We’re starting to see a whole lot more yellow out at the
track these days. Suzuki is finally producing more bikes,
which is great, because this is the best cornering
motocrosser in the shootout. Suzuki scoured the top end,
bottom end, and transmission for ways to improve both
durability and performance. They also shelved the standard
Showa cartridge damper for the SFF (Single Function Fork)
that uses one spring and separate damping.
Every test rider and editor rated the Suzuki number one
for cornering. This machine carves a line no matter the surface texture, hairball ruts or weird dirt. It goes, it sticks, you
haul! The new motor feels substantially stronger than last
year’s. It is still heavy on deceleration, but the clutch feel is
great and the transmission is smooth. The RM-Z’s cockpit
is not adjustable, yet it feels airy for all-sized pilots. With
the changeable mapping modules, you can dial in the
power of the machine. While it can’t be considered feathery, the Suzuki is one of the best jumpers in the class.
Starting seems more finicky than last year and requires
a really good boot to get fire. Stall it and the starting is
random; sometimes it takes one kick, sometimes 10.
Every test rider rated the forks “harsh.” While the forks
are adjustable from every angle, including preload, we
could never get them remotely close to the new KYB or
the YZ-F’s wonderful action. The engine feels throbby and
has a bit too much vibration, especially compared to the
CRF and KX-F. Suzuki also gets the “hefty boy” award as
the class gronk, tipping the incredibly accurate Dirt Bike
measuring device at 244 pounds sans fuel.
CUT TO THE CHASE
Oh what could have been! Suzuki made huge gains in
the motor department this year and the power is stronger
and more tractable. It is the cornering hero of the
shootout, every single rider rated it first. But the fork is a
weak link, not the design but the internal valving. It’s
harsh, stiff and transmits too much back to the rider. And
the starting could be better-bottom line.
SUZUKI RM-Z450 SUZUKI RM-Z450
The magic carve monster