That's your first look at the 2008 RM-Z250. Keep your eyes on the pages of DR for our 2008 250F shootout to see if this reigning champ can stay on top!What's Hot
Top-end pull that will suck your eyeballs inImproved chassis balance and performanceSame great fitting package as last year's best 250FI love goooooold!What's Not
Is the bottom-end power too soft now?
Some fasteners still on the cheapSpecifications
Claimed dry weight: 203 lb
Actual weight (ready to ride, no gas): 218 lb
Seat height: 37.4 in.
Footpeg height: 16.7 in.
Seat-to-footpeg distance: 20.7 in.Opinions
With the 2007 RM-Z250 being my Long Haul bike this year, I feel more comfortable than ever aboard the yellow four-strokes. Due to this familiarity, I was easily able to notice the number of improvements that Suzuki threw at its '08 in hopes of keeping the DR 250F shootout crown. To begin with, I can say this: There is nothing about the '08 that the previous bike did better. Every modification made was a step in the right direction-from the redesigned shift lever to the improved exhaust can. The most noticeable difference is in the motor, which pulls longer, harder and stronger than last year's while still retaining the smoothness that made the '07 a winner. Less torque, but still very strong. I know that Suzuki put some work into the 2008's transmission internals, but the bike still popped out of gear whenever I got sloppy with my shifting-not as bad as last year's, but not a complete fix, either. The revised fork is a much-welcomed change, though, giving the new RM-Z better bottoming resistance and keeping the stability that allows the bike to corner so well. I'm still not super fond of the bar bend, but the rest of the ergos are comfortable and familiar, likely because I have been riding this bike so much. I also like the gold chain and axle blocks, right-side hot-start and refined headset bearings; all are small changes that only increase the 250F's character. Settled, stable, strong and solid, I'm pretty pumped on this new Suzuki. It's not completely perfect, but it just might be closer to perfect than anything else in the class. I guess we'll find out come shootout time!
-Chris Denison/5'10"/155 lb/IntermediateRight from the first minute on the RM-Z I felt comfortable, even though the bar makes it just on the cramped side for me. It's the super-smooth and extremely torquey motor, plush suspension and nice chassis that just rule. Since I was really liking last year's motor I was a little worried that shifting the power further up in the R's would ruin the sweetness of the RM-Z. But I didn't feel the motor was changed all that much after a few laps. If anything, it just got more on top and anything that was lost is way below where I'd ever ride the bike. I can't say I really noticed much of the chassis changes either, just that the bike does nothing wrong and it even holds itself up with my "currently too heavy for a 250F" weight factor. If anything, I'll say it's better in the turns with a bit more control. Since I tend to ride over the back a bit, the softness of the fork that some of the riders have issues with doesn't affect me. I never experienced any of the shifting problems, either. About the only problem I had with the bike was that the gearing runs out too fast, I was topping out in fifth on some long straights. But try telling that to the guys I was beating on 450s in the Vet A class last weekend!
-Jimmy Lewis/5'10''/185 lb/Vet Pro