KingQuad 500 AXi From Suzuki (2019) | Mark Kayser
KingQuad 500 AXi From Suzuki (2019)
by Mark Kayser
Wes White Podcast Version
Your horse used to be your hunting partner in any Western backdrop and still is when the country is too rugged for a wheeled approach. This icon of the West is slowly being put to pasture, but another horse has taken its place with an explosive transition. ATVs and UTVs show up at campgrounds, trailheads and make dusty trails wherever they wander in the West. These modern steeds do have some benefits over the four-legged ATVs of the past. You can move them easily via a trailer or in your truck. They don’t require 24/7 babysitting. You don’t have to return to them throughout the day for feeding chores. They traverse country faster. Finally, you don’t have to scoop manure.
A good example of the modern pack horse is the 2019 Suzuki KingQuad 500 AXi. This sporty model is big enough to haul elk quarters from a backcountry trailhead, yet small enough to zip through the tightest quarters in whitetail timber. You can easily load it into the back of your truck to move it quickly to another location and yes, you never have to scoop manure.
Would you expect anything less from Suzuki, the original inventor of the 4-wheel ATV? The 2019 KingQuad 500 AXi happened into my fall hunting camp this season and I was able to put it through a series of paces. My initial testing took place in the beginnings of fall during the archery elk season at an elevation above 7,000 feet. Despite daytime temperatures in the 60s, mornings oftentimes saw frost and during later hunts temperatures oftentimes plummeted to the teens. Nevertheless, the electric start spun the engine to life easily. Even during January slumps of below zero temperatures, the Suzuki was eager to start.
My elk hunts took the KingQuad to elevations above 8,500 feet and later whitetail hunts plummeted to the prairies of the Great Plains where 1,000 feet was often the norm. Even with these variable elevations, the electronic fuel injection system made sure the 493 cc, liquid-cooled engine operated smoothly. Power availability was instantaneous with increasing pressure on the throttle lever. The initial zip was followed by a top-end surprise when I needed to scoot down a road to beat the sunrise. The four stroke, liquid-cooled, 4 valve engine is situated around an OHC single cylinder. Speed was no issue and neither was loading down the ATV with deboned meat or several treestands. You hardly felt the weight. In fact, the KingQuad comes with a towing option and a rating to pull 1,322 pounds in an attached trailer.
The KingQuad 4-stroke engine channels its power through an automatic, variable ratio V-belt transmission with an immediate transfer from throttle commands. It’s easy to operate with high, low and reverse selections. Plus, if you hit deep snow or mud you can flick into 4-wheel without letting off the throttle to engage. Engine braking, combined with low gear, made sure you didn’t have to ride the brake all the way down a long, steep slope. All in all, I found no issues with the gear ratios and trail power on the KingQuad 500.
As you and especially I age, our backbones don’t absorb the shock of the trail like the bones of a millennial rider. Suzuki understands those issues and tames the trail for all riders with a new, stronger chassis that provides a ground-up approach to a better ride. Independent front and rear suspensions guarantee that every divot in the road isn’t felt throughout the entire machine. The front includes a double A-arm suspension with 6.7 inches of travel. To take those surprise potholes Suzuki has added larger diameter, gas-charged shocks with 5-way, spring-load adjustment. The rear also includes double A-arm design with I-beam suspension and 7.7 inches of travel. The rear, larger diameter, gas-charged shocks also allow you 5-way, spring-load adjustment. If you bottom out this machine you probably need to slow it down a bit. You’re not Evel Knievel.
Going up and down the mountains means braking at numerous corners, cliffs and to slow down in vertical trail settings. Front braking is accentuated with new dual, hydraulic front disc brakes. They are backed up in the rear with a sealed, multi-brake system in a clutch-type design. A newly designed foot braking lever also ensures you find the brake and employ it with guaranteed stopping power.
Suzuki equips its KingQuad with a 4.6-gallon tank and I routinely busted out 50 miles or more without worry of running out of fuel. I’m a nitpicker about keeping ATV tanks full in case of emergency, but the capacity was more than adequate for a daylong of nonstop trail riding.
And is the case with most DIY, public-land hunts, you need to follow the same phrase that the early bird gets the worm. I always left out of camp hours before dawn and returned well after dark. This meant relying on the single handlebar headlamp backed up by two fender-mounted lights. Whether it was illuminating a bovine resting in the dark on the road or helping me dodge an errant elk, I never felt I needed more in the lighting department while navigating backcountry byways after sunset.
Suzuki backs its quality construction with a 12-month, unlimited mileage warranty that does, of course, have a few limits. Nevertheless, expect a quality product that is produced in Georgia by American craftsmen and women.
If you’re looking for a dependable and economical ATV the Suzuki KingQuad will not disappoint. It turned out to be the best hunting partner I had this past fall.
- KingQuad 500AXi Power Steering SE+
- Available in 400 cc, 500 cc and 750 cc power sources
- Available in red, white, green, black and camouflage colors depending on model
- Power steering also available
- Review model KingQuad 500 AXi Base MSRP $9,299 + DESTINATION CHARGE $380.00
Suzuki King Quad ATVs
Cabela’s ATV and Auto Accessories