The Suzuki LTZ 400 (QuadSport Z400) set the bar for present-day sport ATVs. It launched in the market following Suzuki’s decade-long sport quad stasis – making its release a much-anticipated one. With 400-cc racing machines at their peak in the early 2000s, there could not have been better timing to do so.
The Suzuki LTZ 400 (QuadSport Z400) was a high-performance quad that dominated the market segment between 2003 and 2018. Considered one of the best sport ATVs of all time, this machine featured aggressive bodywork, long-travel suspension, and a powerful 398-cc engine.
Apart from its excellent geometry and design, the LTZ 400 was also known for being the first four-wheeler to beat two-strokes at their own game in racing circuits and MX competitions. This is just one notable fact about the Suzuki LTZ 400. Continue reading to learn more about this classic racer.
About the Suzuki LTZ 400
Before the advent of the Yamaha YFZ450 and Suzuki’s own Quadracer 450R, the Suzuki LTZ400 ruled the sport segment. Otherwise known as the QuadSport Z400, this 4×4 boasted a top speed of 70 mph. It had a race-inspired tubular frame, modifiable shocks, and a 5-speed manual gearbox (including a reverse gear). The LTZ 400 also had a DRZ400-adopted power mill, high-clearance fenders, and bright yellow bodywork that made it look the part of a perfect play ride.
Introduced to the public in 2003, the four-wheeler was one of the first machines to bring the 4×4 sport industry back to life. It offered the perfect mix of rider comfort, unrelenting power, and excellent ergonomics in a single package that catered to both aggressive and recreational riders. Thanks to its praiseworthy qualities and handling manners, the machine was recognized as the go-to vehicle for traversing dunes and wooded trails and a formidable contender in the 400-/450-cc category.
The LTZ 400 saw very few upgrades during its lifetime – many of which were cosmetic. The only performance-impacting upgrade it received was in its fuel system when Suzuki decided to give it fuel injection in 2009. This new feature was welcomed by Suzuki’s loyal following, nonetheless, and proved to enhance the machine’s bulletproof and sporty nature. The 450-class emerged as the new kings on the racetracks, eventually leading to the QuadSport’s end of life in 2018.
Suzuki LTZ 400 Specs & Features (2003 Suzuki LTZ 400)
The heart of the LTZ 400 was loaned from the famous dual-purpose motorcycle, the Suzuki DRZ400S. The said motor is a 398-cm3, liquid-cooled 4-stroke DOHC engine (mated to a Mikuni BSR36 carb and, later on, DFI®) with a counter-balancer that offers usable power across the powerband and increased torque in the lower RPM ranges.
Cylinders were made of aluminum alloy and plated with Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM). This plating made for better heat transfer and tighter piston-to-cylinder clearance while forming a more efficient combustion chamber. Furthermore, internal oil passages in the cylinders reduced the vehicle’s weight and kept its center of gravity low.
One of the things that put the LTZ 400 above its counterparts was the inclusion of a reverse gear in its 5-speed gearbox, which lends to its superb handling, whether on forest trails or dirt tracks. It also had a Raptor-like push-rod clutch system and shared the same shim-under-bucket-tappet valvetrain design with its parent DRZ400S.
The engine management system in the LTZ400 was further improved by letting the tires hook up for better grip when it sensed wheel slippage. While this enhancement chipped away from the quad’s launch time, it did make the machine more stable and predictable all around.
The LTZ400’s ECU utilized a 16-bit CPU and a 96-kb ROM unit programmed to select the optimum injection volume, injection, and ignition timing based on the engine’s RPM and throttle position – to name a few. In turn, data gathered from this system improved the vehicle’s traction and made for convenient starting (especially when mated to the engine’s automatic decompression system). A maintenance-free CDI system and triple-phase generator powers the machine and all other electronic accessories.
Tires & Brakes
Its tire-and-wheel assembly consisted of 22- and 20-inch front and rear LTZ 400 tires mounted on aluminum alloy wheels (for reduced unsprung weight). While this assembly efficiently delivered power to the ground, it could do better with Sand Gecko or GBC XC-Master ATV Bias Tires (view on Amazon), significantly improving traction and usability of linear power. Conversely, dual hydraulic discs at the front and a single hydraulic disc at the rear are plenty enough and provide the quad ample stopping power.
