Suzuki Eiger LT-A400 4x4
Now into its fourth year of production, the Eiger LT-F400 4x4 manual has become a mainstay for many farmers in the Suzuki range of farm equipment
The Eiger sits right in the middle of the Suzuki range with a flexible powerplant, so would likely suit a farmer who wants an element of power, has a few hills on the property or tows a trailer.
Supplied by Cambridge Motorcycles and fitted with Ventura bars, I put an Eiger LT-A400 4x4 Quadmatic to the test on steep country to see how it performed. I chose to test an automatic model as I’m finding more and more auto quads in demand, probably because automatics are becoming increasingly reliable and, like an automatic car, are easier to operate.
The 376cc air/oil cooled powerplant has a single overhead cam operating four valves per cylinder. What four valves versus two means is the engine theoretically will be more responsive to fast throttle variations, giving superior power delivery and often better fuel consumption rates. This turned out to be the case out in the paddock as I found the Eiger responded quickly to any throttle movements. Farmers who don’t have much time for maintenance will also like the easy to fit, spin-on oil filter.
Perhaps the main point of difference our test Eiger has is the V-belt driven, CVT two-speed automatic transmission. The system works very quietly and gave faultless performance during my ride. Set in low range, the Eiger came out with flying colours each time I tried a standing start on the steepest of inclines. A great test for the engine power too as it always pulled up and away without any sign of stalling, coughing, or just plain struggling under load. From a standing start, slip it into high ratio and you can cover ground as quick as anything else on the farm. The Eiger has the smoothest and easiest range change action of any automatic ATVs I’ve tested, including reverse. There are no clunks, notches or juggling to get it into gear, although there is no "Park" setting either, which I missed – instead having to use the brake lever catch to hold the quad on a slope. A safety feature, I had to place the Eiger into neutral each time I used the electric starter and, to my surprise, this model had engine braking! Going downhill the Eiger held its slow speed even on the steepest hill, meaning I could mostly leave the brakes alone. Although I still like to trail the rear brakes – just to make sure the ATV continues its decent in a straight line.
The 190mm diameter twin front disc brakes worked OK for a brand new quad, as the brake pads continue to bed in with more wear. The drum rear brake is operated as usual by right foot or right lever, but at a time when other quads feature disc brakes all round.
A basic cable operated 2WD/4WD handlebar mounted lever gives the rider a choice of using 2WD in easy going, fuel saving turf, or 4WD in difficult conditions. The front wheel driving system has a torque sensing limited slip diff, which automatically sends power to the front wheel with the greatest amount of slip.
Sharing the same wheelbase as the bigger Vinsen 500, compared to some competitors the slightly longer than average 1270mm wheelbase meant that the Eiger felt quite stable going up or down the steep and rutted hills I rode along. It’s slightly wider too and handled the terrain okay, where I was happy with its stability when ridden along the side of a hill. But none of the Eiger’s four shock absorbers have spring preload adjustment – you have to buy the Vinsen to get that feature if you want to retain that stability while carrying heavy loads.
During the test my feet never slipped off the fully enclosed footpeg area thanks to the heavy serrations on and around the pegs. The basic analogue instrument layout displays only speed, mileage and trip meter. A horn comes as standard, as do the glass lens 55w halogen headlights, front bull bars and carry racks.
Suzuki offer the tried and true five-speed manual Eiger at $10,695, if the extra cost of the $11,600 auto Quadmatic can’t be justified.
By Terry Stevenson
For more information visit www.suzuki.co.nz
Suzuki Eiger LT-F400 4x4
Engine Type Four-stroke, air-cooled with SACS, OHC
Piston Displacement 376cc
Bore X Stroke 82.0mm x 71.2mm
Compression Ratio 9.0 : 1
Starter System Electric and recoil starter
Transmission 5-speed forward constant mesh
Overall Length 2235mm
Overall Width 1145mm
Overall Height 1200mm
Ground Clearance 235mm
Seat Height 830mm
Dry Mass 267kg
Suspension FrontIndependent, double wishbone, coil spring, oil dampedRearSwingarm type, coil spring, oil damped
Ignition Type Electronic ignition (CDI)
Fuel Tank 15L