2010 Suzuki RM-Z250

Worth the wait

By Jesse Ziegler, Photography by Jesse Ziegler

Motorcyclists have been waiting with bated breath for Suzuki to release something-anything-for the 2010 model year. For those who prefer to take their two-wheeled medicine with a little dirt, there's the new RM-Z250, the second fuel-injected 250cc motocrosser to hit the market. Only the yet-to-be-released RMX450Z enduro can match its hype. But can Team Yellow recover from such a late start to the season? And when will dealers be taking delivery of this hot new thumper? We're not sure. But we are sure of this: The 2010 Suzuki RM-Z250 is pretty awesome.

The fuel-injection components are all-new, and the more powerful motor has been comprehensively redesigned with modifications to the oil distribution, valve train and trans-mission. Similarly, the chassis and suspension received a new swingarm, revised engine positioning and new spring rates for the fork and shock.

During our first few days of testing, we were pleased to find plenty of heft left in the RM-Z's bottom end. In 2007, Suzuki won Dirt Rider's 250cc four-stroke shootout with an incredibly rideable, torque-heavy motor the likes of which the normally high-revving 250cc class hadn't seen. For 2010, Suzuki added some pull on top and kept the precise handling that corner-hunters love. Some of our most experienced test riders said this is the best production Suzuki motocrosser they'd ever ridden.

The bike reacts instantly, the way a fuel-injected bike should. Its power comes on quickly and with full grunt. It out-pulls all but the snappiest-in-class Kawasaki KX250F off the bottom and powers through the midrange with purpose. The engine has a wide power spread, excellent gearing and a smooth gearbox. Previously, the RM-Z had a lull at the upper end of the rev range. Not anymore: This bike pulls like no RM-Z before and builds to an impressive peak, remaining perfectly smooth and controlled along the way.

As fuel injection makes its way into the dirt, the 250s are benefitting greatly. Though down on cubes, these bikes are expected to clear the same obstacles as 450s. And having a carburetor hiccup or bog can slow you down, or worse, wipe you out. Suzuki includes three different ECM tuning maps that are changeable via simple plug-in couplers. We liked it richer as the motor seemed to run smoother with more fuel.

The '08 RM-Z450 (which was also late to market) was the first mass-produced fuel-injected motocrosser, and Suzuki's list of championships proves it's been a worthy investment. Now, virtually everyone in the 450cc game is running zeros and ones instead of brass and holes, and the 250s are following suit. Will it translate to the sales floor? That depends on when you want to buy. One thing is for sure: The RM-Z250 is a damn good sales tool.

Price $7199
Engine type l-c single
Valve train DOHC, 4v
Displacement 249cc
Transmission 5-speed
Claimed horsepower na
Claimed torque na
Frame Aluminum twin-spar
Front suspension 47mm Showa fork with adjustable compression and rebound damping
Rear suspension Showa shock with adjustable spring preload, high/low-speed compression and rebound damping
Front brake Nissin two-piston caliper, 250mm disc
Rear brake Nissin one-piston caliper, 240mm disc
Front tire 80/100-21 Dunlop D756
Rear tire 100/90-19 Dunlop D745FA
Seat height 37.6 in.
Wheelbase 58.1 in.
Fuel capacity 1.7 gal.
Claimed dry weight 220 lbs.
Contact www.suzukicycles.com

Verdict 4.5 stars out of 5
EFI and a little extra top-end oomph make the RM-Z250 a serious contender.

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By Jesse Ziegler
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