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2000 Suzuki QuadMasterTM 500 – Long-term study

2000 Suzuki QuadMaster 500 First Impressions

A shiny new red quad, who wouldn’t want one in their garage? Better yet, who doesn’t want to take one out on the trails? Besides, it’s got selectable two and four wheel drive and a selectable hi/lo range, and it has an automatic transmission. Moreover, it’s got 2 large racks front and rear. Straight from the showroom floor, this quad is yelling “UTILITY!”

When we took delivery of our new QuadMaster we immediately took notice of a few items that stood out. For example, with a 48-inch wheelbase and a 56-inch girth, the quad all but dwarfs most of its competitors. The heavy duty, multi-link suspension with coil-over shocks are just waiting for abusive trails, and the automatic transmission that’s easy to shift lets you do the work you need to without worry.


Surprisingly, the large quad gives the rider a stable and comfortable ride in nearly every condition. Steep hill climbs are limited only to traction of the tires, but that would be easily remedied with some more aggressive off road tires. Off camber hill riding is a piece of cake with the quads lo-slung center of gravity. Due to a limited-slip front differential, turning while under power, in 4-wheel drive, is a bit of a chore compared to its 2-wheel drive brethren, but not impossible and easily manageable at speed. However, it’s a good trade off for the added traction. High speed runs on twisty trails are a piece of cake and a quick push of the throttle, a slight shift in body weight, and you can get the rear end to slide out nicely to negotiate the turns. Overall, the handling is fantastic in nearly every situation. It gives the rider a stable ride; good power and even a bit of comfort.


The Quadmaster™ comes with a 4-stroke, liquid cooled, 493 cc motor. With a compression ratio of 8.5:1, the power plant produces lots of torque but lacks in the horsepower range. The torquey motor can tow some 900 pounds on even ground and 400 pounds on uneven ground and has more torque than any other machine in its class.

The QuadMatic™ automatic transmission provides power to the transfer case via a variable speed belt-drive system, similar to most snowmobiles. The system consists of a centrifugal clutch and drive pulley mounted on the crankshaft, which transmits power through a belt to a drive pulley. Additionally, a sprag-type clutch is mounted within the centrifugal clutch hub, which operates as an engine brake. In essence, if you’re going downhill, the engine/transmission will assist with braking to keep the rig from freewheeling down. The unit works quite well even on steep grades.

Overall, the torquey motor does well in most situations and is nearly unstoppable in low range, 4-wheel drive.

 Suspension / Chassis

The suspension is comprised of a front independent suspension and the rear is comprised of a solid axle construction. Each of which have multi-link, adjustable, coil over shock absorbers that dampen all but the largest obstacles. While the ride quality is good, it is a bit stiff with the solid rear axle by comparison to the independent suspension of other quads, but is definitely more durable. The coil-over shock suspension system is adjustable to compensate for heavy loads or heavier riders. The entire underbody of the quad is covered with heavy-duty aluminum skid plates protecting the vital underbelly from unsuspecting rocks or debris. Full-sized floorboards protect the rider’s feet by keeping rocks, mud, branches, and other debris out of the way.

Overall Characteristics

All of the quad’s controls are located within easy reach of the driver and can be operated with gloved hands during operation. Although it comes with an electric starter, a back up recoil type starter, which is a breeze to operate. The braking system is comprised of front disc and rear drums. Grab a handful of front and rear brakes and hold on! You’ll come to a stop very quickly as the brakes work wonderfully well. The Dunlop all-terrain tires are fair at best and medium sized thorns will put a hole in the sidewall and tire carcass too easily.

If you are looking for a utilitarian, functional and fun 4-wheel drive quad that’ll “get the job done and ask no questions”, then the Suzuki QuadMaster™ 500 is the quad for you.

NOTE: All ratings on a scale of 1 to 4 with flat tires equal to a half.

Description Notes Rating
Off-Road Performance The QuadMasterTM 500 performed admirably off road in a variety of tests from hill climbs, to sand dunes, to twisty trails and even a bit of light mud.
Drivability The posi-traction in the front differential makes steering a bit harder compared to a 2-wheel drive quad, but it’s a good trade-off for the off-road performance. The quad lacks a bit in the horsepower range but is strong in the torque range.
Comfort The ride quality is a bit stiff, but good compared to other 4-wheel drive quads. The seat provides a large, comfortable platform and all controls are easily within reach of the driver.
Appearance The QuadMasterTM 500 comes in black and red. The quad has a squatty, tough stance to it and is fully protected by skid plating, bumpers, running boards, and racks. We really like the look of the new QuadMasterTM
Price in comparison to related vehicles The QuadMaster™ 500 priced at $6599 as tested and rang in some $400 lower than it’s competitor, the Polaris Sportsman.
Editors Notes If you are in the market for a large, 4-wheel drive quad, that can do the job and not complain, then the Suzuki QuadMaster™ 500 is the quad for you… RW

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