2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 First Ride
Big Changes At Suzuki
2013 Suzuki RM-Z250 First Ride
Story and photos by Pete Peterson
As if signing James Stewart mid-season wasn’t big enough news, Suzuki just released to the press the new 2013 RM-Z250 that has a number of significant changes. To show their excitement for the re-worked machine, they opened up their So Cal supercross test track to the media. The track was toned way down, but still gave pro test riders Chris “Cougar Bait” Green and Ricky “Fan Club” Yorks some good air time, as well as some hard pack turns and bowls to take the yellow bike out for Motocross.com’s shake down ride.
The major changes include an all-new transmission. The bike’s had a 5-speed, but one built with the intention of possibly becoming a six speed in the future. That extra gear was never realized, so Suzuki created a new 5-speed that Suzuki claims is a big improvement. Thefront fork is the Showa Separate Function fork, which has one leg containing a spring, the other the damping controls. This ‘gen 2’ of the SFF goes from a 47mm to a 48mm to minimize twist-flex from the legs performing different functions. The rear shock gets a lighter spring rate. The frame has increased rigidity internally as well as through stronger, now-steel (previously aluminum) engine mounts. The subframe is stiffened as well. And the engine gets its share of mods, including changes to the piston and intake and exhaust valves, all aimed at stronger mid-range power.
It’s an all-new bike, but the question of ‘how does it work?’ can’t be fully answered yet. The mellowed supercross track made for some fun riding, but the tight track didn’t allow testers to get a full evaluation of the bike… that’s coming soon after we’ve taken it out to more tracks. But the initial opinions of the testers point toward some very good test days ahead.Right when I hopped on it, it was very easy to ride. Within two corners I felt right at home on it. To be 100% honest, I didn’t notice the more-rigid chassis as much as I thought I would. I’ll have to ride an outdoor or a rougher track, this track was pretty smooth and jumpy. But it felt good, it didn’t do anything funny or weird; Suzukis still corner well, they’re some of the best-turning bikes out there. The broad midrange was definitely noticeable; it was easy to keep in the meat of the power. You could short shift it and it still had plenty of snap to get over the jumps right out of the corners. Probably the biggest change that I noticed was the suspension. In stock form, me being on the heavy side for a 250F rider, it was manageable even being on a jumpy track with g-outs and steeper lips, it still stayed up in the stroke and wasn’t clunking or bottoming. I think they went for a little more aggressive valving and spring rate than some of the other manufacturers, so if you’re a heavier or faster guy it’s ridable right out of the box, where other bikes feel… you set the sag, break ‘em in, then send ‘em off to your favorite suspension guy. It’s definitely cool to be able to hop on it, right off the box, and pin it. Shifting is probably one of the only things on Suzukis that’s been kind of a downfall. They’ve been notchy and they could sometimes find a false neutral or pop out of gear, but this year, no problems, it’s definitely for the better. The thing never mis-shifted once on me and never hit neutral.” — Ricky “Fan Club” Yorks, 6’ (“but I tell girls I’m 6’1” because I think I look better if I’m taller”), 185 lb., Pro
“The big change is the transmission. They went through and instead of four dogs there’s now three for better shifting. I’ve always been a smooth shifter, so I’ve never had trouble clicking neutral (on Suzukis), I have before on different bikes, but I never had that issue or had any trouble today with the Suzuki. The suspension, it always has felt balanced, and it still does, but they said they tried to make the bike more rigid, and for me on this track it felt soft because it’s not rough. On the steep lips the bike feels a little bit soft, but it feels like a really evenly-sprung and valved bike, both fork and shock, because off jump faces, bottoming out felt pretty equal. I like the Dunlop tires. On really dry stuff, I can feel the knobs kind of stretch. It wouldn’t quite kick out, it would still bite, but feel a little imprecise because the knobs were rolling. For the power, it’s hard to compare to last year’s bike because of the little track, and I never got out of third gear. I like second gear on this bike, but I wanted a little more, maybe a little taller second gear. The bike did overrev, but I felt like I made better power if I chilled out on revving the bike too much and just shifted into third gear. To me the Suzukis have always felt really precise. The front end feels a little hesitant in super had pack when you’re trying to get it to lean. But when there was a soft rut, in the forgiving dirt, the bike didn’t shoot out from under itself. It never, all of the sudden wanted to fall under or stand you up, it was even and steady. On the Suzuki I’ve always felt that you can ride a tight track and a wide open track without having to do much setup. As for ergonomics, it feels like the Suzuki’s have a flatter seat, you sit up a little bit higher, up into the cockpit. Not that it’s cramped, but when you come into a corner it puts you up in the front easily. And if you turn with the front wheel, you’re going to like how easily you can just get on the front.” — Chris “Cougar Bait” Green, 5’10”, 165 lb., Pro
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.