Bikes 20 Feb 2015

Tested: 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450

MotoOnline.com.au rides and reviews the 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450.

Over the past few years Suzuki has seen plenty of success with their RM-Z450 machine. Team Motul Suzuki’s Matt Moss has dominated the premier class domestically in recent years, Yoshimura Suzuki’s James Stewart has shown flashes of pure brilliance and most recently Ken Roczen has placed his 2015 RM-Z450 atop the AMA Supercross podium multiple times.

With so much recent success, it was clear that the 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 was something to look forward to riding. Although the 2015 model may seem to have undergone minimal changes, the Suzuki engineers have actually been hard at work perfecting their already strong premier class contender.

For 2015, the RM-Z450 continues to evolve, delivering a higher level of performance while maintaining the great balance of the recent models. The Suzuki RM-Z450 has been renowned for its stability and great overall handling characteristics, and with the addition of the SFF-Air fork we were hoping that would remain the same.

The SFF-Air suspension is an evolution of the SFF system with no coil spring, reduced weight, increased inner tube diameter, and increased damper rod/piston size. The SFF-Air is made of three chambers and riders change the spring rate with an air pump instead of changing out the coil springs.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Here at MotoOnline.com.au we have previously had seat time on other manufacturers using these forks, and as you would have seen if you are a regular viewer, we were very impressed. How did they perform when paired to the Suzuki RM-Z450 chassis? Very well once again!

Test rider Dylan Wills was super impressed with the way the SFF-Air fork performed when paired with the Suzuki chassis. Thanks to Team Motul Suzuki’s Jay Foreman, Dylan was able to fine-tune the sensitive forks to find that perfect setting on the rough sandy circuit.

Not only was Dylan thoroughly impressed with the handling characteristics of the new SFF-Air fork, when paired with the rear shock, working through Suzuki’s superlative rising-rate linkage system, he found the whole suspension package an overall winner. The amount of fine-tuning and the way the chassis responds to tiny adjustments was the talk of the day.

In addition to the updated SFF-Air system, for 2015 the RM-Z450 has also received a redesigned frame, which increases rigidity and reduces weight by four percent from the previous model. After a day of motos, it’s clear that Suzuki really did their homework with these changes for the new year.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Dylan found that he could place the 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 exactly where he wanted at all times with minimal effort – the bike doesn’t fight back. This is one of the RM-Z450’s most impressive attributes, if you’re searching for a 450 that will go anywhere you want and turn on a time, this is the one you’re after.

The RM-Z450 engine package was already a strong and very useable piece of gear, and for 2015 Suzuki decided to improve on that with a combination of subtle changes. The piston pin now has a diamond-like carbon (DLC) surface treatment, for less friction and increased durability.

For quick fuel adjustment setting to suit riding condition, two couplers are enclosed. One is for rich and another for lean fuel setting compared to stock setting. Riders can change fuel setting to best suit the riding conditions by simply connecting either coupler.

In all honesty, the 2015 RM-Z450 has more than enough power for 99 percent of riders out there. It’s all about placing the power where you want it, which is exactly what this system allows. Riders such as Dylan will go for the aggressive lean setting when traction is plentiful, and the opposite when trying to navigate an ice rink-like mud race.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

The aluminum cylinder features Suzuki Composite Electrochemical Material (SCEM) coating, built for durability, light weight and efficient heat transfer.

Engine start has also been improved with a longer kick starter, a redesigned kick drive gear, a relocated kick idle gear, a newly added breather gear, and a redesigned decompression system that works more precisely and efficiently.

The gear shift feel has been improved with a revised gear shift cam for a more precise operation. The machining process of each gear was also reviewed to increase precision of matching gears, an important update for all of you guys and girls racing this model – nailing your shifts at all times is a must.

Speaking of nailing your shifts, the Suzuki Holeshot Assist Control (S-HAC) is a selectable launch mode system derived straight from the factory race bike to help riders launch from the starting gate for an early lead. There are three modes so riders can choose the best option for their skill level and riding conditions.

A Mode: For hard surfaces or less than ideal conditions at the starting gate, hold down the S-HAC switch for more than 0.7 seconds, B Mode: When there is better traction and a more aggressive launch is needed, you hold down the S-HAC switch for more than 1.8 second.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Image: Adam Spence/Plan V.

Cooling performance has also been enhanced with the radiator hose connection being changed from a T-shaped to a Y-shaped design for more equal water flow between left and right radiators. Water flow is also increased by 16 percent with a redesigned water pump cover and the water hose is now directly connected to the water pump.

Renthal Fatbars remain a standard feature in the 2015 RM-Z450 cockpit, a comfortable bend that tends to suit a wide range of riders. Excel aluminum rims are also standard equipment once again for 2015, built for durability and strength, you can be sure they will hold up against the roughest conditions.

Overall the 2015 Suzuki RM-Z450 has again left us here at MotoOnline.com.au with a great impression. Year after year the RM-Z450 remains one of our favourite models to swing a leg over, so we’re glad that they have been able to bring something even better to the showroom for the new year.

If you’re in the market for a 2015 450cc motocrosser, be sure to head to your local dealer and check one of these out, retailing at $11,250 in Australia now.

Click here for detailed specifications

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