2018 Suzuki RM-Z250 | First Impression

Traditionally, only one motocross model from each manufacturer is updated each year, especially in recent years. In 2016, the Suzuki RM-Z250 received a boatload of updates, 81 of which were focused on making the little yellow bike more competitive in the power department, as well as new KYB suspension, and the Suzuki Holeshot Assist Control (S-Hac) ignition timing system for race starts. Since then, the bike has received only cosmetic updates and for 2018 the bike is wrapped in complementary blue contrast colors, so as to match the all-new RM-Z450.

Save for new blue graphics and seat cover, the 2018 RM-Z250 remains unchanged.

Logic tells us that with the recent rebirth of the flagship RM-Z450, a completely reworked RM-Z250 is in the making for 2019 and beyond. So where does that leave the '18 model? It's no secret that in spite of the 81 internal engine changes that the bike underwent in 2016, the current RM-Z250 is lacking in the horsepower department in comparison to the competitions' offerings. That's not to say that the bike is without redeeming qualities! In stock condition, the RM-Z250 is quite possibly the easiest 250cc four-stroke to ride as it has a smooth, linear powerband that enjoys great traction. New riders, especially, can benefit from the friendly nature of the Suzuki's engine package as more attention can be paid to the rest of the riding experience than managing a hard-hitting powerband. Low-end throttle response is smooth and tractable, and the bike pulls heartily into the mid-range, where the bulk of the bike's power is centered. Top-end pull is average, as the bike tapers off and stops making good power in the upper rpm range.

The RM-Z250 powerplant pumps out a modest amount of power. Simply put, it is a great bike for beginners of novices to develop their skills on.

The handling and suspension categories are where the RM-Z250 shines. The bike corners with precision and has great front-to-rear weight bias that makes it as stable at speed as it is razor-quick in the tight stuff. Suspension action is very good on both ends, but the Kayaba PSF2 air fork and shock are definitely set up for lighter riders.

In stock condition, the 2018 RM-Z250 is a solid package that offers plenty of performance for the riders or racers. At the highest levels of the sport, the potential of the RM-Z250 may be limited as even when highly modified, the small Suzuki is lacking in the raw horsepower that reigns supreme in the small-bore class at the pinnacle of motocross.

What's New

  • White numberplate sidepanels
  • Blue graphic accents
  • Blue seat cover

Rider Impression

First off, I really like the blue seat and blue accents added to the graphics. That's actually the extent of the changes to the bike this year. Last year, it didn't fare well in our shootout. There are some shortcomings in the engine, although it's a super fun bike to ride. It handles well and has that trademark Suzuki razor sharp cornering. The engine isn't very strong, but it's a really rider-friendly motor. For someone coming off an 85 or 125, it's a perfect bike. It's okay, but it doesn't hit hard off the bottom like some other bikes, the midrange is decent, and then it signs off and goes flat. It almost feels like it's geared too low. If I wasn't racing and trying to be competitive, it's a great bike to own. The clutch isn't the best, but it works well.

One thing I actually really like about this bike is the PSF2 air forks, it's one of the better air forks, especially for a bigger rider like myself. It's one of the few 250Fs that I can hop on and be comfortable. Other bikes I would need to respring or modify for my weight. With the RM-Z I adjusted the clickers and was able to soak up even the biggest jumps. I never got any wallowing or pushing. It made the cornering even better. Overall it's nothing new, but it's a fun bike to ride.

– Pat Foster, Pro

ENGINE Engine: 249cc, 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, DOHC Bore x Stroke: 77.0mm (3.0 in) x 53.6mm (2.1 in) Compression Ratio: 13.75:1 Fuel System: Fuel Injection, 44mm throttle body Starter Primary: kick starter

Lubrication: Semi-dry sump

DRIVE TRAIN Transmission: 5-speed constant mesh Clutch: Wet multi-plate

Final Drive: Chain, DID520DMA4, 114 links

CHASSIS Suspension Front: Inverted telescopic, pneumatic spring, oil damped, adjustable damping force Suspension Rear: Link type, coil spring, oil damped, adjustable spring preload & damping force Brakes Front: Disc brake, single rotor Brakes Rear: Disc brake, single rotor Tires Front: 80/100-21 M/C 51M, tube type Tires Rear: 100/90-19 M/C 57M, tube type Fuel Tank Capacity: 6.5 L (1.7 US gallons)

Color: Championship Yellow with black/blue accents

ELECTRICAL Ignition: Electronic Ignition (CDI)

Ignition: NGK CR8EIB-10

DIMENSIONS Overall Length: 2170 mm (85.4 in) Overall Width: 830 mm (32.7 in) Overall Height: 1270 mm (50.0 in) Wheelbase: 1475 mm (58.1 in) Ground Clearance: 345 mm (13.6 in) Seat Height: 955 mm (37.6 in)

Curb Weight: 106.0 kg (234 lbs)