The Can-Am DS 450 is one of the most innovative sport ATVs to hit the market in a long time. The weld-less aluminum frame, inverted front brakes and amazing power-to-weight ratio are just a few of the features that caught everyone off guard when it first dropped. But the DS wasn't perfect; the power was very top-end heavy, and we felt like the handling was compromised by a tall ride height and excessive body roll. But with the right parts, those problems are easily corrected. So we became convinced we could build a project bike that would use all the strengths of the stock DS 450 while ironing out some of its kinks.
We began building our Project DS 450 down in Southern California, but we had grown tired of the usual fare of MX, dune and desert bikes usually associated with this area of the country. While these terrains are by far the most popular, they aren't the only type of terra firma you tear up while on the left coast. SoCal is also home to thousands of miles of mountain and high-desert trails. Venture off the beaten path and you can find winding trails, fire roads and even a mud-hole or two. So with that in mind, we found a focus for our Project DS 450; we wanted to build the ultimate West Coast trail machine.
To help us smooth out the DS 450's powerband, the guys at Motoworks hooked us up with their complete SR4 exhaust system. The SR4 features a proprietary stainless headpipe and performance-tuned aluminum muffler designed to give the DS 450 more low and midrange torque, thus creating a more ridable powerband overall. With some aftermarket pipes, fitment can be a problem, but we were thoroughly impressed with how perfectly our Motoworks exhaust mounted up. It also came with a quick drop-in spark arrestor, which was a must for our vegetated riding areas.
Motoworks also sent us its Fuel Management Interface (FMI) to help dial in the fuel delivery. The Motoworks FMI came preprogrammed with a map for the SR4 exhaust, but with the simple interface, we would be able to tweak the fuel curve out on the trail as needed. The FMI plugged right into the stock wiring and was a snap to install.
Since we had the exhaust covered, it was time to take a look at the intake. I've always been partial to K&N filters, mainly because I find them to be more durable and straightforward to service. One of the best ways to get a K&N filter on your bike is with a Pro Flow kit from Pro Design. The Pro Flow kit consists of a billet-aluminum airbox flange, either a Uni or K&N filter and an Outerwear. We also opted to pop the airbox lid off since we weren't going to be getting into any deep mud or water.
Under intense racing, some riders have found the DS 450 to run a little hot, so with the extra power we wanted to make sure our DS could keep its cool. We turned to the crew at PWR to set us up with one of their high-capacity radiators. Their hand-built radiators can be found on championship-winning race cars and motorcycles all around the world, so you know they mean business. The PWR radiator has a slightly larger fluid capacity and increased cooling efficiency to keep our DS 450's temp down.
Last but not least, we wanted to make sure we could count on the added power making its way to the wheels, so we installed a Regina Z-ring chain. The patented ring design helps increase flexibility and prolong the chain's life. Can-Am sells a special edition version of this chain as a factory accessory, complete with Can-Am yellow colored links--how awesome is that!