Nathan Woods' ISDE Suzuki RM-Z450 - Dream Ride - Dirt Rider Magazine

It was a unique feeling to be riding Nathan Woods' specially equipped and prepped ISDE Suzuki RM-Z450 in the dry and dusty California desert at the same time that Woods himself was blitzing dry and dusty special tests in Greece. Naturally, for that simultaneous timing to work, it meant that Suzuki had built two identical bikes: one to test on and practice with while the other was on a slow boat to Greece. And this was no visual representation of a Woods bike, but his actual bike with his personal suspension setup. The bike was also accurate right down to the DOT-approved dual-sport tires that meet Euro knobby height and spacing standards for enduro tires. As with so many other racer rides I've sampled, the first and most obvious revelation was that neither I nor my lighter and faster co-tester Chris Dvoracek are Nathan Woods. We could tell because we both insist that suspension actually move when you hit bumps. How Woods survived six days of punishment with suspension this stiff is beyond me, but the ISDE first-timer actually thrived and produced stellar test times. And don't think we're bagging on RG3; Woods opted for control over plushness.We rode this bike at the end of the ISDE and thus knew Nathan was winning special tests on it, so we looked for the facets of the package that were letting Woods ride at a world-beating level. The combination of an ultra-quiet FMF muffler to pass Euro sound standards and the relatively tall-for-off-road stock motocross gearing and transmission made Woods' bike super-smooth and easy to ride in slippery conditions with none of the on/off throttle snap and lunge of EFI motocross machines. As the rpm build the boost arrives smoothly but with plenty of scoot, and at full-throttle this baby is gobbling straightaways.Woods is tall, so Dvoracek and I were plenty comfortable with the riding position, but the suspension was rattling javelin-proportioned Chris like a marble in a boxcar. My 25 to 30 pounds over Woods' race weight helped, and the suspension did actually move with me on it. The action of the RG3-tuned works suspension, while nothing like plush, is super controlled with an almost supercross-dead rebound feel to the shock. The result is a bike that has no wallow or loose feel to it-ever. You hit a line and the wheels are going to stick. Then, while crossing some flat desert, a hidden gully appeared, and I had to jump it with no time to react. The bike slammed the top of the opposite side, and I don't think the rear tire even rebounded off the ground. Personally I'd take a freer feel and more plushness over this level of control, but it is easy to see why Woods can use it to such devastating effect.Team Suzuki Off-Road has a truckload of important national off-road championships, and that accumulated bike-prep knowledge was there for Woods to draw on. The engine is completely stock for reliability but makes more than enough power for the dry and slippery conditions in Greece. Also, the chassis setup combined with Woods' speed allowed him to set blistering times everywhere, including, not surprisingly, the motocross test. For sure this is a dream ride: I'm dreaming that I could be fast enough to use it like it was designed to be used!Parts
Acerbis Plastic:; 800.659.1440
Plastic kit, Super Evolution carbon front disc guard,peg pivot covers and vented Uniko hand guards
CV4 :; 800.874.1223
Yellow hoses
Dunlop Tire:
See your dealer;
D606 front and rear tires
DP Brakes:; 716.681.8806
Brake rotors and pads
FMF Racing:; 310.631.4363
Q4 muffler and MegaBomb header (in stainless for the team)
Hinson Racing:; 951.946.2942
Complete clutch and cover
IMS Products:; 909.653.7720
Tank and dry-break
Maxima Racing Lubricants:; 619.449.5000
Oil, grease, coolant and brake fluid
Motion Pro:; 650.594.9600
Terminator cables and specialty tools
N-Style:; 800.831.9043
Team graphics and gripper seat cover
Pro-Moto Billet:; 866.466.4762
Kick-It kickstand
Regina USA:; 410.221.2800
O-ring chain
Renthal:; 877.736.8425
Twinwall handlebar, grips and sprockets
RG3 Suspension:; 714.630.0786
Showa kit suspension, suspension mods and setup, linkage and 20mm triple clamps
T.M. Designworks:; 541.535.1612
Chain guide
Twin Air:; 800.749.2890
Air filter
VP Racing Fuel:
Works Connection:; 530.642.9488
Elite perch with hot-start and throttle tube, skid plate, engine guards and billet engine plugs
Zip-Ty Racing:; 760.244.7028
Quick-change chain adjuster blocks, rear brake sharkfin and magnetic oil filter cover