Project Wide-Open YFZ Update

2005 in the books; how did the products hold up?

Mar. 01, 2006 By Justin Waters


It’s been quite a while since we gave you an update on Project WideOpen YFZ, so here it comes. Since our last update, Project WideOpen has completed the 2005 WORCS series and a couple other smaller series, covering more miles than we can count. We’ve put product after product to the test on some very rough courses. Some of them failed, but most were successful.

It’s now the 2006 racing season, and we have already completed the first two rounds of the WORCS National ATV series. After being so close last year, we have changed a few products to try and conquer both the Open A and Pro-Am class championships. I’ll try and give you a short update on many of the products currently equipped on the Wide-Open YFZ.

For 2006, WORCS is now requiring a 101 db limit on all ATVs. For many riders at the first few events it was back to the pits for them to try and re-pack the silencer. But not for us! We are now running a DMC Afterburner exhaust. Many of you might be able to remember the old Alien exhausts they made that had the two exhaust outlets in the silencer. Since then they have worked very hard to complete two exhausts that now meet the 101 db limit. You can either choose the Competition Exhaust with the Silencer Tip in, or the Quiet Exhaust with the Tip out. I have yet to try the Quiet exhaust, but the Competition does meet the 101 db, but you have to re-pack about every 2 or 3 races. Watch for a review of the Quiet exhaust in coming months.

One product that I have stuck with for a very long time is Kenda Tires. I’ll admit that when I started racing, I really didn’t notice a difference between one tire’s tread and another while I was riding. Now, I bring about four sets of tires with me to every race, different sizes and tread patterns. Kenda has a tire for everything, and they are coming out with even more. With the help of Joe and Heather Byrd as well as many other Kenda Riders they have produced a new “Sticky” tire. Watch for a review of the new compound.


To go along with our awesome tires we have been testing with Tireballs. Tireballs has recently re-did the design of the  balls, and made them much lighter. Along with this, they are now offering WORCS contingency.

On the wheel side we have used Douglas Ultimates and they hold up incredibly well. And you don't have to worry about them breaking like others we have seen.

We have tested a couple aftermarket aluminum airboxes, but after various problems, we have gone back to the stock airbox. We have to replace it every few races, as it’s common for the mounting tabs to break due to the amount of flex in the YFZ sub-frame, but the OEM boxes are relatively cheap and easy to replace. We keep a spare on hand.

Since very near the beginning of Project Wide Open, we have used Epic Suspension A-arms. We had some mechanic problems at first, but we quickly solved those issues and we are confident in the product. For 2006, the design of the upper A-arm has now changed, using a different style ball joint.

Our Elka shocks teamed with Epic have helped me get through the rough sections of race courses much faster than lots of my competition. A big part of my podium finishes has a lot to do with that.

With Precision Concepts Racing setting up my shocks, it makes it all that much better.


Of course, I’ve got to contribute a lot of the success of this project to Yamaha Motosports and GYT-R. Without the platform for all of these great products, I would be no where. I have test ridden the 2006 Honda 450 and just don’t feel comfortable on it. The updates to the ‘06 YFZ450 have just made a great bike even better. It doesn’t make much sense for me to sell the ‘04 or the ‘05 YFZ because the main updates can be changed on my old quads. Watch for articles on changing to the ‘06 rear suspension and rear brake.

All in all, Project Wide Open YFZ has gone very well. As with any Project Bike, it’s had its ups and downs but we have spent the time to research options and products, and gotten the problems ironed out. I would recommend any of these products to any racer or recreational rider. Newsletter
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