2006 saw the birth of the LTR 450 – a high-performance machine aimed at excelling on the motocross track. Enlisting the racing expertise of WPSA Pro ATV racer Doug Gust, Suzuki’s team of experts started designing the four-wheeler that would soon be the progenitor of new-generation sport quads. The outcome? A race-ready beast that was quick and nimble, handled superbly and fed off the adrenaline of thrilled, gutsy riders.
The Suzuki LTR 450 (a.k.a. QuadRacer LT-R450) is undoubtedly among the top sport ATVs of all time. Sporting a 450-cc RM-Z450 engine, robust chassis, impressive suspension, and aggressive styling, this purpose-built machine rallied true sport ATVs in the early 2000s.
No other vehicle could have done a better job at succeeding the smaller-displacement but revolutionary LT250R. Like its sibling, the LTR 450 boasts award-winning features and has accolades etched in the history books. More importantly, it successfully amplified sport riding – a niche that its predecessor created almost four decades back.
Continue reading this guide and learn more about the specs and features, praiseworthy traits, and design improvements of the Suzuki QuadRacer LTR 450.
Born for the Racetracks
Since its launch, the 2006 LTR 450 (Suzuki QuadRacer LT-R450) has established itself as a dominant force in the world of motocross and GNCC racing – the same way that champion racer Dustin Wimmer has commanded respect in the ATV Pro MX scene. From the get-go, both Wimmer and the purpose-built machine have won back-to-back championships in the said series.
But it was not only Wimmer who positively contributed to the four-wheeler’s reputation. Racing champ Doug Gust played a vital role in the machine’s research and development, while factory Suzuki rider Chris Borich triumphed over 10/13 rounds of the 2009 GNCC series aboard the LTR 450.
Test riders can affirm the competencies of the Suzuki LT-R450, as it also performs excellently on various kinds of terrains outside of GNCC-style MX tracks, such as wooded trails, mud holes, and steep inclines. The machine’s fuel-injected, 4-stroke RM-Z450 power mill, wide stance, centered exhaust, and long-travel suspension make this possible, even when fresh from the showroom floor.
Unlike its competitors, it does not produce abrupt power. Still, the front end can lift off the ground quite easily – thanks to its superb throttle responsiveness.
There is a lot more than power that sets the QuadRacer apart from same-class quads. While everyone claims to offer the average consumer something unique or different, the LTR 450 was the only stock sport ATV during its time that broke through the cliché.
It was competitively race-ready without the need for an expensive chassis, suspension mods, and other bolt-on aftermarket parts. If it did need anything, recommended add-ons would be LTR 450 nerf bars, Yoshimura Cherry Bomb, and a kill switch, which would be more for aesthetics (or due to rider preference) than enhancing performance.
2007 LTR450 QuadRacer Onwards
Things only got better with the 2007 LTR450 QuadRacer onwards, with Suzuki being laser-focused on eradicating the 4×4’s weaknesses and amplifying its strengths. There are little to no changes on the outside. But internally, there are over a hundred alterations done to its engine and suspension systems.
Crucial changes include improved low-end power, resprung/revalved suspension, and other minor updates. As a result, the QuadRacer received a 3-hp increase in claimed horsepower, plusher suspension, and enhanced ride quality.
Suzuki LTR 450 Specs & Features (QuadRacer LT-R450)
A liquid-cooled, 4-stroke DOHC engine with a 95.5 × 62.8 mm (3.76 × 2.47 inches) bore-stroke ratio and 11.7:1 compression ratio brings this mid-size sport ATV to life. Engine displacement is 450 cm3 (27.5 in3) delivered by electronic fuel injection, which is more responsive and fuel-efficient than a standard carburetor.
The engine configuration lends to its 78-mph (125-km/h) top speed and a maximum horsepower of 41 hp (41.6 PS). As for torque, it would be safe to say the maximum value for the LT-R450 is around 43.9 Nm (4.48 kg-m, 32.44 ft-lb) ± 18% @ 7,600 RPM – if referencing to the parent RM-Z450 powerplant.
Fuel & Lubrication
The Suzuki LTR 450’s carburetion system is fuel injection with a multi-hole injector and 42-mm throttle body (size increased to 43 mm for post-2007 models). Fuel capacity including reserve is 10 L/2.6 US gallons of unleaded gasoline with a RON 90 or higher rating (RON 95 outside North America) containing < 5% MBTE, < 10% ethanol, or < 5% methanol.
