In 2008, when Chris Borich made the "crazy" decision to race a Suzuki LT-R450 (an MX-inspired ATV) in the Grand National Cross Country series, a large population of fans nearly laughed him out of the sport. He was going to try and catch the legendary Bill Ballance with a quad developed to win MX races? In 2009, when Borich stomped the competition winning 10 out of 13 races and clinching his first GNCC championship on his narrowed LT-R, those naysayers were forced to eat crow. That season at the opening round in Florida, I was given an opportunity to race one of Borich's factory Suzuki/Yoshimura/Rockstar Energy quads. I fell in love with the razor-sharp handling and smooth power the LT-R churned out. From that moment on, I knew an XC LT-R450 project build was going to be in my very near future!
To kick off our latest ATVR project, we stripped a bone-stock LT-R to the bare frame and sent it and a set of bare chrome-moly Walsh Race Craft Flow XC1 A-arms to our pal Jay at Custom Metal Coating in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, for a sandblast and new protective layer of DuPont Lapis Blue powdercoating. To keep that stock look, we chose Heavy Silver powdercoat to freshen up our swingarm and rear subframe.
Next we turned to the engine. At the heart of our beast is a fairly stock Suzuki engine, massaged a tad with a mild Yoshimura intake cam I "borrowed" from Borich. Sucking air through a Velocity air filter and exhaling through a full stainless steel Yoshimura exhaust system, the LT-R takes advantage of a Yosh Cherry Bomb to increase power. Helping all this power make it to the ground are a Hinson inner hub and pressure plate, steel clutch basket and high-temperature spring kit inside a Hinson clutch cover designed to help dissipate heat. To keep our 450 running cool when the going gets tough and give it a fresh look, we installed a Fluidyne radiator and CV4 hoses.
Bolted back together, the LT-R now rolls on custom-built OMF beadlock wheels wrapped in GBC X-Rex tires stuffed with Tireballs. The rear OMF wheels are designed with an adjustable backspacing that allows the use of a stock-width axle while keeping the rear of the LT-R an XC-appropriate 47 inches wide. Hanging off the swingarm are a DuraBlue X33 axle and hub assembly, adorned with DuraBlue's brake hub, sprocket hub and Posi-Lok nut. Renthal front and rear sprockets wrapped with a Renthal R4 ATV Z-ring chain put power to the ground. To protect the rear end, a GT Thunder dual sprocket guard and two stock Suzuki rotor guards welded together were installed on the brake side of the swingarm. Bringing our LT-R to a stop are Galfer Wave rotors and stainless steel brake lines.
To keep the front end under control while dodging tight trees, we partnered a set of Flexx bars with a Precision steering stabilizer. Mounted on our bars is a set of Renthal Kevlar dual-compound ATV grips. To keep the suspension in check, we chose the same Fox Float X Evol front shocks and Fox Podium X rear shock as Borich has run on his LT-R since he made the switch to yellow.