The 20th Century marked the very beginning of humanity’s collective desire to go as fast as possible. Some of the most memorable technological innovations all seemed to culminate right around the years 1903 to 1910. While Henry Ford’s model Ts were rolling steadily off the assembly line in Detroit, the Wright brothers were themselves pushing the envelope down in Ohio, achieving manned flight for the first recorded time on December 17, 1903. And while neither the car nor the airplane initially went very fast - model Ts topped out at around 40 miles per hour, which was lighting fast back then - another equally capable mode of travel was slowly gaining ground in both popularity and speed as well: the motorcycle.
Technically, motorized bikes date all the way back to the period immediately following the American Civil War, but it would be another generation or so before they started to really ‘take off’ so-to-speak. No doubt fueled by all the other mechanical breakthroughs of the time, motorbikes enjoyed a substantial leap forward right around 1910. Driven by the growing popularity of motorcycle racing across England and France, more and more innovative bikes began appearing on the market. For the next half-century, European manufacturers would provide the strongest influence over the industry, making gradual improvements to the bike’s engine, transmission, and chassis along the way. European dominance would eventually be overtaken however at the start of the 1960s by several competing Japanese manufacturers, most notably Suzuki.
Building bikes specifically for racing purposes has always been a strong point for Suzuki. With championship riders like Joel Robert, Roger DeCoster, Tony DiStefano, and Danny LaPorte opting for Suzuki bikes during their heydays of the 60s and 70s, Suzuki’s growing line of racing bikes became a virtual signature of quality . . . a signature that still carries weight to this day.
Starting in 1975, Suzuki produced a wide range of RM series motorcycles with engine displacements ranging from 50 cc all the way up to 400 cc. Weighing in at just under 200 pounds and measuring a hair over six feet in length, the Suzuki RM 125 featured a two-stroke air cooled engine and a downstroke exhaust pipe. The choice of many racing champs, the RM 125 - named one of the best dirt bikes of the last 25 years - would itself be eclipsed by an even better version of the RM line, the 250. Regarded as an ‘ultra-light weight’ motorcross bike, the Suzuki RM 250 reached its zenith with the liquid-cooled 1982 model, so highly regarded in fact that it was deemed a Hall of Famer by Dirt Bike Magazine.