2017 RM-Z 450: what happens to a bike after the shootout?

Related:
Create New Tag

9/18/2017 6:31 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2017 7:22 PM

This is the bike that was used for the 2017 Vital MX 450 Shootout...then it was "borrowed" by a few people...then it ended up in my hands. Why? I asked to spend some time on it; because, during the shootout I was blown away by how well it turned and the awesome bottom-end torque. I wanted to figure out the forks, too. During the shootout, I tried some fork settings that made the bike work A LOT better than the std settings. So, I wanted to take another shot at it and see if I could get it to actually feel plush. The rear shock is excellent and the "basic feel" of the Zook is really quite nice.

When I first got it...it needed some love...

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

9/18/2017 6:37 PM

Here's how the filter looked...

Photo

I swapped all the important fluids and filters and greased up all the important joints...

Photo

I put a fresh countershaft sprocket on it to replace the worn out stocker that was MISSING 4 teeth and proceeded to ride it in "stock" form...


Photo

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

9/18/2017 7:20 PM
Edited Date/Time: 9/18/2017 7:24 PM

Stock: the bike is an excellent bike RIGHT OUT OF THE CRATE. It's one of the last "normal feeling" Japanese MXers from the 1st gen of four-strokes. You know, that era we're talking about when we all say how much we loved the '08 CRF, right? The shock is amazing with a spring that can work for riders weighing up to 180 pounds if they take the time to get the sag right. This is the closest thing to the old Showa A-Kit shock that I've seen on a production bike. The Hi/Low Speed Comp & Rebound all have very good response from just a single click.

Then there's the fork...
The fork isn't ANYWHERE as bad as some people seem to say...
It's just different and takes a bit of time to get set-up. You need a good pump w/ the "no air loss" feature that allows you to remove the pump WITHOUT losing any of the air (these are available at any good bicycle shop). I'll talk about settings later. Rebound is pretty damn important on an air-fork and doesn't get talked about enough. Again, I'll go into settings later.'

The things that annoy me on the Zook:
Cheap/Crappy chain guide/rub block (I made a C/F unit that's properly adjustable and LASTS!).
Worlds heaviest and ugliest pipe/silencer. (It got replaced).
1980s low-grade crappy ass chain and countershaft sprocket.

Other than those few bitching points...I love this thing.

I rode it for about 20 hours in purely stock configuration to get a good feel for it. I even got stock replacement parts (the chain stuff previously mentioned) in order to get all those hours in on a purely stock bike.
After those 15 hours...I went after some cost effective fixes...

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

9/18/2017 7:54 PM

Nice review and update.

|

9/19/2017 12:20 AM

Cool perspective. This could almost be editorial material.

|

It's impossible for a corporation or government to love you or care about you.

9/19/2017 12:21 AM

Nice start. I appreciate your approach of making 'out of the box' work. An approach that is much more realistic and practical than adding a catalogue of new parts.

|

9/19/2017 6:38 AM

TeamGreen wrote:

Stock: the bike is an excellent bike RIGHT OUT OF THE CRATE. It's one of the last "normal feeling" Japanese MXers from the 1st gen of four-strokes. You know, that era we're talking about when we all say how much we loved the '08 CRF, right? The shock is amazing with a spring that can work for riders weighing up to 180 pounds if they take the time to get the sag right. This is the closest thing to the old Showa A-Kit shock that I've seen on a production bike. The Hi/Low Speed Comp & Rebound all have very good response from just a single click.

Then there's the fork...
The fork isn't ANYWHERE as bad as some people seem to say...
It's just different and takes a bit of time to get set-up. You need a good pump w/ the "no air loss" feature that allows you to remove the pump WITHOUT losing any of the air (these are available at any good bicycle shop). I'll talk about settings later. Rebound is pretty damn important on an air-fork and doesn't get talked about enough. Again, I'll go into settings later.'

The things that annoy me on the Zook:
Cheap/Crappy chain guide/rub block (I made a C/F unit that's properly adjustable and LASTS!).
Worlds heaviest and ugliest pipe/silencer. (It got replaced).
1980s low-grade crappy ass chain and countershaft sprocket.

Other than those few bitching points...I love this thing.

I rode it for about 20 hours in purely stock configuration to get a good feel for it. I even got stock replacement parts (the chain stuff previously mentioned) in order to get all those hours in on a purely stock bike.
After those 15 hours...I went after some cost effective fixes...

