Project 2009 Suzuki LTZ400: Final Impact

Wrapping up our latest project quad

Sep. 03, 2009 By Ricky Sosebee

The last few months have been exciting and the results of our Project 2009 Suzuki Z400 were nothing less than awesome. This favorite in this corner has been modified to suit the needs of the wooded trail or track hero, and we hate to see this one go into the history books.

The first upgrade let the ride height down, and with help from GT Thunder of Millersburg Ohio we suspended the beast for trail control. Our re-worked stock shocks gave the ride a bite to be proud of and with lower center of gravity it made the Z400 handle a lot better. The dual-rate spring setup gave versatility to the shock tuning dynamic. With a bit more travel on the stock shock bodies there was more room for the shocks to work and provide a comfortable ride.

The trails we ride are tight and rough but I had no problems negotiating the Z400 around, and with the lower center of gravity it wanted to push harder but I had trouble holding on. I think we could benefit from a bit stiffer main spring on the front but other than that its worlds beyond stock. But this was to be just the beginning for the new fuel-injected Suzuki Z400.

Wait a few moments for Page 2 - A Look at Exhaust Upgrades

My 2003 Suzuki LTZ400 had the carbureted engine and needed work as it had no real punch from the factory. In 2009 Suzuki unveiled their EFI fuel injected Z400 and this little bit of advancement in engineering woke the Z400 up and I knew I had found what I was looking for. During our second product install we made use of a Yoshimura RS2 exhaust system. This would make our power from the fuel injected 400cc engine even more prevelant.

The pipe has a very distinct tone but it never became overwhelming and after hours on the trail it didn’t seem to ring my ears out. This is surely a plus. Adding this type of performance enhancing tool to our build gave us yet another performance edge. The exhaust held up to many hours of abuse and seemed to hold together very well. Repacking this pipe is a cinch as well and easy is always a good thing.

Filtering the air to the engine is very important and going with a Twin Air filter was a must. The guys at Twin Air have been getting this one right for a long time and as luck would have it the 2009 model filters for my Suzuki Z400 were available. Keeping any air filter clean is easy and this is as important as changing the oil. Dust seemed to be the order for the day at our favorite ride area and with a fine layer of Twin Air filter oil in place I knew it could get nasty quick.

After a couple of hours of riding I stopped and checked on the dual-stage filtering device. It was covered in dust and had in some areas even totally clogged the filters surface. I knew it was time to go back to the truck and check this out. Removing the filter I carefully watched to make sure no dirt or dust made its way into the throat of my beast. The filter had done its job and not even a spot of dust or dirt was found inside the boot to the throttle body. Twin Air rules again!

Hold on for Page 3 - What we did for Wheels and Tires

I knew I had to get more of our power to the ground and when we installed the GBC X-REX tires on our OMF billet center bead-lock wheels, we made that connection. The tires have a distinct "X"-pattern lug that is tall and very squared off edges help its bite. The side lugs on the rear tires could be a bit aggressive when trying to slide the Suzuki Z400 sideways during cornering but after a little trimming of the side lugs we think we cured that issue right up.

Overall the GBC X-rex tires are very well constructed and seemed to be able to take the extreme abuse in any terrain. I hit some rocky sections that I just knew I was going to pinch the tire into submission but it held in there without any trouble.

There’s really nothing I can say about the wheels from OMF except that they are awesome, beautiful and perfectly crafted master pieces! These tough-as-nails wheels are ready for many years of abuse and if I decide to get a different machine, all I need to do is order the billet center’s from OMF that fits the wheel for that machine and I'm set.

Page 4 Coming up - Bars and Armor

Getting to the controls on our 2009 LTZ400 was our final goal - well, along with a few safety items. Taking control of this machine in stock form was a bit difficult for me. The bars seemed miles away and the position of the bars just didn’t fit. The Fasst Co Flexx bars made all the difference in this area. With 2-inch risers from Rox products we sat our new Flexx bars in place and settled in for the real test. These risers allowed us to position the bars perfectly. I have had limited experience with the Flexx system and was a bit apprehensive but after four hours on the trails I knew I had a winner. Using the yellow elastomers I felt I had the right amount of flex without being distracting. If you have never ridden with these type bars you will immediately be weirded out by the movement in the bars. Rest assured though, it will work itself out with time and the benefits out weight the weirdness. I noticed I was a bit less fatigued after riding with these bars and after a couple nasty hits from trees that just wouldn’t get out of my way I was glad I had these Flexx bars on.

Mounted on my Flexx Bars I had some additional ROX products. The PowerMadd brush guards were mounted to my bars with Rox Universal mounts. These things kept my knuckles from getting ripped to shreds after a trip off the trail and into the wild world of briars. I was also thankful that my ODI lock on grips had a good hold of my hands. Sweating hands and hitting a few muddy sections wide open would have left most grips without and traction but with the Rogue grip style this wasn’t going to be a problem.

So finally the protection we found for the ride was straight out of the Suzuki catalog. The full center skid along with a swing arm guard and linkage cover gave us protection for general trail riding and would be good for most any average trail riders style. Unfortunately we are not the normal riders and hammering the tough spots out can leave the protection needing its own crew of hired hands to straighten it out. The front bumper never had a chance to be tested thankfully and it looked great and fit with a bit of convincing. Our swinger and linkage faired well with the Suzuki protection and I think with just a bit more bracing there probably would not be any trouble at all.

There was one part which didn’t get the review attention it might well deserve and that’s our Suzuki-brand nerf bars. These were sent a bit late for the final article but we managed to get them on for the final ride and photo-shoot. The nets come with these nerfs and in about thirty minutes we had them mounted and the nets had been woven into them. Standing on the outside edge of these nerfs to convince the quad to bite ground after a high center wasn’t a problem. At 240 lbs I’d say I put them to the proper testing.

Our 2009 Suzuki Z400 project is now in the history books and we had a great time building this beautiful ATV. Thanks to everyone involved and stay tuned for the next creation from’s ATV engineers!

Page 5 - Contact information and pricing for products

GT Thunder
6748 TR630
Millersburg, OH 44654
Revalve and respring all 3 shocks, linkage, and travel extension mod on the front shocks: $740.00

Pre-Oiled filter PT# TA153908X : $32.95

RS2 Performance Exhaust - PT# 2176703: $375.00 for the slip-on as tested
PT#2176503: $595 for the full system

OMF Performance
Riverside CA
(951) 354-8272
Billet center wheels start at $249.95 per wheel
Plus an additional $9.95 per billet center or beadlock ring for powder coating
There is an additional charge of $9.95 per billet center shim

GBC Tires
(877) 410-8608
X REX 21x7.00-10 Front 6 Ply -- $54.26 ea
X-REX 20x11.00-9 Rear 6 Ply -- $59.12 ea

FLEXX Bars: $349.00

Risers: 2 Inch risers PT# 2R-P2SP: $79.99

Star series hand guards with ROX mounts: PT# 2HPK-SY/K: $59.99

GRIPS: Rogue ATV Starter pack: $23.95:

Small bumper PT# 99950-70403 $89.95
Main Skid PT# 99950-70414 $113.95
Shock Link Skid PT# 99950-70399 $29.95
Swing-Arm Skid PT# 99950-70425 $169.95
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