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2010 Suzuki RMX450LO Ride Impression

By: Aaryn Minerds

Monday, 15th February, 2010

ID: 24 - Views: 254098

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When I got the call asking if I would like to head over to country New South Wales to attend the launch of the 2010 RMX450, I immediately said yes, it was not until I got off the phone that I realised what I had just agreed to do.

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The new RMX450LO is a race machine aimed at those who compete or ride hard.

Not that in a million years I would turn down an offer to spend a day out riding dirt bikes, I just came to the realization that my trail riding and Enduro riding experience is very limited and I had never actually ridden a 450 four stroke motorcycle in the bush! Actually the only experience I had in the bush leading into the launch was a handful of South Australian state off road rounds I had ridden over the previous two and a half years aboard a 250F motocrosser. I was about to be initiated into the world of big bore four stroke trail riding.

The ADR Question:
Before I head into how the bike was to ride, it is probably best to have a look over this bike and see what it is that Suzuki Australia is trying to achieve with the RMX450. The burning question being asked about the new Enduro spec Suzuki is will it be road legal and will it pass Australian Design Rules (ARD) so it can be registered? The short answer to that question is Sort of and No!

The bike will not meet ADR compliance so therefore will not be able to be registered in terms of full time road use. As to the reason, Suzuki Australia have decided to bring the RMX450 enduro bike into the country without it being able to be registered is something that was very much discussed at the launch of the new bike.

All of Suzuki’s off road bikes that currently conform to ADR compliance and can be registered in Australia straight from the factory ready for our market, the new RMX450LO currently is not built to conform to Australia’s high demand design rules.

The bike itself is able to be registered in a lot of countries including New Zealand. Suzuki Australia have looked into making the bikes ADR compliant once they reach our shores as well as the possibility of the bike’s being manufactured straight out of the factory to meed out ADR’s but at this point in time neither of these is financially viable. This does not mean the bike will always be in this situation; Suzuki Australia is continually reviewing the situation and will continue to look for ways to make the RMX road legal and registrable in Australia.

Suzuki already have Australia’s leading off road trail bike in the DRZ400, and have a great following with the DRZ range of bullet proof Suzuki trail bike’s that trail riders around the country depend on week in week out.

The good news for DRZ lovers is this is not about to change and there are no plans in the foreseeable future for this to change, the new RMX450 is here to fit the competitive Enduro competition market and therefore a new segment of the market for Suzuki. and Even when or if the RMX becomes road legal the DRZ range will still be available for riders out there looking for a great bike that is more relaxed trail and road friendly ride.

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Top Photo: the RMX is 12 KG heavier than it's MX brother due in part to the starter motor. The bike also features a compact multi feature instrument panel that has two modes, Sport and standard modes
Suzuki’s new RMX450 does offer a great package for the right person, and comes with a host of enduro orientated features on what is pretty much at motocross bike with lights. Apart from the obvious signs that this is an enduro bike with the slim line headlight, super small rear LED taillight, and tight looking multifunctional digital Speedo which offers both a sports/racing mode and a general off road mode, there are a host of changes from the RMZ that makes this bike more suited to the bush or competition trails than a MX track.

The Bike:
The bike its self looks exactly the same as the RMZ and shares most of the same 'DNA', the frame is the same frame found on the championship winning RMZ450 with just a minor change to the seat rails being the main difference to the whole frame. The air box is slightly changed being fully enclosed and also having side access for easey, tooless,air filter changes while out riding or on the trail. The bike also comes with a throttle screw which restricts full opening of the throttle but can be removed which I will cover a little later.

Overall dimensions of the bike are also very similar to the RMX450, with the overall length of the bike just 5mm shorter, mainly due to the increase in steering angle to help give the RMX even better handling in tight situations where the bike has been designed to be ridden. In fact every dimension of the bike is within 5-10mm of the RMZ apart from the ground clearance which is 30mm less than the RMZ with a clearance of 320mm.