Hey Manny, you should bring that bike up and race the saturday nationals like we talked about!

|

9/19/2017 8:04 AM

How did you manage to end up with it??

|

9/19/2017 9:50 AM

How long ago was the shootout? You have to wonder if not cleaning filters and having damaged sprockets etc. might affect opinions of the bike? If it looks like a muskrat died in the airbox, the bike might not be getting optimal performance.

|

It's impossible for a corporation or government to love you or care about you.

9/19/2017 8:55 PM

For those of you concerned about "wear-n-tear"...here's how she looks these days...she's been treated VERY WELL...
Photo
She's currently running with...
FMF S/S Mega w/ Al muffler (reasonable ex-system!)
DT-1 High-Capacity "Davi" Air Filter
Guts Racing Lightweight Seat/Velcro System
Metzler Mid-Softs w/medium duty tubes @ 13 psi
Renthal Chain, 51 Twin-Ring and Superlight 13T front
Renthal Fatty bars and Grey Medium Waffles
Renthal Intelli-Levers (awesome)
UFO plastic
Leftover graphics from a great race team
All prep by Todd Thompson/Powercurve
VP T4e Racing Fuel

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

9/19/2017 8:56 PM

Oh...oils are Bel Ray!

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/19/2017 11:20 AM
Edited Date/Time: 10/19/2017 11:28 AM

Well, it's over 60 hours and it's time to give the motor to Jamie Ellis to see how she's wearing.

This bike has been Extremely Inexpensive to operate. Well, "Inexpensive" by my thinking...

Fuel: I've been running Chevron Supreme mixed 1:1 w/ VP T4 or Leaded 110.
Average price of a mixed gallon: $8.15
When I'm pressed to run pump fuel it's Chevron Supreme w/ VP Octanium additive (3.2 oz/gal). $22 for a qt.
Average price for a mixed gallon: $5.50 gal. (Actullay 1 gallon and 3.2 ounces) laughing

Why do I always use additives or mix my fuel? Because, Claifornia pump gas sucks ass and I HATE when the bike pops. Absolutely HATE the "pop". Yech!

Oil: I've run Bel-Ray, Motul and Shell Rotella.
Yes! Rotella! As seen at Walmart for $13-17/gallon! And...guess what? It works really, really well. Shhhhhh. Don't let that get out!

Chain and Sprockets: as I talked about earlier...it really chaps my ass that they still deliver these bikes with the SHITTIEST Chains, chain-guides and rub-blocks...
Well, anyways...
I went with a Renthal Twin-Ring 51 rear (steel teeth on an Aluminum center), Ultralight Grooved 14 frt and their R1 520 chain. All of that stuff is lasting longer and with less wear-n-tear than I would've thought. If I was trying to go ABSOLUTLEY the smartest on my "dollars spent"? I'd run Renthal's "R3" o-ring type chain.
This Renthal stuff lasts.

I made a Carbon-Fiber chain block that's designed to run the stock rub-block; but, I'll be trying the TM Designworks stuff in there due to how awesome their stuff wears. Again, this is "stock" fitment. The carbon part I made is a lot like the PC/Factory Kawasaki part. It's a stronger, longer, deeper version of the stock design...made out of carbon-fiber. The rub-block on the swing arm has been replaced TWICE, already. That's gonna be a TM Designworks part, too. Same goes for the roller: TM Designworks.

Tires: the New Metzeler "Mid-Softs".
Simply...EXCELLENT!
They work and they last. I'm pretty sure they're priced like Pirellis (same company/slightly different profiles and compounds).
Tubes: I'm running MSR H/D tubes that're more like a "medium duty" ($15 frt/$19 rear at Cycle Gear. Yes, I bought some tubes).

Bibs: normally I run bibs; but, I'm trying to "take sides" with the average rider that's trying to make his dollars last. HOWEVER, if you take care of your bibs...they will last. Always store a bike with bibs on a stand WITH BOTH TIRES OFF OF THE GROUND.
I make this point because I'm going back to bibs. They're bullet-proof & I HATE GETTING FLATS! You can get bibs for about $100-$120 each if you shop around. They're not cheap...but...flats SUCK.

The seat: I run Guts brand seats and graphics. That's what you're seeing on the bike in these pics. Their stuff is light, bullet-proof and it fits perfect. Their Light-Weight seat foam lasts and their seat covers are awesome. The graphics take a beating...even when I was testing different knee-braces...their seat and graphics held up. I did peel-off part of the left side shroud graphics...always the left side...hmmmm. My bad. The graphics? Leftovers from RCH.

