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2013 Suzuki RMZ450 test

Now, those cynical people out there will say that Suzuki’s last major championship success only came about because they splashed the cash and signed Ricky Carmichael and built on that with first Chad Reed and then Ryan Dungey. It stands to reason that you have a chance when the man they call the greatest of all time (G.O.A.T) comes on board, turns your programme around and makes it an attractive proposition.

Obviously Roger Decoster also played an integral role in Suzuki’s success in the States but now he’s moved on to KTM the Suzuki team over the pond may be finding it a little more difficult to fight for a title against him, KTM and the best of the rest. That’s not to say the bike isn’t up to the task of course, it’s just at that level of racing the whole programme has to have some serious structure and budget.

Here in Europe at the GP’s Suzuki’s programme is definitely one of the strongest. Both the MX1 and MX2 class benefit from a lot of effort from Japan and although that hasn’t yet been reflected in the MX2 class it certainly has in the MX1 class where Clement Desalle and Tanel Leok (and Steve Ramon before him) have definitely had the tools to get the job done. Unfortunately for them they’ve come up against an inspired world champion in Antonio Cairoli who himself only seems to be getting stronger and with KTM backing him up and refusing to loosen their grip on the World championship.

Of course that’s the best in the world we’re talking about so what about us mere mortals? What can Suzuki offer us? Well, a bike that’s more than good enough for any of us to win on at club level that’s for sure. As with most MX1 class bikes, it’s going to take someone like ‘The Goat’ wanting more from the power available, so the handling and feel is what we should all be looking at first and foremost and that’s where we’ll start with the feedback from our test rider for this one – Ty Kellett – who this time put down his video camera to get out on the track himself.

“The ergonomics of the bike are great; it is the best I have ridden. Admittedly I haven’t rode any other 2013 450 but first impressions count and this was a good one. It’s so easy to move around and put the bike where you want. The foot pegs seem low which make the rest of the bike feel light because the weight all feels at the bottom of the bike. I did hit the ground with my feet sometimes in the loamy stuff or going into deep ruts but to move up and down the bike they are in the right position.

They have made the bike feel thinner for 2013, by putting the radiator scoops closer to the frame. This has also made it easier to move around and give you more confidence to express your own riding style.

The steering lock is great, the bike turns really good. From a beginner to an expert, you can tell that it will be a great handling bike for both. The front end also feels a little bit low, but you soon forget about that because I think that’s part of the reason it turns so well and with so much torque from the rear wheel it helps to keep the front wheel down.

The handling of the bike is really good even though the suspension was a bit too stiff for me but it showed me what a very good handling bike this is. I felt with a little bit more time working the clickers on the suspension for me it would be mint. I don’t think it would need major revalving or anything like that, it’s a new bike so as the suspension bedded in through the day it definitely got better.

Over the jumps it didn’t feel as positive as it was in the corners but after a bit of time on the bike I felt more comfortable and could move it around more. Obviously it was part me getting used to it but I thought it would be easier to chuck around in the air because of the way it feels so good through the turns.

The stroke in both the forks and shock are progressively smooth and definite have a good positive feel working well with the chassis. Like I said, the forks are a bit stiff for me but with my size I’m more suited to a 250 than a 450, so for a bigger framed rider they’ll probably feel spot on.

The power delivery is lush. It’s pulls smooth but very strong from the second you crack on the throttle and is sharp as a kitchen knife. I absolutely loved throwing this bike into the loamy berms at Apex, because it just soaked them up and cut through them so effortlessly. Having said that you could also use the tighter lines on an even higher gear and feather the throttle and it would just grip, drive and turn so well. I had so much fun through turns I just wanted to get to the next corner as quickly as possible, and that was pretty quickly on the RMZ.

After feeding the power on through the turns it just kept going on an easy to use, progressive curve all the way to the top. I just can’t see how any average club rider or even a good expert rider would need any more than this. If you’re a racer and want to do well it’s just a case of getting as fit as you can, practicing, getting the suspension dialled to your style and getting on with it. There’s enough adjustment in the mapping and power on tap to get the motor how you want it on this bike.

Going up and down through the gears is smooth and no problem. There’s a nice feel to the gear box with the ideal amount of tension on the gear selector. I never missed a gear all day and never once felt like I would. All of the controls were much the same, the brakes were strong and felt great, the throttle and clutch were both light but not to the point where it felt like they didn’t have a cable.

At the start of the day, starting the bike was fine, but at the end it would take a few kicks, but I had been riding for like 2 hours straight, so it was hot. That’s about the only really criticism of the bike I can say really. I loved it, I felt good on it even if I might not have looked good on it! It’s a great bike and I’m now looking forward to seeing what the RMZ250 is like because if it’s anything like the 450 I know I’m going to have a blast” – Ty Kellett.

