Mighty might: At 39 horsepower, the RM-Z250 engine gives up
several horsepower at peak to the competition.
Slip city: See that clutch lever on the RM-Z250? Avoid it like
the plague. Otherwise, you’ll be going nowhere fast.
meager to handle the stress caused by the engine. A
better clutch has been at the top of MXA’s RM-Z250
wish list for many years.
( 3) Aesthetics. It sounds trivial, but the RM-Z250
could stand to undergo a facelift. The plastics haven’t
changed in six years. Suzuki has attempted to fool the
consumer and sidestep the problem by rotating the
seat-cover color. When people pony up for a brand-new
bike, they want it to look brand new, not like a noncurrent 2009 model. This is marketing 101.
( 4) Hardware. Suzuki needs to get serious about its
fasteners. While other manufacturers use robust hardware that stands the test of time, the RM-Z250 uses 8mm
bolts of questionable quality. It’s baffling.
( 5) Durability. There’s a reason we’re called the
“wrecking crew” and not the “ride-once-a-week-for-30-
minutes crew.” We batter, bash and punish our fleet of
test bikes. We discovered long ago that of all the
manufacturers, Suzuki produces motorcycles that
consistently have the shortest lifespan. Suzuki needs to
take notes from Yamaha and Honda—two brands that
put a lot of time and effort into durability testing.
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ATTRIBUTE OF THE
A: We may sound like we are anti-Suzuki, but that
isn’t so. Just a few years ago, the RM-Z250 won “MXA’s
250 Four-Stroke Shootout” and, in our minds, it could win
again. But, not with a warmed-over product like the 2015
Actually, the 2015 RM-Z250 is a very fun bike to ride.
In last year’s 250 shootout, it won the cornering category
hands down. It cornered so well that MXA test riders
were willing to overlook some of its bugaboos. It rails
through ruts like a slot car. There is no hesitation at
turn-in. Midway through a corner the front end remains
planted and secure. Upon exit, there’s no need to give
excess input to the handlebars, because the chassis is
pointed in the direction that the rider intended. Best of
all, the RM-Z250 can hit nearly any line on the track,
including spots where there’s no specific rut or ripple to
pivot off of. Once the suspension is set up properly and
balanced fore and aft, the Suzuki will outperform any
other bike through corners. It’s that good. Best of all,
there’s no need to dump a judicious amount of money
into the RM-Z250 in order to make it corner. Forget dif-
ferent offset triple clamps or longer link arms; Suzuki’s
engineers have mastered carving elliptical arcs.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2015 RM-Z250?
A: It’s not very fast, but it has a solid delivery. The
RM-Z250 doesn’t have the best power in any specific
area of the rpm curve, but it has breadth. Bottom-end
power is abundant, but really it’s from the low-to-midrange transition that the bike is most impressive. The
RM-Z250 does its best work in the midrange; that is to
say, from 7500 to 9000 rpm. What’s so advantageous
about the power placement is that the midrange is
where a rider’s throttle hand spends the most time.
Intermediates and Experts weren’t blown away by the
upper reaches of the powerband, because the RM-Z250
has a tendency to sign off rather abruptly. Other bikes,
such as the KTM, Husqvarna, Yamaha and Kawasaki,
are superior at high rpm. It’s possible to keep the other
brands in sight, though, just as long as you shift when
the engine demands the next gear. Failing to do so
yields an engine that bounces off the rev limiter and