The bars, levers and grips: Renthal. Period. The IntelliLevers really are unbreakable and they provide excellent movement and leverage. Grey Medium 1/2 Waffles and I run a grip donut on the throttle.

Suspension: straight stock.

Fork: The media darlings and Internet warriors are idiots. These forks are fine...get a pump, get your flat-blade screwdriver out and get to work. I'm running "Kawasaki" settings and I'm usually between 170-180 psi between the inner + balance chambers and I run 0-8 psi in the outer. Use your REBOUND AND COMPRESSION adjusters! Btw, a new fork will take a few hours to break in and become less "sticky" (when the bike is brand-new).
There's a 2018 Kawasaki Video with MC that's all bout how to set-up the TAC's. Go watch it.

Shock: get your spring rate right and go. There IS NOT a better stock shock than the one that comes on the '17 RMZ. It's a production Showa "A-Kit" type design. I'll take this shock over the '18 shock all day. Don't run too much sag or you'll mess up amazing Suzuki handling.

The FMF pipe: more bark, more snap...sounds AMAZING. Weighs A LOT LESS than the stock boat-anchor, too.

So, there it is. 60+ hours and this bike shreds. Pics to follow...

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/19/2017 11:24 AM

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photo

Photos by Vital member "FCR"...ala his iPhone.
|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/19/2017 1:16 PM

What's the weight diffeeence on the pipe??

|

10/19/2017 1:25 PM

Great write up. Thank you for taking the time.

|

10/19/2017 1:32 PM

crockett wrote:

What's the weight diffeeence on the pipe??

I'm not sure, I'm guessing 1-1.5 pounds...at least. I'll be able to weigh both systems soon.

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/19/2017 6:09 PM

@teamgreen...are you Manny ornellas? Sorry if the last name is wrong...

|

IG @jaredkeller96

10/19/2017 6:11 PM

jaredkeller96 wrote:

@teamgreen...are you Manny ornellas? Sorry if the last name is wrong...

Yup

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/19/2017 7:09 PM

Thought so. Shoot me a text if you still got it. 765-307-0092 looking for some JCR PARTS.

|

IG @jaredkeller96

10/19/2017 8:28 PM

The only problem with the rmz450 is trying to sell it!

But I did get 45 hours on the stock chain and sprockets riding a lot of sand....i just washed with simple green and used the Honda dry chain lube to displace water.

Guts seat knocks off a pound, the stock header is titanium and light, but the can is heavy...you can knock off another 3lbs with the fmf aluminum carbon tip silencer.

Great bike, and I agree it has better bottom and turns better than my fc450.

Fork is really good too imo

|

10/20/2017 3:15 AM

TeamGreen wrote:

Well, it's over 60 hours and it's time to give the motor to Jamie Ellis to see how she's wearing.

This bike has been Extremely Inexpensive to operate. Well, "Inexpensive" by my thinking...

Fuel: I've been running Chevron Supreme mixed 1:1 w/ VP T4 or Leaded 110.
Average price of a mixed gallon: $8.15
When I'm pressed to run pump fuel it's Chevron Supreme w/ VP Octanium additive (3.2 oz/gal). $22 for a qt.
Average price for a mixed gallon: $5.50 gal. (Actullay 1 gallon and 3.2 ounces) laughing

Why do I always use additives or mix my fuel? Because, Claifornia pump gas sucks ass and I HATE when the bike pops. Absolutely HATE the "pop". Yech!

Oil: I've run Bel-Ray, Motul and Shell Rotella.
Yes! Rotella! As seen at Walmart for $13-17/gallon! And...guess what? It works really, really well. Shhhhhh. Don't let that get out!

Chain and Sprockets: as I talked about earlier...it really chaps my ass that they still deliver these bikes with the SHITTIEST Chains, chain-guides and rub-blocks...
Well, anyways...
I went with a Renthal Twin-Ring 51 rear (steel teeth on an Aluminum center), Ultralight Grooved 14 frt and their R1 520 chain. All of that stuff is lasting longer and with less wear-n-tear than I would've thought. If I was trying to go ABSOLUTLEY the smartest on my "dollars spent"? I'd run Renthal's "R3" o-ring type chain.
This Renthal stuff lasts.

