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 one tooth to the rear sprocket.
( 3) Couplers. The RM-Z250 couplers actually make
a difference to the engine’s performance. We are
particularly fond of the lean (white) coupler, but
depending on your track conditions, the gray coupler
or no coupler at all could be the cat’s meow. You can
change the coupler in less than a minute, so take the
time to test each one.
( 4) Clutch. At the very least, install stiffer aftermarket clutch springs. It will save you money on clutch
plates in the long run and build up your left forearm.
( 5) Steering stem. Just because the RM-Z250 is the
best-cornering bike in the class doesn’t mean that it’s
the best handling bike. Overall handling performance
is not based on cornering alone, but a combination of
traits including straight-line stability, balance at speed
and rough ground manners. Unfortunately, the RM-Z250
is not very stable at high speeds or through rough terrain. We always tighten down the steering stem to eliminate free-play in the front end. As a rule of thumb, we
know that free-play needs to be taken out when
the front end flops easily from side to side.
( 6) Front tire. Most MXA test riders find the
Dunlop Geomax MX52 to be very loose at turn-in. For
our tracks, we run either a Dunlop MX32 or Bridgestone
Q: HOW MUCH DOES THE 2016 RM-Z250
A: The 2016 Suzuki RM-Z250 hits MXA’s trusty
scales at 226 pounds (without gas in the tank).
Compared to the 221-pound KTM 250SXF, 221-pound
Yamaha YZ250F, 223-pound Husqvarna FC250 and
224-pound Honda CRF450, it is heavier. It does,
however, weigh the same as the 2016 KX250F.
Q: WHAT DO WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Tires. Although the RM-Z250 is stepping up from
Dunlop MX51 tires to MX52s, we vastly prefer a Dunlop
MX32 front to the MX52.
( 2) Aesthetics. If you own an older Suzuki RM-Z250,
you can rejoice in knowing that your ancient warrior
still looks like a 2016 model—save for the ill-conceived
black rear fender. We don’t understand Suzuki’s
aesthetic design. It would be the equivalent of every
2016 Ford looking like a 2008 Taurus.
( 3) Clutch. What clutch?
( 4) Brakes. Every manufacturer, save for Suzuki,
switched to oversized front brake rotors in order to
keep KTM’s awesome Brembo brakes in sight. The
RM-Z250 has the weakest brakes on the showroom
floor. To add insult to injury, we had overheating
issues with the rear brake.
( 5) Engine. This was a solid midrange engine in the
past. Not anymore! The new crop of over-40-horsepower
engines beat it in the midrange and romp all over it
after 10,000 rpm.
( 6) Launch control. The day that skilled riders need
to detune the slowest 250cc four-stroke in order to get a
good start is the day they need to take up Tiddlywinks.
Q: WHAT DO WE LIKE?