Almost any MX race series...
Almost any MX race series will require a set of nerf bars, and we couldn't think of a better setup than the IMS/Roll Pro-Series nerfs.
Nerf bars are mandatory for safety, and most MX tracks require them these days. So we slid on a set of IMS nerf bars along with an IMS front bumper to help prevent damage from collisions. We didn't go with any fancy Pro-pegs; we were trying to keep the cost at a minimum, and the stock pegs work very well. The stock pegs are in a good location and are wide enough. A good tip for the pegs are to sharpen the spikes for improved traction with a grinder and run 'em. Along the lines of things that are mandatory, we slipped on a Pro Design tether kill switch. This is all about safety and every racer should have one installed. We also yanked the headlight and slid in a Quad Tech nosepiece. It just gives it a better look and keeps you from breaking your headlight, as you might want to reinstall it if you're planning a night ride at some point.
The IMS/Roll front bumper...
The IMS/Roll front bumper will offer better protection and add a tricked-out look to the LT-R450.
Tire selection needs to be made depending on track conditions. When we were doing much of our suspension testing for this article, we spent two days at L.A. County Raceway. LACR is a very sandy track with some hardpack dirt. We just ran the stock tires and wheels, and arguably in these conditions they were working extremely well. When we tested at tracks with mostly hardpack dirt, we felt a different tire would be more appropriate for the conditions. We went with ITP MXR6 18x10-8 rear and 10x6-10 front which performed well and offered excellent traction in these conditions. We highly recommend a beadlock rear wheel for use with the 8-inch rim size. We didn't bother with beadlock fronts as it just adds weight, cost and a place for mud to collect. We ended going with an ITP rolled-edge front rim.
"The bottom line is that we...
"The bottom line is that we weren't looking for glitz or bling; our main objective on this project was to maximize function at a low cost."
Suzuki produced a very good stock package to work with, and it just hid the keys. In stock trim, the LT-R produced about 40 horsepower and doesn't rev. The only motor mod performed was adding the Big Gun M-80, pulling the plug out of the exhaust and removing the airbox lid. This bumped us up to nearly 50 horsepower and gave us the rev we needed to cut good lap times. It's an absolute night-and-day difference. What the Big Gun M-80 does is access a preprogrammed ignition curve along with a preprogrammed richer fuel curve. Once you get to the near 50-horsepower range, lap times are going to minimize for most riders. You could dump a bunch of cash into huge motor builds, but you won't drop your lap times much on most MX tracks. More motor may help in getting better starts, but that isn't necessarily always true. The 2008 model does have more bottom-end power and a little better power curve than the '06 and '07 models, but this entire package would work equally well on those older quads.
The bottom line is that we weren't looking for glitz or bling; our main objective on this project was to maximize function at a low cost. Suzuki built a great platform to work from and we just applied the essentials. Don't hesitate to build a racer the same way. Many get hooked into spending excessive amounts of money to build a cool-looking racer, but the name of the game is winning, not spending.
Tested And Approved
After our modifications were completed, the first time we hit the track, it became obvious our machine sat too low for a rough track. We were getting pounded everywhere. All we did was go back to our truck, flip the crossover spacer on the front, add some preload to the rear shock and our machine transformed into a phenomenal performer. We tested back-to-back against a $2500 set of aftermarket shocks, and our TCS/Race Tech reworked shocks were by far superior. We possibly could've spent more time trying to get the other shocks to work as well, but that wasn't our job for the day. The next day we headed out and spent time at a smooth well-groomed supercross style track. For this particular style of track, we lowered it and softened up the shocks a little. It's obvious that any suspension system will need to be tweaked depending on terrain and what track you're at, and our TCS/Race Tech reworked shocks offered plenty of tunability to dial them in for our needs. For $950 they're the bomb!