It's fairly easy to send skyward...
It's fairly easy to send skyward the KingQuad 500's front end for getting over obsticles.
Getting to the good sections of a trail system sometimes means living through the rough sections. Thankfully with today's technological advancements, what otherwise could be a very painful day out on the trail can actually end with very little brutality. Have you ever wondered what it might be like to ride all day and not get totally exhausted or extremely sore from wrestling the beast? Over the last several years, the ATV industry has turned their heads to this subject and many have a solution that is sure to interest any die-hard rider.
Suzuki has stepped into the world of ATV'ing with both feet and advancements have come quickly around the engineering shops there. This year is no different; as our friends at Suzuki have developed another machine that they hope will set the bar a bit higher. The 2009 KingQuad 500AXi 4X4 comes loaded with a new power steering feature and is now part of the next generation of comfort quads.
Technical illustration for...
Technical illustration for Suzuki's new Power Steering mounted on frame.
Setting the KQ 500 apart from its family of 450 and 750cc kin is obviously the additional cubic inches. The engine is basically the same as the 454cc engine but with a bit wider bore at 87mm. This increases the engine displacement to 493cc's from 454cc's. There are also other internal differences such as L-type rings for better sealing and a new style cylinder, piston combination. The throttle body on the new KQ 500 was changed in size as well from 35mm to 37mm for the increased engine displacement. This should give the engine the fuel it needs to build powerful traction to the rear wheels. The KingQuad 450 is a very likeable and controllable machine, so adding a bit more to that engine can only increase the amount of fun in the trail and allowing it to conquer tough obstacles with ease.
POWER STEERING AND CONTROLS
With advancements in the area of comfort being addressed it was only a matter of time before we noticed power steering coming into play. Being afforded the luxury of power steering makes the days ride a bit more relaxing and in many ways a bit safer. Having the dampening ability of power steering means that obstacles you hit in the trail may not be felt as easily in the bars. The power steering on this new KingQuad 500AXi is derived from the world of Suzuki automotives. Basically, using a torsion bar the input and output shafts are connected in order to calculate the amount of assist that is needed. When you turn the bars at slow speeds, this torsion bar creates an angular displacement that triggers a sleeve, which moves, and this movement is converted to an electrical signal. When converted the signal is either above 2.5 volts or below 2.5 volts. This is how the EPS computer knows if your turning left or right. In a nutshell the input from the rider determines the output of the power steering unit. All of this is controlled through a reduction gear mechanism and it is affected by rider input or by obstacles in the trail. Obviously this system will make crawling the rocky sections or rough trails a bit more fun as the rider will be more in control of the machine. This will also regress as the machine picks up speed and the assist fades away for better control on faster trails. You might notice the bar height as well on the new KingQuad 500AXi as it is a bit higher and the bars actually have a more downward bend to them.
Illustration of the actual...
Illustration of the actual power steering mechanism.
Side view illustration of...
Side view illustration of Suzuki's new Power Steering mechanism.
The power steering system...
The power steering system becomes a riders best friend when tackling tough terrains such as gnarly rocks.
The frame of the 2009 KQ 500 has been modified to create room for the new power steering and it's many parts and components. With these changes come several others down the line. The front-end alignment had to be reconfigured as well as the front upper and lower A-arms. There was also an increase in the front shock preload. The front wheels gained 7mm of offset while the rear wheels had been reduced by 5mm in offset. With the additional weight of the PS system there had to be a few changes to accommodate the extra pounds. With 13 pounds to loose the engineers at Suzuki had to dig into some existing features to make this happen. The removal of the recoil starter was one of the major features removed. I'm not sure this was such a great idea but only time will tell. Battery's do tend to go dead and without a jump-box, you will be pushing this beast back into the garage or camp storage without the pull start. Other weight savings had come from the use of thinner materials along the way as well as different materials being used to soften the load.
The new KingQuad 500 AXi...