It has a dry-sump lubrication system with a polyurethane foam air filter. The lubrication system (called Suzuki Advanced Sump System) is new and utilizes two feed pumps – one supplying the transmission and another scavenger pump feeding the crankshaft and other engine parts. Using two separate feed pumps make for more compact crankcases while enhancing the LTR 450’s shifting and clutch feel.
On the other hand, oil capacities are as follows – 1.2 L/1.3 US quarts (change), 1.3 L/1.4 US quarts (filter change), and 1.4 L/1.5 US quarts (overhaul). Manufacturer recommendation is SAE 10W-40 Suzuki Performance 4-stroke oil with an API grade of SJ+ meeting JASO T903 MA standards. Depending on ambient temperature, you may go for other viscosity grades – SAE 10W-30, 10W-50, 15W-40, 15W-50, or 20W-50.
A manual (close-ratio) 5-speed constant mesh return system (left-foot operated) and a wet, multi-plate clutch assembly with a 1-down-4-up gearshift pattern deliver power to the wheels. An RK 520SMOZ10S O-ring chain (with 96 links + joint) handles wheel spin.
Fuel injection re-mapping with the help of a Yoshimura Cherry Bomb enhances power delivery of the quad. Installation of this component works best with adjusting the gearing – specifically switching to a 12-tooth front sprocket, which increases low-end grunt and makes the vehicle better suited for trails without sacrificing ground clearance.
The stock gear ratios are as follows:
|Primary Reduction Ratio||2.851 (77/27)|
|Final Reduction Ratio||2.571 (36/14)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio (Low)||2.076 (27/13)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio (2nd)||1.647 (28/17)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio (3rd)||1.333 (28/21)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio (4th)||1.095 (23/21)|
|Transmission Gear Ratio (Top)||0.913 (21/23)|
Ignition & Lighting
The LTR 450 has a fully-transistorized electronic CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition), while an electric starter powers up the four-wheeler. A triple-phase A.C. generator with a rated output of approximately 240 W @ 5,000 RPM powers up the vehicle’s lighting system and other electronic accessories. Ignition timing is 8° BTDC @ 1,800 RPM (initial “F” mark). Required fuses are 20 Amp (main) and 10 Amp (fan, ignition).
All models are fitted with a 12V 21.6 kC (6 Ah)/10 HR YTX7A-BS battery (view on Amazon) with dimensions of 150 x 87 x 94 mm (6.00 x 3.44 x 3.75 inches – L x W x H). Furthermore, the quad requires an NGK CR8EB spark plug with a 0.028 – 0.031 inch gap and tightening torque of 11 Nm (1.1 kgf-m, 8.0 lb-ft).
Depending on how hot your vehicle’s engine runs, you may go for an NGK CR7EB (hotplug) or NGK CR9EB (cold plug). A 16-bit CPU and 64-kilobyte ROM ECM control the LTR 450’s fuel injection system.
GSX-R and Hayabusa-inspired 40-watt multi-reflector headlights and compact LED brake/taillight add to the QuadRacer’s aggressive styling and sporty nature. The headlights are purposely designed for easy removal with a single bolt. Warning lights consist of 12V 3.4-watt bulbs indicating neutral, fuel level, fuel injection, and coolant temperature and mount on the handlebar cover.
Tires & Brakes
Stock rubber consists of tubeless Dunlop KT381/KT385 compound tires measuring AT20 × 7 R10 at the front and AT18 × 10 R8 (view on Amazon) at the back. Rim sizes are 10 x 5.5 AT and 8 x 8.0 AT, respectively, with a 4/110 bolt pattern and 10 x 1.25 mm lug nuts. When airing the tires, the recommended pressure is 45 kPa (0.45 kgf/cm2, 6.5 psi), provided payload capacity does not exceed 110 Kg (243 lbs).
Front-wheel hubs are aluminum, with rear ones made of forged steel. 160-mm (6.3-inch) dual hydraulic discs with 25.4-mm dual-piston Nissin calipers attach to the front hubs. Meanwhile, alone 190-mm (7.5-inch) hydraulic disc with a 34-mm single-piston Nissin hydraulic caliper mounts on the rear axle. A manually operated parking brake completes the braking system of the QuadRacer.
