Despite the fact that the actual word motorcross doesn’t make its way into com-mon everyday language until after the end of World War II, motorbike enthusiasts across France and England were staging cross-country races during the early 1920s. The first official off-road event took place on March 29, 1924 in the town of Surrey England. Called the ""Scrambles,"" the 50-mile race involved some 80 individual partic-ipants, of which only half actually finished the course - no doubt a rough ride through open fields and thick forests. During the 1930s, as the popularity of motorcross gradually increased, the finer points of the sport would be tuned: tracks were shortened (converted into laps), and various other obstacles like jumps were added as well to both test the rider’s skill while simultaneously entertaining the public.
Beginning in the 1950s, as the race tracks increased in difficulty and more and more nations began enlisting competitors, various motorbike manufacturers improved their vehicle designs as well, some of the more revolutionary additions being the in-troduction of the swinging arm suspension and 250cc two-stroke engines. Up until the 1960s, northern European companies dominated the dirt bike marketplace, renowned for producing lighter bikes that were decidedly easier to maneuver around the track. But by the end of the decade, Japanese companies like Suzuki would begin to gain on their rivals, not only churning out some of the best motorbikes in the industry, but nabbing prestigious race titles in the process. Up until 1970, European nations could lay claim to the vast majority of victories, but it was during that same year that Suzuki grabbed its first world championship win in the 250cc event.
With American bikers now caught-up in a world-wide swelling wave of motorcross fever starting in the early 1980s, Suzuki continued to push the engineering envelope with regard to bike design and improved functionality. Water-cooled machines as well as the monoshock rear suspension device were two stand-out improvements that helped propel the sport's popularity onto an even wider stage. Suzuki has always been known for producing sharply designed motorbikes that are lightweight, nimble, and lighting fast, notably with the release of their RM-Z line in 2004.
Compact, lightweight (a mere 200 pounds), and packing a hefty engine punch with its four-stroke, 250cc, 44 horsepower powertrain, the 2004 Suzuki RM-Z quickly became one of the most sought after motorcross machines ever. The 2006 model RM-Z got a power output boost, especially at lower and mid-range rpm which allowed slightly taller gearing, smoothing power delivery, and some redesigned shift forks that improved shifting feel. Other improvements included a reshaped intake port, revised carburetor settings, enhanced ignition map, and a modified steering head and swingarm that is two inches taller.