A solid alternative for the average rider
Taking its roots from the Suzuki Z400, but with a whole new engine from Hyosung, the TE450 Rapier is a well-balanced, high-performance quad that can run along with its racing competitors on technical trails.
Though it doesn’t come from any of the Big 7 manufacturers (Honda, Yamaha, Polaris, Suzuki, Kawasaki, Can-Am, Arctic-Cat), there is a lot to like about Hyosung’s new engine. It’s a liquid-cooled, twin overhead camshaft, 4-stroke motor with four valves. According to the factory, it produces 52.4 hp in stock format and it pulls hard from low rpm. This is a strong-running, very rugged engine that can run alongside many of the Japanese quads. It also has tremendous potential to produce more power when modified.
Fuel is fed via a Mikuni 42mm carburetor from the 2.9-gallon tank. The gear box is a conventional five-speed unit with reverse that is engaged the same way as on the Suzuki Z400. The transmission is slick, precise and shifting gears on the Hyosung feels light and sure. Fast, full-power shifts down the straight are done effortlessly even without using the soft mechanical clutch.
The Hyosung certainly impresses with its strong, solid power that is alive from idle until the rev limiter cuts in. It carburets flawlessly with no flat spots or hiccups. This engine is at home either on the flats or in the difficult trails because it is so controllable and hooks up really well.
The TE450 has great power for trails and won’t lose too much ground to the race-spec Japanese 450 quads with the throttle pinned. Although the other 450s are much faster, only more skilled or aggressive riders can cope with their harder-hitting power band and make use of their extra power. The average rider, in most conditions, will find the TE450 a little easier to deal with.
It wasn’t all that long ago that the Suzuki Z400 was at the front of the line as far as race quads go and the TE450 shares much in common with its Japanese brother, including a very nice suspension package. The front and rear piggyback reservoir shocks are fully adjustable. The TE450 is set up for fast trail riding and feels plusher than race spec 450s, which often have settings suited mostly for MX tracks. It behaves very well around the corners for a short-width quad (49.2-inch wheelbase).
You can tell that Hyosung engineers did their homework when putting the new 449cc engine on the frame. The front end holds its line well and doesn’t tend to slide. Crisp, high revving power and steady steering let the TE450 drift around turns with true sports style and part of the credit has to go to the excellent Kenda tires.
The more you ride the TE450, the more you notice its impressive handling. It’s reasonably comfortable even at mellow cruising speeds, providing good control and bottoming resistance at higher speeds.
The TE450 performs perfectly in its element – aggressive trail riding – with a 150-175-pound pilot aboard. However, trying to go faster on a MX track or putting a heavier rider in the saddle and the suspension will bottom out frequently. There are plenty of aftermarket suspension specialists out there that can take care of the TE450 shocks and set them up to specific riders’ needs, but the average rider still will have fun on a trail course without getting tired with the stock setup.
The TE450 is equipped with good brakes that impress you with the light lever action. Plenty of feel and power enables you to brake safely, even under panic situations. If you disconnect the lines from the rear distributor you will be able to increase the feel and separate the braking action at the two ends.
With all four wheels off the ground the TE450 doesn’t disappoint. It’s fairly easy to control its predictable power makes it easy for the average rider to launch the it off any available jump. Its neutral weight distribution keeps everything together and consistent during flight. The suspension setting is the main limit on how hard you want to ride the Rapier. The average rider, however, likely wouldn’t trade away the TE450’s trail comfort and handling ability for more bottoming resistance for jumps.
Hyosung does provide the new TE450 Rapier with an assortment of accessories at a reasonable price in order to enhance its protection and sport aesthetics. Nerf bars, skid plates for the double A-arms and swing arm and custom MX bumpers are all available. To enhance the TE450’s cornering abilities, a set of wheel spacers is a good idea. Also, a wider and slightly lower set of handlebars will provide with better leverage and more comfortable ergonomics.
Considering the tempting price and its performance for the average rider, the new Hyosung TE 450 Rapier is worth taking a look at. If you’re looking to win a pro GNCC or motocross race, it’s probably not the quad for you. However, if you just want to have fun in the trails and not spend a ton of cash it might make more sense than a 450cc race quad from the one of the major manufacturers that will cost between $2,000 and $2,400 more.
|2008 Hyosung TE450 Rapier Specs|
|Engine||Liquid cooled, DOHC, 4-valve, 4-stroke|
|Bore & Stroke||96 x 62 mm|
|Transmission||Manual shift, 5 speed with reverse|
|Drive Train||Two wheel drive|
|Length||71.25 in (1,810mm)|
|Width||45.7 in (1,610 mm)|
|Wheelbase||49.2 in (1,250 mm)|
|Seat Height||34.8 in (850 mm)|
|Dry Weight||379 lb (171.9 kg)|
|Fuel Capacity||2.9 gal (11 L)|
|Frame||Round mild steel chassis|
|Front Suspension||Double A-arms with fully adjustable shocks|
|Rear Suspension||Swingarm with linkage operated fully adjustable shock|
|Front Brake||Hydraulic discs with single pot cliper/right hand lever|
|Rear Brake||Hydraulic disc with single pot caliper including parking brake|
|Front Lights||Body mounted 30W headlights|
|Indicators||Neutral, high beam, reverse, overheating, low fuel and indicators|