A: It doesn’t take up any room in the pits, because
we haven’t seen a Suzuki RM-Z250 at our local SoCal races
in a couple years.
Q: WHAT’S ITS BEST ATTRIBUTE ON
A: Cornering. The RM-Z250 has long held the distinction of being the best-turning bike in its class. Suzuki discovered its magical frame-geometry formula 20 years ago
and has stuck with it. It can hit inside lines with very little
rider input, but also blast around sweeping turns with
relative accuracy. The only downside to the RM-Z250’s
geometry is instability at speed. The solution? Slide the
forks down in the triple clamps, tighten the steering-stem
nut, and carefully adjust the race sag (it affects the frame’s
head angle). Every MXA test rider was willing to trade
some straight-line stability for the RM-Z250’s precise cornering ability.
Q: WHAT MODS WOULD A SUZUKI RM-Z250
RACER NEED TO MAKE?
A: We wouldn’t make any mods that required a
massive outlay of cash. Why not? It would be a waste
of money and time. You would need to spend $5000 on
engine mods to bring the RM-Z250 engine up to parity
with a showroom-stock KTM 250SXF. What mods should a
2017 Suzuki RM-Z250 owner make? Sensible ones that fix
existing flaws. Here’s a quick and cheap list.
(1) Exhaust. You could order a slip-on muffler from Pro
Circuit, FMF or DR.D and get back the throttle response
that the perf-core restrictor took away. Or, take a long
punch and knock the V-shaped offender out of the way
(we weren’t brave enough to do this).
( 2) Gearing. If you want to go anywhere fast, you’ve
got to perk up the midrange. The quickest way to do this
is by adding teeth to the rear sprocket.
( 3) Couplers. The RM-Z250 couplers actually make a
Q: HOW DOES THE 2017 SUZUKI RM-Z250
RUN ON THE DYNO?
A: The 2017 Suzuki RM-Z250 produces the least
horsepower of any 250 four-stroke on the track today.
The RM-Z250’s 38. 35 horsepower is anemic compared to
the 44. 34 horsepower of the 2017 Husqvarna FC250. We’ll
do the math for you—that’s 6 horsepower at peak. Even
worse, the RM-Z250 doesn’t beat the second-worst dyno
bike, the Honda CRF250, at any point on the curve. And,
the Honda’s peak number is 38. 89 to Suzuki’s 38. 35.
Q: HOW FAST IS THE 2017 RM-Z250?
A: This engine is not fast. It lacks throttle response,
aggressive hit, adequate over-rev or competitive ponies. It
is, at its best, a Novice engine. It picks up nicely off the
bottom and has pep into the midrange, but it is the only
bike that we had to downshift to keep drive going on
We accept that KTM caught Honda and Suzuki napping
in the R&D department. Suzuki might have been lulled
into complacency by Kawasaki’s, Yamaha’s and Honda’s
willingness to play the game by the established rules,
which call for new designs every four years and only
minor updates in the interval. KTM doesn’t play that game.
For 2017 KTM went for the jugular with a 14,000-rpm
bike that leapfrogged over the 2017 Suzuki RM-Z250 by 6
Q: WHAT IS THE BEST ATTRIBUTE OF THE
The conundrum for Suzuki is that they don’t sell
very many RM-Z250s, which means the
bean counters can’t justify spending millions to
redesign it. That is a self-fulfilling prophecy.