Well, a selected few test riders got to keep our hands on a motorcycle after the 2011 Dirt Rider 450 MX shootouts and the upcoming Fixing the MXers story (April 2011 issue). My steed for this long haul adventure is the 2011 RM-Z450. I have left all of my aftermarket parts on from the Fixing the MXers article and will continue to use these products over the course of this test. This is the first installment of many so keep your eyes peeled to www.dirtrider.com for more updates as the hours pass on the 2011 RM-Z450. Here’s a recap of where the bike’s been so far:
I started this project with the bike having 11 hours on it after initial tests and photos. I had the suspension revalved at RG3 suspension, put some Renthal Bars/Grips on, installed a Yoshimura Muffler System, Hinson clutch kit, Works Connection clutch perch, Renthal chain and sprockets and a few other trinkets sprinkled on the RM-Z. I am strictly an MX guy when it comes to this bike. My riding consists of many 30-minute motos with sprint laps here and there on certain days. No trail riding or enduros for this MXer!
At this point, I have over 34 hours on this Suzuki and it has grown on me as the hours have ticked away. The bike is extremely stable and corners really well. It does feel a little small for my 5’11 frame, but not too cramped. The motor is still very strong and clutch life has been stellar. The plastic still holds up pretty well and I have changed out two sets of Bridgestone 403/404 tires since I started. Routine maintenance is done as specified in the Suzuki owner’s manual, and I have also come across a few things that need to be changed over my 23 hours of riding. For instance, I have gone through two rear chain guides. The stock chain guide must be made of butter and the chain is the knife. It lasts around 11-12 hours of riding and she’s done. I am going to try and upgrade to an aftermarket chain guide ASAP. I have noticed that the RM-Z gets hot and spills out a little coolant when ridden hard for more than 20 minutes or so. I have heard that a 1.8 radiator cap will help my problem and look to get that before my next ride. I have also gone through one set of front and rear brake pads and that’s it! I have rotated a UNI filter in with my air filter changes and the Suzuki RM-Z450 is still running strong. The suspension is breaking down and getting soft so I am going to send that off soon for a rebuild.While my suspension is out getting rebuilt I am going to open the head up and check valve clearance to make sure everything is in tolerance and hopefully I will be back on the track soon enough. I am having a blast riding a Suzuki and look forward to letting all of you readers know my findings in the next segment of my Long Haul experience. -Kris Keefer/ 5’11/ 160 lbs./ Pro