Since our latest big-bore 4x4 shootout was published, we received a pile letters asking why we didn’t include Suzuki’s KingQuad 750 in that test. Unfortunately for all the Suzuki fans, only machines with changes for 2012 were in that latest shootout.
It’s not that we don’t like the KingQuad 750—we like all quads. We like the KingQuad 750 so much that we are going to take a look at it this month. Since the KingQuad 750 hasn’t been updated in years, we took it upon ourselves to add several items to make the largest quad in Suzuki’s stable king of the trails. In part one, we mainly focused on items that our readers nitpicked in the KingQuad owners’ reports we received. You can read the latest “Suzuki KingQuad 750 Owners’ Report” elsewhere in this issue.
Our biggest gripe about the KingQuad was its twitchy steering. When Suzuki added electronic power steering, we hoped that the problem would go away—it didn’t. The twitchiness is most noticeable when traveling downhill on a rough trail. To cure this, we wanted to give the Suzuki a little more front-end grip without adding weight or an aggressive tread pattern that might accentuate the problem even more.
Suzuki’s KingQuad 750 actually worked better for us using the mods we installed and while carrying a little extra weight. We like the power output from the DOHC, single-cylinder four-stoke as much as Kawasaki's V-twin 750.
We did this by installing a set of Black Widow tires. The Black Widows are a six-ply tire that feel as light as a four-ply. It has a directional, mud-type, short-lug pattern that feels very neutral in all types of dirt. We liked the tires so much during last month’s tire comparison, we couldn’t wait to try them out on this machine. One of the best things about the tire is that it only costs around $55 for each front tire and about $65 for each rear tire. They were by far the best-priced utility tires we have tested. AMS tires are carried by all Parts Unlimited dealers. You can see a list of dealers across America at www.amstires.com.
It turns out, the Black Widow tires made a huge improvement over the stock Dunlop tires. In the section of our tire-torture test track, which highlighted the twitchy steering the most, the Black Widow tires smoothed the steering input some. They didn’t make the front end of the KingQuad perfect, but they did make it much more manageable. So if you are in need of replacing the stock tires on your KingQuad, the Black Widow tire should be considered.
If you have already replaced the tires on your KingQuad, chances are you went for something a little more aggressive, as most people do. This no doubt made the KingQuad front end even worse. To combat this problem, Precision Racing Products solves this with their steering stabilizer. This $485 product mounts below the power-steering unit, so not only does it control bumpsteer and twitchy handlebars, it saves the EPS unit from excessive abuse. The stabilizer clamps to the steering shaft that is connected through a control arm to the main unit, which is bolted to a cross brace bolted onto the quad’s frame.
We love that the XT versions of the Can-Am Outlanders come with handguards. For the trails we ride, handguards are a welcome addition to any 4x4. This foam (outer) Race Flare guard installed on a standard Powermadd Star-series guard is the best aftermarket system we have found to outfit our fleet of 4x4s. Call them at (651) 462-8465.
To give the Precision product a full abuse test, we installed the tires that gave the most traction, the Sedona Buzz Saw, of all the tires we tested in last month’s tire comparison. The Precision stabilizer did a great job fighting kickback and the Suzuki’s twitchy steering. So we proved no matter how aggressive a tire you install on a Suzuki KingQuad, the Precision stabilizer can help. It worked so well that we no longer fear running aggressive tires or even a wider offset wheel on the Suzuki. The Precision product works great on the non-EPS KingQuad as well. Order one by calling (209) 365-1850 or visit www.precision-rp.com.
OUTFITTING THE KING
We like trail rides, and the longer the better. To ensure we could take the 722cc KingQuad with its 4.6-gallon fuel tank on long runs, we outfitted it with an auxiliary fuel supply by Rotopax. This flat 2-gallon fuel pack was mounted right to the front bumper alongside another 2-gallon pack that carries drinking water. The fluids are placed as low as possible on the machine as not to affect the handling. The two-piece combo set sells for $99.95. You can strap or bungee the cans on the quad’s rack or go the correct route as we did by installing the $75 Rotopax universal mounting plate. This is the same setup we installed on our project Ranger XP adventure machine that was featured in the July 2011 issue.
For the KingQuad, a pair of U-Bolts securely attached the mounting bracket to the stock front rack. Then, two threaded T-handle mounts hold each individual tank to the mounting bracket. Once properly installed, they can be removed and replaced in about two seconds. It’s much more convenient and secure than strapping a standard fuel jug on your quad. Plus, when mounting the tanks on the front rack, you never lose sight of them while you are riding.
Having 2 extra gallons of gas on board extends the mileage of the KingQuad nearly 50 percent. Plus, the water tank saves space elsewhere that we can use for water bottles. If you have a trip that requires even more fuel or other fluids, the Rotopax tanks can be stacked for added range on the trail. Rotopax 1-gallon, 1.75-gallon, 2-gallon and 3-gallon cans come in yellow (diesel) and blue (kerosene) colors. They also have gray or orange cans that fold open to carry items such as first-aid kits or other survival supplies. Contact Rotopax at (801) 299-1885 or visit them online at www.rotopax.com.
More storage opportunities were employed on the rear cargo rack of our project KingQuad 750. Here, we strapped on the new Big Horn rack bag from Moose Utilities. The bag comes in a cool Mossy Oak Break-Up Camo pattern and sells for $157.95 at any Parts Unlimited dealer. A black version sells for $10 less. The bag mounted solid to the rear rack of the Suzuki using seven adjustable nylon straps.
