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TESTED: 2018 RM-Z450WS | Back End | Bike Reviews | Factory Ride | Features

ADB MX Editor Lee Hogan was in Japan for the unveiling of Suzuki's all-new RM-Z450. There weren't allowed to ride the production model but he did get the chance to ride the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450WS

The way this factory bike review came about was kinda weird. We were in Japan for the unveiling of the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 model (ADB #455), which we weren’t allowed to ride, but we were allowed to ride the factory version.

This isn’t really a true comparison because you aren’t comparing apples with apples! There is a very similar feeling to the chassis of the two bikes and they feel almost identical to sit on.

As expected, the motor is stronger in the factory machine and there’s no comparison in the suspension. You just can’t compare suspension that would cost more than your family car with production stuff. But that being said, the bikes do share a lot of the same handling characteristics and react in a similar way out on the track.

The Showa forks on the factory bikes are essentially spring/cartridge units with a slight difference. They are called ‘hybrid’ or ‘air-assisted’ and have a tiny air chamber into which you can pump some air to increase bottoming resistance.

I have never ridden with a fork that is even close to being as good as this thing in both high-speed bottoming resistance and plushness in the first part of the stroke.

The factory bike was using the BFRC technology featured in the 2018 production bike and rear end of the WS was absolutely flawless.

It sat in the right part of the stroke nearly the whole time and almost never jacked up in the rear. Neither did it squat too low for an extended period of time.

The 60-plus horsepower motor was one of the smoothest, most tractable engines I’ve had the pleasure of using but the thing that kept it out of the top two spots on my list of favourites was that the bottom-end grunt was slightly soft for me.

I’m normally not a huge fan of a hydraulic clutch but I can certainly appreciate that, as you get more and more horsepower, you need more spring pressure on the clutch pack to stop the plates getting fried.

Even with the grunty engine in this bike, the feather-light clutch worked perfectly all day.

You can read the full review in ADB issue #457. 

Works Suzuki RM-Z450