Introduced in 1987 (shortly after the Quadrunner), the Suzuki LT80 instantly dominated the sport-rec youth ATV segment. It was in the ATV limelight for 20 years before passing the baton to the QuadSport Z series in 2006. For a mini quad, it offered tons of power and opportunities for modifications. Read on to discover the massive fun this tiny four-wheeler offered.
The Suzuki LT80 QuadSport is regarded as one of the best stock minis produced by a Japanese manufacturer. Featuring an air-cooled 2-stroke engine, peppy electric starter, keyed ignition, and parking brake, this iconic youth ATV is a long-time favorite among beginner and more experienced riders.
Just like its predecessor, the Suzuki LT80 earned itself quite a following – even 14 years after it had ceased production. It has even become well-known in stock-class racing competitions.
With the LT80’s impressive performance, a primitive suspension system, and the lack of modern features would naturally seem trivial for consumers who continue to gravitate towards this mini 4×4.
The Suzuki QuadSport LT80
The Suzuki LT 80 is one of Suzuki’s longest mainstays in the youth ATV segment and carries the same flagship name as its 250- and 400-class siblings. And for good reason. This mini quad is one bulletproof machine that caters to all kinds of recreational and even competitive riders – both kids and kids at heart.
Owners cannot say enough good things about the 4×4. Consequently, the interest of first-time buyers is piqued because of the wheeler’s positive reviews.
Proof of the LT80’s durability is that Suzuki did not see the need to do multiple enhancements to the vehicle’s design for the entire 20 years the 4×4 was produced. The company only changed the quad’s electronics around 2000 and its body panel color various times throughout its production run.
Furthermore, Suzuki LT80 parts last a lifetime. Plus, its expansive aftermarket support leave owners worry-free should there be a need to acquire replacement parts.
Pros and Cons
Despite its impervious characteristic, the Suzuki LT80 falls short on three aspects.
- First, it does not have an auxiliary recoil starter. While seemingly negligible, this feature comes in handy when the quad’s electric starter does not work.
- Second, it does not have reverse (although most parents wouldn’t want their children to be riding 10 mph in reverse for safety reasons).
- Third, the machine uses its engine/transmission assembly as the swingarm – this leads to a stiff feel to the rear suspension and a flimsy swingarm unit.
Other than these drawbacks, the Suzuki LT80 is a well-loved machine. It has been a top preference for adults when choosing a reliable ride for their young ones since the late ’80s. And it still is to this day. A closer look into its specifications only proves the dependability and competitiveness of the mini four-wheeler.
Suzuki LT80 Specs & Features
Engine & Lubrication
For an 80-cc quad, the Suzuki LT 80 is pretty powerful. It requires gasoline/petrol with the below PON/RON ratings for earlier releases, later changing to PON 87 or RON 91 for LT80K6s.
Fuel containing no more than 15% MTBE (Methyl Tertiary Butyl Ether)/TAME/ETBE, 10% ethanol, or 5% methanol w/ cosolvents & corrosion inhibitors are allowed. Any gasoline variant is permissible on your machine, but unleaded gasoline is preferred for the best results.
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Engine Type||2-Stroke, Reed valve|
|Cylinder Arrangement||Single cylinder|
|Carburetion System||Mikuni VM16SH x 1|
|Engine Cooling||(Forced) Air cooling|
|Engine Fuel||Unleaded gasoline of at least Antiknock Index/PON 85-95 or RON 89|
|Fuel Capacity||6 L/1.58 US gal (reserve – 2 L/0.53 US gal)|
|Bore x Stroke Ratio||50×42 mm (1.97 x 1.65 in)|
|Displacement||82.5 cm³ / 5.03 in³|
|Maximum Power||4 hp/4.06 PS (2.98 kW, estimated)|
|Top Speed||20-30 mph (32.2-48.3 km/h) – owners’ claim|
|Air Filtration||Polyurethane foam element|
|Engine Oil & Quantity||1.2 L (1.27 US quarts) at disassembly, SAE 20W-40 2-stroke oil w/ API grade of at least SJ meeting FC rating per JASO T903 MA standards|
Transmission oil – SAE10W-40:
80 mL (2.7 US oz) change
80-90 mL (2.7-3.0 US oz) overhaul
The 428 pitch chain for older trims was uncomfortably slack by any mechanic’s standards, preventing the rear swingarm unit from doing its job and putting all the pressure on the tires.
