2011 RMZ450 Review: Roger's last Suzuki


50 replies to this topic
  • mxengineer4

Posted November 24, 2010 - 08:53 PM

#1

I have always liked the overall feel and handling of the recent RM's and RMZ's. After owning an 08 RMZ450 a few years ago and reading about the recent updates to the bike I decided to pick up a new 2011 RMZ450 last weekend. I got a chance to ride it at an old school natural terrain moto track and some woods trails. Here are my intial ride impressions and observations of the bike.

The engine dominates my initial thoughts. Very powerful powerful yet controllable. Super broad and smooth power that revs more slowly so it just pulls and pulls and then pulls some more. No need to shift much and easy to run a tall gear and just let it pull. Revs out nicely and does not flatten out up top. You can carry the front wheel in any gear at any speed. The hook up on the rear is impressive. Rideability of the EFI at slow speeds is good. No herky-jerky on-off stuff as you putt from the pit to the track. Easy to modulate the throttle even in the tight woods sections. Very controllable and excellent wrist to rear wheel connectivity. I did not try the optional richer or leaner EFI map and really had no desire to change the map as the engine ran so good. The new muffler is very quiet. Kick effort is high and starting was 2~3 kicks cold and 1~2 kicks warm. There is a hot start lever along with the cold start/idle speed adjust knob.

Steering is Suzuki like in that is just goes where you think - light at the bars with good front traction. The front end seemed less busy than my 08 RMZ450 at speed – actually kind of stable feeling. The rear end was very connected and again seemed more planted and stable on the acceleration chop exiting rough corners compared to my 08. Overall the bike changes directions easily and goes where you want it to go without fighting you. I really like this trait

The chassis and suspension have an overall firm feeling. Spring rates seem good and the chassis feels balanced front to rear. I had 106mm sag with my 185lb vet intermediate body in the saddle (manual recommends 105mm). Bottoming resistance both front and rear is improved over the 08 model. Opening up the compression side 2~4 clicks over stock made the bike noticeably plusher. I think the suspension will break in nicely and seems to respond well to clicker changes.

Other observations about the bike. The brakes are way better than expected. The front brake is excellent with a nice linear and strong feel overall (it did squeal a little when I got it hot). Ergos are really good. Slim and narrow through the mid section and I like the look of the front fender when seated or standing (same as the 08). Seat is thickly padded and has a really grippy cover. Renthal Fat bars are low so I installed 5mm spacers under the rubber mounts. Grips are thin and hard. Clutch pull is on the heavy side and engages quickly unless you have almost no free play at the lever. Leaner and richer EFI maps are accessed via optional couplers that are connected into a plug behind the front number plate. DID o-ring chain is stock (and it has more friction than the new DID VT2 narrow o-ring chains), rims are Excels, footpegs are wide. The overall weight of the RMZ is noticeable when putting it on a stand but not so much in motion.

Overall the 2011 RMZ450 is a noticeable improvement on a solid 2008 RMZ450 package. The chassis is more settled and stable yet still has that agile and easy to change direction feel that that is not common on 450F’s and makes cornering so much fun on the RMZ450. The moto focused chassis and suspension is firm yet not harsh. The engine is incredibly powerful and totally controllable. The bike simply works very well as an overall package and allows you to just focus on riding and having fun. Roger DeCoster knows how to win championships as both a rider and team manager and more importantly he knows how to develop motocross bikes. The 2011 RMZ450 certainly reflects Roger's influence as it is an effective and fun way to get around a motocross track:thumbsup:

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  • Noppy

Posted November 24, 2010 - 09:46 PM

#2

Wow! Nice review? How about the mis shifts? Any complaints?

Temperature stayed steady?

  • mxengineer4

Posted November 24, 2010 - 10:08 PM

#3

Wow! Nice review? How about the mis shifts? Any complaints?

Temperature stayed steady?


MXA complained about mis-shifts in their test but I have not experienced any yet and the shift action is great.

No overheating but first day it was only around 46F and second day was about 65F so cool ambient temperatures. I also did not let it idle a long time and kept it moving in the woods.

Complaints? wish it was lighter, the bars are low for me (I am 6'2"), seat bolts are only 6mm dia and feel kind of weak, wish there was an easy EFI mapping tool (like the hand held Yamaha style), the chain and axle blocks on the 08 model were gold colored now plain in 11...might find some more after a few more rides:thumbsup:

Edited by mxengineer4, November 24, 2010 - 10:10 PM.
forgot anwer


  • Mike546

Posted November 25, 2010 - 03:41 AM

#4

When I saw the title of the post I thought you were Roger and you were never buying another Suzuki after buying this one. Had me scared.

  • mxengineer4

Posted November 25, 2010 - 06:17 AM

#5

When I saw the title of the post I thought you were Roger and you were never buying another Suzuki after buying this one. Had me scared.


Well I am disappointed Suzuki could not find a way to keep The Man involved with their race team and bike development...but I am sure future RMZ's will continue to get better and better and will always corner better than anything else out there!:p

  • Bruce372

Posted November 25, 2010 - 07:48 AM

#6

i think any shifting issues are down to the shift lever- lots of guys are using a 07 rmz450 aftermarket lever....lots better for me

  • Suzi450

Posted November 25, 2010 - 08:40 AM

#7

Are they still using the plastic "T" in the radiator hoses? I still have my 08 RMZ450 and still love it, but heard about issues with the "T" cracking and riders getting hot coolant in the crotch. Never any shifting problems with mine, well that were'nt rider error misses.