I made a Carbon-Fiber chain block that's designed to run the stock rub-block; but, I'll be trying the TM Designworks stuff in there due to how awesome their stuff wears. Again, this is "stock" fitment. The carbon part I made is a lot like the PC/Factory Kawasaki part. It's a stronger, longer, deeper version of the stock design...made out of carbon-fiber. The rub-block on the swing arm has been replaced TWICE, already. That's gonna be a TM Designworks part, too. Same goes for the roller: TM Designworks.

Tires: the New Metzeler "Mid-Softs".
Simply...EXCELLENT!
They work and they last. I'm pretty sure they're priced like Pirellis (same company/slightly different profiles and compounds).
Tubes: I'm running MSR H/D tubes that're more like a "medium duty" ($15 frt/$19 rear at Cycle Gear. Yes, I bought some tubes).

Bibs: normally I run bibs; but, I'm trying to "take sides" with the average rider that's trying to make his dollars last. HOWEVER, if you take care of your bibs...they will last. Always store a bike with bibs on a stand WITH BOTH TIRES OFF OF THE GROUND.
I make this point because I'm going back to bibs. They're bullet-proof & I HATE GETTING FLATS! You can get bibs for about $100-$120 each if you shop around. They're not cheap...but...flats SUCK.

The seat: I run Guts brand seats and graphics. That's what you're seeing on the bike in these pics. Their stuff is light, bullet-proof and it fits perfect. Their Light-Weight seat foam lasts and their seat covers are awesome. The graphics take a beating...even when I was testing different knee-braces...their seat and graphics held up. I did peel-off part of the left side shroud graphics...always the left side...hmmmm. My bad. The graphics? Leftovers from RCH.

The bars, levers and grips: Renthal. Period. The IntelliLevers really are unbreakable and they provide excellent movement and leverage. Grey Medium 1/2 Waffles and I run a grip donut on the throttle.

Suspension: straight stock.

Fork: The media darlings and Internet warriors are idiots. These forks are fine...get a pump, get your flat-blade screwdriver out and get to work. I'm running "Kawasaki" settings and I'm usually between 170-180 psi between the inner + balance chambers and I run 0-8 psi in the outer. Use your REBOUND AND COMPRESSION adjusters! Btw, a new fork will take a few hours to break in and become less "sticky" (when the bike is brand-new).
There's a 2018 Kawasaki Video with MC that's all bout how to set-up the TAC's. Go watch it.

Shock: get your spring rate right and go. There IS NOT a better stock shock than the one that comes on the '17 RMZ. It's a production Showa "A-Kit" type design. I'll take this shock over the '18 shock all day. Don't run too much sag or you'll mess up amazing Suzuki handling.

The FMF pipe: more bark, more snap...sounds AMAZING. Weighs A LOT LESS than the stock boat-anchor, too.

So, there it is. 60+ hours and this bike shreds. Pics to follow...

Hi TeamGreen, thanks for sharing all this info!

Do you have any idea, if that's the same shock that comes on a 17' RMZ 250? If it really is that good, I would seriously consider buying it for my RM 250.

|

10/20/2017 9:36 AM

The 250 and 450 shocks are NOT the same.
Showa on the 450...
KYB on the 250...

Remember, the 250s are often made with "less expensive" suspension components to help make up for the waaaaaay cheaper price of a 250.

Note: the shocks ARE interchange-able...but...they're not the same valving or spring rate. I'm NOT SURE about the linkage ratios, either.

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.

10/20/2017 9:47 AM

Boooo Hooooo

She's going back to Suzuki. Damn. I figured this would happen.

Well, I guess I'll have to do this all over again on the '18! So...think I'll go listen to Pinger's set-up video (over at RacerX on-line) regarding the '18 RMZ and I'll start collecting product to make it right for my old bones.

In review:

These bikes are available for $5,500 to $6,000...if I'm to believe what people are saying on the web...

At those prices, this is a No Brianer. This is AN EXCELLENT MOTORCYCLE that handles like a dream in tough turns and tricky-technical sections. People love to say,"Yeah, but...it's heavy!" Doesn't feel that way on the track! So, WHO CARES?!?!

I've tried to make things very obvious; but, I'll say it again...

This RMZ was EXTEMELY easy to ride and VERY dependable. It was "Cheap to Keep".

I'd recommend this bike as a Top Pick for a weekend "track rider" that wants to truly enjoy every minute on the track.

I know I did.

Manny

|

I ripped a start from Egypt and I was happy about that.