The 2023 Suzuki RM-Z450 is back for 2023. It hasn’t been changed in years–it was 2019 that it last got mechanical changes. Even then, those changes were a little underwhelming. Now, it makes us wonder if we really need such frequent change in the motocross world. We rode recently rode the RM-Z450 and discovered that we like it as much as ever.
The 2023 RM-Z450 has an MSRP of $8999. A 2023 Husqvarna FC450, for comparison, is $10,999. Right now there’s a promotion going until the end of the year. If you buy an RM-Z, you get a form to fill out and you will receive a Yoshimura RS12 exhaust system and RM-Army graphics in the mail. The Suzuki also come with a GET programmable ignition, even after the promotion ends. Yamaha is the only other company that offers wifi programming as a standard feature. With other manufacturers the hardware for this costs extra.
All of the price stuff is irrelevant if you don’t like the bike. Thankfully, that’s not the case. The RM-Z450 might not have won a Dirt Bike Magazine 450 shootout in recent years, but it never loses, either. Last year we had 12 bikes in our 450 shootout and some test riders rated it as high as second place. The reason we love it is because it’s super easy to ride. The power is almost perfect for amateur-level motocross. With very little modification, even pros love the power output. In peak power the stock Suzuki makes about four horsepower less than last year’s class champion (which was the KTM). That’s utterly meaningless to most of us. Telemetry results show that almost no one holds the throttle wide open for more than a few seconds a lap on a 450. The rest of the time we’re all trying to manage the power, and that’s where the Suzuki shines. It’s smooth and manages to find traction where other bikes struggle. This year we tried several different maps that were pre-programmed into the GET wifi system. In order to do this, you have to hook up the bike to a battery and a wifi transmitter in the pits. Then you use your smartphone to alter the spark advance and the fuel mixture, almost exactly like the Yamaha system. We tried one of the more aggressive maps and found that the Suzuki was still a sweetheart on the track. You can test for hours, but we will venture a guess that you’ll never make the bike a horsepower king. You’ll probably never make it a monster, either.
At one time we considered the RM-Z450 to be the best handling bike in the class. We can’t say that’s the case now. Other brands have closed the gap and all of them weigh less than the RM-Z. It also has given away its edge in suspension, primarily to Yamaha. But the Suzuki still has excellent cornering manners. It’s stable and has excellent front-end bite. In the suspension category, the RM is at its best on really rough tracks. It handles big hits well, but smaller chatter can give it a little grief. It’s stiff for the average beginner or novice. We will once again include the Suzuki RM-Z450 in our upcoming 450 shootout, and once again, we are confident that it will hold its own against newer, more expensive bikes.