Luke Clout’s Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250

Yellow Candy

Luke Clout's Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250
The Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250 is hard to miss when you are walking around the paddock.Photo by Pete Peterson

Besides the Yoshimura Suzuki factory team the color yellow has been somewhat MIA for quite sometime in professional Supercross racing. In 2016 there are more Suzuki equipped teams in the paddock in the Monster Energy Supercross Series than there has been in the last five years. One Suzuki team that has stood out to us in 2016 with their great looking yellow machines is the Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki squad. The team consisting of Luke Clout and Matt Bisceglia has been putting in some spirited rides this year. Luke Clout unfortunately who was sidelined earlier in the year with a broken leg was resting up at home, so we decided to call his mechanic Chris See to see if we could spin some test laps on his ride. We met Chris out at Milestone MX to ride their fully prepped supercross and arenacross tracks to see how the Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250 could handle a couple washed up ex supercross riders.

WP cone valve front fork
The WP cone valve front fork is a spring fork design that Clout prefers for SX. The team will be trying WP’s new AER fork soon to compare to their current race set up.Photo by Pete Peterson
black frame and black swingarm
Black on black. A black frame and black swingarm really makes this Suzuki standout from all the rest.Photo by Pete Peterson

Inside The Bike

The Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki has a plethora of unique parts to it. Luke’s bike was stripped down to the frame and both the swingarm and frame was powder coated black for a unique and bold look. The engine is then headed to Yoshimura where all the engine mods are done at their facility in Chino, California. The Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki team chose not to run Showa suspension as they are running WP’s Cone Valve fork and Trax Shock with a Bud Racing 151mm linkage. Both are unique here in the United States on a Japanese brand motorcycle. WP is selling their line of suspension for Japanese MX brands and part of their marketing strategy seems to be getting a professional SX/MX team and Mad Racing/Dirt Candy looks to be the right fit. Another unique modification to Clout’s Suzuki RM-Z250 was the KTM throttle body. Chris See (Clout’s mechanic) told us they get better bottom to mid range with the KTM body and both riders on the team like the KTM throttle body’s response on the track better. Race spec Pirelli’s are fitted on the Excel A60 rims/HAAN hubs and See also shaves down all the excess plastic on the bike to get rid of unwanted weight (which is almost a pound and half). A Yoshimura carbon fiber exhaust, Mika Metals handlebars, X-trig ROCS clamps, Hinson clutch, Works Connection levers/perch, and a DT1 filter also graces this one of a kind Suzuki.

Yoshimura Suzuki race engine
Yoshimura has their own in house race engine department and they take care of all of the Mad Racing/Dirt Candy RM-Z250 engines. It is the same department that takes care of James Stewart and Blake Baggett. This is basically is as factory as it gets for a Suzuki RM-Z250 engine.Photo by Pete Peterson
Bud Racing 151mm rear linkage
Luke Clout runs this Bud Racing 151mm rear linkage that can lower and lock down and to act like a starting device. However Clout has yet to actually use the locking mechanism at an AMA professional event. He chooses just to lock down his front holeshot device.Photo by Pete Peterson
X-trig 21mm offset
Clout runs a X-trig 21mm offset for the tight conditions seen at a supercross.Photo by Pete Peterson

On The Track

We were fortunate enough to have our stock 2016 RM-Z250 test bike on hand when we tested the Mad Racing/Dirt Candy RM-Z. This really proved to us how good Clout’s machine really was to us mere mortals. We will start with what jumped out to us first. The engine! Clout’s Suzuki has so much bottom to mid range it was mind blowing. While we rode the Milestone Supercross and Arenacross tracks on both machines, Clout’s yellow’d version was so much easier to get out of tight corners and get over obstacles. With the 13/52 gearing that Clout likes we found ourselves using third gear through some corners and were able to get over the triple with our heavier 190-pound tester. Having this much torque also let us stand up sooner out of corners, which let us soak up jumps, instead having to seat bounce them like you would if you were looking for more pulling power. The Mad Racing/Dirt Candy steed didn’t pull that far up on top however and didn’t rev out like we expected, but with the tight confines of a supercross stadium and how much torque it has, we really didn’t need to rev the little yellow race machine out. Maybe no that critical to some but having a bike that shifts easy and never pops out of gear is always something that is a good feeling around a supercross track. The transmission was left stock, but while the engine was apart the gears were put through a process called “tumbling”. This process is when all of the gears are put through a machine that takes all of the burs off of each gear and shines them to a mirror like finish. This treatment process is really felt when you are riding the Mad Racing Suzuki. Each shift is positive and takes all the notchyness (which in most cases is felt with a Suzuki transmission) out of each movement of the shifter.

After a couple panic revs and a couple of cased rhythm’s later we started to really appreciate the stiff feel of the WP suspension. The cone valve WP fork had a stiff feel on jumps, but gave enough front tire feeling (or traction) through dry hard pack corners. With Clout only weighing 155 pounds, our older American bodies were just north of that weight by 15-35 pounds. The fork still held up well on steeper, sharper jumps and hard landings didn’t make us cringe. Again the WP Trax shock was set up a little low for our heavier; slightly less fit bodies, but still had a dead feeling rear end that is key for supercross. With a “dead feeling” the rear of the bike stays flat and doesn’t react too quickly when hitting jumps at speed (especially short sharper faces), which could force the rider into an endo. While the WP shock bottomed on us it never gave us a “kicky” feeling or made us nervous about jumping some of the bigger jumps on the track.

WP Trax shock
Yes we know it’s strange to see a WP Trax shock on a Japanese model here in the states. Get used to it, because WP is pushing their A level kit suspension for all Japanese models here in the USA now.Photo by Pete Peterson

The handling is a typical Suzuki feeling as it can carve the tightest of lines with ease. Nothing shocking there folks. We would like to say the Pirelli tires are worth mentioning though. I never got to ride with race spec Pirellis but I must say the front tire is exceptionally good. I am a big front-end steering rider and I could always predict where my breaking point was on “lean in” through corners. Let me tell you that the breaking point of the factory spec’d Pirelli rubber is much better than any standard tire you or I could buy. Riding with racing spec tires is truly almost as good as having factory suspension.

Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250
Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250Photo by Pete Peterson

Overall Thoughts

Having a professional 250 effort in AMA Supercross and Motocross takes a lot of time and money. The Mad Racing Suzuki/Dirt Candy team has put that time and money into giving an excellent platform for Luke Clout to really do some damage when he comes back for the Lucas Oil AMA Nationals. After riding this bike I can attest on how much better a really good 250-racing machine is especially when riding a dangerous supercross track. Kudos to the team and Chris See for building such an impressive, almost dying breed of RM-Z250’s. Look for the Mad Racing/Dirt Candy number 492 at national this summer near you.

Ricky Yorks, Yorks is pushing 195 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from smashing through some bigger rhythms. The WP suspension (even though valved for a 155 pound Aussie) was comfortable enough to gi
Yorks is pushing 195 pounds, but that didn’t stop him from smashing through some bigger rhythms. The WP suspension (even though valved for a 155 pound Aussie) was comfortable enough to give Yorks the confidence to hit obstacles consistently.Photo by Pete Peterson
Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250
Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250Photo by Pete Peterson
Ricky Yorks riding Mad Racing/Dirt Candy Suzuki RM-Z250
Dirt Rider test pilot Ricky Yorks hasn’t ridden supercross in quite sometime but got comfortable quick on Clout’s race machine.Photo by Pete Peterson