New Model

2012 Suzuki RM-Z Ride Review.

Author: Aaryn Minerds

Posted:



With proven Championship winning race bikes already in the stable Suzuki have focused on adding value to the RMZ range for 2012.

Both the RM-Z 250 and RM-Z 450 both come with and update look which includes a new graphics kit, black fork guards and Red and Black colour combination seat cover giving the bikes a factory look straight out of the show room floor.

In addition to the new looks, Suzuki have also updated the spares kit that comes standard with the 2012 model range adding a spare oil filter, air filter and a Piston ring kit giving some more added value to the new bikes.

With no new mechanical updates or no new wiz bang gizmos to try out on the 2012 RM-Z range, a day spent riding the bikes at the Maitland Motocross track was going to be a fun day of enjoying riding and getting a feel for yellow bikes.

The Maitland track was dry and hard (which you will see iin the behind the scenes video) with maybe one or two dried out ruts on the whole track, the rest of the track was flat apart from the jumps and whoops scattered around the fun layout, there were only two corners on the track a left and right switch back combo that were actually a little loamy, it was going to be an interesting place to get a feel for the bikes and the big decision for the day was about to be made, 450 or 250 to kick the morning ride off with.

I chose to start the day off on the RM-Z450; the hard pack track was not going to get any easier to ride as it continued to try out. I geared up grabbed my helmet and strode over to the Suzuki race truck to choose my stead. The full Rockstar Motul Suzuki team's mechanic line up where on hand to help set the bikes up for us and after a quick sag adjustment and getting the levers in the right spot it was time to hit the track.

The first impression you get when sitting on the RM-Z450 is a feeling of comfort, everything is in the right place and the bike feels natural just to sit on, the bikes width is near on perfect narrow enough though the tank seat region to give it a slim light weight feel but just wide enough that I was not having to pull my legs together to really hold the bike with my legs.
Photo: Rice Photography
Firing the 450 into life was easy enough, two kicks and the rumble of the Suzuki was there, the sound sitting on the bike is quite good, with the new sound regulations that continue to make these new generation bikes quieter and quieter it was good to sit on a bike and actually be able to hear it, not only while sitting idling but also out on track once you were going you always knew where you were in the rev range as you could tell by the sound of the bike, saying that it was not an obnoxious loud sound, just a sweet sounding four stroke 450.

Heading out onto the track it didn't take long to realise how good this RM-Z450 engine was, from the moment you twist the throttle the response is smooth yet powerful, not arm tearing powerful, but then again I can't say I was turning the throttle to the stops, being a hard pack track I was being careful how much I was twisting the throttle and riding the bike smoothly off the bottom of the power, the bike was happy to comply with how I wanted to ride. As the confidence grew and it did grow quickly the more I would accelerate harder out of corners, the bike not once doing anything unpredictable.

The suspension I did get to test out early, I am generally a pretty safe and conservative rider and will always roll the first lap of any track I ride, especially when I have never ridden a track before, My first lap I was taking it very easy until I rolled out of a corner and over a nice little uphill table top, for some reason I was expecting a flat straight on the other side so I opened it up as I landed, just as I clicked up a gear I realised the ground was not flat and I was hurtling towards and nice set of whoops! It's amazing how many decisions go through your head in a split second when things are about to go all types of wrong, my first thought was to hit the brakes as fast as possible, but I thought that was just going to end with me in a pile right in the middle of the whoops, my only choice was to brake lightly before holding a little throttle on grip like crazy with the legs and see how this was going to play out.

I can tell you it was probably the fastest I made it through that section all day, the front of the bike stayed straight and took everything in its stride while the back end of the bike also held steady, I made it through in one piece along with the bike and with a huge sigh of relive continued on my way.

