Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time on four strokes. In the past couple months I’ve ridden every brand 450 other than Kawasaki–most of these bikes were my buddy’s 2012s. Out of the bikes I had ridden my favorite was actually an ’08 Suzuki RMZ 450. I even rode the ’08 RMZ back to back with a ’12 Yamaha YZ 450f and a ’12 Honda CRF 450R. The older Suzuki was my favorite of the 3.
Recently another friend of mine bought a brand spankin’ new 2013 Suzuki RMZ 450. I was super excited to try it out. I really liked that ’08 I had ridden and it wasn’t exactly in immaculate condition. My first time out on the ’13 was disappointing. The motor felt super fast–especially bottom to mid range, but the handling was way off. The bike felt very nervous, the front end wouldn’t stick in corners and it was hard to get traction. The track we were riding on had tons of traction on this day, so it was quite obvious that there was something wrong.
Turns out the bike had 30 psi in each of the tires. Once we got that figured out it was like a completely different bike. The turning prowess became what you would expect from a Suzuki. No longer did the front end push in corners, it stuck like glue. The nervousness was greatly reduced. Especially the rear end. It held a straight line much better, both because of the traction it gained coming out of corners and because it was reacting to the bumps as it should have in the first place. The bike isn’t the most stable in a straight line, but isn’t the least stable of the 450’s I’ve ridden either.
The suspension actually didn’t feel too bad. It was a bit nose heavy and a bit on the stiff side, which I would rather have than soft, but personally would like to get some of the weight off the front. I imagine there is still some break in time left on the bike that will change the way the suspension feels. Most people take their bikes to get setup for their skill, weight, and riding style anyway, so I don’t consider stock suspension setting too important. I assume getting the suspension set up would improve this bike’s front rear balance and stability quite a bit.
The bars felt a little low and the pegs felt a bit high for me. In Suzuki’s defense I’m 6’2″ and usually at least put lower pegs on my bikes to help make me more comfortable. The front brakes aren’t great, most Japanese bike’s brakes are unimpressive when compared to those of the TM’s & KTM’s I have spent most of my time on lately
There aren’t enough hours on this bike to comment on reliability or problems, my first impression is that the 2013 RMz 450 is a great bike. It has a strong motor, great handling characteristics and is decently stable for a bike that turns so well.