Facts for the Anoraks….

Engine Design Concept  

For race-winning performance, a motocrosser’s engine needs to be durable, efficient and powerful. To win championships, that engine needs the powerful engineering heritage that comes from Suzuki. Both of the manufacturer’s leading MX bikes – the RM-Z450 and the RM-Z250 – feature fuel-injected engines powered by Suzuki’s advanced technology. Suzuki’s fuel-injection expertise has delivered national and world championships in Superbike racing as well as in Motocross and Supercross. High-performance heritage like this serves as the platform for the technological improvements Suzuki built into the 2013 RM-Z450 and RM-Z250. Both bikes deliver increased acceleration, faster throttle response, and broader mid-range power and torque. That means motorcycles that are more competitive and more practical performers to win those bar-to-bar battles.

Piston  

A motocross bike’s single piston must endure an explosive environment, and needs to perform with efficiency and durability. Based on racing data and on-track experience, Suzuki redesigned the piston, piston pin and connecting rod of the RM-Z450. With a new shape – designed through Finite Element Method (FEM) analysis used in factory racing – new piston is 13% lighter than in the previous model while retaining rigidity.  The reshaped connecting rod is lighter, too. The piston pin is made shorter and durable. As a result, the RM-Z450 delivers faster throttle response, plus increased bottom to mid-range power and torque. These traits deliver the efficient durability and powerful performance racers need to win.

Piston pin  

To reduce friction loss and increase performance, Suzuki coated the RM-Z450’s piston pin with Diamond-Like Carbon (DLC) coating. Suzuki uses similar DLC coatings in its suspension of Hayabusa 1300, the legendary Sportbike. This surface finish helps reduce friction, and increase durability. Add this feature to the piston pin’s shorter and lighter design, and the result is noticeably stronger throttle response.

Exhaust  

Increasing the exhaust pipe’s length – 50mm for the RM-Z450 (European-spec RM-Zs), and 40mm for the RM-Z250 – better tunes each engine to deliver stronger low-end and mid-range power output. A new muffler has redesigned construction with inner pipes, European-spec RM-Zs meet FIM-enforced sound control regulations without jeopardizing engine power output.

Transmission & Shift Cam

RM-Z racers will enjoy smoother and more precise shifting on the 2013 models. The RM-Z450’s is updated and refined for more precise shifting performance. Suzuki changed the shape of the shift cam in both motorcycles to deliver that shifting precision plus smoother shift feel.

Electrical  

Suzuki updated the electronics that help control the battery-less fuel-injection systems on the RM-Z450 and RM-Z250. The new ECM on both motorcycles now has a higher-performance processor for more powerful engine management. This component upgrade increases response all the way from the rider’s throttle input to the fuel delivery through each bike’s multiple hole fuel injector. And since the ECMs are now waterproof, they resist damage from water and mud, and that helps keep racers at the front of the pack. The electrical systems also get a new magneto with increased power-generating performance for easier starting. And with revised settings in the ignition coil, the RM-Zs deliver strong roll-on power and increased throttle response.

Camshafts 

Both intake and exhaust cam profile are changed on RM-Z250.  The nose angle and lift curve of intake camshaft is increased and exhaust cam timing is revised to achieve higher balance between high performance and ease of power control. The RM-Z450’s intake cam timing and lift are revised, giving the bike’s power a more linear output for better control.

Radiator 

The RM-Z250’s cooling efficiency is increased thanks to a redesigned radiator fin and revised water hose routing, making the bike’s high-performance power output more stable, even in the most demanding conditions. RM-Z250s also features new by-pass hose routing to simplify occasional radiator maintenance.

Chassis Design Concept

Racers know that, in and out of a corner, precision cornering and race-track stability has always been a prime feature of Suzuki’s motocross bikes. But that doesn’t mean engineers left “good enough” alone. For 2013, the team focused on making both the RM-Z450 and RM-Z250 even more maneuverable, while retaining the bike’s top-notch performance tracking and race-speed stability.

Frame  

To ensure the frame’s rigidity is well balanced, engineers reviewed and refined the shape and construction of the frame and the seat rail. The result is an ideal balance of nimble handling for technical sections and straight-line stability for high-speed sections.

Front Fork  

The RM-Z450 and RM-Z250 now use the new Showa Separate Function front Fork (SFF). The SFF works by separating the damper in left leg from the spring housed in the right leg. Dividing the fork’s functions allows for lighter overall construction with reduced friction, resulting in improved damping performance and ride control. The forks’ inner tubes are now 48mm in diameter; the larger size gives higher stability. Spring pre-load is adjustable, by gold-anodized adjuster, allowing a wider range of adjustment settings overall.