  • Huckster

Posted November 25, 2010 - 09:22 AM

#8

do people actually shift 450's and if so, do you really ever use 1st or 2nd?...Serioulsy, I can ride my 08 around 99% of the tracks that I race on in 3rd gear and never have to worry about shifting....If I shift, its from 3rd-4th....

  • rmzrider151

Posted November 25, 2010 - 11:10 AM

#9

WOW thanks for that review w/ pics!

  • RussFinancesHomes.com

Posted November 25, 2010 - 11:15 AM

#10

How does the handleing compare to your 10 CRF 250r

  • sctilt

Posted November 25, 2010 - 02:16 PM

#11

Are they still using the plastic "T" in the radiator hoses? I still have my 08 RMZ450 and still love it, but heard about issues with the "T" cracking and riders getting hot coolant in the crotch. Never any shifting problems with mine, well that were'nt rider error misses.


Yes, unfortunately they are still using the plastic T. I replaced mine with an aluminum piece from ZipTy Racing...far superior. Also replace the oem rad. cap with a 1.6...potential problems solved!
http://www.ziptyraci...spx?id=MTUyMg==

  • mxengineer4

Posted November 25, 2010 - 07:30 PM

#12

How does the handleing compare to your 10 CRF 250r


That is an interesting question! Well the 10 CRF250 feels super light - even lighter than other 250F's, suspension is very plush, almost no engine vibration, maybe the most "2-stroke 125" feeling 250F out there as the low end power is kind of soft and you need to keep the RPM's up....so how does the RMZ450 compare to the 10 CRF250? Well the RMZ450 feels heavier overall but has so much easy to use power combined with a chassis that turns like a 250 2-stroke so this combination makes for a very fun way to get around a motocross track. I like how effortlessly the RMZ450 compresses space and time between corners...and corners are very fun too!:p

  • dunn2500

Posted November 26, 2010 - 12:36 AM

#13

props to suzuki, sounds like they have refined an already good bike..........imo they are the only ones who have the aluminum frame dialed

  • mxengineer4

Posted November 26, 2010 - 05:52 AM

#14

props to suzuki, sounds like they have refined an already good bike..........imo they are the only ones who have the aluminum frame dialed


+1:thumbsup:

  • rexdog

Posted November 26, 2010 - 07:01 PM

#15

Man, those pics make my mouth water. I'd love to throw my leg over that bike for 5 minutes, i got an 05 i"d just like to see the difference probably lots..... anyway sweet bike dude, love all the rmz's......

  • db8

Posted November 30, 2010 - 02:49 PM

#16

mxengineer,

how do you think the rmz would go in the comparison you did around the 5 minute enduro loop? I ask as I am contemplating whether to go a 250f or 450 for woods racing.

  • mxengineer4

Posted November 30, 2010 - 07:04 PM

#17

mxengineer,

how do you think the rmz would go in the comparison you did around the 5 minute enduro loop? I ask as I am contemplating whether to go a 250f or 450 for woods racing.


On the second day of riding the RMZ450 I brought my 350SXF along for a mini comparison. I rode both bikes on the old school mx track and (2) woods loops. The longer woods loop included some 1st gear tight stuff while the shorter loop cut out the tight stuff and was a little more flowing. Realize my 350SXF has been the quickest bike for me on all these loops and the RMZ is still very new and the suspension is still breaking in so I do not really feel like I have the clickers dialed in yet - just running them pretty much stock (a few clicks softer on compression front and rear only). The best lap times for each test follow:

350SXF MX(1:50.90) Loop 1(3:16.02) Loop 2 (2:03.96)

RMZ450 MX(1:53.65) Loop 1(3:17.11) Loop 2 (2:04.51)

I was really surprised by the results. I felt faster and more in control on the 350SXF. I am still getting used to the RMZ450 in terms of the extra power but the engine is so smooth and easy to use. For me my current favorite 4-stroke off road bike is the 350SXF. I think the 350cc engine size is a nice combination of light weight cornering feel and enough power to effective and fun (there are many times when I want a little more out of a 250F) so that makes it my favorite off road thumper. But the 11 RMZ450 handles really well overall (especially in the corners) and it has so much smooth and easy to use power...it just kind of makes you smile every time you lay it over in a corner or turn the throttle and feel that effortless accelleration!:thumbsup:

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  • skyler

Posted November 30, 2010 - 08:56 PM

#18

the 450 is definetly more bike to handle but the 250 lacks on hills and such. to make the 450 a good woods bike this is what I did put a 51 rear sprocket on it a revloc dyna ring( trust me you will be thanking that you did) almost had to end 3/4 way throgh a 35 km loop do to pulling clutch to much, and at least a 1.8 rad cap and I also put a motion pro overflow tank. I race vet am but practice on all of the expert loops.

  • mxengineer4

Posted December 01, 2010 - 03:43 AM

#19

the 450 is definetly more bike to handle but the 250 lacks on hills and such. to make the 450 a good woods bike this is what I did put a 51 rear sprocket on it a revloc dyna ring( trust me you will be thanking that you did) almost had to end 3/4 way throgh a 35 km loop do to pulling clutch to much, and at least a 1.8 rad cap and I also put a motion pro overflow tank. I race vet am but practice on all of the expert loops.


Totally agree that the clutch pull is heavy for tight woods stuff so I was thinking of trying the Rekluse EXP but the Revloc Dyna ring is interesting - how does it work compared to the EXP...any downsides? What are the details (part no. etc) of the 1.8 radiator cap you used?

  • grunkthump

Posted December 01, 2010 - 05:22 AM

#20

is the rmz's clutch pull HEAVIER than the 350's??!!




 
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