2014 Suzuki RM-Z250 Review – First Ride

Tom Roderick
by Tom Roderick

Suzuki made several updates to its 2013 RM-Z250 MX machine, adding numerous technical upgrades to the engine, chassis and electrical system to improve the power delivery and enhance handling. With so many changes made last year, and given the typical development cycle of the OEMs, it’s no surprise that the 2014 RM-Z250 returned to the MX wars in virtually the same trim. In fact, besides new radiator shrouds and yellow number plates the only performance upgrade is a reprogrammed Electronic Control Module.

2014 Suzuki RM-Z250

Editor Score: 89.0%
Engine 17/20
Suspension/Handling 15/15
Transmission/Clutch 9/10
Brakes 8/10
Ergonomics/Comfort 9/10
Appearance/Quality 8/10
Desirability 8.5/10
Value 10/10
Overall Score89/100

In a nutshell, the reprogrammed ECM does away with the wasted spark that occurs during the exhaust stroke. Without this spark any residual unburned combustibles will not ignite foregoing any unwanted power stroke when attempting to kickstart the bike. The spark remains firing during normal engine operation only retarding when the ECM detects the motor is being kicked through during the starting process. The upside of this minor development is easier starting but also an unchanged retail price for 2014 model: $7,599.

COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F

Both myself and hired gun, pro rider, Ryan Abbatoye, can attest to the ease of restarting the RM-Z during a recent two-day test at Perris Raceway in Perris, California. From this point, however, I’ll let Abbatoye (who’s a slightly better rider than me by a very wide margin) provide the commentary on the bike’s performance.

“Not even one lap around Perris Raceway I felt right at home on the 2014 RM-Z250,” says Abbatoye.

“Being one of the top rated 250’s in 2013, Suzuki decided to continue with the motor package in the RM-Z250 they offered last year. While it’s a well performing engine my only complaint is bottom-end power response is a little sluggish,” says Abbatoye. “However,” he continues, “after changing to the more aggressive coupler the 250 seemed to liven up.”

Suzuki RM-Zs come with two EFI couplers that offer a choice between mellow or aggressive fueling. The change in power delivery between the two is advantageous to riders of differing skill sets and for tackling changing track conditions.

“I am a big fan of the SFF forks and I feel that what Suzuki presented on the 2014 RM-Z250 is a great package,” says Abbatoye. “ I expected the suspension to be a little on the soft side for me because I am a little big for a 250 but it worked great and felt perfectly balanced.”

Like its 450 counterpart Abbatoye is a fan of the RM-Z’s handling. “The bike corners like its on rails in any condition,” says Abbatoye. “Suzuki has always been known for their excellent cornering abilities and in 2014 they are right on the money. In 2013 Suzuki focused on stiffening up the frame and reducing flex and that carried over for 2014. The RM-Z250 feels solid and is easy to handle, especially with the 48mm Showa SFF forks.”

COMPARISON: Read our review of the 2014 Kawasaki KX250F

A big thanks to Ryan Abbatoye for lending his pro-level expertise to this review. Ryan went home with both RM-Z models in the back of his truck. Look for future shootouts pitting the Suzuki’s against MXers from the likes of Honda, Yamaha and Kawasaki our sister site, DirtBikes.com.
Tom Roderick
Tom Roderick

A former Motorcycle.com staffer who has gone on to greener pastures, Tom Roderick still can't get the motorcycle bug out of his system. And honestly, we still miss having him around. Tom is now a regular freelance writer and tester for Motorcycle.com when his schedule allows, and his experience, riding ability, writing talent, and quick wit are still a joy to have – even if we don't get to experience it as much as we used to.

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