2012 RM-Z 250 and 450 Chassis Handling – First Test
Story By Pete Peterson
Photos By Scott Hoffman
Suzuki released its 2012 RM-Z250 and 450 to the media and we’re literally driving back from the track and typing up our first impressions. The bad news is the changes to the bike are minimal, just a revised breather hose, a revised fuel pump, and new graphics. So we thought we’d change up the test a little and cover the bikes’ handling here, and the motor performance on dirtrider.com (there’s a link to that story at the end of this one). For full tests on either bike, search the archives at dirtrider.com for the web test, magazine test, and shootouts on the two models.
Turning – 2012 RM-Z250
Our fast, young, about-to-turn-pro tester felt very stable and consistent turning in both flat corner sliding and ruts. Our novice rider felt immediately comfortable and felt the bike was accurate and light feeling. We even put our ought-to-stick-to-450s-big-guy on the bike to see how the tall and heavier riders would get along, and he did see how the suspension didn’t allow the bike to handle like it should. With the spring preload cranked down to get proper ride height, he felt the bike was still riding low in the rear, causing a push entering corners and generally had a wallowy feel.
Turning 2012 RM-Z450
Possibly due in part to its compact feeling chassis (more compact feeling than the 250F in fact), the big yellow bike turns better than a 450 should. Our throttle happy teenager felt the front end was a little light coming into corners and he had to stay on top of it or it could wander, but coming out of corners the bike was precise – hammer it and still go where you want. Our novice felt the 450 dropped into turns
even better than the 250 and slid the rear better with the extra power on tap. Our big boy didn’t have a chance to ride last year’s 450, and found the bike very precise with effortless direction changes. The bike went where he wanted it to.
Jumping – 2012 RM-Z250
Our annoying fast guy felt the Suzuki 250F was really comfortable when he stayed neutral on the bike and took only subtle inputs to move the bike in the air. Our super-novice thought the bike gave confidence jumping with a chassis that was easy to maneuver in the air even for those without that ‘whip gene.’ Our big guy was not getting along with the stock springs and slowing compression and rebound had the bike kicking sideways off faces. Big guys on little bikes – re-spring for your weight.
Jumping 2012 RM-Z450
Our fighter pilot felt the 450 was just like the 250, just with more power to clear those big gaps. Our novice felt the bike could feel its weight suddenly when jumping just a little off his desired line. Girdle Racer found the bike had a tendency to kick to the inside when sliding up the face of jumps just out of corners. Correcting in the air was a breeze, however, and the only scary landing was when he lost track of his age and rode for so many laps the bike ran out of gas.
So if the bad news is that there really aren’t any performance changes to the 2012 Suzuki’s the good news is that the 2011’s were already great bikes. If you’re looking for bikes that have nimble, accurate handling, put the tie downs in the truck and get to the Suzuki dealer.
Check out our opinions on both bikes’ motors at www.dirtirder.com by clicking here.
Add a Comment
By submitting a comment you grant Motocross.com a perpetual license to reproduce your
words, name and web site in attribution.
Comments may be removed at an administrators discretion. Your email is used for verification purposes only and will never be shared.