The LTZ400 initially had a Raptor-like chassis, which was later changed to a T-bone frame with a redesigned sub-frame for later-year models. This change in framework, coupled with rebound damping adjustable shocks, allowed for easier movement on the machine when riding aggressively and made for a plush, comfortable ride when cruising.
Wheel travel is still on the conservative side when compared to other same-class racing machines. Thankfully, adding longer axles, A-arms, and aftermarket shocks to the LTZ 400 and backing off the spring pressure help improve the quad’s handling and bump absorption. (Trivia: Many racing enthusiasts speculate that the shocks on the LTZ 400 are the same shocks used on the Honda 400EX).
The QuadSport Z400 shares suspension components and dimensions with the 400EX – except for its dry mass and seat height, which are slightly lower than that of the latter. Overall, the size of the LTZ 400 makes it perfect for twisty trails, MX tracks, and drag races.
Exterior & Lighting
Among the QuadSport Z400’s most practical and unique features are its sharp fenders, signature slim design, and vertically stacked multi-reflector headlights (taken from the Hayabusa 1300 sportbike) integrated into its front fender.
The latter not only add to the four-wheeler’s styling but also provides better light distribution. An aftermarket graphics kit like Senge Graphics Kit (view on Amazon) will help enhance the raciness of its aesthetics.
Outside of these untouched features, the machine underwent several minor changes to some Suzuki LTZ 400 parts such as handlebars, footpegs, and seats. The handlebar was lowered by 5 millimeters and angled forward by 10 millimeters to accommodate a more charging rider position. Footpegs were also tweaked to match the purpose of the handlebar.
Similarly, the seat was slightly modified to match the seat style found on the LTR 450, make more room for the rider, and improve cornering – without compromising comfort.
Cost of a Suzuki LTZ 400
Because of the value of the Suzuki QuadSport Z400, it can sometimes prove challenging to find a secondhand unit online that is in mint condition. Nevertheless, pre-loved LTZ400s keep their value quite well, with resale units worth half the original list price of the quad. Depending on your preferred fuel system, you can scout for 2008 or earlier models (carbureted) or post-2009 ones (fuel-injected). Either way, expect the QuadSport to have a pricing average falling between $2,000 and $5,200.
Here is a non-exhaustive pricing table for those of you wondering about LTZ 400 MSRPs. Note that this rundown only covers from 2003 to 2014. (Source: Nada Guides):
|Year – Trim – Model #||List Price||Retail/Trade-In Values|
|2003 Suzuki LTZ400K3||$5,699||$2,430 – $3,700|
|2004 Suzuki LTZ 400K4||$5,699||$2,430 – $3,800|
|2005 Suzuki LTZ400K5||$5,799||$2,430 – $3,200|
|2006 Suzuki LTZ 400K6||$5,899||$2,530 – $3,330|
|2007 Suzuki LTZ400K7||$5,899||$2,625 – $3,455|
|2007 Suzuki LTZ400ZK7||$5,999||$2,630 – $3,460|
|2008 Suzuki LTZ400K8 QuadSport||$5,999||$2,765 – $3,635|
|2008 Suzuki LTZ400ZK8 QuadSport||$6,099||$2,770 – $3,645|
|2009 Suzuki LTZ400K9 QuadSport||$6,499||$2,915 – $3,835|
|2009 Suzuki LTZ400ZK9 QuadSport||$6,699||$2,970 – $3,905|
|2012 Suzuki LTZ400L2 QuadSport||$7,099||$3,180 – $4,185|
|2012 Suzuki LTZ400ZL2 QuadSport Limited Edition||$7,099||$2,575 – $3,390|
|2013 Suzuki LTZ400L3 QuadSport||$7,099||$3,410 – $4,490|
|2014 Suzuki LTZ400L4 QuadSport||$7,149||$3,570 – $4,700|
Suzuki LTZ 400 Upgrades
For the average person who does not race but would like to have the ability to do so, the following mods are almost a necessity:
- Replace the magnesium water pump cover with one from a 2003 or 2004 Suzuki LTZ 400.
- Swap out the coolant to prevent premature or unwanted overheating of the power mill.
- Upgrade the stock exhaust system to improve engine performance and fuel consumption.
- Install a jet kit to enhance the carburetor’s fuel delivery (for pre-2009 models).
- Change the air filter to ensure no pollutants enter clog the intake or enter the engine.