This causes premature tire wear or loss of grip, which could cause the vehicle to end up on the side of the track. This potential danger to young riders pushed Suzuki to change to a 520 pitch chain for the 2006 model.
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Clutch||Dry shoe, automatic, centrifugal type|
|Gearshifting||Automatic, variable ratio|
|Drive System||V-belt drive & chain drive|
|Drive Chain||DAIDO D.I.D. 428 or TAKASAGO RK428, 44 links; RK520SMO, 36 links (LT80K6)|
|Gear Ratio, Variable||2.341 – 0.851|
|Reduction Ratio||Gear: 7.197 (33/12 x 27/14 x 19/14);|
Chain: 2.166 (26/12); 2.200 (22/10 – LT80K6)
The Suzuki LT80 has an electric starting system with no auxiliary recoil for backup. A flywheel magneto serves as the machine’s charging system and provides accessible power for electronic accessories.
If you need to swap out stock batteries, a Chrome Battery Rechargeable YTX5L-BS Battery (view on Amazon) would be a suitable replacement – it is low-maintenance and constructed with AGM technology, making it spill-proof.
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Ignition||Suzuki “PEI” CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition)|
|Ignition Timing||22° BTDC @ 4,000 RPM|
|Spark Plug, Gap||Canada: NGK BPR7HS or NIPPON DENSO W22FPR|
Others: NGK BP7HS or NIPPON DENSO W22FP-U
Gap: 0.60 – 0.80 mm (0.024 – 0.031 in)
|Alternator Type||Flywheel magneto|
|Rated Output||More than 28 V (AC) @ 5,000 RPM – no-load voltage|
30W at 5,000 RPM – max output
|Fuse||5 Amp (main); 30 Amp (circuit breaker)|
|Battery||12V 14.4kC (4 Ah)/10 Hr, YTH5L-12B/YTX5L-BS formats|
|Battery Dimensions (L x W x H)||4.5 x 2.8 x 4.2 in (114 x 71 x 106 mm)|
Tires & Brakes
To minimize possible tire damage due to over-inflation, use a manual-type air pump rather than a high-pressure air compressor when filling air into the tires. Also, never exceed 70 kPa (0.7 kgf/cm2, 10 psi).
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Front Tire, air pressure||Dunlop AT19 x 7-8, 15 kPa (0.15 kgf/cm2, 2.2 psi)|
|Rear Tire, air pressure||Dunlop AT19 x 7-8, 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.9 psi)|
|Front Brake Type||Internal expanding drum|
|Rear Brake Type||Internal expanding drum|
The overall suspension system of the Suzuki LT80 is not top-of-the-line, even in the standards of old-school youth quads. Plus, both its front and rear shocks are non-adjustable. Still, this did not deter riders from jumping this mean machine.
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Caster, Trail||3°, 11.6 mm (0.46 in)|
|Steering Angle||Inside 35°, Outside 27°30′|
|Turning Radius||2.1 m (6.89 ft)|
|Front Suspension Type, Travel||Strut type independent suspension, 50 mm (1.97 in)|
|Rear Suspension Type, Travel||Unit-swing suspension, 57.4 mm (2.26 in)|
Except for the length and width, the LT 80’s vehicle dimensions remained almost unchanged throughout its production.
|Suzuki QuadSport 80|
|Overall Dimensions||1,420 x 805 x 870 mm (55.9 x 31.7 x 34.3 in) 1,430 x 800 x 870 mm (56.3 x 31.5 x 34.3 in) – LT80K6 models|
|Seat Height (Unloaded)||645 mm (25.4 in)|
|Ground Clearance||110 mm (4.3 in)|
|Wheelbase||940 mm (37.0 in)|
|Track (F/R)||575 mm (22.6 in) / 630 mm (24.8 in)|
|Dry Weight||100 Kg (220 lbs)|
|Vehicle Load Capacity Limit||60 Kg (132 lbs)|
For its engine’s size, the Suzuki LT80 is very bulky – almost as big as some 125- and 250-class machines. It has front and rear fenders, handlebars and handlebar pads, front and rear bumpers, and a front bash plate.
