As you may or may not remember I decided to try to ride a four stroke this year (2013 Suzuki RMZ 450). Before this I had ridden two strokes for the past five years besides for a short stint with a problem ridden 2011 KTM 350 SX-F .
By switching to the 2013 Suzuki RMZ 450 I was hoping to get past some of the recurring issues I was having with two strokes, improve my lap times a bit and open myself up for more products to review.
Before someone goes crazy on me about “recurring issues with two strokes” and two strokes being the most reliable bikes ever remember this: I am a two stroke lover, but you have to consider a few factors…
- Vibration -Welds on pipes and silencers crack no matter what brand you use. Bolts seem to wiggle loose much more frequently because of the vibration.
- Expansion Chambers- I go through two stroke pipes and silencers very frequently. As I said above welds crack and they are much more vulnerable to damage due to large size.
- Top Ends – As long as you don’t grenade the four stroke from forgetting oil or something, you’re going to go through more pistons and rings on a two stroke. Especially if you have a single ring piston.
To me 450’s feel super heavy and I struggle with how they handle. I was really hoping to sort this out this year. Generally I can hop on a bike and feel comfortable in short order. This was not the case with the 2013 Suzuki RMZ 450.
One day I decided to take the ole 2012 TM MX 250 to the track instead of my 2013 Suzuki RMZ 450. At this point I had spent 10 hours on the RMZ.
I rode the TM a few laps, came in, made some sag and clicker adjustments and felt way more comfortable than I ever had on the RMZ. I was charging through bumps and into corners, carrying more corner speed and felt much more comfortable on jumps. It only took a few laps.
That’s when I realized it — I’m a two stroke lover. Their light weight and snappy power makes them more fun to ride. The way they handle is more comfortable for me. Now I just need to figure out what I’m going to do to make one competitive with 450’s…
Helmet cam from my first day back on a two stroke: