A: New engines don’t come down the pike very often,
so it was with great anticipation that we put the 2016
RM-Z250 on the dyno. Would you believe that the RM-Z250
engine didn’t gain any significant power over the previous
2015 engine, which was a carbon copy of the 2014 engine.
That seems impossible. In order to double-check our dyno
readings, we got a second brand-new 2016 RM-Z250 from
a dealer and dyno’ed it. No-go! Neither bike showed any
compelling horsepower increase. No big deal; we’ve tested
bikes that performed poorly on the dyno but were good on
the racetrack. After all, dynos don’t go to the starting line;
they just give out cold, hard stats. Sadly, the stats were
spot-on this time.
The 2016 Suzuki RM-Z250 produced 38. 35 horsepower.
That is the least horsepower of any 250cc four-stroke that
we have dyno’ed in 2016. How far below the class-leading
Husqvarna FC250 is the RM-Z250? The KTM 250SX makes
44. 34 horsepower at peak, which is almost 6 horsepower
more than the RM-Z250 at peak and 6. 23 horsepower
more at 13,000 rpm. Worse yet, 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.
What happened to the 80 all-new engine mods? We
have two theories: (1) In order to improve low-end power
and the transition into the midrange, Suzuki increased
flywheel inertia by 9 percent and lengthened the head
pipe by 40mm. While these changes made very minor
improvements to the power from 6000 rpm to 7000 rpm,
they had a negative effect on top-end power. ( 2) In order
Unlike most systems that only offer a mellow map for
concrete, the Suzuki has a stock map, mellow map and
a “mildly aggressive” map. Why do we say that it is
mildly aggressive? Because the stock map has the most
aggressive setting, while the two S-HAC options are like
Mama Bear’s and Baby Bear’s porridge. Equally creative
is S-HAC’s timed release. From the moment it recognizes
that the bike is moving, it retards the ignition for a better
launch. Then, before the rear wheel hits the starting gate,
it backs off the retardation to a middle ground setting
and, finally, when the bike is headed down the start, it
returns to the stock map. Total engagement time can be
as little as 1.5 seconds.
( 6) Frame. The 2016 RM-Z250 gets its version of the
RM-Z450 frame, with a taller head tube, stronger frame
cradle, redesigned webbing in the main spars and new
mounting points for the subframe. The frame geometry
( 7) Forks. Last year’s Showa SFF single-spring forks
have been replaced with Kayaba PSF- 2 air forks. The
PSF- 2 air forks, which are also found on the 2016 Honda
CRF450, are 2. 2 pounds lighter than the previous SFF
single-spring forks. Suzuki will supply a free air pump to
all 2016 RM-Z250 and RM-Z450 buyers until December
31, 2015. After that, RM-Z owners will have to buy the
pumps (suggested retail is $74.95).
( 8) Clutch cover. The clutch cover now has an oil-sight glass to make checking the oil level easier.
Q: WHAT WAS THE OUTCOME OF THE
RM-Z250’S 80 ENGINE CHANGES ON THE DYNO?
2016 Suzuki RM-Z250: With
all the ballyhoo about the 80
engine changes for 2016, we
expected the RM-Z250
powerplant to knock our
socks off. It didn’t do that.