Fuel freakin' injection!
Frame components tuned for optimum flex/ rigidity balance
Bridgestone 403/404 tires (80/100-21 front,110/90-19 rear)
Funky shroud and fender styling
5-speed transmission increases versatility
Thin/wide footpegs to resist mud buildup
Link-type shifting mechanism
Wave-style disc brake rotors
Increased engine compression through cylinder head mods (from 11.9:1 to 12.2:1)
Redesigned crankcase places center of crank 2mm back and 3mm down compared to '07What's Hot!
EFI is good, especially if you like leaving your bike alone between rides.
EFI is efficient, no loss of fuel out of the vent tubesNice aluminum tank!
Traction! Traction! Traction!What's Not!
Kickstarting effort is pretty high.
How's it going to hold up?
What do I do if I want to modify it?Specifications
Seat height: 37.0 in.
Footpeg height: 16.7 in.
Seat-to-footpeg distance: 20.3 in.
Fuel capacity: 1.6 gal.
Claimed dry weight: 224 lb
Weight (ready to ride, no gas): 240 lbOpinions
After months of waiting to ride the '08 RM-Z450, I must say that I wasn't sure what to expect (everything from super-computer technology to chronic fatigue syndrome had crossed my mind). But in the end, the Suzuki is still just a dirt bike (albeit a big, yellow one with a fancy fuel tank sans carburetor, but a dirt bike nonetheless). Riding this machine back-to-back with the Yamaha YZ450F, I noticed a lot of similarities between the two, chief of which is the delivery. Both 450s feel smooth and quick-revving, Although the Suzuki has an extra serving of butter to the Yamaha's vanilla. Response on the RM-Z was expectedly excellent, resembling a well-jetted carburetor with consistent off-idle snap and crisp acceleration. I was impressed with the fuel injection, but my moto brain couldn't comprehend the lack of a fuel petcock. I didn't feel any weirdness in the "carburetion" to speak of...other than the impression that the motor is strangely tough to kick over at times.Chassiswise, the Suzuki feels stable and somewhat top-heavy compared to the other machines. I'm comfortable enough with the ergos but wouldn't mind toying with a taller bar (and perhaps a different shift tip). I had slight pushing issues in a few corners, but for the most part the RM-Z turns like an animal and handles ruts quite well. It also has a nice-feeling clutch, good seat foam and a host of gaudy accessories (Read: gold chain blocks) that give it extra flair. Compared to the Honda CRF450R, the bike doesn't feel as light or have nearly the same "flick" to it, though it keeps its composure in chop in much the same manner.
-Chris Denison/5'10"/155 lb/IntermediateSo how does the EFI really work? Well forget that for a moment because this RM-Z stands out with a striking first impression that it is a very light bike. It has a very "250F" feel about it. But then you yank the throttle and things are not so 250F-like anymore. The bike is a 450 and it packs the power to prove it. I don't think this is the highest-power 450 I've ridden, but it hauls the beans just fine. And for the most part you wouldn't know there's anything but a perfectly jetted carb under the tank. The bike is very linear and picks up from a very low rpm with little fuss. It is smooth and isn't too snappy anywhere in the delivery but does rev fast in the upper rpm. The new five-speed transmission is a better match for this power delivery for sure and is undoubtedly more versatile. But the advantage of the EFI is in the ability of the bike to go a gear high into corners, drop down to a very low rpm, and take a heaping dose of throttle (with or without clutching it) to get the bike rolling again. You should have little fear of stalling or coughing this bike. It just chugs out and works its way back up, pulling just fine.The bike's light feeling is matched with an unfamiliar companion of feeling pretty planted. It has a very balanced feel, and the layout seemed plenty roomy, allowing the rider to get anywhere he needs to be.-Jimmy Lewis/5'10"/180 lb/Vet ProHeads Up
After our initial flogging on the new RM-Z450, we thought it'd be fun to stack it up against the other 450s of 2008.
Sort of a quasi-shootout comparison of sorts.The RM-Z easily feels like a shootout contender. It has a solid chassis and suspension feel that instilled confidence.
It jumped light like a 250F and delivered one of the most usable helpings of power we've ever experienced. Would it stand up next to our shootout winner, the Honda CRF450R?Yes and no. When you hit the track on the Honda and Suzuki back-to-back, you'll see that the RM-Z feels a bit underpowered. That's not a bad thing, by itself. Who needs more power than the RM-Z cranks out? Nobody. But when that power is delivered through a product like a CRF, then it's almost like cheating. The gear-position ignition mapping takes care of the Honda's aggressive power nature the same way the RM-Z's EFI system does. But the red bike's motor is just too impressive to ignore. The RM-Z is more like the YZ in power delivery and smooth like the KTM.Handling is a personal affair, and the RM-Z is a great bike to get along with. Similarly the Honda keeps an aggressive edge, especially in the fork. The bike is confident in holding itself up and likes to be pushed, great for a true race bike. Similar to the CRF here, the RM-Z can take almost as much pushing, but it also feels like it gets better traction front and rear, like the KTM. And the RM-Z outperforms the CRF on all smaller bumps eliminating most of the feeling to your hands. In comparison, the RM-Z is a sweeter ride on the wrists. But when the bumps get big the CRF shines, like it did all shootout long. Nevertheless, both of these bikes take a back seat to our favorite suspension found on the Yamaha.The RM-Z isn't going to knock off the Honda this year. But it's scary close for such a revolutionary model. It finds a place between the two camps of 450s. Kawasaki and Honda seem to be the aggressive guys, and Yamaha and KTM take the smoother approach. While the Suzuki isn't a ripper like green and red, it seems to be a step up in aggression, depending on how you choose to turn the throttle, compared to blue and orange. We'll have to see how the bike holds up in the durability game as well since we actually got our first test bike stuck in gear at the introduction after only two hours of riding, earning a strange look from the Suzuki engineers (evidently it was a broken shift fork-something Suzuki hadn't seen before on this bike).Where do you fit in? Aggressive? Smooth? Yellow, blue, green, orange or red? Or maybe, just maybe, you really hate jets. And for that the RM-Z is all you.