How can we best describe Reed's engine profile? The RM-Z450 was both smooth and aggressive. The engine was the best part of the entire package, as it inspired confidence.
r the characteristics of an engine, it's rare to hear words like smooth and aggressive in the same sentence. Then we learned that Chad Reed's RM-Z450 engine had two distinct personalities. Off the bottom, the engine was smooth and powerful, but once in the midrange, the bipolar powerplant became very responsive and aggressive. Every test rider raved about the dynamic engine performance. At low speed, the RM-Z450 was manageable, but as the rider twisted the throttle, he was rewarded with a powerband that begged to be pushed to the limits.
The MXA wrecking crew has learned quite a few things about Chad Reed simply by riding his bike. For example, we know that Reed isn't very kind to his clutch. The clue? His overly stiff clutch springs are built to take abuse. He also has a slightly schizophrenic personality. How so? His clutch and brake lever aren't even. The cast clutch lever is higher than the billet front brake lever. At first, the dissimilar levers felt awkward, but they weren't even noticeable after a few laps of riding. Chad is also very set in his ways. We figured this out the first time we applied his brakes. They are very powerful, which was made readily apparent by his trash-can-lid sized front brake rotor. The 280mm works rotor looked like it belonged on a GSX-R750.
CONCLUSION: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
Of all the Supercross bikes that we have tested in the last few years, Chad Reed's RM-Z450 stands out. This isn't a surprise to us, because we have tested a lot of Suzuki works bikes in the past—and we have always been impressed by them (and to this day, Travis Pastrana's works Suzuki RM250 ranks as one of the greatest bikes we have ever thrown a leg over). Reed's engine was powerful, yet manageable. The suspension actually compressed under a heavy load, and the overall bike setup was comfortable. Chad Reed didn't win the Supercross championship, but with the help of his works Suzuki he just might win the Lucas Oil 450 National Championship. □
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