Enclosed in the diamond-type backbone steel frame is an independent, double-wishbone with oil-damped coilovers and a beefy rear swingarm with piggyback-reservoir Kayaba air/oil shocks. Both front and back shocks are adjustable, have a fade-resistant coating, and provide a respective wheel travel of 254 mm (10 inches) and 277 mm (10.9 inches).
The steering angle is 41°, and the caster angle is 8° with a trail length of 30 mm (1.18 inches). Distance between the axles (wheelbase) is 1,285 mm/50.6 inches. The turning radius is 3.5 m (11.5 feet), and the ground clearance is 240 mm (9.44 inches).
The entire suspension setup of the LTR 450 contributes to the vehicle’s low center of gravity while providing a generous amount of wheel travel on all fours. Both spring preload and rebound damping can be fully tweaked, with both high- and low-speed compression damping independently adjustable.
The swingarm material delivers the appropriate rigidity needed for a racing machine and smooth movement over uneven, gnarly terrain. All in all, the Suzuki QuadRacer has the widest tracks, longest wheelbase and wheel travel, and lowest seat height and center of gravity in its class.
Overall vehicle dimensions are 72.6 x 49 x 42.7 inches (1,845 x 1,245 x 1,085 mm – L x W x H) and are the same set of measurements for all LTR 450 units released across all markets. Front and rear tracks are 1,045 mm (41.1 inches) and 985 mm (38.8 inches), respectively.
Seat height is ideal for accommodating medium-built to taller riders at 30.7 inches (780 millimeters). Dry mass is 167 Kg (368 lbs) – slightly heavier but still within the same range as its counterparts, the Honda TRX 450R and the Yamaha YFZ450.
A contributing factor to the LTR 450’s dry weight is its frame, composed of high-tensile steel (the same composition as its swingarm). Suzuki decided to keep it unchanged and not switch it out for an aluminum framework despite market trends. Instead of converting the chassis, the rear fender brace and brake pedal were aluminum/forged aluminum. Similarly, the outer clutch and magneto covers were made of lightweight magnesium alloy, helping reduce weight.
Other weight savings efforts include components like the machine’s cylinder bore, plated with a nickel-phosphorus-silicon-carbide coating (a.k.a. SCEM or Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material). SCEM plating is lighter, thus leading to weight reduction – on top of better heat transfer, tighter piston-to-cylinder clearance, and improved wear reduction.
The riding position is highly engineered and based on Doug Gust’s inputs during the conceptualization of the LTR 450 in 2006. It takes after the professional racer’s riding form, with an ideal relationship between the 46-mm serrated footpegs, traditional T-shaped seat, and handlebars.
The overall styling is aggressive and made available in Champion Yellow and White. The 2008 Suzuki LT-R450, in particular, has a Limited Edition trim that featured all-black wheels, frame, and bodywork with a red graphics package.
Suzuki LTR 450 Price
Depending on the model year and trim, auction listings for the LTR 450 range between $1,500 and a little over $12,800. Secondhand vehicles with lots of add-ons/aftermarket parts sell for an average of $4,500. Near-mint units are valued at $7,000, at least, and equip nerf bars, heel and frame guards, Pro taper fat bars, and a custom-made graphics kit. As if these were not enough, some pre-loved LTRs are powder-coated and street-legal.
Most of what you will see online are ’06 and ’09 models, but there is also a handful of 2007 LTR 450s in Champion Yellow and White. Out of the lot, the ’07 versions of the QuadRacer seem to be the most affordable. Unlike most sport ATVs, these machines are not scarce. As long as you spot the right seller and have the budget to spend, you can get your hands on a well-maintained quad.
Here are the list prices for all LTR 450 models released in North America. (Note this table does not include units sold by Suzuki outside of the U.S. until 2012):
|Year – Trim – Model #||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2006 Suzuki LTR 450K6||$7,299||$2,970 – $3,905|
|2007 Suzuki LT-R450K7||$7,399||$3,010 – $3,960|
|2008 Suzuki LTR 450K8 (White)||$7,399||$3,190 – $4,195|
|2008 Suzuki LT-R450ZK8 Special Edition (Black)||$7,499||$3,220 – $4,240|
|2009 Suzuki LT-R450K9||$8,099||$3,395 – $4,470|
|2009 Suzuki LT-R450ZK9 Special Edition (Black, Black/Red)||$8,199||$3,475 – $4,575|
7 Highlights & Improvements Post 2007
With the number of upgrades on the LTR 450 since its inception, its avid following can only expect better performance from its later-year models. And boy, does it not disappoint! Here is a non-exhaustive list of remarkable improvements seen on the quad since undergoing the said changes:
1. Top Speed
The Suzuki LTR 450 top speed in stock form improved from 74 to 78 mph on its 3rd year of production, besting the YFZ450 by 3 mph. Putting the front sprocket one (1) teeth ahead and adding a Yoshimura Cherry Bomb chip and open filter box lid furthers the speed rating to 90 mph.
