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By: Jason Giacchino
Email: offthepegs @ atvsource.com

August 2009 - Off The Pegs

Of Summer Projects Past and Present

The LTR-450 kicked off a long string of customization projects.
The LTR-450 kicked off a long string of customization projects.

The other day I got an email out of the blue from my cousin Mike with the title, “You’ll never guess my latest project.” Of all the emails that make up my Inbox in a given week, these are perhaps the most anticipated. Not only is Mike a fellow rider and diehard ATV enthusiast, he shares the odd genetic dysfunction that afflicts yours truly: The desire to fill every square inch of his living area with machines (running and non-running alike). The key words “latest project” hint toward the latter, but with Mike you really never know.

His last two projects took running quads and simply improved upon the stock performance. First was the task of getting his bone stock 2006 LTR-450 ready for the arduous task of motocross racing. The project began with the power output (Cherry Bomb, intake, custom fuel map, Dasa pipe and silencer), the ergonomics (readjusted shifter, Pro Taper higher rise bars) and finally the cosmetics (graphics kit, seat cover, and so on). The end result, as illustrated by the accompanying photographs, was quite impressive both from a performance standpoint and in the looks department. However, being related to me, Mike already had his sights set on the next mission before the final bolts were tightened on his Suzuki.

"At least the frame's still stock. Note that even that is a custom color."
At least the frame's still stock. Note that even that is a custom color.

As fate would have it, some guy happened to have a 1993 Yamaha Blaster for sale directly across the street from our favorite coffee house/hangout. Naturally, he and I were drawn to the seller’s yard like ants to a picnic once we finished sipping our coffee on a chilly Saturday afternoon. Long story short, he picked up the Blaster for a cool $600 and got to work this past spring with updating/replacing just about everything.

I would love to detail the specifics of his Blaster reconstruction, but it would be a list so long that the remainder of my column would read like a parts inventory. Instead, it would be much easier to tell you what wasn’t changed in the process, and that is simply the frame itself (which was sanded and coated as well). Mike estimates that, thanks to some slick deals on eBay and Craigslist and doing all of his own labor, the grand total of his full Blaster restoration probably comes in at around $3,000 (including the original cost of the machine).

But again in the event that you haven’t been sensing a theme here, the proverbial wheels were turning even before he tightened the last bolt on the Blaster. As it turns out, he had been monitoring Craigslist the past few weeks with the hopes of locating his next ATV project to park alongside his pristine LTR and Blaster. That’s where this latest email comes into play.

"The latest project arrived short a wheel- from the factory."
The latest project arrived short a wheel- from the factory.

Sure enough, attached with a few paragraphs of description were a package of photos of one 1985 Honda 200X that he paid an unbelievably reasonable $300 for. Yes, kids, this takes us back to a period in history when ATVs sat on three wheels rather than four. The 200X was the precursor to a long line of X-branded Honda sport ATVs; a line that would go on to include the 250X, 300EX, and 400EX that’s still available today. Featuring a manual clutch/5-speed gearbox and kick start-only configuration, the 200X was a sporty option for riders all over the world between the years 1983 and 1986. Interestingly enough, Honda made a whole host of improvements for the 1986 model year that included a 6-speed transmission, better suspension components, and improved ergonomics. Unfortunately, this came right at the time where 3-wheelers were under the gun and thanks to a nation-wide ban that would follow shortly thereafter, the updated 200X lived only for a single model year.

Mike’s own ambitions in picking up the 1985 certainly had to do with the fact that he learned to use a clutch on a very similar 1984 200X in his youth. As is the case with so many of our purchasing decisions, this project would be a labor of love that can only be complete with a healthy dose of nostalgia.

Despite the fact that it ran when he picked it up, I’ve already been sent a list of what’s to come: Immediate valve adjustment, full tear down, good cleaning, and then some paint, new shock, rebuild of the front forks, fresh brake pads/calipers front and rear, Razrs for the rear, bearings all around, 300EX hubs (to widen the rear roughly 4 inches), full Cobra exhaust, grab bar, plastics, and maybe a high compression piston and cam.

Yup, some things never change around here. The next few months will be filled with the familiar sounds of a garage busy with ATV restoration. In keeping with the pattern all I can wonder is what’s next? I better keep watch on my Inbox.


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