Mr. Dune's Suzuki LT500R Hot Setups

Nov. 01, 2005 By Mr Dune
















Coming Soon!



  • Your in luck! This is one area of your LT500 you don't need to spend big $$$ on. The stock shocks are excellent Showa units. So unless your stuff is busted, don't mess with it. Proper set up is important, however. I'll have an item on that soon in

    You big boys (250lbs+) out there may need to upgrade your springs to a higher rate, you can also pick up some more compression dampening (if you have it set at or near the last click already) by having your shocks revalved at your next scheduled oil change for about $50 more.Of course, those of you who crave THE BIG AIR, if you keep casing your bike after having  turned your preload and compression dampening all the way up, will need these mods too. And for you racers, you probably know better what is suited for your discipline. If not, check out what the competition is using.

    There are hundreds of choices when it comes to new shoes for your LT . On my own bike my choice for running the dunes are
    front and rear. Razorbacks are the only skins to use up front. While Dune Trackers are a reasonable value, and their low price may seem attractive, their carcass is too stiff and the compound to hard. And if you really can't afford the $60-$70 extra for the razorbacks, wait until you can, their worth the difference. Also make sure you get 7 INCH wheels. All of the price point ads offering "kits" are with 5" or maybe 6" wheels, as they are $5-$10 cheaper, each. When you order, make sure to ask what size wheel your getting, and compare price including the upgrade.

    The correct DOUGLAS WHEEL size for your Razors is (10x7   3bell+4   4on155mm). 10x7 being the wheel size, 3bell+4 is the back spacing (3" in / 4"out), and 4on155mm is the bolt pattern.

    On the back I run Paddle Brats on 10x10's, I custom groove my tires myself. Brats have 18 paddles (9 thick, 9 thin alternating around the tire) and are designed to to have one set of the paddles removed, leaving the appropriate set for the desired amount of tire slip. The way I set mine up is to groove off the inside 1/3 of every thick paddle and the outside 1/3 of every thin paddle. This leaves an average of 12 remaining. I also groove the carcass down to a few thousandths of the cord body ( the cords will be exposed in some areas). This raises the effective height of the paddles and shaves about 3 lbs off each tire, also making them much more compliant. With this set up you will be able to traverse even the steepest wall,  stuck to it like a spider, watching your buddies sliding off and a having to get another run! A couple notes about this setup:

    • These things really hookup!!! I weigh 220lbs so turning is not a problem! If your of slighter build or ability I recommend SKAT TRAK'S 10 paddle haulers in a 10x20 or 10x22(Mrs Dune runs 10x22 10 paddle haulers on her 500).Or if you like to play wiggle worm, slipping and sliding all over the place like a goober, go with SAND TIRE UNLIMITED'S Sand Skate II's(these are what we run on our rentals). With their V-shaped paddles they are just the ticket for you buttheads who can't keep themselves from doing endless cookies in the middle of camp. They also benefit from having the carcass shaved.You can also make the modified Brats turn easier by running the thin paddles on the outside 2/3rds and the thick ones on the inside.

    • Tire grooving is tricky! If you've never done it before, practice on a friends first! Remember, if you slip and ruin a $100 tire I warned you. If you want to get a set already done and mounted contact DARYL SMITH'S SAND TIRES Daryl is a great guy and will be glad to ship you a set on wheels for about $225 ($30 extra per tire for grooving)

    • They also are a good bit taller than both the stock tires or the Skat Traks/Sand Skates that most of you are running, so you 'll probably need to go up a couple of teeth on your rear sprocket, or down a tooth on your countershaft (remember, one tooth up front = 3 teeth on the back).

    Again the choices are limitless, on our rentals we keep the stockers until they fry, then they get replaced with
    or HOLESHOTS. They both have excellent handling and wear characteristics,  as well as reasonable run flat capability. All My LT500's have Fast trekkers up front and REALTORS out back. The Realtors while weighing a ton, cannot be punctured by a mere mortal. And if you do put a hole in one you probably won't figure it out until you stop. The sidewalls on these tires are brutal, they can run flat indefinetly. The tread design is directional, run it with the paddled knobs open for excellent traction in loose sand or gravel, and the knobs closed for hard dirt roads. This is the perfect tire for an area like San Felipe BC. With its varied terrain, ranging from beaches with rolling dunes and sandy washes to rocky roads and trails, the Realtor can't be beat. There are a couple of compromises with this tire, it's tall and heavy, so it does rob some power and you may want to regear to run it(if your set up to run the Paddle Brats above you'll find the gearing spot on). You will loose some top speed on the hardpack. But this is more than made up for by better traction in the loose stuff.
      When I know I won't hit any loose stuff I slap a set of Hole Shots out back, drop my rear sprocket from a 42 to a 40 or 38, and pick up 10-15 mph on the top.