You may choose between a slip-on or a full system when upgrading the pipe. Go for the slip-on if you are more of a trail rider – a highly recommended LTZ 400 exhaust is the White Brothers E-series Pipe. Generally, slip-ons cost anywhere from $200 to $500. But if you want your exhaust to do more than just remove toxic fumes, opting for a Yoshimura TRS or Curtis Sparks full exhaust (view on Amazon) will be the route to go.
Equipping your vehicle with either system allows better engine performance and horsepower gains by at least 11%. The only setback is that either system does not quite fulfill its noise control function.
If you are not a competition racer, you may want to purchase a few main jets and pilot jets and test which ones work. Going for a full-blown jet kit usually pans out for riders who use their LTZ 400s for drag races. Besides, they are usually dependent on one’s choice of exhaust. So, if you have no intentions of upgrading the stock pipe, you may not need to install a jet kit. But if you do, go for a bigger-size main jet – this solves problems with slip-on exhausts crackling when the throttle decelerates.
As for air filters, there are many contestations between K&N and Uni being the better brand. While both do a good job of blocking pollutants from getting through to the engine, one outperforms the other depending on location and riding conditions. California residents, for instance, prefer an oiled Uni foam filter over a K&N variant due to how fine dust particles are in the state.
Meanwhile, riders who are comfortable with frequent rebuilds and are after vehicle performance go for the latter. Choosing the better filter is essentially a matter of prioritizing filtering or flow – and knowing that picking one of the two would mean compromising the other.
The above suggestions are basic mods you can do on the LTZ 400 QuadSport. For more mechanically savvy owners who want to bring out the full potential of their quad, consider the items below:
- 39-mm FCR carb/Quickshot3
- BBK and exhaust, Full HMF Competition series exhaust wrapped with DEI wrap
- Intake updates like Honda 400ex intake tube, no airbox
- Quad Tech radiator shrouds (view on Amazon)
- 293/536 WebCam racing cams or old-style hot cams
- Wiseco valves and 94-mm J&E piston
- Tokyomods Less Tension throttle spring
- Aftermarket rear linkage with a 400EX rear spring/boot or +1.25″ LSR swingarm
- Elka Stage 3 shocks and a Hermann swingarm
- Fox Float/Podium front shocks, TCS MX rear shock
- Slightly taller ITP GNCC tires and G-Force wheel hubs
- Steering stabilizer like Houser Racing Bar Anti-vibration Clamp (view on Amazon)
- IMS-Roll or Pro Armor nerf bars, footpegs, and heel guards
- Renthal McGrath Fatbar®
- ASV unbreakable levers
- An aftermarket clutch lever and perch replacing the parking brake
- Full-belly and rear skid plates, bumper, and grab bar
Some of these recommended upgrades will cancel out if you own a 2009 LTZ 400 or a more recent model. For the ’09 QuadSport specifically, it received a lot of updates lifted from that year’s LTR 450. For instance, its intake tract and cam were reshaped for higher airflow velocity – hence, you would only need a slip-on upgrade instead of a full exhaust system.
If anything, you may want to concentrate on performance upgrades that will improve suspension geometry and acceleration, as test riders have attested to pre-2008 models launching better and pulling ahead faster than 2009-and-up LTZ400 versions.
Suzuki Motor Corporation is a Japanese corporation best known for its industry-leading motorcycles and all-terrain vehicles like the famed Suzuki LTZ 400. Having started in the loom weaving industry, the firm spent its first 28 years restructuring in preparation for its entry into the automotive industry. It eventually transitioned into manufacturing small consumer cars until the onset of WWII, went on a temporary hiatus, and had since grown into one of the world’s leading automakers, with over ten subsidiaries and 133 distributors in 192 countries.
Conclusion – Suzuki LTZ 400 (QuadSport®) Review
It has been decades since the reign of the Suzuki LTZ 400. And yet, this sporty four-wheeler still stands as one of the greatest sport quads ever built. This mid-sized racer has inspired many professional mechanics and racing outfitters to develop performance-enhancing components that will draw out its true capabilities.
Undoubtedly, the QuadSport has revolutionized the sport ATV segment and continues to do so even to this day. So, if you’re searching for a highly capable and reputable four-wheeler guaranteed to give you a memorable outdoor experience, then look no further than the Suzuki LTZ 400 QuadSport!