5. 2009-2010 Suzuki RM-Z450
The 2009 Suzuki RM-Z450 is actually Suzuki’s 2008 RM-Z450 done right. A terminal flaw in the engine forced Suzuki to pull back the 2008 model. With the problem fixed, the 2009 hit the market, but a bike that would’ve been considered a technical innovator by bringing electronic fuel-injection to the 450cc class lost its competitive advantage with consumers as Honda and Kawasaki also came out with EFI in 2009.
But don’t take that to mean that the RM-Z450 was not competitive. On the contrary, the new yellow bike made its mark on the AMA Supercross and Motocross scene with Makita Suzuki-mounted Chad Reed finishing just four points shy of James Stewart in the AMA Supercross title race before stepping up to win the AMA 450cc National Motocross Championship that year. The following season, a relatively untested rookie named Ryan Dungey rode his factory Suzuki RM-Z450 to the AMA Supercross Championship.
Amazing throttle response, a linear powerband and pinpoint handling made the RM-Z450 a top dog in the class, and any other flaws were easily fixable. They still are, as aftermarket support is plentiful and Suzuki officials tell us that they still have plenty of parts in stock for the 2009-2010 RM-Z. Plan on spending around $3000 for a good example, but make sure that you have a good accounting of the engine’s condition lest you end up having to shell out another grand or more to rebuild it.