WE RIDE A WORKS SUZUKI RM-Z250WS
MXA had the opportunity to fly to
Japan for the express purpose of riding
the ultimate expression of a motocross
bike—a works bike. It was, strangely
enough from our point of view, a Suzuki
RM-Z250 works bike. We found it
strange because the RM-Z250 is a
bike that has fallen on hard times in the
United States. Once a major player in
American motocross, yellow RM-Z250s
are now a rare sight on the starting line
of any AMA Supercross or National.
And sales of RM-Z250s have suffered,
as both KTM and Yamaha have moved
to the forefront of the quarter-liter
class. We probably wouldn’t have flown
all the way across the Pacific Ocean to
ride a stock 2015 Suzuki RM-Z250.
We could do that at home. Our goal
was to test ride the works RM-Z250WS
of Suzuki factory rider Junya Takenaka.
Our plan was simple: we would fly
to Japan for a round of the All-Japan
National Motocross Championships
and, when that was over, test Junya
Takenaka’s works RM-Z250WS.
As we clicked off laps on the hard-packed Chugoku track on the unfamiliar
RM-Z250WS race bike, we began to
take stock of what we were doing.
Before we knew it, we were flowing like
water. Instantly, we recognized that the
works Showa suspension glided over
big braking bumps and potholes as if it
were riding over pillows. We expected
this, because if a works bike doesn’t
have great suspension, it’s hardly
“works.” Of course, the RM-Z250WS
had the same sparkling handling traits
as the Suzuki production bikes. Suzuki
has stuck with its “turn at all costs”
frame geometry since 1982, and we
don’t see them going on an expedition
in search of more conservative handling
any time soon. The front wheel was
glued to the flat corners without any
signs of twitchiness, which is probably a
testament to how well the Showa
Our best guess as to how fast the
works Suzuki would go couldn’t have
been further off. From the very first
twist of the throttle, it was a letdown.
Forgive us for thinking that a works
Suzuki would be lightning fast. It wasn’t.
In fact, all the AMA National race
bikes that we have tested would blow
the RM-Z250WS out of the water.
The powerband was less aggressive
than that of the stock 2015 Suzuki
RM-Z250 engine. But—and there is
always a “but” when you are testing a
race setup—Suzuki’s goal was not to
Motocross is the same around the
world, only the signs in the background are different. This is MXA’s
Daryl Ecklund at the Chugoku track
on a works RM-Z250WS.