A NEW BEGINNING
For 2013, the RM-Z450 is going through something of a
rebirth. James is on board and scheduled to ride the full
Supercross season, corporate Suzuki is recovering, and
the production bike itself had some very significant
updates. Even though it looks fundamentally unchanged,
the suspension, frame and motor have enough updates to
surprise most riders and have a real impact on the way
the bike works. The piston, for example, underwent a
process called “finite element method analysis,” which is
a computer model that figures out what material is structurally necessary. The result was a 13 percent weight
decrease, which is mammoth in the piston world. The piston pin and connecting rod are also new. The reed that
feeds oil from the crankcase to the gearbox is thinner,
which should result in more of a more free-revving motor.
The intake cam, exhaust pipe and airbox boot are all
A very expensive and overdue change was made in
the gearbox. Virtually every gear was redesigned. This
was mostly aimed at increasing the lifespan of the transmission. Terry Varner is the engine tuner for the Moto
Concepts team and is charged with keeping Mike
Alessi’s bike running. He wasn’t allowing more than two
or three races on the gearbox, just to be safe. In fact,
the Moto Concepts guys keep a very close log on running time for all the race bikes. Varner is impressed with
the motor changes that Suzuki implemented and thinks
that they can push the service intervals a little farther
next season. Even at racing’s highest level, every cost
savings is critical.
The most interesting change of all is the switch to the
The Suzuki still isn’t light,
but it did lose a few
pounds for 2013.
The Suzuki motor is even faster. Crazy.
Showa SFF fork. This isn’t something that anyone was
screaming for; Suzuki was always praised in the suspension department. The SFF fork uses one fork spring in the
right fork leg and contains all the damping functions in the
left leg. If that sounds familiar, it’s because Kawasaki has
used a similar design on the KX250F for two seasons. The
fork is lighter, maintenance is easier, and it’s reported to be
cheaper to produce. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Some minor changes were made to the frame rails, rear
wheel’s dust cover, fuel pump and the ECU. For the shop