Tested: Weston Peick's Rocket Exhaust RM-Z450
There’s a fundamental difference between professional motocross racers and every other rider: a pro’s cruising speed is Joe Schmoe’s all-out, tank-slapping, teeth-clenching speed. Nearly every dirt bike on the track starts off as a production machine (thanks to the AMA’s production rule), meaning everyone begins on an even playing field. Customizing and fine-tuning the bike for the rider is what makes each machine different. The contrast between a National caliber machine and your bro in Shelbyville’s ride has less to do with parts than proper setup.
Where bro probably just bought some parts and slapped them on, and maybe had his suspension setup by the local guru at some point, a serious race machine intended for the big stage may have the very same parts that bro-brah does, but the motor, ignition mapping, gearing and suspension will have been adjusted properly to suit the bolt-on pipe, silencer, airboot, etc. Same goes for the suspension: it’s not only adjusted for the rider, it’s also tweaked to suit each track as well.
When VitalMX.com got a call from Rocket Exhaust to try out Weston Peick’s 2013 Suzuki RM-Z450, we knew this meant stepping onto some very purpose-built machinery. After all, not only had Weston piloted the very same machine to a 10th place overall finish in the 450 Class at the Lake Elsinore National, Peick himself is built more like a Samoan football player than a stereotypical pro MXer. To top things off, Weston also prefers a stiff fork setup. All of the this adds up to a bike that is very powerful and handles very well…for only a handful of people.
Don Leib, has been around for a long time, and knows a thing or two about building race bikes; you may have heard of his son, Michael (amateur standout, World Motocross GP competitor, AMA Supercross racer). Several years ago, Don started Rocket Exhaust, which specializes in exhaust systems, but also does motor work well, and for 2013, the company is releasing their latest generation pipe system. And what better way to debut their new product than with their long time friend, Weston Peick?
Peick’s RM-Z features his new signature Rocket Exhaust all-carbon silencer/stainless header system (Peick gets a portion of the profits from each signature model sold), Rocket’s Stage 3 motor, a Vortex ignition, and a whole bunch of other goodies, including A-kit Showa suspension setup just the way Weston likes it.
Of course, suspension the way Mr. Peick prefers means anyone else who hops aboard his machine will feel like a fish out of water. Feeling more like a Supercross, the RM-Z laughs at any bump or jump you throw its way. In a straight line, Weston’s Suzuki is as well balanced and stable as a rider could hope for. Over jump, under jump, it doesn’t matter as the suspension will soak up just about anything. However, turning is an entirely different story.
Since Weston tends to ride over the front of the bike, his forks are valved to remain high in the stroke when his weight is over the bars even in turns, meaning for anyone who isn’t a pro rider who weighs around 205 pounds, they are just going to be bouncing through each and every turn. Where the stock RM-Z450 is excellent through turns, Peicks bike is only excellent for him.
But the real meat of this particular bike is in the powerplant: in short, it’s snappy, beefy, and pulls to the moon.
Beginning with the basics, the new Rocket Exhaust pipe adds a very throaty note, that still falls within legal AMA sound limits, but also broadens the power output of the RM-Z (and also has customizable lengths and core designs). Combined with the Stage 3 motor work, (bronze seats and guides, proprietary camshaft, DLC coated buckets, increased bucket size [recommended on some models], ti valves and valve spring kits, , and a Vortex ignition with increased rev limiter), the entire package is meant to always have power on tap.
Whether diving into deep, rutted corners, pulling up long uphills, or hauling ass down a long straightaway, Weston Peick’s Rocket Exhaust RM-Z450 had the ability to have the right amount of juice no matter the scenario. It is easily one of the fastest 450s I have ever ridden, and while the suspension was tuned only for Peick, the engine and power output felt very usable, even with its punchy bottom end hit. A full-bodied mid carries all the way into the upper RPM ranges: nothing wrong with that.
For the serious racer, Rocket Exhaust offers an excellent package, or the individual components, to get moving in the right direction.
For more information, visit www.rocketexhaust.com