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By Jason Giacchino

2006 Suzuki Quadracer LT-R450 Review

ATV Innovation

You really have to hand it to Suzuki. After years of an ATV lineup that consisted entirely of utility and play machines, 2003 witnessed the birth of something special. That was the first model year of their top selling Quadsport LT-Z400; a machine that proved once and for all that ATV riders were tired of being left in the proverbial dust of off-road technology. Not only did consumers immediately respond with their wallets, the entire industry felt the ripples as the realization of the potential sport-performance market clicked on like a light switch. Kawasaki and Arctic Cat jumped at the chance to co-brand the Z400, while Honda and Yamaha answered with the TRX450R and YFZ450 respectively. While nobody would have faulted Suzuki for sitting back and relying upon the proven performance of their only 3 model year old Z400, Suzuki has raised the bar once again; this time diving right into the new competitive 450cc class that they helped rejuvenate. Like the Z400 before it, it is clear that Suzuki’s LT-R450 is going to do to the race track what the LT-Z400 did to the trails.

Initial Impressions

Physically, the LT-R450 is an attention getter even when surrounded by a showroom full of competing quads. With a seat height of just a tad over 30.5 inches, less than 4 inches of ground clearance, tiny 18 inch rear wheels, and a stance about three inches wider than the rest of the pack, the Quadracer gives off the presence of a highly modified 250R wearing stock Suzuki plastics. However, the similarities end there. Swinging a leg over the squatty 450 inspires an immediate feeling of confidence. A high rear section with a T-shaped seat that becomes steadily narrower as it blends into the tank results in a very commanding view over the bars. The foot peg/ seat relationship is such that the rider’s legs aren’t cramped but allowed just enough bend to be comfortable while providing a solid sense of mobility. The rest of the cockpit is as equally well laid out with a natural reach to the bars that encourages picture-perfect, elbows out racing form. The rider sits on the R450, not in it and as a result is graced with an instant sense of mobility. Moving around on the quad is alarmingly natural. Even completely stock, we required no tweaking of the controls to begin our ride-report. The machine not only looks fast standing perfectly still, but makes the rider feel fast as well.

Firing It Up

The fuel injected 450 single fires up with only the push of a button and a handful of clutch. The factory fuel mapping is simply spot on right from the get-go, offering a motor that doesn’t stammer or sputter (even during warm up). The exhaust note is smooth and steady, reminiscent more of the high revving purr of a performance super-sport street bike than the more tractor-like growl of 4 stroke ATVs from yesteryear.

Clutch pull is butter-smooth and with a high, even idle there is no need to blip the throttle when stepping the machine into gear. Easing the clutch out can be a bit of a touchy affair for riders expecting the low-end roll on power of a dedicated trail machine. As a result, the clutch appears to engage late; capturing power pulses from the uncannily smooth 450 power-plant just before the lever is completely released. Any concerns of a dead spot in the power band are quickly erased as simply touching the throttle at this point results in a snappy blast of arm-yanking torque.

Through the Gear Box

Once in motion, snapping the Quadracer through its gears is an absolutely intoxicating affair. Each of its five forward gears starts out fairly mellow and smooth but blasts into the stratosphere with alarming authority. The mid range is meaty and hard hitting, providing a false sense of touching the peak of the power spread. Riders with the perseverance to continue winding out the 450 will be rewarded with an additional top end hit that carries well into the next gear. Like everything else on the machine, the transmission is perfectly spaced and incredibly smooth. While blitzing along, the stock exhaust system never becomes overly offending but maintains the butter smooth snarl of Suzuki’s GSX series of sport bikes.


It’s fair to say that we were impressed with the Suzuki already, but doing so would be an injustice to perhaps the quad’s most admirable trait: Its handling abilities. At 49 inches wide it doesn’t take long to start relying upon the quad’s incredible cornering abilities. The harder the chassis is stuffed into corners, the more stability it exhibits coming out of the exits. Never did the Quadracer display a hint of twitch or chassis flex. In fact firm suspension only adds to the chassis’ sense of stability. The LT-R450 slides like a cartoon character stepping on a banana peel! Railing tight berms is simply a matter of pitching the quad sideways and blipping the throttle. In an explosion of roost and clouds of rolling dust, the 450 handles the rest.

On The Track

If racing happens to be on your agenda, look no further than the ‘Zook. Out of the box this ATV has fully adjustable suspension (10.6 inches of travel in the front and 11.4 in the rear) perfectly modulated hydraulic discs all around and even stock tires that outperform most aftermarket efforts. The handling of the machine isn’t fully realized until exploring the hay-bale lined confides of the motocross track.

The Suzuki is a stable flier and lands with progressive plush-ness. With limitless suspension settings, the LT-R450 can be fine tuned to any track condition from baked hard pack to soft black loam with the dialing of a few clickers.

We found that the quad works best on the track while keeping the revs up and feathering the clutch so as to avoid having to drop it down a gear to exit corners or on the approach to jumps. The explosive top end is more than willing to compensate the rider for his efforts.

On The Trail

While we weren’t surprised to discover that the quad is a literal masterpiece on the track (after all the very name of the machine is Quad-Racer), we were quite impressed with its trail mannerisms as well. Although the ATV isn’t graced with an abundance of ground clearance (or tractor style low end) it is quite manageable on all but the most technical or mud ridden trails. Due to a generous spread of usable power and handling that puts most other quads to shame; the potential certainly exists to use the LT for high speed exploration or weekend romps. Desert riders will find much to like here as well, even in stock trim the liquid cooled 450 has enough guts on tap to make short work of the dunes.


So does Suzuki have a winner on its hands? Undeniably so. In fact after logging a few days in the saddle of the LT-450R, it becomes alarmingly clear that once again the competition is going to be sent back to the drawing boards in effort to compete. Suzuki deserves praise for having the courage to shake things up not only once but twice in recent years. Their commitment to innovation continues to raise the bar and has all of the other manufacturers playing catch-up.

LTR-450 Specifications

  • Engine: 450cc, 4-stroke, single cylinder, liquid-cooled, DOHC, 4-valve
  • Bore Stroke: 95.5 x 62.8mm
  • Compression Ratio: 11.7:1
  • Fuel System: Fuel Injection
  • Lubrication: Dry sump
  • Ignition: CDI
  • Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
  • Final Drive: chain
  • Overall Length: 1845mm (72.6 in.)
  • Overall Width: 1245mm (49.0 in.)
  • Overall Height: 1085mm (42.7 in.)
  • Seat Height: 780mm (30.7 in.)
  • Ground Clearance: 240mm (9.44 in.)
  • Wheelbase: 1285mm (50.6 in.)
  • Dry Weight: 167kg (368 lbs.)
  • Suspension
         Front: Independent, double A-arm, fully adjustable preload, compression & rebound damping with 10.6 inches of travel
         Rear: Linkage-type, fully adjustable spring preload, rebound and high and low speed compression damping with 11.4 inches of travel
  • Brakes
         Front: Dual hydraulic discs
         Rear: Single hydraulic disc
  • Tires
         Front: AT20 x 7 R10
         Rear: AT18 x 10 R8
  • Fuel Tank Capacity: 10 liters (2.6 gal.)
  • Color: Yellow, White
  • MSRP - $7,299
  • Contact Suzuki at 1-800-828-7433

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