Suzuki must have been happy with their “MXA 250 Shootout” results last
year because they rested on their
laurels this year. Aside from a few
minor plastic color changes and an
ECU update, the 2014 RM-Z250 is
a carbon copy of the 2013 model.
Although we were happy to see that
Suzuki didn’t mess with the good
stuff, we were a little concerned
that they didn’t do anything to fix
the bad stuff.
At a time when Kawasaki, KTM
and Yamaha are boosting their
engine packages beyond the 40-horse
mark, the RM-Z250 powerband is
starting to feel a bit anemic. It had
the second-best engine last year,
but with the advent of the all-new
Yamaha YZ250F, it dropped another
step down the ladder for 2014. It
still has a very good engine for the
less-skilled rider, but it doesn’t hold
a candle to the YZ250F or Kawasaki
On the good side of the ledger, if
you’re looking for the best-handling
bike in the class, this is it. Suzuki
discovered the perfect blend of
chassis balance and geometry years
ago and has never messed with it.
This bike can hit inside lines with
ease. It can also sweep through high-speed corners with nary a front-end
wiggle. Unfortunately, all that
precision means that it does suffer
from headshake in a straight line.
39. 23 horsepower at 12,200 rpm.
Out of the crate, the 2014 Suzuki
RM-Z250 is an amazing bike.
Unfortunately, as the ride hours
build, the bike begins to show
serious signs of wear. The clutch
cannot handle the day-to-day rigors
of riding. The brakes are pathetic.
Additionally, we are bothered by the
cheap bolts and flimsy hot-start lever.
These issues, however, are trivial
compared to the biggest issue: on
past RM-Z250 test bikes, the engine
gave up several horsepower once the
hours stacked up. If you are a Suzuki
RM-Z250 owner, pay close attention
to piston, ring and valve wear.
The Suzuki RM-Z250 won our
shootout in 2011. Since then, it
has slowly fallen from grace. This
is a great bike for a wide range
of riders, but it is getting long in
the tooth. Still, if you’re looking for
the best-handling bike with a solid
engine, the RM-Z250 is up your alley.