The power plant on the RMX is also derived from the RMZ450 fuel injected engine, with the difference in final gear rations, Compression ratios and also the engine’s fuel injection mapping being the noticeable differences on the bike. The RMX also carries an extra 300ML of coolant via the extra reservoir tucked away behind the bash plate, bringing the total coolant capacity to 1200ML.

Electric start also comes standard on this bike which will put a big smile on anyone’s face when they need to start the bike on a large rocky uphill section trust me!. A 6.2 litre fuel tank comes standard on this bike with a warning light that illuminates when the bike gets down to the last 1.5L of fuel.

Yoshimura have an MX Tuner that has been designed for the RMX450, and can be used to make adjustments to the fuel injection system on the bike. The Unit will be available from all Suzuki dealerships and will attached straight to the coupler that is already tucked away on the bike. There is also another coupler that sits next to the MX tuner coupler that is used to attach a diagnostic light which can be used for maintenance issues for the bike and also doubles for the coupler for the power up option which I will get into shortly.

A 12 V battery gets all the electrics up and going and a three phase AC Generator keeps it all ticking along nicely. The head light itself is a slimline design which still produces good amount of light. The first tree section on the loop we were riding at the launch was fully covered with virtually no sunlight coming through, the standard headlight on the bike done a more than adequate job of keeping everything in front of the bike in clear vision at the speed’s we were running.

Being a bike that is not registrable in Australia there is no need for Indicators on the bike so there were none, also there was no switch block as again it was not needed on this bike. The electric start was easy to use with a power on and off button used to turn the bike on and then a separate start button, which when combined with pulling the clutch lever in would have the bike fired up instantly.

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RMX450 certainly doesn't lack power and is Suzuki's answer for those that like to hit the trails hard and fast.
The Showa suspension package again on the RMX comes straight from the RMZ with just a few minor tweaks to make it more suited to the bush. Spring rates both front and rear are slightly softer to give the RMX a plusher ride. Both front and rear clicker adjustment is reduced on the RMX450 with a total of 8 clicker positions for both the Compression and rebound adjustments on the front forks. At the back end of the bike there are a total of 13 clicker positions on the rear shocks rebound with the high speed compression having two settings and the low speed compression ten.

Power Up! What is a power up you ask? Well the version of the bike we get in Australia has been designed to meet regulations in different parts of the world and with just a few modifications the bike you purchase off the show room floor can be taken from a very rideable 44 horse power, to a race ready 49 horse power.

The first step can be completed at any stage with no further modifications needed to the bike. The bike comes standard with a throttle stop screw; simply removing this screw will be the first step in making the RMX even livelier. The next step is to remove the restrictors that are on the bike, which again is as simple as removing the air cover cap on the air box and taking the silencer end cap out of the exhaust. It is recommended though that if the second two stages of the power up are done that you also take the bike back to where purchased and have the Yoshimura power up unit fitted, which is available from all Suzuki dealers.

The Ride
Riding the bike is what we were all waiting for, and the venue for the days ride could not have been better to put the bike through its paces.

The location for the ride was a private property just outside of Dugong in New South Wales, the day was spent riding on three enduro loops all starting at the same point with turn off’s for the longer and more technical loops along the way, all three loops met back near the end of the smaller loop that then headed into the back end of the motocross track that was also on the property.

The terrain was primarily single track that was not to narrow, with plenty of tree roots, hill climbs , downhills , twisty up and down hill sections, a couple of small water crossings and a heap of Rocks and washout sections to contend with. Leading into the launch day the property and surrounding areas had been drenched with rain so the soil conditions were near on perfect.

To sit on the RMX pretty much felt the exact same at the RMZ450, the bike shares all the same plastics, bars, levers, tank as the RMZ the only slight difference being in the frame rails of the Seat. Just like when I rode the RMZ I did not have to make one change to the bar and lever set up or even the gear lever or rear brake, the only change made to the bike all day for myself was the rider sag.

