that matter, it seems to make more on the top too. The
RM-Z has a powerband that seems endless and rich. You
can start lower and hold it on longer than almost any race
bike in the world. It has a classic, old-world 450 motor
that quite frankly is more than most riders really need.
That doesn’t mean it’s not fun, though. Having such a bottomless well of power opens up lines through the soft stuff
that guys on little bikes couldn’t dream of taking. There
are other 450s that probably make as much power on the
dyno, but the Suzuki feels faster than most of them. The
motor revs quickly, has great throttle response and is fun.
The optional rich coupler tames the power slightly by
delaying the onset of power. Unfortunately, that also
delays the onset of fun, which has to be balanced with all
the practicality talk.
As has been the case since the first RM-Z arrived, the
bike’s strongest asset is cornering. The Suzuki still falls
into turns with very little effort. That’s amazing considering
that the bike is no feather. It’s still one of the heaviest
bikes in the class, but that doesn’t affect the way it works
in turns. It’s now become somewhat part of its identity—
not only for the RM-Z450, but for the 250 that is also tested in this issue. Suzukis turn well. End of transmission.
This year, the new fork adds a little bit of a twist to the
RM-Z’s handling story. The front end is somewhat stiff. On
fast tracks, that’s a good thing. The front end of the bike
never collapses, even in the gnarliest G-outs. You can
charge through rough sections without fear of anything
bad happening, but it comes at the cost of comfort on
slower, tighter tracks. The front end is still 100 percent
Sound is an increasingly important battlefront in the future
landscape of motocross. The RM-Z has a new exhaust system for 2013.
There are almost no visual clues to the
changes within the new Suzuki. We
don’t know whose idea it was to have a
yellow front number plate, but that was
changed in the DB garage.
guys, Suzuki came up with a new system for engine diagnosis and feedback. Rather than force you to plug your
bike into a PC or some electronic tool, Suzuki has an
optional LED light that plugs into the ECU. It communicates with a series of flashes that tell you things like run-time as well as the status of various parts. The part number is 36380-28H00, and it’s sold separately. Suzuki still
gives you two electrical couplers with the bike. These
allow you access to two optional fuel maps that are preprogrammed into the bike’s black box. Suzuki refers to
them as “lean” and “rich” maps, but in practice, they are
more like aggressive and mild alternatives for the power
delivery. Most of the difference is at the bottom.
On the track, the biggest difference between the new
RM-Z’s motor and the old one is torque. It makes more on
the bottom than before, and it was already no slouch. For