— Built to fly high and win — By the staff of Dirt Wheels.
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There is no doubt that the Honda TRX450R is one of the best ATVs ever built in our galaxy. It is one of our favorites and certainly the easiest to get aftermarket parts for and wrench on. We believe that this legendary quad is difficult to find because greedy extraterrestrial life comes down from the furthest reaches of space to take our precious machines. The Honda has remained the same since 2006, and, unfortunately, the newest 450Rs you find today are badged as 2014s. Could that be an alien conspiracy, or maybe the Russians? We wish we knew how such a great machine could be taken away from us. Conspiracies aside, one of our editors, Collin Duffy, used a tractor beam to retrieve a 2014 Honda TRX450R from the clutches of stealthy aliens and built a Grand Prix racer out of it.
Houser Racing was the first company we turned to when we began putting parts together for this build. We wanted performance parts that would withstand hours of racing in harsh desert-style terrain, as well as on a motocross track. Houser sent over their +2.25 long-travel A-arm kit that includes their Slicast system. You can adjust the caster and camber of the wheels with this kit, which is very beneficial for different courses. Houser also sent over a +1 anti-vibe steering stem and a universal handlebar clamp. Now that the front end of the quad is wider, we picked up a +2 Tusk axle from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC to widen the rear. Resting in the Houser handlebar clamp is a Fasst Flexx handlebar that has elastomers that soften the ride and transfer less shock and vibration to your hands. A set of ODI Roque lock-on grips were then mounted to the bars to provide a cushiony grip.
One of the biggest improvements to this TRX is the Elka suspension. Stage 5 shocks were bolted between the Houser arms and the Honda. A rear Stage 5 shock was installed with Elka’s long-travel linkage system. The linkage replaces the Honda linkage but uses the stock swingarm. The shocks are fully adjustable and provide dual- and triple-rate springs to tune in the best ride for your style.
The final front-end handling improvement of this machine is the addition of Precision Racing Products’ new Elite steering stabilizer that is tuned for a pro-level rider yet easy to use for riders of all skill classifications.
POWER TO THE MOON
Honda TRX450Rs come stock with a potent four-stroke, single-cylinder engine that is still carbureted. Fortunately, that means it’s generally easy to upgrade and get a bit more juice out of the motor. We went to HMF to get a blacked-out Performance-series full exhaust with a custom powdercoated blue muffler can. The header is stepped to provide more power down low and a stronger hit through the mid and high end of the rpm range. HMF also sent a jet kit for the carburetor that adds more fuel to the mixture. Next, a K&N reusable air filter kit was installed to let the engine breathe much easier and a new oil filter along with Maxima engine oil to help keep the engine running strong.
Next, we went to Boyesen for a few performance parts. A Quick Shot 3 accelerator pump was installed on the carburetor to provide a better power hit and help the machine start easier. Another beneficial add-on is a Ballistic Performance Components EVO Power System battery kit. The battery is lighter and is a lithium-iron battery with a health monitor and charger included in the kit.
A Boyesen Super Cooler kit replaced the stock water-pump impeller and cover. The Super Cooler impeller pushes more coolant through the engine, which keeps engine temperatures down and reduces power fade under extreme operation. CV4 coolant hoses replaced the stock ones, and Evans coolant was used to fill the radiator.
Before the engine was put back together, Colt Brinkerhoff, another one of our editors, installed a Hinson clutch kit on the Honda. The Hinson clutch has more oiling holes in the inner hub to keep the plates more lubricated and keep friction down. The clutch action is smoother, and the new clutch springs are more specific to how the machine operates. Eighty-weight Maxima transmission/clutch fluid is used to lubricate the clutch and gears.
CONTROL IS KEY
Factory 43 is an upcoming company from Canada that makes bumpers and nerf bars for ATVs. We contacted them to get their Pro Peg nerf bar with netted heel guards, a front plated bumper and rear plated grab bar. The parts are very well made, and the pegs on the nerf are wide and provide ample foot traction, even when they get muddy. A stock seat doesn’t cut it when it comes to racing or aggressive riding. They are generally too slick, so an SDG hump seat was installed on the Honda. They added a grippy seat cover that is ribbed so you have far less chance of slipping around on the seat when you don’t want to.
A big factor of control is tire selection. We contacted GBC to try out their new Ground Buster III rear tires paired with their legendary XC-Master front tires. The Ground Busters are a bit more rounded than XC-Master rear tires, which helps with cornering and riding in ruts. The tires were wrapped around heavy-duty, lightweight beadlock wheels from OMF. These three-piece billet-aluminum wheels are serviceable and tough. A custom powdercoat finish was performed on the rims.
Works Connection sent over virtually anything they had for this quad. Their clutch perch system was installed, which provides a better and more accurate pull and clutch feel. They sent a parking-brake block-off kit, engine plugs, brake reservoir cap and an hour/tachometer.
An Urmosi adjustable thumb throttle was installed on the Flexx bar that gives you three thumb-throttle positions to choose from on the fly. Fastway sent over a set of their handguards to protect the 450R’s new controls and our hands from the roost of other racers, bushes and track debris. A poly skid plate from CRF along with their poly sprocket guard protect the bottom of the machine, as well as the new Sunstar chain and sprockets. Hess Motorsports has a heavy-duty rotor guard that we needed since the stock swingarm skid plate was removed.
TM Designworks provided their Slide-N-guide kit for the Honda that includes a swingarm chainguide and chain slider, along with a chain roller. Finally, a TM case saver/countershaft sprocket protector was added.
