Project Suzuki LTZ400: Bars and Armor
Products from Fasst Co, Rox, Powermadd, ODI and Suzuki
It's become a budget-minded dream woods racing machine, capable of dialing in the top ten of a local A class series (if the rider can!). The GT Thunder suspension gets better each time we ride and with our project guidelines of budget and east of install, there is no substitute. The Yoshimura RS2 slip-on exhaust also added an extra couple of ponies that were much needed.
So with our attention off the engine and suspension, we needed to add some final pieces up-top - and then again, down below.
Our next order of business this round was to get the stock handlebars off. The stock bars on the Suzuki Z400 are good for the average recreational rider, but knowing that there are definitely some reasonably-priced options for the more serious ATV racer, I just couldn’t get comfortable with them. We were looking to reduce annoying vibration, impact from trail obstacles and get a little more adjustability in the bars.That’s where Fasst Company comes into the picture.
Fasst Co has been building vibration- and impact-reducing handlebars for many years. I was first introduced to the Flexx system on a pre-run test where we rode 70 miles of rutted-out Baja whoop sections from San Felipe to the Hwy 3 road crossing. I can tell you that these bars made the difference and that’s why I decided to add them to this quad.
The bars are constructed of two different states of 7000 series aluminum.and are inspected, measured and re-inspected several times before leaving the factory. When you think about the price just consider the fatigue loss and how much engineering is put into them and you’ll be asking why they don't cost more, instead of less.
Our Flexx bars were the "low" version so we could get away with the stock cables. This was still tight and it did cause a little grief but it worked out fine. If I did it again I would find longer cables for more suitable adjustments.
Coming to the market from Fasst Co as well is the rebound kit to eliminate the top-out some riders feel on aggressive terrain. With four different elastomers available the comfort level can be set to any rider's needs. We chose the yellow, or "medium" elastomer disc to be best for our style of riding.
The stock steering stem wasn’t tall enough for my riding style, so this is where Rox Speed FX made their appearance. Adding a riser to the steering stem not only gave us obvious adjustability but height where we needed it. With the Rox risers I'm not riding hunched over trying to steer. The Rox risers have the ability to move them forward and rearward, while adjusting the height.
Rox builds some very unique products outside of the normal riser components. You can find anti-vibe mounts, dash panels and even handguard mounts for almost any ATV. At the time of our build Rox did not have a dash for our 2009 Z400, as the instrument design has changed for this year, but I'm sure it will not be long.
We did however get the Rox handguard mounts that were packaged with Powermadd handguard covers. These are simple to install and with the need for minimal space on the bar itself. You just loosen the allen head screw and slip the C-shaped end over the bar and tighten. There is no other mounting point. Great stuff.
Our only complaint is that the bend in the handguard mount isn’t stretched out far enough to let the covers clear the stock length levers on our Z400. With some mild trimming this problem was solved.
Moving on to the gripping part of our build we installed our very first set of ODI “no glue” ATV grips. Talk about a crazy awesome product. The grips simply slide over the bar end and they have allen head bolts in clamps on each end that tighten down onto the bars. Forget the glue and hassle of old and get to know this company.
The grips are pre-cut for ATV applications as well and are guaranteed slip-free. We used the Rogue starter pack that comes with grips, four locking retainers and grip ends that can be left off if you're going to use a wrap-around style handguard. Absolutely the easiest product to install on this entire build. With even mimimal riding, I can already tell that the grips reduce fatigue in my hands and give me a more comfortable grip on my machine.
Our final add-ons came directly from the Suzuki accessory department. Keeping the Z400 looking stylish yet functional, these products are developed by the engineers that produce the ATV, so you can generally count on factory-quality fit.
We knew that our Z400 was going to get a lot of abuse so under-side skidplates were a must. The center full skid had to be installed as this area would take a few hits for sure. Made of aluminum, this skid plate goes from the front bumper mounting point all the way back to the swinger bolt area.
The next addition had to be the swing-arm skid and linkage cover. The front underside of the Z400 might miss obstacles in the trail but we were sure to find a few with the swing-arm. These skid plates are made from a thick aluminum and fitment was good but I did notice they tend to bend rather easily.
Our final addition from Suzuki’s accessory department was a good looking small front bumper. We choose the small bumper as it looked better than its larger counter part. A bigger bumper might work better in racing conditions but we intend to trail rage this machine.
With our build complete, we have only one more thing to do and that is to go out and rip up the trail and enjoy the results of all our hard work. This has been not only a great competition project but we have stayed budget-minded, with upgrades most anyone can do themselves.
Come back next month for the final article in our series to see how each product performed.
FLEXX Bars: $349.00: www.fasstco.com
Rox Risers: 2 Inch risers PT# 2R-P2SP: $79.99
PowerMadd Star series hand guards with ROX mounts: PT# 2HPK-SY/K: $59.99
ODI GRIPS: Rogue ATV Starter pack: $23.95: www.odigrips.com
Suzuki stuff - Suzuki Accessory Shopping
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