The only change I made to the suspension after the initial set up was to soften off the compression on the forks, the hard track with a lot of small sharp bumps was giving a little too much feed back through the bars, just a little softening on the compression made quite a bit of difference. As far as the rest of the handling was concerned there was nothing I could fault at all with the bike at the level at which I ride, If I wanted to brake hard and turn in sharp the RM-Z450 would handle that with ease, if I wanted to follow a rut through a corner again not a problem, the bike turned well and handled well in every situation on the day.
Photo: Rice Photography
Overall the 2012 RM-Z450 was a great bike, the last time I got to spend some good seat time on Suzuki's 450 four stroke was two years ago when we rode the 2010 models, I really enjoyed the bike back then and nothing has changed, a great overall package that a C grade rider like myself could ride all day or take it to the race track virtually unchanged and race it, the only thing I would need to change on the bike to race it myself from standard trim would be the grips, my hands looked like I had spent 24 hours straight on a bike by the end of the day. I would love to take this bike out onto a loamed up race track or race it through some moist sand to really get a feel for what this bike could do, it was a great bike on the hard pack surface of Maitland, I have a feeling it would be even more impressive on a great racing surface.

After handing the 450 back I was keen as mustard to jump on the RM-Z250, I have been contemplating going back to a 250 four stoke for my next bike and have ridden a couple lately though not all in stock trim and was looking forward to seeing if the smaller four stroke could handle my larger weight!

Spending the morning riding the 450 also meant I had a chance to sit back and watch a few other riders on the day belt out some laps on the 250 before I had a chance to ride it, like its big brother the stock exhaust gave off a great sound especially when high in the rev range, with the echo from the surrounding trees reverberating back to where I was seated before I was about to re suit up and ride the excitement levels rose just a little more.

The sound when on the bike is just as impressive and being that the 250F revs quite a bit higher than the 450 and the fact that I had to rev the bike higher to get me moving on the smaller bike coupled with being more comfortable twisting the throttle harder on the dry surface aboard the quarter litre thumper the sound coming from underneath me had me feeling like a pro rider coming out of the first corner!
Photo: Rice Photography
The power of the RM-Z250 straight out of the box was solid , again I am not light weight coming in the mid 90kg bracket on a good day one of the reason's I have been hesitant to jump back on a 250F, this bike had me thinking differently within a few corners. There was a little double, double , double section mid way around the track, nothing big at all, though the first gap was straight out of a very dry corner which was slightly off camber and covered with some light loose dirt. I wound on the throttle out of the corner sort of hoping the bike would wind up quick enough to see me through, even if I did not make the gap it was no biggie, the landing was a rounded and flat so I held the throttle open a light flick of the clutch and with minimal wheel spin the bike gathered the needed speed and I was through the section cleanly.

In fact with the loose surface we were riding on the 250F felt easier to ride and get on the gas, the power was there, even if I was in a gear to high the power would still roll on and if you did need it to hit a little harder it was just a matter of a quick flick of the clutch and off the bike would go.

The 250F Suzuki looks small and light and rides exactly that way, jumping from the 450 to the 250 the difference is noticeable and you really feel like you can put the bike exactly where you want it at any time, the bike really came into its own over the last part of the Maitland track, flowing nicely over the step up finish line jump before being thrown left then right then left again through the next combination of corners, the bike really was light and nimble and was confidence inspiring all over the track.

The suspension thinking back was something I really didn't over think about while I was riding the bike, it handled the whoop section very well, on the dry track it was faultless everywhere and I cannot remember once having it bottom out on me, honestly the suspension on this bike could have been the best stock suspension I have ridden on, not that I was thinking that at the time as it never really entered my head on the day, but thinking about it there is nothing I could fault about the action of the stock standard suspension, that in itself speaks volumes of how good it was and I can be quite picky about how especially the front end of my bike feels on a track that only has very dry hard packed cement like braking bumps.

Suzuki's RM-Z250 probably has me even more confused about making the switch back to riding 250 four stroke again, I had myself convinced that at my weight a 250 would not be enough of a bike in stock trim to keep me getting around a track at a good pace without spending big money on engine work to give it the power I would need, this bike proved it did have enough to keep me more than happy and combined with the light weight and nimbleness of the RM-Z250 I really am thinking the small bore is the way to go.

The 2012 RMZ250 is a great bike that anyone would be happy to be taking to the race track, like the 450 it comes ready to race and it would only take some time to personalise it to your own needs without throwing a heap of money at it to go racing at any level.

To sum it up both the RMZ250 and 450 are impressive bikes, though the updates for 2012 are cosmetic you know you are getting a tried and tested race machine that already has the runs on the board, add that to the spares package that now comes as standard on the bike and the 2012 model is a overall better value package than the previous years and both are bike that will leave you with a smile on your face after every ride.

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