During a recent trip to the Big Gun Exhaust shop, we noticed an unfamiliar machine tucked away deep in a dark corner of the facility as if it was being kept top secret. As I made excuses to wander around the shop unattended so I could attempt to get a closer look, it became apparent as to what my eyes had come across. A complete glimmering Laeger's chassis powdercoated candy red housed an unfamiliar engine that looked as if it was installed backward. Upon closer scrutiny I realized it was the engine out of a brand-new Yamaha YZ450F dirt bike, which has been considered a revolutionary design with its forward-facing intake system and rear exhaust. Everyone I know who has ridden that machine has had nothing but positive things to say about the power, and I could not imagine what it could do in an ATV.
After talking with Paul Rivera of Big Gun and Scott Taylor from Laeger's Racing, I was able to unlock the juicy details about the quad. These guys felt this would be an epic build as this motorcycle engine produces 8 more horsepower than the engine found in Yamaha's YFZ450R ATV. In addition to an engine package that produces more power stock for stock, the chrome-moly Laeger's chassis was estimated to drop at least 40 pounds of weight in comparison with the YFZ450R. Taylor also explained that while demand for custom builds has dwindled in the U.S. market, there is still high demand for them in Europe.
The frame of this mixed breed is a completely hand-built Laeger's YFZ450R chassis made of 4130 chrome-moly tubing (versus the forged stock aluminum frame) and features its standard 250R front rake and narrow frame rails. The A-arms mounted to the frame are the Laeger's Pro-Trax that measure at +5 +1 because of the narrow frame rails and provide 11 inches of suspension travel. The steering stem is also built by Laeger's and utilizes a Honda-type steering flag. On the rear a Laeger's YFZ450R standard-length swingarm also provides 11 inches of travel, with modifications being made to the pivot sleeves to accommodate the shifting of the dirt bike engine. A custom brake caliper mount was fabricated for the swingarm to utilize the front dirt bike caliper as the rear braking system. Laeger's recently started manufacturing a six-point subframe for the YFZ-R that is a direct bolt-on replacement for the stock unit and this was also utilized for the hybrid project.
To make this machine state-of-the-art,...
To make this machine state-of-the-art, an engine out of the 2010 Yamaha YZ450F dirt bike was used. Other than beefing up the clutch with components from Hinson Racing, no other modifications were needed.
Since the dirt bike engine was being used and there is no electrical system to be utilized with the stock YFZ-R fuel tank and pump system, they opted run the stock dirt bike tank which also incorporates the forward-facing intake system to supply air to the engine. Along with the tank, the stock tank panels and radiator shrouds are also used, giving a very custom look unlike any other machine ever made. To keep the high-tech quad suspended, they put in a call to Elka Suspension, which promptly sent a complete set of Factory Shocks. These are special-edition shocks intended for pro-level racers and are the only shocks that feature the patented TRACK system that helps to provide smooth absorption of hard impacts and high-speed vibration and yet allow further adjustability of the high- and low-speed compression without any compromise.