2018 Suzuki RM-Z250The 2018 Suzuki RM-Z250 is relatively unchanged from the 2017 model other than new graphics and a wide blue stripe in the seat vinyl.
No new frame, new engine or spring-cartridge fork until next year; not even the partially blacked-out radiator shrouds from the 2018 450. But there’s still plenty of good things to say about the 2018 Suzuki RM-Z250.
2018 SUZUKI RM-Z250 POSITIVES
LOOKS Even though the bike is due for a major overhaul, it still looks very cool. The addition of the extra blue on the bike is a nice touch and a direction that Suzuki will be heading in. The bike also comes standard with black rims, black triple-clamps and Renthal Fatbar.
AGILITY While other parts of the bike are slightly outdated, the RM-Z250 is still one of the most agile on the track. Whether you are trying to stick an inside line, or turn the bike inside out for a photographer mate over your favourite tabletop, you’ll find the yellow machine will be more than willing to go wherever you point it, with minimal effort.
SHOCK The KYB damper works well and is predictable. And to be honest, it is the main part in the handling equation that allows this bike to handle well in most circumstances, despite the touchy air fork and slightly rigid chassis. The shock keeps it all together and, while under acceleration, you’ll find that the bike will squat nicely and track straight. I found that 42mm of static sag worked best for me and gave a nice balanced feel to the bike.
2018 SUZUKI RM-Z250 NEGATIVES
FORK The KYB PSF2 has the potential to be set up well. But it takes a lot of fiddling around and, to be honest, I don’t think it will be too long before fork pumps go in the junk box. Suzuki will probably give the 2019 RM-Z250 a KYB spring-cartridge fork like the 49mm unit on its latest 450.
As is, if you purchase the RM-Z250 you will either have to dial in the air fork, or consider one of the spring conversion kits, which are reasonably priced and work well.
FRONT BRAKE It’s not a huge deal and it is an easy fix with an oversized rotor but I found the front anchor slightly underpowered compared to the majority of its competition. The brake has a nice feel to it and, in the slower parts of the test track it worked quite well. It is purely a power issue on high-speed sections, where you’d have to get hard on the brakes to stop for an inside line in the corner.
ENGINE The motor won’t blow your socks off. It is smooth and very easy to use, but it is slightly lacking in the horsepower department against some of the big guns in the class. If we were talking about the 450cc category then this style of engine would be perfect. But in a class where horsepower is king you are going to be wanting to extract a few more horses if you are racing nationally. That being said, it is very user-friendly motor and a good platform to work from.
CHASSIS The 2018 250 retains the 2017 RM-Z450’s fairly rigid chassis that is in need of a slight diet. Although the chassis may not be the most forgiving on the planet, that does have a plus side. The chassis is extremely accurate, which contributes to the agility of the machine. Some nice tuning of the suspension does wonders in reducing the rigidity of the chassis and, with a bit of playing around, you can build yourself a bike that turns well, tracks great out of corners and goes wherever you place it on the track.
If you bleed yellow and loved your 2017 RM-Z250 then you certainly will do likewise with Suzuki’s latest version. The bike has huge potential and once you sort the fork out and extract a tad more horsepower you have the basis for a championship-winning bike. I look forward to seeing the direction that Suzuki heads for 2019 with the 250.