If I want to relax and ride, I take the Yamaha and/or KTM. Both bikes are faster in race situations for me (likely because I can ride them longer without messing up), and both rarely scare me to death. KTM edges out the Yammie here with an electric starter and more supple suspension for my speed. Plus, I believe it's truly faster than everything else in the class. The Yamaha is the best YZ450F ever made and a close second to KTM in this category.If I want to ride a short track, with a lot of tight corners and someone stole the Honda, I'll ride the Suzuki. I don't like shifting as much as the RM-Z needs and I don't like that much feedback from the ground going through my body, but I do like torque and meaty power and the RM-Z has it in the mid by the gross. I'd always be a bit wary on quality of things from seat bolts (8mm heads) to something internal, though.If I want a bike to race, feel competitive on, enjoy without worry and keep for a couple of years without being sick of, I might as well grab the Honda. Really, the only thing I despise about this bike is its ridiculous clutch pull. I have a clutch callous. Which shows you how much I like riding it and how sucky the pull is. Its power is the best for every race-pace motocross situation out there, and it covers the spread of agility, stability, light feel, good components and fit and finish better than any other brand.But now that I think about it, I might want to just go brainless for a few years so maybe I'm riding orange in '09.Suzuki RM-Z450
Ricky Carmichael and now Chad Reed? If you follow champions, then the Suzuki has an edge in your buying decision for sure. And maybe it should. Really, this is the second year for this bike to lose its bugs, and as the first fuel-injected MX bike you'd think Yellow would have a leg up. It didn't win last year because it barely made it to the competition. But for 2009, Suzuki is right on time. Does punctuality equal the top prize? Ask Chad...just kidding. We'll tell you.Engine
* One of the most unique power deliveries in the class with a massively torquey midrange that neither hits nor is lazy but is simply delivering solid, meaty torque.* Decent bottom-end right off the floor with great EFI engine response.* Top-end lost in a combination of final-drive ratio and a motor that has a precise sweet spot.* Engine vibration worse than other bikes.* High-rpm engine cutout is violent. Bike pops then almost shuts off. Shift, don't rev.Chassis
* Suzuki's history of precise steering and agility is alive and well.* More upright than KTM, Kawasaki and Yamaha with less stability at high speeds* Rigid feel to frame and chassis with more bump and engine vibration transmitting to the rider.* Well-balanced front to rear and great front wheel tractionSuspension
* When new, the fork and shock of the Suzuki are solid in their progression and control. The Showa components are very good right away.* After the first 15 hours, the suspension components feel worn, loose and in need of a service.* Good fork performance overshadowed by a shock that can blow through the stroke and upset the bike's settle in corners.* This bike will stand up in ruts more than others in the class.Why The RM-Z450 Should Win
* Realistically, when compared with the engines and chassis of the 2009 bikes, the RM-Z450 pales in comparison. It feels older than it is and shows what only a half-year of missed R&D; translates into.
* The old adage "It's not the bike, it's the rider" always rings true, and if you've loved RM-Z450s since their inception, you'll love this one just as much.
* On tight tracks, the RM-Z450 shined the most.Why The RM-Z450 Shouldn't Win
* Build quality, along with engine and component durability, is historically not on par with all other brands.
* Power delivery is narrow and only ideal on a smaller percentage of track types when compared with the other classmates.