be made to work very well. The bad news is that it can
require a lot of testing. The PSF2 fork uses relatively low
air pressure in each of its legs. The recommended air pressure is 35 psi, which compares to values in the 150 range
for most other air forks. There’s also no opposing balance
chamber to set, as is the case with Showa air forks. Unlike
any other forks we know of, the Suzuki forks have independently adjustable high- and low-speed compression
damping. That means there are a bunch of adjustments
to deal with. Even though there’s no balance chamber,
there is still a Schrader valve on top of each fork leg, and
you still have to check them both. Showa and WP forks
only have air in one leg. Also, you need to remember that
with the PSF2 fork, a single pound is equivalent to a 5-psi
change in high-pressure forks.
Luckily for us, we found settings we liked quickly.
Once we dropped the cold air pressure down to
33 pounds, we generally liked the front end. Two
years ago we believed that air pressure was the
last thing to check after you had adjusted yourself into a coma with all the damping clickers.
That, as it turns out, was “spring think,” and it led
to some very long days of testing. There’s nothing
wrong with turning to air pressure first, and we’ve
found better results doing it in that order.
In the rear, the Suzuki is a winner. The rear suspen-
sion is a big component of the bike’s handling. You set it to
about 100mm of sag and forget about it. You don’t have
to reset it unless you’ve been hitting the drive-through fast-
food window twice a day. Ah, the miracle of coil springs.
Occasionally, we read online that Suzuki’s reliability
record isn’t that great. That’s probably guerrilla marketing
on behalf of Yamaha. The Suzuki RM-Z 250 is a known
quantity. The ones we’ve tested have been trouble-free
through week after week of hard use, and most of the
changes last year were aimed at making it even more
durable. Suzukis run cooler than KTMs. Their fork seals
last longer than Yamaha’s, and the Suzuki’s clutch is stronger than Honda’s or Kawasaki’s.
Let’s be honest; based purely on the motor output,
there’s little chance that the Suzuki will come out on top of
this year’s shootout. Still, it’s a popular bike in the Dirt Bike
fleet. Why? Because Jason Anderson and other national
pros aren’t on the list of those who have keys to the DB
garage. Vets, kids, novices and beginners all enjoy riding
and even racing the RM-Z250. Everyone says it’s a blast
and it helps them ride better.
That sounds like
another good reason
to choose a bike. Maybe
the best. ❏