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Mod Squad | Wiseco Pistons’ 2020 Suzuki RM-Z450


Let’s be real, the Suzuki RM-Z450 didn’t set the world on fire in our 2020 450 Motocross Shootout, or our ’19 comparison, either. With a stiff chassis and a mellow engine, plus the unbalanced suspension package that includes the hard-to-tune Showa BFRC shock; the Suzuki – as delivered – is a bike that simply doesn’t stack up to its competition.

In stock condition.

With a little bit of fine-tuning, it is easy to transform the Suzuki RM-450 an amazing race bike that is capable of winning at all levels of competition. Even in stock condition, the Suzuki is a very good bike that most riders cannot take full advantage of; it’s only in comparison to the offerings from other manufacturers that it seems to fall a little short.

Our friend Dennis Stapleton is a fixture in motocross around the globe, as he has competed not only in AMA Supercross and MX Nationals but also in more foreign countries than most factory riders. He is arguably known best as a Motocross Action Magazine test rider, but he also does R&D work for Fox Racing and several other aftermarket companies, including Wiseco Pistons.

Stapleton has been instrumental in helping us secure Wiseco product for several of our own project bike builds, and when he mentioned that he had put together a much-improved Suzuki RM-Z450 with only mild modifications, we asked to test it before he could even offer.

To beef up the power output, Stapo added a full-billet aluminum Wiseco High-Compression Piston and an FMF Racing exhaust system. The piston features an asymmetrical piston skirt design, Armorglide skirt coating, and a DLC-coated piston ring. We’ve held one of the pistons and it is truly a beautiful piece of machining. Putting the power to the ground is a Rekluse Torque Drive Clutch Pack – one of our all-time favorite aftermarket mods – and a ProX chain and sprocket kit.

To address the unbalanced suspension, Steven Hill at CloverHill Racing Services got into the fork and shock and revalved them for better hold up and control. The bike was valved and sprung for Stapleton’s pro-level speed, and that was a good match for our test rider Mike Sleeter.

Gold Takasago Excel rims were laced up to the stock hubs by the unrivaled wheel builders at Dubya USA. Before they were assembled, Dubya sent the hubs off for a cool Cerakote coating, which gives stock hubs a super-cool factory look. Hoosier Tires were mounted to the wheels, and we were excited to take our first spin on the American-made tires.

Works Connection supplied a handful of its excellent aluminum products, from the Pro Launch Start Device and Elite Perch that set the standard by which all others are measured, to radiator braces, engine guards and a skid plate.

We spent the day at the track aboard Stapleton’s Wiseco machine and came away very impressed and pleased. Our pro test rider Mike Sleeter did the honors, and you can hear his impressions in the video above!

Directory/Parts List

Wiseco Racer Elite Piston Kit

Torque Drive Clutch Pack
Clutch Cover

CV4 High-pressure radiator cap
CV4 temperature strips
ProX Racing Parts
Supercooler kit
FMF Racing
Stainless Steel Aluminum Factory -4.1
Dubya USA
Takasago Excel Rims
Cerakote Hubs
Works Connection
Radiator Braces
Elite Clutch EZ Build
Pro Launch Start Device
Skid Plate
Hoosier tires
Front tire MX25
Rear Tire IMX25
Throttle Syndicate 
Suzuki Spectrum Graphics kit
Solid Gripper seat Cover
CloverHill Racing Services
Donn Maeda

Donn Maeda is a 30-year veteran in moto-journalism, having worked at Cycle News and Dirt Rider before launching MXracer Magazine and TransWorld Motocross Magazine. Maeda is the Editor-In-Chief at Swapmoto Live and you can catch him on a dirt bike or in the saddle of a mountain bike on most days.

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