Suzuki RM-Z450 – 106.6kg 51.9bhp
Totally updated in 2018, the RM-Z450 has seen regular but small technical tweaks as Suzuki tries to coax the best out the bike. The big news on the 2020 bike sold in Italy is the MX Tuner that lets you manage ignition maps from smartphones, developed in collaboration with the Italian firm GET. This is done by the Italian importer in a bid to boost the bike’s performance. The rest of the world don’t get this tweak.
On the RM-Z, the Showa 49mm spring fork is very soft and has very heavy compression damping. We softened up the compression damping but the spring rate was too soft.
The rear Showa BRFC shock is not very active and it doesn’t cope with a roughening track too well. We sped up the rebound and compression damping which improved it, but it wasn’t perfect.
Overall, the Suzuki was not a great combination of chassis and suspension. It turns well but the suspension needs careful setting up.
Motor oil: 1.0 litres.
Oil and filter replacement: after break-in and then every 8 hours
Air filter cleaning: after each use.
Piston Replacement: every 50 hours
Valves: Check every 40 hours.
Starter motor: N/A
Front: Bridgestone Battlecross X30F 80 / 100-21
Rear: Bridgestone Battlecross X30R 110 / 90-19
What the testers said:
Davide de Bortoli:
The Suzuki has its own particular feel. Stock, it’s hard to manage the bumps and choose the line you want. it seems the chassis and suspension are not harmonised to work together. The forks – the same as used by Honda and Kawasaki – sink down through the stroke then stiffen up so you struggle to stick to the line you want. Then rear shock is also in need of setting up. The engine reminds me of the KX450. It is pretty good, especially at high revs.
At first I really didn’t like the Suzuki, but then I got used to it and started to enjoy it. Basically it is ruined by the very soft fork which dived as soon as I touched the brakes. It needs stiffening up while the shock needs softening. You have to bully the bike to get it round corners. It doesn’t intuitively go where you want it to, unlike other bikes. The engine is not bad in power and delivery. It actually feels like the KTM and Husky motors, but with less power and torque everywhere.
The Suzuki RM-Z450 is a very individual-feeling bike, which some might like and some will finds odd. This strangeness contributes to making the RM-Z different to all the other bikes, and is the only one without electric start.
The problem with the RM-Z450 is not that it hasn’t been updated: it just happened two years ago. But in the last decade, all the others have received at least three evolutionary steps and the Suzuki has had only one, and the engine was largely unchanged.
The yellow 450 has no real faults, but equally doesn’t have any great advantages over its rivals.