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The big question though – is the 2013 RMZ250 a better bike for all these changes?
After a day riding the bike in good old British motocross conditions, MOTO says a big emphatic yes. It’s been a consistently excellent bike for a few years – MOTO’s 250F choice of 2010 and 2011 remember – and now it a good percentage better again, especially in the all-important engine department.
With the launch of the potent new KXF250 last year and the ever-strong KTM SXF being redeveloped twice in recent years the RMZ motor wasn’t the tip-top performer it once was in 2012. For 2013 it is back up there. The response is incredible and the power just that bit stronger all the way through. The mid-range packs noticeably more torque but it is the top tend where the biggest increases can be felt.
The 2012 RMZ signed off pretty early but the ’13 pulls stronger for longer without a doubt, allowing gears to be really stretched out impressively. Both second and third hold on for a surprisingly time and even right on the rev limiter the bike is still pulling and making ground, not just making a load of noise. MOTO also tested out the ‘rich’ coupler to alter the mapping of the motor too –an easy 30-second job – and found that with more fuelling the power was even smoother and tractable right the way through the range. It’ll be a great option for harder tracks or those who prefer to ride in the meat of the mid-range more.
There was nothing to report on the gearbox front, which we guess is the result Suzuki was looking for. Certainly there were no false neutrals or vague feel. The bike was brand-spanking new however, so we’ll hold full judgement on that.
The handling meanwhile was simply incredible. The RMZ has ling been the best handling and turning bike in the 250F class and its going to hold on to its title without a doubt. So stable and planted, yet incredibly faster turning and nimble, the ’13 RMZ is even better than what has come before. Even in the deeply rutted and heavy conditions it was so good.
Playing a role in this is the new SFF Two fork. A definite improvement on the first generation SFF on the KXF250, it is stiffer, more positive and predictable. And the settings are better too. Where the KXF has always been very undersprung, the new RMZ is much closer to the mark. I weigh in at about 75kg kitted up and both front and back was close to the mark for me.
The front held up well under load, settling nicely in corners and whilst the rear didn’t feel amazing – a little ‘dead’ – it stuck to the ground excellently and again wasn’t far from the mark. The response of to adjustment is impressive. Going two clicks softer on the front late in the day when hard chop under the wood chip started to come through proved to make a noticeable improvement in the eliminating front wheel deflection. More testing in drier conditions would be good to get a better judgement, but the initial impressions are positive and suggest that Suzuki was right to hold off introducing SFF until later.
All in all we’re very impressed indeed with the 2013 RMZ250. Stonger, faster and with improved handling, it’s an extremely well strong package that we predict will be serious contender in MOTO’s 2013 shootout.
You won’t have to wait long for the results either – the 2013 shootout will feature in MOTO 86, which will go on-sale in the first week of December.