Suzuki rider is the transmission. Virtually every part is new.
The gears have three-dog engagement, and the shifter cam
and plates are new. There are two reasons for this: the performance of the gearbox was always somewhat sloppy,
and the lifespan wasn’t especially long. The crank has a
minor change; the radiators, muffler and airbox inlet are different; and the clutch actuation cam has a different profile.
Suzuki’s electrical parts didn’t escape change, either. The
ignition coil is more powerful, the generator has more output, and the ECU has more processing speed. With
advancements coming quickly in the digital world, we
expect these sorts of changes to have the greatest impact
in coming years.
Suzuki still uses an interesting system to allow the rider
to switch fuel maps. The ECU has three different prepro-gramed curves, and you can go from one to another by
switching electrical couplers. The couplers included with
the owner’s manual have different colors—black for richer,
white for leaner, and the standard one is clear. Suzuki’s EFI
system is designed to alter its own mapping to compensate for temperature and air density, but, as is the case
with all open-loop systems, it can’t know what fuel you are
running or if there are any engine mods. The richer map
would be useful in both situations.
WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU
Last year, the DB staff chose the RM-Z250 as the best
bike in the 250F MX class after an intense tug of war with
the Kawasaki. It didn’t win because it was the fastest, the
lightest or the most advanced; it won because it was good
everywhere and had no flaws. The 2013 Suzuki picks up
where the 2012 left off. Without question, it’s still one of the
best-handling dirt bikes on the planet. The Suzuki’s strong
point is cornering, and when it comes right down to it, that’s
the attribute that separates a motocross bike from a drag
racer. What makes the Suzuki so good is that it doesn’t
demand much from its rider. You can steer the bike into the
turn and point it where you want to go. It doesn’t ask that
the rear wheel be swung around or the throttle be wide open
before it blesses you with a change in course. All that is the
same for 2013. The most noticeable change is that at high
speeds, the Suzuki is a little more stable than it was before.
Having said that, it’s still not as bullet-train steady as a
Yamaha or even the new KTM tested in this issue. It still
hunts around a little in rough terrain. This isn’t a factor that
will cause you to slow down, just one that will keep you
There are probably two reasons for the additional stability.
One is the extra degree of steering head angle, but a bigger
factor is the new fork. Suzuki made a conscious decision to
stiffen it up. The fork is sprung for heavy riders, probably in
As always, horsepower is a huge
factor in the 250 class.
The Suzuki has most of its output
on the bottom and on top.
HAPPY MOTOS ROUGH RIDES
• Handles excellent
• Reasonably fast
• Light clutch pull
• Improved shifting
• Very strong brakes
• Not a featherweight
• Spring rates for large riders
• So-so bottom-end torque