2. Suspension Internals
Front shocks were given the same Toshima coating as the rear ones. All other suspension internals were changed (if not improved) for plusher suspension and overall better absorption, handling, and performance. These upgrades made a huge difference in 2008+ models and made the QuadRacer more suitable for soaking up landings from 90-foot jumps – an impossible feat on 2007 and earlier LTR 450 models.
3. Yoshimura Cherry Bomb
The Yoshimura Cherry Bomb bolts right into the Suzuki LTR 450, allowing the QuadRacer to really come to life (sans major overhauls) while bypassing built-in emission restrictions. Coupled with gearing changes and slightly taller all-terrain tires like Carlisle Trail Wolf ATV Tires (view on Amazon), it turns the LTR 450 into a woods-friendly quad.
4. ECM Logics System
Suzuki’s “ECM Logics System” monitors throttle position and RPMs and the speed at which these elements are hit. It is also responsible for measuring the timing of the rider’s reaction and adjusting the spray that helps control traction and wheel spin. Paired with slightly taller tires, this added control made for better cornering.
5. Anti-Vibration Steering Stem
An all-new anti-vibration steering stem on the 2008 Suzuki LT-R450 considerably reduced arm fatigue in rougher trail conditions. It also worked well with the quad’s steel frame. But even without the anti-vibe stem, the steering feels light and nimble, plus there is no arm pump.
The vehicle’s 49-inch width eliminates the need for Suzuki LTR 450 parts such as MX-requisite aftermarket A-arms. However, it does not make the machine the best option for riding on tight, twisty trails. Stock motocross-style tires and plastic skid plates are puncture-resistant and hold up great on wooded trails.
Despite having electronic fuel injection and an electric start system, general servicing on the Suzuki LTR 450 is uncomplicated and a breeze to perform. Periodic oil change and chain adjustment are as straightforward as filling up the fuel tank, requiring only basic tools and know-how – and your trusty service manual.
Room for Improvement
The Suzuki LTR 450 QuadRacer’s praiseworthy traits overshadow its flaws, making it seemingly perfect. However, there are two standout items riders would have liked to see changed on the quad.
- Firstly, it has a massive 49-inch width, which works to its disadvantage in terms of the machine’s appeal to casual weekend riders.
- Secondly, its footpeg height is a tad high and makes the 4×4 feel top-heavy when cornering.
While the QuadRacer’s width is a given because of its motocross focus, nerf bars with integrated pegs (two inches lower than stock) easily solve the machine’s propensity to tip over.
Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese corporation known for industry-leading product offerings like the Suzuki LTR 450. And like most ATV manufacturers, the firm has a rich and interesting history and did not quite start in the automotive field. Founded in 1909, Suzuki was first a weaving loom business before it became the world-class automotive leader that it is.
The company is globally known for its slew of high-quality automobiles, motorcycles, 4WD vehicles, outboard marine engines, wheelchairs, and internal combustion engines. With over 133 distributors in 192 countries, Suzuki is currently one of the most successful automakers by production worldwide.
Conclusion – Suzuki LTR 450 QuadRacer
The reason behind the making of the LTR 450 is as noble as the vehicle itself. More than creating an industry-leading ATV, Suzuki’s intention is inclusivity – getting more people involved in racing by bringing down the cost of acquiring a track-worthy 4×4. With the machine’s fun factor and ability to rip through trails and clear sky-high jumps, it was impossible even for unsure recreational riders to say no.
Despite its stature, some riders feel there is more to be had with the LTR 450 – even with its post-2007 models. For others, its price tag is still somewhat hefty and beyond what the average consumer can afford. In terms of inclusivity, the quad is like any other sport ATV whose influence on sport riding is not as huge as its manufacturer would like to believe.
So, these questions remain – “Did Suzuki manage to create a best-in-class sport quad?”, “Did the sport riding community grow because of the QuadRacer’s existence?”. I’d say Suzuki successfully accomplished both.
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.