Suzuki LT80 plastics are available in blue/white, yellow/white, and red – with either a blue or black seat cover. If you have a more experienced youngster riding this quad, it would be wise to get a CV boot cover or A-Arms and swingarm skid plates (view on Amazon) to protect the machine’s suspension components.
Missing Suzuki LT80 parts such as lighting and instrumentation are frowned upon by most parents and guardians. These fixtures are supposed to add an element of safety to the four-wheeler. But CPSC’s rationale behind not equipping youth quads with lights is to prevent youngsters from doing night wheeling, which poses more danger than trailing during the day.
What Year Is My Suzuki LT80?
Like any other all-terrain vehicle, this mini bike’s VIN (Vehicle Identification Number) or frame number indicates the manufacturer, engine type, design, and the year of make of your four-wheeler.
For all Suzuki LT80s, this number consists of a 17-digit alphanumeric code stamped on the front frame’s left side. Besides telling you what model year your quad is, the VIN also helps with vehicle registration or ordering spare parts.
Where Is the Starter on a Suzuki LT80?
The starter can be pretty troublesome to find. Unfortunately, removing the Suzuki LT80 carburetor to gain access to it is necessary. The LT80 starter is under the carb, and you will need to partially remove the long bolt that holds the motor in to give you the wiggle room required to access the starter.
It is best to have a helping hand around when tweaking the frame and getting the starter out. Otherwise, you may need to stand your machine up on its rear wheels, throw a strap over its rafters and through the front bumper, and pull the pivot bolt out if you are servicing the starter on your own.
Check out these videos by TheRobbe88 as he demonstrates how he replaced his old starter unit. He first took off all of the plastics to expose the frame before single-handedly attempting to remove the motor. On top of really helpful tips, these videos show why it is best to have a buddy help you out when accessing the starter:
Accessing the starter:
Replacing the starter and cleaning the carb:
Once you have this fix down, you or your kid can start your LT80 with ease. All you have to do is fully choke the bike until it starts. Once done, let it idle until it starts to slightly sputter. Afterward, back the choke off to wherever it seems to idle alright again (usually half).
Let the four-wheeler continue to idle until it starts to slightly sputter again. Ensure that spark is not intermittent by continuously testing it for at least five minutes beforehand. Likewise, your battery should be fully charged before attempting to start the engine.
How Much Does It Cost?
Here is the consolidated pricing of all Suzuki QuadSport LT 80 models and trims released from 1987 to 2006. Note that sources for’ 87-’89 models are a bit obscure and not listed down in the table below:
|Year – Trim – Model #||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|1987 Suzuki LT80H||N/A||$185 – $1,395|
|1988 Suzuki LT80J||N/A||$185 – $1,395|
|1989 Suzuki LT80K||N/A||$185 – $1,395|
|1990 Suzuki LT80L||$1,699||$390 – $510|
|1991 Suzuki LT80M||$1,779||$390 – $510|
|1992 Suzuki LT80N||$1,849||$390 – $510|
|1993 Suzuki LT80P||$1,949||$390 – $510|
|1994 Suzuki LT80R||$2,149||$390 – $510|
|1995 Suzuki LT80S||$2,239||$485 – $1,340|
|1996 Suzuki LT80T||$2,449||$340 – $1,760|
|1997 Suzuki LT80V||$2,449||$340 – $1,760|
|1998 Suzuki LT80W||$2,449||$340 – $1,760|
|1999 Suzuki LT80X||$2,499||$495 – $2,230|
|2000 Suzuki LT80Y||$2,499||$495 – $2,230|
|2001 Suzuki LT80K1||$2,499||$495 – $2,230|
|2002 Suzuki LT80K2||$2,299||$795 – 1,575|
|2003 Suzuki LT80K3||$2,299||$795 – 1,575|
|2004 Suzuki LT80K4||$2,299||$795 – 1,575|
|2005 Suzuki LT80K5||$2,299||$795 – 1,575|
|2006 Suzuki LT80K6||$2,299||$795 – 1,575|
Out of all LT80 models, 1999 to 2001 models keep their value well – with retail pricing only $200 less than their original MSRP. Nevertheless, you can expect any secondhand unit to be in good working condition, with slightly scratched-up plastics and some stock parts still intact.