The Precision steering stabilizer works miracles on the original Suzuki KingQuad 750 and the Can-Am Outlanders. On the EPS-equipped Suzuki Kin Quad 750, it helped slow down the twitchy front end some and saved the EPS unit from abuse.
This multi-compartmental bag has separate spots for a ton of gear. Two dividers separate the huge main area, which we reserved for the insulated icebox, a small tent and a sleeping bag. The icebox is not huge, but has plenty of room to carry a few beverages and a couple of meals that you might eat on the trail.
More zippered pockets on the Big Horn bag allow you to store items like extra clothing, a flashlight, GPS, a cell phone, etc. Finally, the main top to the bag has expandable bungee cords perfect for securing larger items like fishing poles, folding chairs and other awkward-shaped items.
In stock form, the Suzuki KingQuad has two small storage pockets to carry loose items. This Big Horn rack bag from Moose Utility Division offers 10 times that amount of storage in a soft package that doesn't interfere with the rider.
We love the bag’s radius in the front center portion, so if you are riding aggressively on the trail, you don’t hit it with your back side, even if you are wearing a backpack. The shape of the bag even lets you mount it on a front rack of some ATVs if needed. Another convenient feature of the Big Horn is that it has built-in luggage handles, making it easy to carry when it’s not attached to the machine. We’ve used the bag on several overnight trips, where we brought our gear from the ATV to the campsite, into a cabin, and even checked the bag in at an airport. Despite all of our traveling, the Moose Utilities Big Horn rack bag is still holding up well to our punishment. The zippers are protected from mud and dust and still slide freely, and the elastic straps and mesh pockets are in great shape. The Big Horn bag is one of the strongest and most convenient rack bags we have used. You can get one at any Parts Unlimited dealer. To see the entire Moose Utilities catalog, log on to www.mooseutilities.com.
PROTECTION AND VISION
The next product we chose to install was the Race Flare handguard option from Powermadd. The closed-cell foam flare is ultra-lightweight and attaches to Star Series or Trial Star guards. We attached them to a set of Star Series guards and mounted them on the stock Suzuki handlebars.
It seems like our trail rides are getting longer every year. It must be that the ATV companies are building more comfortable and easier-to-ride quads. The Suzuki KingQuad 750 is one of those. For this project, we installed items to extend our trips even longer. This build had an extended fuel range, more cargo storage, better lights and rider protection.
The foam flare about doubles the amount of protection you get from a typical Powermadd guard. We especially like to run handguards on utility machines to protect against scraping brush, tree limbs and flying rocks kicked up from our riding buddies’ tires. The Powermadd Race Flare only costs $35 and can be used on any ATV. The Star Series guards also sell for $35. Handlebar-mounting kits start at $30. Contact Powermadd by phone at (651) 462-8465 or on their website at www.powermadd.com.
To finish the first part of our project Suzuki KingQuad 750, we installed a pair of PIAA LP530 LED fog lamps. The two-light kit sells for $279.99. PIAA’s universal powersports mounting bracket sells for another $45. The universal bracket is designed to be clamped to 7/8- or 1 1/8-inch ATV handlebars or 1 1/4-inch street bike handlebars. However, for this project, we placed the pair of lights in the opening at the front of the quad that will someday house a winch. With the supplied adapters, we mounted the two lights evenly and solidly to the frame. The brackets have a swivel mount for aiming and tightening the lights down.
Using PIAA’s fully adjustable light mounts, we were able to install this set of 3-inch PIAA fog lamps. We mounted them low on the front bumper so we could see better in the dust and fog we encountered while night riding. Installation was simple since Suzuki supplies a transfer tube for winch wires that also worked with the PIAA wiring harness.
If we do install a winch later, we can rotate the lamps up about 4 inches to clear the winch. At that time, we will have to trim the front plastic slightly. This installation was very straightforward and simple. Thanks to the routing tube Suzuki supplies for winch cables, we easily routed the PIAA wiring harness back toward the battery, which is situated under the seat. We then routed the wired switch forward and mounted it to the center handlebar pod that houses the instrument cluster.
The placement of these fog lights turned out perfectly. Fog lights are supposed to be low so that they don’t make a huge reflection on the fog, dust or rain that may be in your path. These very “white” lights turned out to be much better than stock for slow-to-medium-speed riding. The lights throw a wide light pattern, which completely illuminates the trail in front of you and to the side much more than expected. The stock ignition system had plenty of power to run the pair of PIAA lights along with the stock high beam. According to PIAA, each 3.5-inch by 3-inch LP530 lamp uses two 3-watt high-intensity LEDs (light-emitting diode), which uses a fraction of the power versus a regular halogen bulb. We were not only very happy with the ability of the LP530 lights to illuminate the trail, we were very satisfied with the price. Contact PIAA at (800) 525-7422 or www.piaa.com.
Carrying extra fuel on an ATV can be a hassle. If you use the Rotopax Fuel Packs, fuel and water attach in seconds and stay secure no matter how rough the trail gets. To order packs and mounting brackets for any ATV or UTV, call them at (801) 299-1885.
When we visit the KingQuad project again, we will be looking into some clutch modifications, underbelly protection and possibly a winch installation. For now, we are going to rack up the miles on our KingQuad in search of further improvements. We are happy with the changes we made and wish Suzuki would also consider some of these modifications on their next production run.
Powermadd: (651) 462-8465, www.powermadd.com
PIAA: (800) 525-7422, www.piaa.com
Rotopax: (801) 299-1885, www.rotopax.com
Precision: (209) 365-1850, www.precision-rp.com