    Installing a speedo is a pretty easy task. A durable trip computer can be purchased from any bicycle shop for about thirty dollars. I recommend using a Vetta C-16, it has a speedo, avg speed, max speed, odometer, trip odometer, elapsed time, stopwatch, clock, auto on and off, plus more! And it comes in Suzuki blue! If you want to cut your headaches installing it, I offer a complete pre-wired kit  with everything you'll need for $60 plus S&H.

    • The first step is to lengthen the wire to the sending pickup. Cut the wire about 8" from the computer (you want to leave enough in case you have to repair the splice), I recommend using insulated bullet connectors at the upper splice to aid in disassembly / maintenance later.

    • Mount the computer head to a protected spot on your bars(the head can easily be knocked off its clip mount ,so pick a location where your knee won't hit it while doing a "flying W".

    • Remove your front plastic, your left front wheel and the upper bolt from the brake caliper.

    • Using JB Weld or equivalent, glue the sending magnet to the back of one of your wheel studs, you don't need a lot of epoxy, but make sure the magnets sides are covered. if you slob epoxy on the face of the magnet don't worry about it now, just carefully wipe off the excess. After the epoxy is fully cured  you'll need to take a file to its flat surface to make sure it makes a good signal as it passes the pickup.

    • Trim any mounting straps or brackets off the pickup with a razor knife being careful not to
      damage the fine wire or the pickup itself. When your done it should look a little like a blasting cap.Cut the sending wire again about 6" to 8" from the pickup, discarding the remaining piece of wire.

    • You'll need a piece of  7/16" or 1/2" flat iron about 4" long to fabricate a mount for the pickup. Drill a 5/16" hole very close to one end (this will be bolted to the caliper). You will have  to experiment with angles a bit here. The bracket needs to go up over the rotor, and down behind the hub, ending a few mm below the lowest point on the magnet. Make sure you have clearance between the wheel and the new bracket also.

    • Once you get the bracket bends close,  bolt it to the caliper and test fit the pickup using one of the small rubber strips included with the kit as a cushion . Follow the manufacturers instructions for position and clearance as this is very important for proper performance. The bracket should be easy to bend allowing you to fine tune its position. When you get it where you want, temporarily secure the pickup with a couple of small zip-ties.

    • You'll need to use something as a conduit for the wire or it won't last one ride. It is the weakest link. I recommend using a piece of the trick blue poly fuel line available at most better cycle suppliers(make sure you get the big stuff). This conduit needs to reach from the pickup along the upper A arm, following the brake line, terminating just behind the upper area of the radiator. So you'll need about three feet of the stuff.

    • Use a piece of  fine gauge speaker wire(22ga.or 24ga.) thread it through the tubing
      (tip: use a piece of bailing wire as a fish along with some WD40, the wire insulation will try to stick to the tubing) until a few inches come out the end. Strip the ends and splice to the pickup wires. Don't forget to keep track of which wire is which. / You must solder and heat shrink this splice or it will not hold. If you use electrical tape  instead of heat shrink tubing, you won't be able to slide the tubing back down over the splice. Slide the tubing to within a few mm of the pickup and wrap the gap electrical tape, don't go crazy too much will stress the fine wire.

    • Remove the bracket from the caliper for painting, or if your like me CHROME IT! Let the paint and epoxy dry overnight.

    • Clean up any extra epoxy off the magnet with a flat file.

    • Reinstall the bracket, zip-tie the pickup into place using the rubber cushion, route the conduit carefully along your brake line paying attention to steering and suspension pivot points, securing it with zip ties. Make sure when you turn the steering knuckle it doesn't pinch.

    • Connect the upper end of the wire using insulated bullets or a Moulex type pin plug. You need to heat shrink the full length of the upper fine wire to protect it before making the final connections. Make sure you have enough wire to allow full travel of the steering head. I use that split black plastic conduit to shield the wire between the computer and the connectors. Its easy to work around and it looks sanitary.

    • Last step!! Program the computer to your wheel size per the manufacturers instructions. VERY IMPORTANT! To measure your proper wheel size, check your front and rear tire pressure, sit on the bike and have a friend measure the distance form the axle center to the ground. Use this value "X" as the radius or to calculate diameter =2X. You must use this nominal diameter to account for tire squish or your speedo won't be calibrated properly. So give it spin! If it doesn't work, its probably  in the wire. It's a good idea to check for proper operation before using up all your zip ties!


    If you like to ride at night, then your'e aware of the shortcomings of the Suzuki stock lighting system. The LT500 uses the same stator assembly as the LT250 which operates at a substantially higher RPM range. While the stock setup is adequate for the 250, you'll experience severe "yellowing" of the light on your 500, due to it's lower RPM range.
      First you'll want to have your stator rewound. Contact RICKY STATOR ATV LIGHTING SYSTEMS in Santee, CA @ (619) 449-3905 and speak to Mike or Ricky. They charge $75 for a rewind. Your lighting coil output will go from about 100w @ full throttle to as much as 200w. Keep in mind however this DOES NOT mean you can run 200w worth of  bulbs!
    Your usable output is going to jump from about 60-70w to about 125w allowing those of you on a budget to upgrade your stock bulb from a 55/60w H4  to a 55/100w or perhaps even a 90/135w dramatically improving the performance of your stock light.

