Back in February Suzuki revealed the works-spec 2018 RM-Z450 motocrosser that’s racing this year. Now patent images have turned up that show the version mere mortals will actually be able to buy.
The key change for 2018 is a new frame. It’s slimmer and surely lighter than the previous version, and carries what’s no doubt a tweaked and improved version of the 450 single from the existing model.
There aren’t big changes in philosophy here. The suspension arrangement appears largely unchanged, although the swingarm is new as is the rear shock linkage and top mount. The carry-over engine retains its kick start rather than following the trend towards electric-start-only motors.
Bodywork changes do give the bike a more angular look, with smaller side panels and barely a curve in sight.
All this reflects the changes already seen on the works machines, but the patent images reveal a toned-down production version, with a longer, larger end-can and none of the exotic billet aluminium or carbon fibre of the factory bikes. Subtle differences that can be seen even in the black-and-white patent images include the pressed aluminium exhaust heat shield – replacing a carbon part on the works bike – and differences in the engine covers and bash plate.
There’s no word yet on when the 2018 RM-Z450 will be officially revealed, but motocross machines are usually among the first of each manufacturers’ new models to be shown each year.