Automotive Blog – 2018 Suzuki RM-Z 450 First Impressions
Alright guys, so we are
out here at Bunker Hill MX, and as you can see in front of me, I’ve got the 2018 RM-Z 450. A lot of you may have heard that for 2018, Suzuki was coming out with
an all new 450, and they did. So this bike’s got an updated
chassis, new suspension, and they updated the motor as well. And a big question that
we’re gonna talk about later is that BFRC, which is balance
free rear cushion shock.
This is the only production
bike using that shock. So we’re gonna talk about it. We’re gonna go out and
spin some laps today, and I’m really excited to ride this bike, and I’ll tell you why. Because I’ve been on the
’17 Honda for the last year and we all know that’s a really good bike, really good reviews, but I’ve never actually ridden a Suzuki.
So as I go on and ride this,
I’m not gonna be able to compare it to the older
bikes, I’m just gonna give you a fresh, authentic review
of what I think about it. And we’re gonna cover everything. We’ll talk about suspension, ergonomics, how the bike handles, the things
I like and the things that I don’t like, to give you guys
just a nice, fresh review. So, let’s go out there and rip some laps.
Alright guys, so we’ve
just finished up riding for about three hours
out here at Bunker Hill. So, let’s talk about the bike. Now, like I said earlier,
first time on a Suzuki. And overall impression, really good bike.
Couple things, a lot of
things I really, really like, couple things that could be better, but we’ll talk about the
chassis, the ergonomics, how the bike felt, and
we’ll talk about the motor, and lastly we’ll talk about suspension. So, Suzuki, I was told by
a lot of people that they handle really well and
they corner really well, and they’re right. This bike definitely felt
really well on the corners. The front end stays
planted extremely well.
One thing I did notice riding
it, like a lot of riders have said that I’ve heard is
it has more of a stink bug feel to it, so finding the balance of the bike might be a little bit tricky. But once you find it,
the bike handled well, it cornered well, at high
speeds it felt stable. And yeah, ergonomically, the bike, probably the thinnest bike
that I’ve ever stood on. Like I said, I was on the ’17 Honda, this feels even thinner than that, so I think Suzuki did a really
good job making the bike feel skinny, and just feeling
nimble underneath your legs.
Even though it is one of the
heavier bikes in the class, it didn’t feel that way when I was riding. It was easy to maneuver, I could point it and it would go where I wanted it to, in the air it felt light, it felt nimble. I think a lot of that is
just credited to Suzuki just making sure that
chassis nice and skinny. Another thing I noticed too,
when it comes to the frame and how it feels is, I felt
like it was really easy to get up on the tank in form
when I was in the corners.
That was something that was
really comforting and nice for me, is when I would go and settle in, it was easy to get into that position that you want to be in. So, ergonomically, I think
Suzuki did a really good job. As far as the motor goes,
since I can’t compare it to the old Suzuki, I’ll just
tell you what I thought of it. I thought linear wise, very smooth.
From bottom all the way up to the top, it had a nice smooth pull. It didn’t want to rip out of my hands. As far as bottom end power,
definitely not gonna be the strongest bike, but still,
it’s an easier bike to ride. If that’s what you’re
looking for, this is a motor that’s really gonna cater to riders that, it still has good power,
good torque, it revs high, it pulls for a long time,
but it’s not so snappy out the bottom that it just
wants to rip out of your hands and come out from under ya.
It does come with a couple different ECUs, so there are a few
mapping options you have. I just left it bone
stock with how it came. So yeah, it’s not the strongest, but not, definitely it doesn’t lack
power, but it’s really linear and just an easy bike to ride. So I really did like the motor and what Suzuki put together with the ’18 Suzuki.
And then from there, let’s
talk about suspension. Now, when it comes to suspension, there’s a lot of talk
about that balance for your rear cushion shock that
Suzuki put on this bike. It was kind of interesting
because there’s actually no hight speed adjustment on it. You just have your
compression and rebound, so it took a little
bit of getting used to.
We set the sag on the bike. This is one thing you want
to definitely take note of, is we set the sag originally
and at first I thought I was gonna have to go to a softer spring, and we got the sag to
about 100 millimeters before we were just, we had
as much preload off the shock as we could, but today,
after just a few laps, I went from 100 millimeters
of sag to about 110. So once you set your sag the first time, you definitely want to check it after that and then adjust it from there, but about 105 millimeters
of sag, I think is gonna be the sweet spot for most riders. Now, depending on your
weight, you might need to go stiffer, softer with the spring.
But there’s been a lot of debate or a lot of talk about this shock. Honestly, it felt good. It is a little bit different
than your traditional shock that they had on other bikes,
or that they have on the other bikes, but overall,
it didn’t do anything weird, it felt good, I had to mess
around with the rebound and compression a little bit to get it where I liked it, but
it didn’t surprise me. I didn’t feel like I was
on some foreign shock and this thing was just so different feeling that I was uncomfortable.
By the end of the day,
the bike felt really good, it tracked well. One thing I did take note of,
and I’ve heard other riders talk about this, is that
it does want to climb out of the stroke a little bit faster. So when you come into a
corner and you get on the gas, it has to settle back into the
stroke to really track well. That is one thing I noticed,
but overall it felt good.
I didn’t have any complaints,
and if you had to revalve from somebody doing suspension
work, I think you could have this thing just
feeling absolutely awesome. As far as the forks go, I was
really happy with the forks. The reason being, it’s
pretty much the exact same fork that was on the ’17 Honda. So I was used to the feel of
it, I like the spring forks, you know how they’re gonna handle, they stick well, they tracked.
I had to go a little bit
stiffer on compression, I felt like it was just
a little bit too soft on some of those harder hits,
I felt like it bottomed out a little bit and it stayed riding a little bit low in the stroke for me. When I was coming to corners, it felt like I wanted to dive. So I went a little bit
stiffer on compression, but like I said earlier,
once I found that balance of what I was looking for,
the bike just did awesome. Suspension was good, it could be better, you could have it revalved,
sent off to have it done, but overall for a bike stock, it was fine.
The only things about the bike
that I feel could be better right out of the box,
one, a skid plate because I feel like that’s just a
must-have for any dirt bike. And the other, I really do
feel like Suzuki dropped the ball a little bit when
it comes to electric start. And I don’t want to say I’m
lazy, but electric starts are nice because if you do
stall the bike or if you tip it over, you’re tired,
you stand the bike up, you’re on the track,
you’re out desert riding, whatever I might be,
it’s really nice to not just have to kick the bike over. So I really wish it did
have electric start.
That’s one thing I hope
Suzuki will do for 2019. The other was, the only
thing I did to this bike off the showroom floor is I
put different grips on it. The stock grips were rock hard, they were gonna kill my hands. So I just put some ODI lock-ons on here.
But other than that, like I said, the bike, people complain
about the weight. I don’t think that should concern you. I think the weight, yeah,
it’s right towards the top, but it handles well, it
felt nimble in the air and wasn’t something that I
honestly noticed a single time while I was out riding
today, and it’s literally I think a pound heavier
dry weight than the Honda, so it’s not that heavy of a bike if you really think about it. But overall, Suzuki, I
think they did a good job.
Like I said, I can’t
reference the old bike, which is actually kind
of nice and refreshing because I can only go
off of how I like this, and I would say if
you’re looking for a bike that’s easy to ride,
really good linear power, has really good front
forks, might need to tweak with that shock a little
bit, I think the Suzuki could be a really good bike for ya. So, that’s what you’re looking for, go pick up an ’18 RM-Z 450. I’m Chase at Rocky Mountain. Thanks for watching..