Suzuki has indeed got rid of its 125cc two-stroke RM, but that was only to make room for the RM-Z250, a bike that has significantly evaluated during these past years and which unveils itself as reaching the highest levels of refinements you can encounter in the given class.
Presented as a 2009 model, the RM-Z250 follows its bigger brother’s recipe and gets itself an upgraded design which consists in a new set of graphics, matching seat cover, yellow front number plate as well as the yellow radiator shrouds.
Although not radically improved for 2009, the new RM-Z250 couldn’t simply get on the track without featuring any changes whatsoever and that is how you’ve ended up reading the first phrase.
As you will further see, Suzuki had caught the big wave (and is still on it if you ask me) back in 2004 when they introduced the RM-Z250 with the clear determined purpose of revolutionizing four-stroke motocross models and by looking back at it now, we reckon it managed to achieve that exact thing. The bike was destined to dominate the competition and rewrite history and with the powerful heritage coming from Suzuki’s championship winning motocross program and the legendary GSX-R four-stroke road-racing program it sure promised a lot.
The most important thing that needs to be mentioned is that Suzuki developed the RM-Z250 in collaboration with Kawasaki which launched the KX250F in the same period. With the dominance of the Yamaha YZ250F for the years that preceded the launch of the two models, as well as the all-new Honda CRF250R, Suzuki and Kawasaki had to make no concessions. Other than the Kayaba suspension, these bikes share nothing with their siblings. Suzuki handled motor development while Kawasaki headed up all the chassis and suspension development in order to create what a few years later would became one of the best machines out on the tracks.
Even though it hasn’t yet done the fuel injection step, its evolution was similar to the one of the RM-Z450.
But competition is as strong as it can get and Suzuki knows it best. With Yamaha presenting their new YZ250F featuring the normal for the class 250cc engine, but with the special liquid-cooled four-stroke, DOHC, five titanium valves configuration, there are more than a few reasons for Suzuki to worry. For 2009 Yamaha made sure that this model will feature a lightened and rebalanced chassis, new clutch, new lubrication system to the engine and mass centralization. Comparing all that with some new graphics would be unfair for Yamaha, but that is what you get when you simply retouch a bike. Still, the Suzuki offers a strong bang!
The Kawasaki KX250F also has the Suzuki be an alternative for it. And even though the collaboration between the two makers is long ended, their motocross bikes remain similar. With modified intake ports and new titanium valves, the 249cc four-stroke single with DOHC and four valves is more feared than ever before! It breaths through a new tapered titanium exhaust pipe which has radically contributed at the retuning of this model. Weight has also been reduced, leaving the Kawasaki offer a better power to weight ratio.
Honda has finally presented their motocross lineup and the CRF250R is one of the most flick able motorcycles present in it. Powered by a 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder four-stroke engine, also not packed with fuel injection, but with a more than decent 40mm Keihin flat-slide carburetor, this quarter-liter model is indeed competitive. What push it even further are the Honda Progressive Steering Damper and Showa suspensions, goodies that also make the riding conditions less harsh.
Suzuki usually built bulletproof bikes with not much thing in common with styling and visual attraction, but starting with the new millennium and, later, with the RM-Z250, things were about to change.
Testimony to that is the fact that for 2009 there are only exterior changes that were brought to it. As you earlier read, graphics were everything for 2009 so they were changed as well as the seat cover which has now matching paint. The same treatment was applied to the now yellow front number plate and the yellow radiator shrouds.
But the bike was already unveiling its racing character through its looks so the 2009 changes come as an extra demonstration of taste. I know you would expect to read “power” instead of “taste”, but let’s hope we’ll be saying that about the 2010 model year.
Because Suzuki didn’t worked that much at the 2009 RM-Z250, testing a 2008 model year seems as conclusive as you get, at least until we finally jump onto the latest presented. It is an incredible riding experience and despite the fact that the competition has made a few steps further, the RM-Z retains its aggressive character and versatility.
The 250cc, four-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC engine is strong-pulling and very responsive, especially in the mid and upper range of the powerband, allowing for wide-open throttle fun on various sections of the track, especially in the short straight. The modified carburetor now feeds a little bit more gas, increasing horsepower and, implicit, the rush you get when riding the thing.
Something truly worthy of appreciation and a Suzuki characteristic is the heavy-duty clutch which together with the aggressive and light handling allows awesome corner carving, perfect to fight against fairly more advanced motorcycles. Also, the five-speed gearbox shifts easily and I never managed to miss a gear during the time I spent in RM-Z’s seat. With these three qualities to benefit of, the Suzuki RM-Z250 becomes very easy to get caught up by and that’s not all.
Handling is the sweet spot as the frame is designed for aggressive cornering and due to the narrow and grippy seat the rider can position itself in the adequate riding spot. This slightly modifies the center of gravity and allows for even greater control over the balky bike.
On the model year we’ve tested, the hot start is a brand new feature and brings a touch of modernity on what appears to be a traditionally thumper.
The Suzuki RM-Z250 offers great bottoming resistance thanks to the retuned suspensions (stiffer valving) while passing over whoops feels like the easiest thing now.
With waved rotors, the great breaking performance is maintained in muddy riding conditions and they also cool down more efficiently.
So what could you ask more? Fuel injection? Let’s just hope that 2010 will bring that as a result of the RM-Z450 influence.
Suzuki hasn’t added much thing to the price either and that is what makes it go strong on the market today. The RM-Z250 comes with an MSRP of $6,299 while other options are the Yamaha YZ250F ($6,549 or $6,649 for the White/Red version), Kawasaki KX250F ($6,499 or $6,699 for the Monster Energy version) and Honda CRF250R (MSRP: $6,549).
Although not totally new, the 2009 Suzuki RM-Z250 exerts its wonderful attraction and is here to do a great figure given to the manufacturer’s specific reliability and performance. Although with a characteristic sense of constancy, the RM-Z250 misses no dirt track battle and carries on competing, which is the thing it knows doing best.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC
Bore Stroke: 77.0 mm (3.03 in) x 53.6 mm (2.11 in)
Compression Ratio: 13.4 : 1
Fuel System: KEIHIN FCR37MX
Lubrication: Semi-dry sump
Ignition: Electronic ignition (CDI)
Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh
Final Drive: D.I.D 520DMA2, 112 links
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension Front: Upside-down telescopic fork
Suspension Rear: Swingarm type
Brakes Front: Disc brake
Brakes Rear: Disc brake
Tires Front: 80/100-21 51M, tube type
Tires Rear: 100/90-19 57M, tube type
Fuel Tank Capacity: 7.0 L (1.8/1.5 US/Imp gal)
Overall Length: 2165 mm (85.2 in)
Overall Width: 830 mm (32.7 in)
Overall Height: 1260 mm (49.6 in)
Seat Height: 955 mm (37.6 in)
Ground Clearance: 350 mm (13.8 in)
Wheelbase: 1465 mm (57.7 in)
Curb Weight: 102 kg (225 lbs)