If intended for a beginner rider, this mini dirt bike only needs a lighting kit like Nilight 2 PCS 9″ Black Round Spot Light Pod (view on Amazon) as an added precaution. However, for advanced young riders, you may need to replace stock components with aftermarket Suzuki LT80 performance parts to improve vehicle performance.
LT80 Known Problems
Dies When Hot
Probable causes include the quad running on low compression, a defective spark plug, or one of the machine’s two coils is faulty. If you suspect any of these, check both the exciter in the flywheel and the combined coil or CDI to see which one needs fixing.
A word from the experts: Veer away from cheap cylinder-and-piston kits sold online, as you would only end up throwing away your hard-earned bucks. Better spend a little bit more on a quality kit guaranteed to resolve your problem.
No Start, But Cranks
Several factors can cause this issue to occur. Among them are a bone-dry spark plug, the vacuum line coming off the carb, a plugged pipe, or an inline fuel shut-off defect – to name a few.
When encountering this problem, ensure that fuel flow is not, in any way, obstructed and reaches the plug without hassle. Examine other vehicle components, too, and see if they check out.
Some of the fixes involve changing coils and crank seals, doing clutch maintenance, or rebuilding the QuadSport’s top-end. But in most cases, cutting the muffler open, cleaning it, and welding it back together solves the problem.
- Crankcase filling with gas and pouring out the muffler due to leaky petcock
- Faulty float or needle
- Missing O-rings between the carburetor and the reed cage
- Malfunctioning start button
- Dirty or clogged pilot jet
- Bushings in the starter wear out
By the time your vehicle’s starter wears out, you may be looking at problems with crankshaft bearings, seals, pistons, and variable drive.
Interestingly, a large number of these issues trace back to the machine’s carb and minute battery, which is not known for its longevity. Using a battery tender when the quad sits unused for long periods would help prolong its life – provided that it is not a cheap battery brand.
As for the carb, it tends to store goo in it. If it goes unsuspected, Suzuki LT80 owners end up just cranking the starter repeatedly until it gets ruined.
Proper upkeep of the quad prevents these problems from occurring. But for secondhand vehicles, a build project may be needed. Watch this video by FrancoCycles as the presenter fixes all known issues with his Suzuki LT80:
Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese corporation globally renowned in the ATV landscape and the maker of industry-leading youth off-road vehicles like the Suzuki LT80.
Founded in 1909 as a weaving loom business in Hamamatsu, Japan, the company had subsequently ventured into the automotive industry and has not looked back since.
At present, Suzuki has over 133 distributors in 92 countries and is involved in other segments such as motorcycles, 4WD vehicles, outboard marine engines, wheelchairs, and internal combustion engines.
Conclusion – Suzuki LT80 QuadSport Review
All in all, the highly-acclaimed Suzuki LT80 continues to be a youth ATV that many youngsters (and adult drivers) find a joy to ride.
Its one-speed automatic transmission, conservative suspension system, robust exterior, and simplistic design are great starting points for beginner riders learning the ropes of off-roading and building their confidence.
Likewise, these same elements make a fantastic stage for mechanics wanting to embark on their next race-ready machine project. The LT80’s instrumentation, lighting, and suspension system do call for improvement.
But for the quality of riding experience that you or your kids can get out of it, I would say it is worth owning one.