Published on November 28th, 2010 | by Joe0
Celebrating 25 Years of Suzuki ATVs
In 1983, Suzuki was “First on 4 Wheels” with the introduction of the Suzuki LT125. With one single machine, Suzuki converted a three-wheel world to four. From that moment on, Suzuki was committed to finding innovative ways to excite the marketplace, and the manufacturer pioneered a series of “Firsts.” By listening to consumers, and continually reinventing its successes, Suzuki has firmly established itself as an innovation leader in the industry. From the original LT125, to the first youth ATV – the 1984 Suzuki LT50 – to the bold powerhouse of the KingQuad, to the race-ready QuadRacer R450, Suzuki continues to prove that “First on 4 Wheels” can also mean Best of 4 Wheels.
1983 Suzuki LT125:
“Experience a riding sensation you’ve never felt before! The new all-terrain 4×6 from Suzuki. With the addition of the 4th wheel, all-terrain riding enters the 4th dimension.”
This ad copy helped change the world, or at least the ATV world, as Suzuki gave birth to the industry’s first 4-wheeler, the LT125. With an automatic clutch and six speeds – including reverse – this new 4-wheeler weighed just 284 pounds. It was a lightweight of epic proportions. The 1983 Suzuki LT125 had a retail price of $1188. While hard-core three wheeler riders weren’t quite ready to give up their high performance three wheelers, this machine marked a big step in the right direction for the sport.
“The Quadrunner 50: Turning off-roading into child’s play. Thanks to the Quadrunner’s unique 4-wheel design, young riders get a sensation of off-road stability and confidence that just wasn’t possible before, and because the simple 1-speed transmission and automatic clutch need no shifting or clutch coordination”.
As the first in the industry to produce a youth ATV, Suzuki was able to show that off-road recreation was a family affair. The 1984 Suzuki LT50 weighed just 106 pounds and had a retail price of $599.
1985 Suzuki LT250R: Suzuki Injects Performance into ATV Industry
The race-inspired LT250R was the inception for Suzuki “race ready” ATVs. With its water-cooled two-stroke powerplant and adjustable long-travel suspension, racers were lining up to compete aboard Suzuki ATVs. Race legend Gary Denton earned many victories with his LT250R.
“The first high performance 4-wheeler” carried a suggested retail price of $2,299. It also featured an aluminum swingarm, triple hydraulic disc brakes, aluminum wheels, and more performance features. This machine single handedly changed the sport of ATV Racing, proving that you could go faster more safely with the addition of another front wheel.
Known as the little brother of the LT-250R, the Suzuki QuadSport LT230 delivered a thrilling ride for the ATV rider whose riding environments varied from the track to the woods and open desert.
Powered by a four-stroke 230cc single-cylinder engine, the LT230 used a five-speed transmission with manual clutch and reverse. At just 298 pounds, it wasn’t exactly light, still this quad was a sporty blast to ride. Double A-frame front suspension provided 6.3 inches of long wheel travel. The LT-230 QuadSport had a retail price of $1,969.
“Tackle the tough terrain in four-wheel drive, or switch easily to two-wheel drive using the dash mounted lever and discover what it can really do. The front differential can even be locked when in super low range for extra traction on snow, mud and ice”.
Suzuki lived up to this ad copy. The LT-4WD was able to give off-road enthusiast the ability to explore new limits on the trails or around the farm. The LT-4WD was the beginning of the sport-utility ATV at Suzuki. The LT-4WD had a retail price of $3298.00.
1987 Suzuki LT500R: The Off-Road Performance King
“You glance into your competitor’s eyes and see concentration and concern. But you smile with confidence. Because you’re on the Suzuki LT500R. Almost 500cc of muscle ready to lead ahead of the pack.” That’s how the brochure introduced the 1987 Suzuki LT500R. This was the meanest and most aggressive big bore sport ATV of its time. If you were on the track, sand dunes, or woods, the LT500R was always in front of the pack.
The Suzuki LT500R – also known as “Quadzilla” – was powered by a high-performance two-stroke, water cooled, 499.5cc engine with “Suzuki Automatic Exhaust Control.” Suzuki performance features included a full reed-valve intake system, close ratio five-speed transmission, double A-frame front suspension with 9.1 inches wheel travel. Its Full Floater rear suspension was fully adjustable as well. The LT-500R had a retail price of $3,299.00. This machine may still very well be the fastest ATV ever produced and would definitely make a worth while restoration project.
1991 Suzuki KingQuad: The Birth of the KingQuad
“Suzuki has built upon well-engineered versatility and no-nonsense, balanced design of the popular Quadrunner 4WD with all its features and more, making the KingQuad the biggest and most powerful utility Quadrunner yet.” Since the inception of the Suzuki KingQuad, sport and utility have been incorporated into the design and engineering of every KingQuad ATV.
The versatile 1991 KingQuad featured a 280cc single cylinder 4-stroke engine, standard oil cooler and new 24-inch front and 25-inch rear tires. What really set this KingQuad apart from the crowd was its unique transmission that made it the hardest-working ATV available. This Suzuki’s transmission had High, Low and Super Low gear options for all its five speeds plus reverse. The rider could also select two-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive with a locked from differential. Add fully independent suspension front and rear, and this quad could handle any job. The KingQuad had a retail price of retail $4,699.
“In today’s ultra competitive ATV realm, the King must possess even more rider-pleasing features, plus an engine with awesome power, immediate response, and durability that will let it reign for ages. Long live the King – the 2005 Suzuki KingQuad 700.” Introducing the new KingQuad, Suzuki paid homage to the original, while adding even more features, perhaps most important among those was fuel injection.
The 2005 Suzuki KingQuad 700 EFI 4×4 used a 695cc single-cylinder engine that was liquid-cooled and fuel-injected, and it was canted forward at a 48-degree angle to help the quad maintain the optimum weight balance and best air-intake design. This quad took sport-utility performance to a new level, and it retailed for $7,199.
2006 Suzuki LT-R450 EFI: The First Race-Ready MX ATV
Suzuki introduced the 2006 LT-R450 to the world at a motocross race track. It was designed with help from Doug Gust, ATV MX champion. And it brought the “R” back to Suzuki ATV nomenclature. The LT-R450 was built to race. Like so many Suzuki motorcycles, this ATV was “engineered for experience riders” and delivered a list of features that was before available just from the aftermarket. Wide a-arms, a strong steel swingarm and wide axle, small-diameter race-ready MX tires, a removable headlight, and a power-packed fuel-injected motor that was designed to put riders in front of the pack. The LT-R450 retailed for $7,299. Two years later, the LTR450 remains the only near race ready 450 machine on the market for MX riders. Simply adding a set of nerf bars and a kill switch is all that most riders will need to do to get their LTR ready for the race track. We salute Suzuki for having the guts to build such an ATV!
Check out the future of ATVing at www.suzukicycles.com