What if Suzuki never stopped rolling out two-strokes from their Toyokawa production plant back in 2008? What would Suzuki’s parallel universe look like if the bean counters listened to the diehard two-stroke fans? Today, two-strokes are a hot commodity. Ten years ago is was a different story. At the time, KTM was the only manufacture to dumping big money into the two-stroke budget. It seemed like a huge gamble on KTM’s part at the time, or was it? Did KTM know something the Japanese didn’t? From the outside looking in, for KTM to predict the come-back of two-strokes, some black magic must have been involved.
With Suzuki’s dyeing breed of dirt bikes across tracks world-wide, would it be a different story if the RM two-stroke line was never abolished? That answer exists in another dimension, but it wouldn’t be hard to imagine what a 2018 RM250 two-stroke would look like (as Suzuki hasn’t updated the look since 2008). But how would they run? How would they handle? We found a guy that had questions of his own. He was done holding his breathe for Suzuki to come-a-knocking. So he decided to make one of his own.
The imagination behind the creation of this true to life 2017 Suzuki RM250 is Shaun Langham. He knew to fit the mold of a new-age bike he would have to take the bones of a used discontinued RM250 and improve on every facet of the bike. He needed to create a lighter, faster, better suspended bike that looked the part to be in the ballpark of the new-age Austrian two-strokes.
He started with a 2004 RM250, which was the king of the 250 two-strokes at the time. Yes, a 2005 through 2008 model was a better all-around bike with the engine and handling updates made from 2004 to 2005. Although this was no ordinary RM250 Shaun had in his hands. This bike was originally built to the hilt for Arenacross star, Tommy Hofmaster, over a decade ago while he was racing for Motoworld Suzuki, although it sat on the bench just waiting to be put in the game. 49mm A-Kit Showa suspension, fully built Bill’s Pipes engine, Vortex ignition, Lectron carburetor and tons of other goodies littered the old smoker. It was a show pony that was barley ridding. Shaun picked it up for a steal and put his vision to work.
Although this show pony was hardly broke-in, sitting pretty for over a decade, the tires were cracking and all the engine and suspension fluids needed to be changed. The suspension was sent out to ENZO Racing to make some updates to the A-Kit Showa units and revalve them for motocross. The Faster USA wheels were shoed with a Dunlop AT-81 front and MX-S3 rear.
In order to update the look to a 2018 model RM-Z, Shaun found a company in Italy called, X Fun, that specialized in making aluminum tanks. This tank was made to mate with the 2017 RM-Z radiator shrouds. Applied Racing made custom triple clamps to mount the updated front fender and number plate and work with the 49mm forks. As for the side panels, Shaun took the old panels and cut them into a modern shape.
The weak brake systems were upgraded with oversize Galfer rotors and brake lines. The bike was lightened by a RaceTech titanium bolt kit and Raptor titanium pegs. The engine already packed some serious power with the built engine and Vortex ignition. Shaun did some massaging by installing a Steahly 12 ounce flywheel weight, Scalvini pipe and silencer, full Hinson clutch and V-Force reed cage. Now all we needed to do was find out how the bike worked on the track.
In essence, before we got this bike on the track, we knew this born again RM250 was going to handle just like the new-age RM-Z’s. Decades ago, Suzuki took a sharp left (literally) and never looked back. Suzuki prides themselves on having the best turning bike on the market. They will give up straight-line stability in order to cut inside any bike that steps up to the plate. Whether they should veer right on occasion, they like to separate themselves in at least one category that has worked for them in the past.
When in the saddle, our testers felt right at home. On the track the engine roared up the mountains of Glen Helen and floated down them. The powerful engine got the power to the ground. It had a broad powerband that was easy to ride and excelled up hills. The 10 year old A-Kit suspension outperformed any production suspension on the market today. It was super progressive, held up well under a load and absorbed anything in its way.
Could this bike compete with the new-aged 250cc two-strokes on the market today? It would leave them in the dust. Unfortunately, this is a one-off bike. But in a parallel universe there is a sea of yellow smokers populating tracks world-wide.