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By: Tim Donaldson

ATVSource.comís First Look at the Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi

Continued from page 1

Personal Thoughts

Overall, I am extremely impressed by the performance of the Suzuki KingQuad 450AXi.  As more of a recreational enthusiast than a work-oriented user, my assessments and evaluations are slanted towards the fun-factors of the ATV. First of all, IRS is great for long distance trail riding. Rider fatigue is greatly minimized. Hurdling rocks, logs, and other typical trail obstacles are made almost effortlessly by the suspension system. One of my prejudices towards Independent Rear Suspensions (IRS), prior to riding the KingQuad, has been that it was not able to provide a stable feel in aggressive cornering or on off-camber slopes. Not so with the KingQuad. It has really changed my perception of IRS. With this quad, I was able to aggressively push through corners and ride the off-camber gradients with confidence.

Steering the KingQuad was also a light duty. As with the suspension, the light steering greatly reduced rider fatigue. Very little feedback was transmitted through the handlebars to the rider. Not knowing differently, several riders on our test model questioned whether it was fitted with power steering. In fact, my first thought about performance upon riding the KingQuad was its ease of steering. This only became problematic when riding aggressively and the steering kicked hard to the left or right. If youíre not prepared, you may have to check your drawers after the first occurrence.  Also, riders fitting aftermarket tires with high sidewall traction may find the tugging to the left or right a bit excessive which requires more rider input.

Also, with the 454cc, the KingQuad delivers quite a punch. No where did it feel short on power. The wheels trudged through the mud effortlessly. With the fuel-injected delivery system, the throttle provided precise, continuous power to the wheels. When inching over the tough terrain, the throttle was always available when a little more was needed. If there was any special circumstance from the terrain, the 4WD was just a push button click away. However, I was not as big of a fan in engaging the differential lock switch. Although it was fairly easy to use, it wasnít as seamless in its operation as other diff lock controls on the market. Also, once engaged, the engine limiter kicked in.  Only in pressing and holding the override button would the full range of the engine be available while using the front differential lock. I do, however, respect the safety considerations for such a feature.

Since mentioning the engine limiter, its functionality must be addressed while used in reverse. As with other brands, the KingQuad requires the use of an override button to fully engage the engine speed. However, even with the button pushed, override mode can only be used for 60 seconds at a time. At the conclusion of 60 seconds of operation, the engine speed will automatically be reduced to the reverse limited engine speed for 5 seconds. Before the full engine speed is available again, the rider must disengage the override button for 5 seconds before another 60 seconds becomes available and the cycle repeats, accordingly. I hope you got that, because I guess that Iím at a little loss for words, right now. So, if you havenít arrived where you need to be after 60 seconds of full-speed reverse, then turn around and go the other direction! I suppose that I understand the need for manufacturers to engineer rider ignorance out of everything, but enough is enough, already.

Moving on, the fender-mounted gate shifter was fantastic in its operation. It smoothly shifted from one gear to the next. In order to prevent any transmission grind, it was important for the engine RPMís to be rather low. This was fairly difficult at start-up, where the engine RPMís were typically running higher at idle. Cold start-ups were rapid and effortless with the fuel injection, especially since the system functioned with a choke.

Once on the trail, the KingQuad felt maneuverable and nimble. The entire quad had a very light feel. A few times, we were able to easily catch some air, as the suspension easily absorbed the landings. Roosting dirt and mud was a blast, after we darted in and around trees of the trail. Sitting on the quad gave the unique feeling that would be had if sitting on the inside. Simply shifting the rider weight around would result in a sport bike feel. Although not pressed as a work machine, those wishing to use it around the farm will not be disappointed by the ample rack space, low range for towing, and diff lock capabilities of the 4WD system.

With all of the features available on the Suzukiís 450, the name King is a very suitable prefix for this Quad. Being first, also gives this manufacturer special rights to the throne.  For more information about Suzuki KingQuad 450 and Suzukiís other lineup of quads, please visit their website at www.suzukicycles.com/Products/QuadRunnerATVs/Default.aspx

Also, be on the lookout for ATVSource.comís upcoming review of the 450ís big brother, the KingQuad 750 AXi.

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