA: www.r1dean.com, (562) 864-8218
Flex-jet carb fuel screw $32.95
SPEC BOLT: www.specbolt.com
Anodized aluminum washers $2 each.
SPIDER GRIPS: www.spidergrips.com
Slim line SLT ATV grips $29.95
SUNSTAR: www.sunstar-braking.com, (937) 704-1462
Steel rear sprocket $36.95
Powerdrive countershaft sprocket $23.95
TEIXEIRA TECH: www.teixeiratech.com, (209) 833-9160
+1 Steering stem $249
WX +2.25 LT A-arms $999
With bearing upgrade $129
Linkage skid plate $59
TRACK & TRAIL: www.trackandtrailtires.com
TT400 22×7-10 fronts $52.30
TT400 22×11-9 rears $90.78 ea.
TOKYO MODS: www.tokyomods.com, (888) 457-9403
Kehin FCR-MX carb O-ring kit $49.95
Less tension throttle spring $29.95
Carburetor sump $24.95
PIVOT WORKS: www.pivotworks.com, (515) 402-8000
Steering stem bearing kit $34.95
POWERMADD: www.powermadd.com, (651) 462-8465
Star series hand guards $35
ATV mount kit $40
Star series LED light kit $60
PRECISION RACING PRODUCTS: www.precision-rp.com, (209) 365-1850
Shock and Vibe handlebar clamps $229
PRM PRODUCTS: www.prm-atv.com
Belly skid plate discontinued
ROBL ENGINEERING: www.robl-engineering.com, (717) 725-8119
Complete intake system $341.75
PRO ARMOR: www.proarmor.com, (888) 312-7667
ATV Kill Switch $34.95
PROBOLT-USA: www.probolt-usa.com, (855) 272-5682
Aluminum race spec bolts, 5-pack $11.24
RATH RACING: www.rathracing.com, (320) 234-7223
TRX competition nerf bar w/ Monster peg $529.95
Classic bumper $139.95
Cross country rear grab bar $99.95
RENTHAL: www.renthal.com, (877) 736-8425
Fatbar CR high $89.95
RIGID INDUSTRIES: www.rigidindustries.com, (855) 760-5337
A-Series LED rock light $89.99
UNI FILTERS: www.unifilter.com, (714) 535-6933
UNI Foam filter $38.95
Crank case breather $16.95
Air box air vents $13.95
WORKS CONNECTION: www.worksconnection.com, (530) 642-9488
Oil fill plugs $24.95 each.
Front brake cap $29.95