The new KingQuad 500 AXi PS is one of the most comfortable quads in existence for a long day of trail riding.
By now you probably want our honest opinion on the new KingQuad 500AXi 4X4 with power steering. Our initial opinions had been brought back from the KQ450 and its old habits. Would the KQ500 have the twitchy steering? Would it also be cumbersome and sometimes unpredictable in the tight and more technical sections? How about the bump steer effect? Without spilling all of the information up front, we felt that the new KingQuad 500 has hit the mark and we think its spot on with most of the improvements. I worry about the fact that the pull start was eliminated. I also cannot help but question which parts were reduced in size or thickness to help reduce the extra weight. I can tell you this though; the ride is much, much better and we pushed the machine hard all day long without anything breaking or being compromised. Now, let's dive in to the details.
Bumping around on the trails I noticed a quick steering KingQuad at low speeds. Possibly too easy at times but in the roughest areas of our adventure, it was perfect. Keep in mind that the power steering is regressive, which means it reduces in assistance as the quad speeds up. Crawling up steep rocky terrains at a slower pace, I felt totally in control and without hesitation I challenged myself even more. The saddle on this KingQuad 500 is so comfortable that I actually preferred to sit rather than stand. Being a stand up rider myself, this wasn't normal. I think I could ride this beast all day without tiring and fatiguing. The KingQuad also seemed to be well balanced from front to rear and even side-to-side. Getting the front up meant that I had to worry about how far it could go before the top became the bottom. With this KQ500, I could easily launch the front and get up and over the bigger obstacles without feeling like I was out of control. For the faster riders out there, this new King can slide the corners with the best of them. Its sporty when it needs to be and works like a horse in the hard stuff. What's really strange though is that I didn't really feel that there was an extremely noticeable difference in power between the 450 and the 500. It had a bit more pep in the step, but not to an extreme. Maybe the engine revisions combined with the linear power delivery of the EFI smoothed out the power so that it was not extremely noticeable. I'm sure the extra 39cc's or 3mm bore upgrade helps the engine, but to what extent is fairly subjective. Most manufacturers tend to side on the rich end of the fuel injection spectrum, so maybe with a little programming the extra ponies would show up and show out!
We purposely dove into the...
We purposely dove into the roughest terrain we could find to test the power steering and new power.
This is a real cutaway photo...
This is a real cutaway photo of the new power steering mechanism.
Overall, I was pretty stoked with the new KingQuad 500AXi 4X4 PS. It handled very well, had great power, and was probably one of the most comfortable quads that I can remember riding. You can literally ride it all day long without feeling overly fatigued and even ridiculously sore the next day. I think it will suit any riders taste from beginner to expert and can be tricked out to anyone's limits as well. It rides smooth, handles very well and can be ridden all day long without exhaustion.
Plus Minus Chart
+ Great Handling machine and power steering perfection.
- removal of pull start
.= awesome maneuverability and plenty of power for the beginner and up.
The new instrument cluster...
The new instrument cluster is simple and convenient to monitor while tackling the trails.
And a tight shot of the power...
And a tight shot of the power steering internals.
KingQuad 500AXi Power Steering
Disc brake, twin
Sealed oil-bathed multi-disc
300 kg (661 lbs)
Fuel Tank Capacity
17.5 L (4.6/3.8 US/Imp gal)
280 mm (11.0 in)
2115 mm (83.3 in)
1210 mm (47.6 in)
920 mm (36.2 in)
Independent, double wishbone, coil spring, oil damped
Fully independent A-Arm and I-Beam rear suspension with five-way preload-adjustable shock absorbers
AT25 x 8-12, tubeless
AT25 x 10-12, tubeless
Automatic variable ratio (V-belt), with high-/low-range, and reverse
1285 mm (50.6in)
87.5 mm x 82.0 mm (3.228 in)
10.0 : 1
493cc (30 cu. in.), 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, SOHC
Electronic ignition (CDI)
12 month limited warranty.