Let’s be honest, there is nothing spectacular about the 2018-2020 Suzuki RM-Z450 other than its cornering prowess. It is an average bike that got caught behind the eight ball and is struggling to keep up with its competition. It goes unnoticed in a world full of lightweight bikes with electric starting, Wi-Fi capability, high horsepower and super suspension.
The one thing Suzuki has going for it is the loyalty of its owners. Although that group shrinks every year, the loyalists who remain are true believers. Rob Healy, owner of the electric bike stand company Powerlift Systems (whch is retooling its products right now) and previous owner of N-Style, is in that loyalist camp, so he took his Suzuki RM-Z450 and accentuated its features to give it some charm.
Rob did much more than just turn this bike into a looker. Yes, its carbon fiber and titanium features turn heads, but Rob wanted to make sure it performed on the track as well. The engine was built by Frenchie at C4MX, who used many Pro Circuit internals, including a piston, cams, and valves. These upgrades turned the RM-Z450’s weak muscles into replicas of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s muscles in his Mr. Universe days. It offered power when and where you needed it—at times more than the test riders could handle.
The 2018 RM-Z450’s greatest weakness is its rear BFRC shock. Its greatest strength is drag racing, as the Showa BFRC shock squats to offer great traction in a straight line under acceleration. Unfortunately, off gas, on the brakes or in the event you hit a bump, the BFRC’s performance dives into a deep abyss. Enzo massaged the Showa components front and rear to fix the balance to allow the shock to work when there wasn’t a load on the rear.
What made this bike really stand out were the gold Excel rims, bold graphics, Renthal gold chain, black sprocket and the Hinson clutch and ignition covers. This RM-Z450 is one people would want. To make this bike more appealing to riders in stock trim, the Suzuki needs to shed weight, drop the kickstarter, up the horses and find the magic that it lost over the last 10 years.
This is Rob Healy’s vision of Suzuki nirvana.