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My brother is currently in the market to get his first quad. We primarily ride in the woods with open and tight trails (easy to difficult). I currently own a 2007 Suzuki LTR450 and love it! He has been riding my wife's quad a 2001 Yamaha Warrior and loves the cush ride but wants more power. He said mine is too rigid and a little too much power for him. He is small and lean and was thinking about going for a Banshee. I recommended he check out the Honda 400ex and the Suzuki LTZ400. Out of the those three, what is the best years, best suspension ride (less rigid) and overall better buy? I have a guy that wants to sell me his 2003 Suzuki LTZ400 with low hours at a reasonable price. I figured I would ask an "unbiased" opinion from those that own these quads. Thank you very much for the help.
First of all, forget the Shee. It has a pipey powerband that is not well suited for trail riding. Plus, the frame geometry is three generations old, and was never very good to begin with.
The great trail quads are the 400EX, Z400, and maybe throw in the Raptor 700. I like the EX for very tight technical stuff because it will lug down and doesn't mind being ridden slow. I like the Z for faster more open trails, and more open country. I have never liked the ergonomics of the Raptor, so it isn't even on my personal list.
Avoid the 03 Z. It has some shock mount problems and some weak axles. The EX got reverse in 05. As for suspension, most suspensions are better than their riders!!! Most folks suspension problems are from the fact that they don't know how to adjust them properly.....
I have an 00 EX, and it runs as good as the day I bought it 10 years ago. I had an 03 Z for a few years, but it would alway come off jumps nose low, no matter what I did (the EX flies like a bird!). So, I got rid of it.
Z is a trail quad! Back in the day, they were highly moded and MX'd by Suzuki factory riders, but those days are long gone....
Yup...in fact they made the 2009 z400 even more trail friendly by bumping up the low end and tweaking a few things here and there. I have not ridden one yet but I've heard people say it is just as good in the sow stuff now as the 400ex......... Still I would think just by nature the 400ex would still lug much better.....after all nothing lugs like a push-rod engine. Now matter what you do to a OHC, especially a DOHC you are never going to have that low end hit of a push-rod engine.....
Plus the 09 Z400 has an EFI system now, so it is like a "trail" version of the LTR-450. If you bought an 09 Z400, put the Yoshi big bore kit on (so 450ccs), the Yoshi RS5, some aftermarket tires, some skid plates, and maybe a few other things, you would have an AWESOME trail machine (maybe the big bore kit wouldn't be good for strict trail riding).
I find the EFI to be a huge help. In the winter, I can fire up my bike on the first (sometimes second if it's in extreme cold weather) try. I also ride trails where the altitude changes REALLY rapidly, you can feel your ears constantly popping and stuff.