Off Road MX Bikes Continue to Improve

Getting The Holeshot

With the vast majority of the world’s roads being unpaved, it’s not hard to see why so many riders have a fascination with riding on the ones that remain unsurfaced. While many of us choose to adventure through vast areas of the wilderness on long trips of a soul searching variety, many more of us prefer to load up the bikes, swags, full eskies and head for the bush or head for the track. This racing is nearly as old as motorcycling itself and while it started off in the UK back in the 1920s and was called ‘scrambling’, it’s now a worldwide phenomenon known asMotocross, or Moto X.

Motocross bikes had been, for such a very long time, powered by two-stroke engines. With the advent of more powerful and lighter four-stroke motors, as well as a desire to run cleaner, more fuel-efficient machinery that was nicer to the environment (and quieter), the four-strokes are now what the genre is (mostly) all about.

Broadly speaking, for competition purposes there are two classes in the adult racing scene. This isn’t just here in Victoria or indeed Australia; it’s a global thing with the Europeans and the Americans riding similar, if not exactly the same machinery in their domestic series.

Suzuki has the RM-Z450. A bike that has multiple championships under its belt and comes from a long line of winning machinery, the 449cc engine bike is one that is at the top of its class. Starting with a chassis that is light enough to allow the bike to be easier than ever to steer and move while in the air, it has a number of positive changes for this season. The single cylinder engine’s fuel injection now comes with the option to fit lean or rich couplers. This allows the rider to change the way the bike performs depending on the circuit and conditions.

Holeshot Hotshot

The new bike gets a new version of the S-HAC or Suzuki Holeshot Assist Control. Nobody, but nobody, likes wheelie-ing a bike over their head on the start line and the new S-HAC system can be adjusted to cope with a variety of surfaces and allow the rider to get off the line as quickly and efficiently as possible, and, most importantly, reduces the amount of time apologizing to sponsors, mechanics and supporters.

This works really well with the easy to tune Showa SFF Air forks. These bad boys bring factory type adjustability and performance to the regular club rider on a local track on any Sunday morning. The bike is, dare we say it, heavy enough to feel planted and offer great traction on the ground but light enough to be flick-able in the air.

Other features that set bikes like these apart from the good ol’/bad ol’ days is the fact that the engine’s fuel injection and liquid cooling allow these machines to perform in ways that were inconceivable even a few years ago. One thing has remained constant though, there isn’t anything as fast as a yellow bike at the start gate…


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