HONDA 450R TRAIL MASTER

— Upgrading this popular sport quad —

By the staff of Dirt Wheels

Daniel can utilize his Honda’s power to easily get the big Track & Trail 22-inch tires spinning. The added width to the front and rear helps control the cornering.

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.

Rath Racing’s nerf bars and footpegs offer great foot traction and the ability to move around the quad with ease during all types of riding.

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. 

Teixeira Tech provided the linkage and linkage skid plate for this build. A chainguide and swingarm skid plate from Ryland Johnson Racing was installed to protect important components.

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.

Teixeira Tech’s WX +2.25 LT A-arms are a major upgrade in handling with the help of Stage 5 Elka shocks. A GPR stabilizer in the background keeps the wheels pointed in the right direction.

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. 

Gonzalez installed Spider grips, a Highway Dirt Bikes switch setup, ARC clutch perch and a Pro Armor ATV kill switch on his build.

PULLING POWER

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.

An RPM Dominator II axle and axle nut fit perfectly, along with Galfer brake lines, D.I.D chain and Sunstar sprockets. You can see part of the Elka shock as well.

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.

A full FMF 4.1 RCT anodized exhaust system provides more power. Boyeson crank case cover, and a Super Cooler kit with Moto Hose additions can be seen here along with Fasst Co. brake return spring and clevis. A FourWerx carbon brake pedal and heat shielding made it onto this build.

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. 

Powermadd handguards rest on a Renthal handlebar that is held on to the quad by Precision Racing Products’ anti-shock and vibe bar clamps. Baja Designs XL Pro and XL Sport LED headlights turn night into day.

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.

Rath Racing’s competition nerf bar/heel guard combo comes with the ability to have three different-sized footpegs. Daniel went with the Monster peg. An IRP oil cooler, Hammerhead shift lever and Glann Innovations products can be seen here.

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!

FourWerx Carbon took the stock seat and recovered it with new foam and a grippy cover that has a sleek design with custom colors. Daniel installed DWT beadlock wheels with 22-inch-tall Track & Trail TT400 tires. These tires offer great traction and have a six-ply carcass. Rath Racing bumpers found a home on this Honda, along with a FourWerx Carbon plastic hood, Maier shrouds and a Dirt Fiend graphics kit.

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

Graphics $259.99

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

iMotominder $39.95

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 $445

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

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