It isn’t all-new this year, but the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 gets a number of serious updates. Here are the essential fast facts that you need to know about the latest flagship Suzuki motocross racing motorcycle.1. The 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 gets a new chassis. There is a new, lighter frame and swingarm (about 1.5 pounds), and the 2018 RM-Z450 gets a new Showa BFRC (Balance Free Rear Cushion) shock. Additionally, the coil-spring fork has been updated for 2018.
2. The wheelbase is shorter and the bodywork slimmer. Along with the reduced weight—other tactics are mentioned later—Suzuki is working to quicken its handling. Also, the Renthal bars are less swept-back.3. Power is increased for 2018. The cylinder head gets a new intake port shape, and that comes into play after air flows through a 30 percent larger air filter. There’s also a new Suzuki-only throttle bottle design, as well as a new intake cam profile that offers more valve lift. The new throttle body’s fuel pump is higher pressure and sprays fuel directly at the butterfly valve for improved atomization.4. Suzuki has updated its holeshot assist and traction management electronics. Not traction control as we are used to seeing on street bikes, the RM-Z450’s ECM keeps track of the throttle opening, engine speed, and gear position to determine if intervention is needed to prevent unwanted wheelspin. The holeshot assist has two modes. One mode is for novice riders, or for slippery or hard surfaces—it returns the engine to normal settings after 1.2 seconds or when you hit third gear. The other is more aggressive and suited to expert riders, as well as high-traction conditions—this runs for 4.5 seconds or fourth gear. There is also a standard, all-around holeshot assist setting.5. Rather than complex off-bike mapping tools, the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 uses dongles. While some may welcome precise control of the fuel mapping, Suzuki keeps things simple with two dongles that plug into the wiring harness—one for richer running, and the other for leaner fueling.6. The 2018 RM-Z450 is shod with Bridgestone Battlecross X30 tires. These tires aren’t as well-known or common on Supercross or National MX tracks, but they are good intermediate rubber.7. The aluminum fuel tank is gone, replaced by a lighter plastic tank. This saves a half-pound, and fuel capacity is slightly increased.8. Even the seat loses weight in 2018. The seat is a half-pound lighter, and has a gripper panel its entire length. The base of the seat, along with the plastic around it, is designed to keep dirt away from the airbox.9. If you feel like you’re going faster, you’ll appreciate the new 270mm front disc. A larger disc means more stopping power.10. There is no battery on the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450. That means you have to kickstart the motor. On the upside, it has an automatic decompression system, plus a long lever for good leverage. Still, we prefer electric starting.
Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory + Steve ’Stavros’ Parrish
byMotos and Friends by Ultimate Motorcycle
Hello everyone and welcome once again to Ultimate Motorcycling’s weekly podcast—Motos and Friends. My name is Arthur Coldwells.
Our first segment features the new Aprilia Tuono 660 Factory. Senior Editor Nic de Sena brings us his report on the flagship version of Aprilia’s upright middleweight machine. He gives us insight into whether it’s worth spending the extra money on the Factory version, and also of course, whether this sporting Aprilia is really the motorcycle for you.
The next guest segment of Motos and Friends is brought to you by the faster and most technologically advanced, 2023 Suzuki Hayabusa—one of the most iconic sportbikes ever. Check it out in person at your local Suzuki dealer now, or visit suzukicycles.com to learn more.
In this segment, Associate Editor Teejay Adams chats with (arguably) one of the most interesting Suzuki race riders of all time. the iconic RG500 alongside teammate double World Champion Barry Sheene. The two were almost as famous for their exploits off-track, as for their success on it. Those were the days! Steve also raced the Isle of Man TT for about ten years where he won 13 Silver Replicas, and got a podium finish. His insight into that particular brand of mayhem are fascinating.
But there’s waaay more to Steve Parrish than his motorcycle racing. He is also the most successful Semi-Truck racer ever, and, little known piece of useless trivia—he’s my birthday twin: 24th February. He is a natural entertainer and you can’t miss his recounting of the world’s most entertaining—and arguably terrifying—double-decker bus ride ever. If any of you were actually on that hell-ride then we’d love to hear from you!