Primary Use: Motocross
Main Mods: FMF Factory 4.1 RCT full exhaust system
Moment of Glory: Feeling good on the bike consistently
Forgettable Experience: Tweaking my knee in a corner at Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park
Aftermath: Eight air filter cleanings, four oil changes, and two oil filters
I’ve been having a great time on the new RM-Z450 lately. I’m getting used to it and feeling more comfortable on the bike with every ride. I’ve also been trying to feel out the power to find out more of where the engine likes to be ridden. I have the habit of keeping bikes at a high rpm when I’m riding, so I depend a lot on a strong top-end power delivery enabling me to hold a gear for a longer duration before having to shift. I’ve found the RM-Z450 favors being short-shifted, though it seems the bike’s suspension and chassis could remain predictable while being piloted by a rider with a heavy throttle hand.
Suspension-wise, I made small adjustments to find the best settings, but only in the rear as I’ve left the fork clickers in the stock position. The shock felt a little soft in stock trim, so I made some minor clicker adjustments to the compression to stiffen it up. With those very minor changes, I’m pleased with the Showa suspension on the RM-Z450 and believe it’s the bike’s strongest attribute.
I learned a bit more about the RM-Z450 when I rode it at Cahuilla Creek MX in Anza, California. Cahuilla has very loose and sandy dirt, plenty of elevation changes, lots of sweeping berms, and several high-speed straightaways. I feel the Suzuki prevailed in these conditions because, even though it likes to be short-shifted best, I was able to feel a lot more of the midrange torque as well as the top-end power the bike has to offer. Also, the Factory 4.1 RCT full exhaust system gave the bike a little more bottom-end than the stock system, so that was exciting. I also found that the bike seems to favor more open courses like Cahuilla as opposed to the tighter and jumpier tracks I’ve been riding in the past few months such as Perris Raceway and Lake Elsinore Motorsports Park.