spending the extra dough on a new bike that doesn’t
do well on the resale market. Those looking for a new
motorcycle will more than likely avoid buying the 2015
RM-Z250; that is, until all 2014 models have evaporated.
Competition: A saving grace for Suzuki is that the
other manufacturers didn’t unveil all-new designs for
2015 either—although this is the year of suspension
upgrades, with the Honda CRF250, Husqvarna FC250
and KTM 250SXF having radically new fork designs.
Engineering-wise, Suzuki dodged the proverbial bullet
when its competition kept their same basic layouts from
the 2014 model year.
MXA: To our way of thinking, failing to make
worthwhile updates doesn’t bode well for a bike that
treaded water last year. Let us remind you that the
updates to the 2014 RM-Z250 were limited to an ECU
change (that even Suzuki couldn’t accurately clarify the
benefits of) and yellow side panels.
While it’s true that the RM-Z250 is a decent motocross
bike, it is also an aged design. We forgave Suzuki for
their trespasses last year because the bike had a solid
powerband and the best cornering characteristics in the
class. Now, however, our hearts have hardened. Simply
put, the RM-Z250 is good, but not as good as what other
manufacturers are producing. That’s a shame, because
with a few key changes the bike could be a world-beater
like it was in 2011—when it won MXA’s 250 shootout.
Q: WHAT SHOULD SUZUKI HAVE FOCUSED
ON FOR 2015?
A: Suzuki is quickly losing ground in the arms race.
This is what MXA would have done to the 2015 RM-Z250
if we steered the yellow ship:
(1) Engine. The fact that the RM-Z250 reached 39. 23
ponies at 12,200 rpm proves that the engine isn’t a
slouch. Having said that, it gives up at least 2 horsepower
to the KX250F, YZ250F, KTM 250SXF and Husqvarna
FC250 at peak. At certain points on the dyno curve, the
RM-Z250 falls even farther behind. Given that in the 250
class the most important aspect of a bike is what’s under
the cylinder head, Suzuki needs to up the ante—quickly.
( 2) Clutch. A problem shared between the RM-Z250
and RM-Z450 is the pitiful clutch. It’s not so much a
clutch as it is a ticking time bomb. The entire clutch
pack—from the basket to the springs and fibers—is too
Benefits: There’s no denying the positive
attributes of the RM-Z250. At the top of the list are
the cornering characteristics. It can rail through
ruts that other bikes can only dream of hitting.