The 2017 MFJ All Japan National Motocross Championship Series kicks off this weekend at Kyushu MX Park in Kumamoto, Japan, and you know what that means: time to take a peek at what could very well be the production machines of next year and beyond. This year's 2018 Japan Spy Photos are brought to you by BTOSports.com
The Suzuki MXGP team unveiled the pre-production 2018 Suzuki RM-Z450 several weeks ago and have been enjoying mixed results with Kevin Strijbos and Arminas Jasikonis. Oddly enough, detailed photos or information about the bike have been scarce from the European media, so we were understandably excited to see the machine in person at Kyushu and learn more about it.
Piloted by former All Japan National Champion Yohei Kojima and new team rider Kouichi Fukaya, the 2018 RM-z450 are visually stunning and bristle with all the usual trickery that factory Suzuki race bikes always do. Boasting an all-new chassis that is said to provide a softer ride than the current frame, the bike also has a new swingarm and completely redesigned bodywork that thrust it into the modern design era. Surprisingly, the engine remains the same basic powerplant but is said to be much more powerful, thanks to a different EFI throttle body (rumored to be made by Mikuni) and an all-new airbox and airbox boot. The 2018 bike will not come with electric start or a hydraulic clutch, even though Fukaya’s machine was equipped with a Magura hydraulic clutch. Kojima’s bike is equipped with factory KYB suspension – with PSF air forks up front – but the production 2018 bike will come equipped with mechanical spring Showa forks and a matching Showa shock.
Stay tuned to the July issue of TransWorld Motocross for complete details about what we learned in Japan about the 2018 machines!