Railing: The RM-Z250 boasts the best handling in the class. It’s a hoot to ride.
JANUARY 2014 / MOTOCROSS ACTION 67
(1) Updates. We aren’t pleased that Suzuki rested on its laurels and didn’t invest R&D money into an RM-Z250 revision. There are obvious flaws that could have been easily fixed (see below). ( 2) Clutch. Just like a Kardashian marriage, the RM-Z250 clutch fades quickly and cannot stand the test of time. ( 3) Hot start. It breaks with regularity and looks like a hobbit’s toe. ( 4) Bolts. Suzuki has the 8mm head-bolt market cornered, with the possible exception of Fisher-Price. The RM-Z250 bolts are pitiful. Q: WHAT DO WE LIKE? A: The like list: (1) Handling. Cornering prowess is the RM-Z250’s best attribute. It can hit lines that other bikes can only dream of making. ( 2) Engine. It’s not the fastest or easiest powerband in the class, but it’s broad and powerful enough to get the job done. The job? Winning. ( 3) Couplers. Want more hit? Plug in the white coupler. Want to prevent the rear tire from lighting up like a paper factory next to a volcano? Plug in the gray coupler. ( 4) Suspension. The Showa SFF forks and piggyback shock do a decent job. Don’t confuse these SFF forks with the atrocious ones on the RM-Z450. The little bike’s forks are workmanlike. Not so with the big bike’s forks. Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK? A: In truth, Suzuki didn’t have much choice but to release a rebadged RM-Z250 for 2014. They spent most of the pre-pro R&D season under bankruptcy protection—and spending money is a no-no when you have a judge looking through your books. Luckily, the RM-Z250 was such a good bike in 2013 that it can endure benign neglect in 2014. The shame is that with a few small changes, 2014 could very well have been the year that the Suzuki RM-Z250 reclaimed top honors in the 250 class. Even so, its still on the short list of bikes that we would buy. ;
SETUP SPECS This is how we set up our 2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 for racing. We offer it as a guide to help you get your own bike dialed in. SHOWA SFF FORK SETTINGS Suzuki equipped the RM-Z250 with Showa’s Separate Function forks (SFF) in 2013. We were pleased with them last year, and Suzuki kept the single- spring design for 2014. The forks are stout enough for heavier and faster riders but might be too stiff for lighter and slower riders. Don’t be afraid to play with oil height and preload. We discovered that cranking in on the preload yielded a better overall feel. For hardcore racing, these are MXA’s recommended 2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 fork settings (when changed, stock settings are in parentheses): Spring rate: 0.99 kg/mm Oil quantity: 340cc in right leg Compression: 8 clicks out ( 11 clicks out) Rebound: 12 clicks out ( 9 clicks out) Preload: 6 clicks out Fork-leg height: Flush with top clamp Notes: The RM-Z250 is very sensitive to fork tube height. We found that running the forks flush with the top triple clamp balanced the suspension and lessened headshake. We also tightened the steering stem to prevent excessive headshake. Note that when the forks are new, they need about an hour of ride time before they properly break in. SHOWA SHOCK SETTINGS For hardcore racing, these are MXA’s recommended 2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 shock settings (when changed, stock settings are in parentheses): Spring rate: 5. 5 kg/mm Race sag: 105mm Hi-compression: 1-1/2 turns out ( 2 turns out) Lo-compression: 12 clicks out ( 14 clicks out) Rebound: 12 clicks out ( 14 clicks out) Notes: The shock takes about an hour to break in. Continue to check the sag until the shock is completely broken in. Don’t discount the shock when it comes to handling. If the shock is too stiff or the race sag insufficient, the RM-Z250 can go from a sweet-handling machine to a yellow ogre. Balance the front and rear with careful setup.