By: Mike Lester
Suzuki borrowed from the track-proven success of the QuadRacer R450 to modernize its popular Z400 QuadSport for 2009. By comparison, you’d probably mistake one for the other if you walked past them in a showroom.
Apart from making the Z look like a dead-ringer for the 450, the front fenders have been moved slightly forward to provide more leg room for the rider to get lower in the corners without bruising a knee. The new 400 delivers pro-rider feel by the bucket load .
It’s has been widened by one inch to provide more stability in corners and the stance adds considerably to its R450-esque appearance. Keep in mind, though, the Z is still 4 inches narrower than the QuadRacer. Caster has also changed for more high-speed stability and camber reduced for quicker turn-in.
The most notable improvement is the addition of EFI. The fuel injection is great at dishing out even bursts of power at any given altitude delivering more linear power across the powerband. Tightly metered fuel is also a bonus as prices continue to climb at the pumps not that it affects powersports enthusiasts (cough).
Handlebar position has been moved forward and lowered providing a more balanced feel for the rider, keeping mass toward the middle of the chassis – especially effective when standing on the pegs. Plus, the footrests have been widened to the same width as the R450’s so it’s easier to find them when your feet come off just before landing that big double.
The Z400 delivers wannabee appeal in abundance. For the average rider who wants a solid mix of trail riding and some local track time without shelling out the big bucks for an out-of-the-box 450, this might be the answer you’ve been looking for.