2020 Suzuki RM-Z 250
- Fun and easy to ride machine.
- Turns on a dime and can help improve ones riding.
- MSRP is lower than most other 250F's on the market.
- Suspension is unbalanced with stiff forks paired with an adequate shock.
- Motor doesn't stand out in any power range compared to other 250F's.
- No electric start for the Zook.
- Suzuki's 250F motocrosser.
- All new in 2019 sees minimal changes for 2020.
You know the saying, “if it ain't broke, don’t fix it.” This seems to be Suzuki’s M.O. for the 2020 RM-Z250 after revamping their small bore contender in 2019. Last year the bike received a host of changes including a new cylinder head and dual injector EFI, new frame and swingarm, as well as the KYB suspension and a coil spring fork .Renthal Fatbars and a comfortable set of grips and levers complete the cockpit. How did those changes translate on the track? You can read last year’s first ride impression HERE.
- New graphics make up the 2020 RM-Z.
For 2020, the only changes the bike received are a set of bold new graphics. We set the sag at the usual 105 and headed to the track.
- Fun and easy to ride.
- Not the most powerful 250F in the class.
- Power characteristic makes it a good transition bike from minis.
- Lack's E-Start.
First up, the kickstarter. This bike is one of two bikes left in the class with a kickstarter. Many readers will say this is a small issue --but for those who are used to an e-start will understand and complain. Kicking the bike is not a big deal as it was the norm up until a few years ago, but in 2020 this will be considered an “old” yet proven way of starting the machine.
The engine package on the RM-Z250 can be described as fun and friendly. In stock trim it has lackluster bottom end, but mid to top end range is productive and usable. The bike comes to life in the mid range and can be ridden aggressively here before signing off a little early up top. Plain and simple the bike never feels like it’s going to get away from you. The engine character favors those who might be moving up from mini bikes or for those who feel like they want to ride the bike and not have the bike ride them.
After a few laps we swapped the standard coupler for the leaner (more aggressive) one and really enjoyed the change. With this coupler in, the bottom end has more of a “hit” and we can rev the bike out a little longer with less shifting. An exhaust system would really wake this engine up, but in stock form the bike is competitive and fun to ride.
- Forks are stiff and harsh.
- Rear shock worked well, but didn't mesh with the forks.
- Unbalanced feel.
Initially, we noticed the stiffness of the front forks. The first part of the stroke is harsh and feels oversprung for the 250. This harshness can be felt in smaller chattery bumps where the bike tends to bounce off the bumps rather than absorbing them. Riders can feel this through the forks all the way up to the bars and grips. This also is noticeable when landing rear wheel first as the forks don’t seem to do much in terms of absorption. We felt a harsh lack of engagement from the front forks on slap down landings and as the moto wore on, this feeling became more prevalent in other sections of the track. Ultimately, it led to prematurely wearing out our test rider. Safe to say we have some fork tuning to do on our RMZ.
The rear suspension on the other hand was a warm welcome as it remained planted and predictable in nearly every section of the track. It soaked up chop and square edges and responded well to placing more of a load on the rear end.
The biggest complaint we have is the unbalanced nature of the bike when we were trying to get each end working at its best. Stiff forks paired with an adequate shock left us searching to find a comfortable setup when the conditions got rough. When the rear setup was good the forks would be too harsh and would create a type of choppered out feel. Again, tuning the front and rear to work in harmony will be on our to-do list.
Chassis - Handling
- Bike turns on a dime.
- Light and slim feeling on the track.
- Suffers when the track gets rougher.
Here’s the strong point for the RM-Z. The bike feels lighter on the track than it does on the stand and offers and fun and flickable feeling on the track. Inside or outside, cornering is a breeze on the Suzuki as it’s nimble and easy to move on the track. This turning character is a standout Suzuki trait that has been the norm for years and something that can really help a rider drop their lap times despite not having a high dollar race motor. However, this character really drops off when the track gets rougher as the bike is difficult to manage.
The overall cockpit also boosts the handling by making the rider “pocket” comfortable right out of the box. Finding fast and especially smooth lines is a welcomed challenge on the RM-Z because of its adept handling package.
- The RM-Z 250 has potential in stock trim.
- A lower MSRP sets some money aside for some key modifications.
With that being said, the 2020 RM-Z250 is a capable machine with plenty of positive takeaways, much like the 2019 machine as expected. A solid platform and a reasonable price tag (MSRP is $7,899) could make it the go-to choice for weekend warriors or riders looking to build up their racing program. Small changes as easy as softer fork springs could catapult the Suzuki to a higher spot in the 250 rankings. For now, we are excited to continue our testing and put more hours on the 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250. We’ll be looking to fine tune the rough spots on the Zook while maintaining its likeable qualities in hopes of building a simple yet effective race horse.