Rear Suspension

To maintain the RM-Z’s renowned handling performance, each bike’s rear suspension features setting changes and adjustments to best match with the increased engine performance and front fork changes. Overall, the design allows enhanced suspension performance for a wider variety of riders.

Ease of Maintenance

Not every champion has a full-time mechanic to handle maintenance tasks. Suzuki engineers know the importance of designing durable and reliable motocross engines, and making their maintenance tasks as simple as possible.

The self-diagnosis function is incorporated in the ECM. It can be notified by using the optional FI indicator (Part No. 36380-28H00).  From 2013 model, the FI indicator has engine hour-meter function as well. So riders can track engine-operating time and better manage maintenance intervals.

Suzuki relocated the rich-lean coupler connector location on the RM-Z450 for easier access when fuel-injection settings need to be changed.

A connector between the fuel pump and delivery hose uses a revised lock system for more precise and easier operation. In addition, maintenance plugs for fuel pump and fuel hose are enclosed for convenience.

New muffler body uses conventional bolts in end cap, instead of rivets to simplify the replacement of muffler’s glass wool packing.

SPECIFICATIONS

MODEL: RM-Z450 (L3) E-03, 19, 28

DIMENSIONS AND CURB MASS

PRICE: £6,549

Overall length………………………………………………………………… 2190 mm (86.2 in)

Overall width…………………………………………………………………. 830 mm (32.7 in)

Overall height………………………………………………………………… 1270 mm (50.0 in)

Wheelbase……………………………………………………………………. 1495 mm (58.9 in)

Ground clearance………………………………………………………….. 325 mm (12.8 in)

Seat height……………………………………………………………………. 955 mm (37.6 in)

Curb mass……………………………………………………………………. 113 kg (249 lbs)

ENGINE

Type…………………………………………………………………………….. 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC

Number of cylinders……………………………………………………….. 1

Bore…………………………………………………………………………….. 96.0 mm (3.780 in)

Stroke………………………………………………………………………….. 62.1 mm (2.445 in)

Displacement………………………………………………………………… 449 cm3 (27.4 cu. in)

Compression ratio………………………………………………………….. 12.5 : 1

Fuel system………………………………………………………………….. Fuel injection

Air cleaner…………………………………………………………………….. Polyurethane foam element

Starter system……………………………………………………………….. Primary kick

Lubrication system…………………………………………………………. Semi-dry sump

Idle speed…………………………………………………………………….. 2100 ± 50 r/min

DRIVE TRAIN

Clutch…………………………………………………………………………… Wet multi-plate type

Transmission…………………………………………………………………. 5-speed constant mesh

Gearshift pattern……………………………………………………………. 1-down, 4-up

Primary reduction ratio……………………………………………………. 2.625 (63/24)

Gear ratios, Low…………………………………………………………… 1.800 (27/15)

2nd……………………………………………………………. 1.470 (25/17)

3rd…………………………………………………………….. 1.235 (21/17)

4th…………………………………………………………….. 1.050 (21/20)

Top……………………………………………………………. 0.909 (20/22)

Final reduction ratio……………………………………………………….. 3.846 (50/13)

Drive chain……………………………………………………………………. DID520MXV4, 114 links

CHASSIS

Front suspension…………………………………………………………… Telescopic, coil spring, oil damped

Rear suspension……………………………………………………………. Link type, coil spring, oil damped

Front suspension stroke………………………………………………….. 310 mm (12.2 in)

Rear wheel travel…………………………………………………………… 310 mm (12.2 in)

Caster………………………………………………………………………….. 28°40’

Trail……………………………………………………………………………… 125 mm (4.92 in)

Steering angle……………………………………………………………….. 45° (right & left)

Turning radius……………………………………………………………….. 1.95 m (6.4 ft)

Front brake…………………………………………………………………… Disc brake

Rear brake……………………………………………………………………. Disc brake

Front tire………………………………………………………………………. 80/100-21 51M, tube type

Rear tire……………………………………………………………………….. 110/90-19 62M, tube type

ELECTRICAL

Ignition type………………………………………………………………….. Electronic ignition (CDI)

Ignition timing………………………………………………………………… 12° B.T.D.C. at 2100 r/min

Spark plug…………………………………………………………………….. NGK DIMR8A10

CAPACITIES

Fuel tank………………………………………………………………………. 6.2 L (1.6/1.4 US/Imp gal)

Engine oil, oil change…………………………………………………….. 1050 ml (1.1/0.9 US/Imp qt)

with filter change……………………………………………. 1100 ml (1.2/1.0 US/Imp qt)

overhaul……………………………………………………….. 1200 ml (1.3/1.1 US/Imp qt)

Coolant………………………………………………………………………… 1.1 L (1.2/1.0 US/Imp qt)

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6cyye1rdsTE[/youtube]

MX Vice Editor || 25

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