2016 Suzuki RM-Z450 Comparison

Adam Booth | November 24, 2015
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The RM-Z received major updates in 2015, including frame changes and the addition of the Showa TAC air fork. For 2016 Suzuki implemented minor tweaks, including revised mapping for the Holeshot Assist Control, a lighter front brake caliper and revised graphics.While it’s the least changed machine in the 2016 MotoUSA motocross shootout, the RM-Z450 still warms riders’ hearts of riders for its amazing ability to corner confidently in any situation. Simply think of initiating a turn and the RM-Z450 is carving away.

2016 Suzuki RM-Z450Add the ability to corner with an engine that delivers excellent low to mid power and you have a bike that can turn quick lap times when piloted by a rider who knows when to short shift. The RM-Z 450 has a great engine; it just doesn’t have the peak numbers of the other 450s. The 2016 RM-Z450 produces the exact same power it did in 2015 and 2014, peaking at 50.75 hp at 9200 rpm. As a comparison, the all-new 2016 KTM 350 SX-F pumps out 51.6 hp at 12,800 rpm.

If the track is smooth and littered with turns the RM-Z shines, but as bumps develop, the harshness of the chassis and Showa TAC Air fork is painfully revealed. Suzuki and Kawasaki both use the Showa TAC Air fork on its 450 bikes, so you’d think they would feel similar, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The RM-Z450 beats you up on a rough track and transmits every imperfection through the chassis to the rider. The Kawasaki’s TAC Air fork performs much better, thanks to different valving and air pressure settings. Overall, the Showa TAC forks offer a wide range of adjustability for different weight and abilities and can be made to work better, but just not nearly as well as the KYB SSS (spring) fork on the Yamaha YZ450F.

2016 Suzuki RM-Z450

Unfortunately, the 2016 RM-Z450 is not a bike you just jump on and feel immediately comfortable. It took a lot of suspension tweaking to get it working well, and many of our test riders never came to terms with its overall harsh feel. The RM-Z450 was more favored by average-skilled riders who weighed over 200 pounds. Lighter-weight riders never got comfortable with the fork during our tests.

And speaking of weight, at 248 pounds the RM-Z450 is one of the heaviest bikes in the shootout. In fact, in terms of dry weight the Suzuki is the heaviest, since the only bike registering more lbs was the 249-pound YZ450F, which carries a half-gallon more fuel than the RM-Z. As a comparison, the lightest bikes in the shootout, the KTM 350 and 450, tipped the scales at 238 and 239 pounds respectively – a feat made all the more impressive by their use of electric start.

Rumor has it Suzuki will be hit the market with an all-new RM-Z450 in 2017, and we hope it’s true. The 2016 RM-Z doesn’t look much different than it did in 2008 and it needs some change. It’s heavy weight, missing top end horsepower, lack of comfort in the suspension and an old look lands the Suzuki in the seventh position in the 2016 MotoUSA shootout.

2016 450 Shootout Dyno RM-Z450

Highs
• Great cornering
• Easy to ride engine

Lows
• Harsh overall feel
• Dated package

Suzuki RM-Z 450 Suspension Settings
Fork
Inner chamber: 171 psi
Balance chamber: 171 psi
Outer chamber: 0 psi
Compression: 8
Rebound: 13
Shock
Sag: 105mm
Hi-compression: 2 out
Lo-compression: 12
Rebound: 12

Previous | Next
2016 450 Motocross Shootout Intro
2016 Suzuki RM-Z450 Comparison
2016 Honda CRF450R Comparison
2016 KTM 350 SX-F Comparison
2016 Kawasaki KX450F Comparison
2016 Husqvarna FC 450 Comparison
2016 KTM 450 SX-F Comparison
2016 Yamaha YZ450F Comparison
2016 450 Motocross Shootout Conclusion

MotoUSA 2016 450 Motocross Shootout

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Adam Booth

Off-road Editor | Articles | Enjoying single track in the mountains, hitting the motocross track or battling an EnduroCross track, if it's on two wheels Boothy will have a smile on his face. Adam has served a mega ton of years in the off-road industry as a photographer, writer and popper of wheelies.

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