Taking off for the first time was a bit of a shock, I have only ever ridden a handful of 450 enduro models before (only ever on a motocross track) and they all had an enduro feel to them compared to a motocrosser, this certainly cannot be said about the RMX450, it instantly had the sort of engine response you would expect from a 450 motocross bike, just a slight tamer, probably due to the wider gearbox rations the RMX runs.

The bike also did not have that front end heavy feel you get from most Enduro/trail based bikes. Once you got going it was hard to believe there was any instrumentation and a head light sitting on the front of the bike, I cannot actually remember looking down at the Speedo at anytime during the day while I was riding.

Going into the launch I was a little worried about how it would be to manoeuvre a bigger bike amongst the trees and tight trail sections and also how I would handle riding a bike from a right angle turn straight up a narrow uphill section between trees. None of these considerations even came up while riding.

The bike was very nimble through the trees and tight sections, and turning from a near dead stop and straight up a hill was as easy as pointing the bike in the right directions and twisting my right wrist.

All of the trails ridden at the launch were second and third gear riding, it was amazing how well this bike pulled from low in the rev range, even on the steepest hills I rode though out the day I never once had to drop back to first gear, second gear would pull up anything in sight and could be held for as long as possible, for the slightly more open sections it was a quick shift to third and off the RMX would go without hesitation.

The bike was fitted with new Dunlop tyres and hooked up well on all surfaces, there was a mixture of soft loamy sections, hard uphill and downhill rocky sections, washed out rutty sections, dry hard pack, and even a couple of small water crossings with some slick wet ground on either side. It really gave a good feel for how the bike would work on any surface, and the roll on speed of the RMX suited every situation. Launching the front wheel into the air to clear a log, tree root or any other obstacle in the way was as easy as leaning back and twisting the throttle, no clutch needed.

All the bikes at the launch had undertaken the power up option and there was more than enough power on top for any situation.

The overall feel I got from the bike was great, and I really enjoyed spending the day riding the RMX amongst the trees in the New South Wales bush, and boy did I do some riding. Six and a half minutes was about the average time it was taking me to do the smaller of the loops available on the day and I was putting in an average of four loops every time I headed out and that was generally after spending 15-20 minutes taking photos before each ride.

The bike was good to ride for a reasonable amount of time although after about 20 minutes I would start to tire, probably more to do with my conditioning than the bike. Suspension wise the bike did have a very Motocross feel to it, just a little more compliant when hitting the big bumps, and is soaked up all the hits from the many large rocks and tree roots around the loops with no fuss, there was many a time I was approaching a section full of large loose rocks waiting for a large hit or deflection from the front end but it never eventuated, the front end would just take it all in its stride.

I spent the morning just riding the shorter easier loop, after lunch I thought I should toughen up and really see how this bike performed and took the bike for a lap around the longest and most technical loop available on the day. Again I was amazed how easy the bike was to ride through the tight and twisty terrain.

Doing the longer loop put a huge smile on my face at the end of the day, most riders had not ventured out there during the day’s proceedings and the lower amount of traffic meant that the trail still had a lot of moisture in it and was one of the best rides I have ever had. I will certainly be looking to do some more trail/enduro riding after that experience.

The new RMX450 will not suit everyone and its market will be limited due to the fact that it cannot be street registered. But there is certainly a market out there for the bike.

Victorians have the advantage of Rec Rego and this bike would have to come under serious consideration for riders in that state that are looking for a competitive enduro race bike, that could also be used as a very agile and fast trail bike, or with the removal of the lights would be a great Motocross weapon.

The bike would also come in handy in my home state of South Australia for the Reliability trials and also the 24hr endurance race which can be raced on any bike with a competition rego licence, these events are held during the day and night and a fast competitive bike that comes with all the electrics and wiring to run lights standard would be a big bonus.

The bike also has a good market where closed course Enduro’s are run with no rego needed. The fact that the new RMX450 cannot be registered will limit its appeal to some riders, but for anyone one looking for a bike that can be taken from the show room floor and be used as a competitive enduro race bike that could double as a very handy motocross bike they need to look no further than the new RMX450LO.

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