    • A bigger bulb does not always mean better performance, if your engine Rpm range isn't high enough to drive it, that 135w bulb may be useless at cruising speed, and will go completely dim at idle.

    • If your like me and have extra marker lamps/whip lights, etc. on your bike, you'll need to allow for them in your calculations. Most auto bulbs draw about 5w, and bulbs like those little colored indicator lights from Radio Shack that I have in the ends of my handlebars are negligible at about 1-2w. A good idea is to run a separate switch to any extra lights so you can disable them while your out in the dunes, then flip them back on when you get to Comp Hill and want to be noticed!


    With that battery back up you'll be able to run 55w H3's in your Hellas and 55w bulbs in your big lights... 220w will light up the sky! Remember this will crush your battery quickly at low RPM so use this technology sparingly. But the advantages are limitless. During the day I ride w/o the big lights to save weight, reduce risk of crash damage and improve radiator airflow. I still have the Hella's mounted to the bars in case I get caught out after dark. But, come nightfall I pull out the PIAA's and get ready to rock. With 230w available and no yellowing you'll be smokin' your buds on those hairball night rides! They will not be able to keep up!

    The only Mr Dune approved cooler set up is the "six pack rack" from the expert aluminum fabricators @ PRM PRODUCTS in Oregon. Their ad in DW etc. shows one for the LT250 @ the bargain price of $49.95 but expect to pay $150 for the piece of aluminum artwork for the LT500. This rack has two grab handles (as do all their racks) on either side of the cooler. You don't have to remove your cooler when you load or unstick your heavy beast. Plus the LT500 model replaces your entire heavy steel rear subframe! This thing is magnificent! Welding is spotless. Fit is perfect, a "Little Playmate" from Igloo fits like a glove and it bolts to your bike w/o any cussing (you may need to place a thick washer or two under the fenders on the outriggers between the frame and the tubular fender stays, so have some handy).And overall this is an aircraft quality component!

    PERFECT COOLER If you don't use them already you gotta get some of those blue foam cooler inserts. Use two in your cooler and place a folded bath towel on top so it holds your icy beverages nice and snug when you close the lid (it helps insulate too). Or score the freezer bottle from a Little Playmate Deluxe and pop it the deep freeze before your ride. You get a double bonus with nice cold water too!(place a hand towel between the tops of the cans and the bottle to prevent chaffing). Resist the urge to put ice in your cooler, it just makes a sloppy mess and a wonderful grinding compound to wear holes in the bottom of your cooler.
      I make my own straps from 1" tubular nylon climbing webbing I get from REI. It comes in a rainbow of colors to compliment your color scheme and has a 2000lb test (I also make my own tow straps from this too). Use two 1" "ladderlock" buckles (REI carries these also). Slide some strap through the top hole in the buckle double fold about 1" of the strap behind it so the strap still leads in the same direction (see fig.1) and have Mama stitch it on the sewing machine. Do that military X in a box pattern. Voila! the webbing is about $.25 a foot and the buckles are $.75 per so for about two bucks you have a cooler strap that will never break unless you crank down on the buckle so hard it snaps, snug is fine! If you don't have an REI in your area, any specialty rock/ice climbing outfitter will carry this stuff.

     Use the same 1" climbing webbing I describe above procured from REI or a climbing supply. 15ft seems to work pretty well. Sew a loop on each end big enough to put your hand through (use the same military X in a box pattern). Also purchase from REI a carabiner with a brake bar. The sales person will be glad to assist you and show you how to rig one if you are unfamiliar with climbing gear. When you use the strap just loop one end through itself around the frame of one bike and use the brake bar on the other end. No more brutal knots to screw with when you get back to camp. Plus you can use this strap like the big yellow tug'em strap in your pickup to free a stuck quad. They have that nice stretch to soften the ride!
      Safety Note: Never, never, never tie the strap to a 2wheeler when it is being towed! The proper method is to wrap the strap once around the right handlebar  from over the top with the free end terminating at the grip. The towed rider then squeezes the strap between his hand and the grip. This way if he looses his balance while being towed he can let go of the strap and reduce the risk of injury to both riders from a fallen bike.

    Again PRM is the hot setup. Their  aluminum "Baja front bumper" is tough, good looking, has a built in skid, and makes a perfect grab bar for loading and gooey extractions! At $69.95 its not cheap but the quality is flawless as is the fit. Don't tie a tow strap to the outer rails, you may give it a nasty tweak.

    These trick little goodies from CASCADE INNOVATIONS are the hot ticket for the Quad that has everything! They come in a bunch of styles and shapes to suit your mood. But true dunatics will want to go with the James Bond/Ben Hur  6 or 3 pointed stars. At $80 a set they are far from cheap, so make your buddies buy you a set for Christmas like I did. Newsletter
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