2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultant

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Steve O
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2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultant

Post by Steve O » Mon Nov 12, 2012 6:28 pm

I recently purchased the 2013 RMZ 450 and have ridden it 3 times at Zaca Station http://www.zacastationmx.com here in Central California. The following is a review of that bike based on a slow old man with withered knees and a tired back. So take it for what it's worth... I started off as we all should by setting the sag. I'm a little over 6 foot and weigh 200lbs without gear and can honestly say this is the first time I was ever able to set proper sag without running out of spring. The manufacturer says the bike is sprung stiff but for 180+ lb riders they will find it perfect. I also set pre-load, compression and rebound to the manufacturers suggested settings as this is only the starting place for set up which can and will change with the type of track and conditions you’re riding on. Don’t let the magazines lull you into what the ultimate set up for the bike is because I can tell you that most of us mere mortals don’t ride anything like the pros or the guys conducting the shootouts so usually their compression, rebound and preload are off yours and my charts. Take the time to read about what each adjustment does, turn the dials yourself and feel the difference. It will make you a better rider.
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I'll save you the bore of the on track break-in sessions and cut right to it. My first real uninhibited session I immediately noticed that the fast entries to corners under heavy braking with chatter bumps the front end was beating me to death. I rolled into the pits for a quick -2 clicks of compression dampening, allowing the fork to travel through the stroke faster. The front end immediately felt better but was still compacting or at least it felt like it was. I rolled back into the pits for -2 clicks of pre-load and +1 clicks of compression to offset the preload and just like that it was fixed. The remainder of the session was spent reveling at how well this bike turns, accelerates and jumps. It does not feel like the typical 450 as it felt light and flickable. The power was extremely linear and was there when you needed it, “The bike flat out rips.” I didn’t play around with the different plug and play fuelling maps, opting for the stock map, but my next outing I will definitely run them all. This bike was easy to ride and made me feel like I was fast again. It holds lines through corners that allow passes that shouldn’t be. Yes, it turns that good. The seating position to handlebars and pegs were perfect for me and I was right at home immediately. Does it sound like I’m sold? Well, not much choice, I bought the damn thing.

I have yet to see any shootouts of the 2013’s nor have I ridden any other manufacturers bikes so I couldn’t tell you how it compares to the competition. But if the other bikes are up to par with the Suzuki, this years shootout could be really interesting.

Steve “O”

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Sandblaster
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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review

Post by Sandblaster » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:20 am

Nice write up Steve O!
Thanks for the information.
I can't wait to see what your impression of the bike is after you spend a little quality time with it.
I enabled pics to be directly uploaded to the site so feel free to post.
SB
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review

Post by Bix Weir » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:23 am

Everything is great but yellow doesn't make it....
Blue is cool... :lol:

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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review

Post by Sandblaster » Tue Nov 13, 2012 4:25 am

Blue is cool but green is KING :shock:
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by Sandblaster » Sat Dec 01, 2012 2:19 am

Hey, how about a update?
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Steve O
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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by Steve O » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:08 pm

This past weekend I installed an FMF Factory F4.1 exhaust/spark arrestor that I purchased from OEM-Cycle (see review for pics and install). I then headed out to a location here in San Luis Obispo County called Pozo (LaPanza OHV). This riding area is approximately 19,000 acres and 44 miles of mountainous terrain. It includes 300 foot drop offs in a couple of locations that are strategically placed in an area known as “the Stair Steps”. The “Stair Steps” are nothing more than a 75 foot climb or decent down a rock face of boulders. Although trail maintenance is performed every year this place is full of chatter bumps, deep ruts and washed out goat trails on the side of mountains. They say if you can ride fast at Pozo you can ride fast anywhere. I would agree… what a perfect place to test the new RMZ 450.

Having ridden Pozo in the past I knew the suspension would need some serious softening after coming off a motocross track like Zaca Station. Much more than I thought as I would soon find out. Initially I backed out the compression dampening on the front and rear suspension by a couple of clicks and added a click of rebound in hopes of softening the blow of some very well known chatter bumps. We headed out through a whooped out sandwash which the RMZ 450 had no problem tracking straight and eating up some deep sandy whoops. The suspension felt compliant and the engine pulled strong. As the sandy whoops turned in to hard pack trails, circulating up the face of a chatter bump infested slow mountainous climb, I immediately knew the suspension was too stiff. My first indicator was the brutal jarring on my hands and shoulders from the front end. My second indicator came after pole vaulting myself off the trail into a manzanita bush. Nice… I again backed the compression dampening out to include two full turns of preload. We hit the trails again. I found this made a huge difference yet the front end of the bike was still beating me to death. Welcome to Pozo. This continued throughout the ride until I found myself zeroed out on compression and preload on the front suspension yet I was still getting hammered. The rear shock felt great and was not an issue.

Suzuki was definitely thinking Supercross when they valved the suspension on this bike. The front suspension is valved for big hits and heavy trail breaking into corners which forces a lot of weight on the front end. Trail riding of this nature does not and although I raved about the suspension on the RMZ at Zaca Station I can’t say the same for this type of trail riding. In the RMZ’s defense if you’ve spent anytime riding and racing in a variety of terrain you know that suspension valving for Supercross and Outdoor Motorcross is night and day from trail riding. Next up Ballinger Canyon, a faster flowing type of trail riding.

Steve O
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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by Sandblaster » Tue Dec 11, 2012 4:23 am

Excellent write up.
What do you think would be a good compromise on the front end?
Revalve, softer springs, both?
If bikes are for kids I'll never grow up.

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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by Steve O » Tue Dec 11, 2012 5:28 am

I believe a revalve would solve the issue. They definitely put a supercross/motocross shim stack in the front end. Spring rate is good. Finding a happy medium in valving has always been an issue if your jumping between trail riding and motocross. A good trail bike will always feel too soft on the track and good motocross bike too stiff for the trails. I will say the front end on the RMZ is the most extreme of any stock bike I have ever owned. It reminds me of my supercross bike from....well, way back when.

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Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by therooster » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:51 am

I got a 13 too and broke it in at Zaca last sunday.....track was brutal and I went out and rode it like my 08 crf450 without doing any suspension tweaks just set the sag and ripped it. I ended up face planting after hitting the rear brake by accident on the landing to the 3rd jump in the front section. I agree that the suspension...or front fork, is super stiff (I was getting beat to F#$%# on braking bumps) and probably needs to be revalved like all the mags say. I ended up taking 40cc's of oil out of the right leg (spring side). Stock has 350cc's right and 310cc's left....this I and switched up the compression and rebound and adjusted the preload. Rode Piru on saturday and just loved the bike. I rode till my hands were bleeding. Thing corners unreal, the power is meaty and it feels killer in the air. The only thing I wanna change is the stock brake pedal to accommodate my size 11 boots so I don't have another mishap like I did at Zaca. I got the forged hammerhead shifter with ti tip on ebay but when I put it up to the bike to test fit it it ended up being a 1/4" narrower then the stock pedal. I'm trying to return it and looking into the machined model pedal because it looks like it has a wider adjustment.

Tardboy

Re: 2013 Suzuki RMZ450 Review by Steve O OEM-CYCLE consultan

Post by Tardboy » Tue Mar 19, 2013 3:56 am

I've been considering it and the 13 KX450F.
I can't make up my mind...
If I bought the RM what things do you guys think I should do to it right away?

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