The 2014 Suzuki RM-Z450 blends a solid power- band with the absolute best cornering of any bike made. Although Suzuki’s hop-up program for 2014 actually consisted of little more than an ignition mod to stop the engine from kicking back when it fails to start, the yellow engine is still a sweet piece. It’s not a Pro-level engine because it lacks top end, but it has an easy-to-use low-to-mid transition that always seems to be hooked up. The RM-Z450 powerplant is at a disadvantage in a straight line, but it knows how to put what it makes into the ground. Suzuki’s switch to Showa SFF single-spring forks last year was not a good trade, especially since Suzuki’s engineers didn’t make any changes to them for 2014. These are the worst forks on any bike sold in 2014. The bike is also the heaviest bike in this shootout and has a spotty reliability record in MXA’s hands. Although great in the corners, the RM-Z450 is very busy at speed, with a front end that flicks left and right when you least expect it. HORSEPOWER? 54. 10 horsepower at 8700 rpm. DOWNSIDES? If we were Suzuki, we’d fix the basics, because the handling, power and ergos are okay. How hard is it to build contemporary radiators, brakes, clutches and fork settings? This bike is an acceptable race bike when it comes to fit, feel, power and cornering, but it can’t win shootouts with average power, feeble brakes, a weak clutch, inadequate cooling, bad forks and more tonnage than any other bike in the class. THE WORD? The 2014 RM-Z450 was in the running for the third spot, but the YZ450F has better suspension, more horsepower, a stronger clutch, better cooling and is more reliable. When we are on the RM-Z450, we compensate for its flaws by trying not to use the clutch as much. We make sure the radiators are full. We brake a little early, and we are thankful that we sent the forks out to be revalved. We make these compromises for the joy of diving to the inside in every corner.