An IMS oversized tank was installed to hold 3.7 gallons of fuel. A Pro Design engine-kill tether switch was installed on the Flexx bar.
We spent hours testing this Honda TRX450R in stock form, and it was a fun ride with decent suspension, smooth and somewhat soft power, and a low-sitting cockpit. After finishing the build, the difference was astronomic. The Elka Stage 5 shocks were the center of attention on the initial ride. Lap times increased, rough terrain felt a lot smoother and we had far less fatigue. The bar and taller anti-vibe steering stem helped soften the ride and provide a more comfortable riding position. The steering stabilizer kept the quad in shape over the roughest terrain. It allows you to ride with your hands relaxed. The pegs and nerf bars are built to last, and the peg is great for hard riding. The teeth of the peg are sharp, and the platform is wide so you have room to move around. The SDG seat kept us planted when needed yet still let us slide around the quad as well.
The exhaust, jetting and K&N filter brought the Honda’s engine to life. The bottom-end hit was definitely stronger than stock, and the power kept climbing with more top-end pull than stock. The Hinson clutch is another one of our favorite upgrades. The clutch pull is smoother and a lot more accurate than the stock clutch. This quad was built to race, and there is no doubt that it is ready to rip.
OUT OF THIS WORLD
Duffy has built quite a few project machines that have graced the pages of Dirt Wheels, and without a doubt this was his first real dream build. All the parts selected are mainly white or blue with accents of purple to accentuate the graphics that Dirt Fiend Racing designed for the 450R. A galactic feel is carried through a cosmos-design graphics kit on a set of white plastics that were ordered directly through Honda. There is no better fit than stock plastics for the TRX. The last piece of the stylistic puzzle was a hood from Quad Tech that gave the front end of the Honda a more aggressive look. Now that this build is complete, we expect to see this machine flying past the competition.
BALLISTIC PERFORMANCE COMPONENTS:
EVO3 power system $229.95
www.boyesen.com, (610) 756-6818
Quickshot 3 $119.95
Spectra Supercooler kit $195.95
CAMBELL RACING FABRICATION:
www.cambellracingfabrication.com, (435) 632-4902
3/8-inch skid plate $110
½-inch sprocket guard $50
www.cycraracing.com, (800) 770-2259
Coolant hose kit $112
DIRT FIEND RACING:
www.dirtfiendracing.com, (888) 777-8068
Custom graphics $269.99 + $60 per hour for design
www.elkasuspension.com, (800) 557-0552
Stage 5 front shocks $1699.99
Stage 5 rear shock $1299.99
www.evanscoolant.com, (888) 990-2665
Powersports coolant $28.95 1/2 gal
www.factory43atv.com, (418) 485-7843
Front bumper plate inser $135
Rear bumper $95
Pro Peg nerf bar with net heel guard $445
www.fasstco.com, (877) 306-1801
15-degree Quad Racer $359.99
Flak shield $49.95
Ground Buster III 20×11-9 $102.96 each
XC-Master 21×7-10 $66.34 each
www.hess-motorsports.com, (940) 759-4597
Rotor guard w/ Pro Block $150
Steering stem clamp $50
www.hmfracing.com, (216) 631-6980
Performance full exhaust, blacked out $625.95
Rear fender $251.89
Right and left front fenders $153.60 each
www.houser-racing.com, (877) 646-3278
+1 Steering stem $249
Universal bar clamp $95
Long-travel +2.25 A-arms $999
www.imsproducts.com, (800) 237-9906
3.7-gal. fuel tank $274.95
www.knfilters.com, (800) 858-3333
Air filter $55.99
Oil filter $8.39
Power Kleen $12.99
Air filter oil $7.99
www.maximausa.com, (800) 345-8761
ATV Premium SAE 10w40 $7.95 1 liter
MTL trans/clutch fluid 80wt $9.95 1 liter
Rogue ATV lock-on grips 120mm $29.95
www.omfperformance.com, (951) 354-8272
Super Lite beadlock wheels, powdercoated $329.95 each
PRECISION RACING PRODUCTS:
www.precision-rp.com, (209) 365-1850
Elite Series steering stabilizer $599
www.prodesignracing.com, (714) 534-0620
ATV kill switch $34.95
www.quadtech-atv.com, (951) 487-6333
Hi-Pro Hood $114.99
ROCKY MOUNTAIN ATV/MC:
rockymountainatvmc.com, (800) 336-5437
Tusk axle $199.99
www.sdg-innovations.com, (949) 752-5227
Honda TRX450R Step seat $189.99
www.streamlinebrakes.com, (909) 987-4213
Blue front +2-in. brake lines $89.99
Blue Rear +1-in. brake line $39.99
www.sunstar-mc.com, (937) 743-9049, ext. 1334
520XTG-100 Works chain $95.95
Countershaft sprocket 520-13 $23.95
Steel rear 520-38T $36.95
www.tmdesignworks.com, (541) 772-4161
Slide-N-Guide kit $117.95
Sprocket cover/Case Saver $54.95
Thumb throttle $349
www.worksconnection.com, (530) 642-9488
Block-off plate $19.95
Front brake cap $29.95
Clutch perch $79.95
Clutch adjuster $37.95
Clutch lever $37.95
Engine plugs $39.95
Oil/Trans fill plugs $24.95 each
Rotating bar clamp $27.50 each
Tach/hour meter $44.95