This year's Dirt Rider Torture Test was set it up like a screening for a reality TV show: Bring what you have and prepare for whatever happens. The idea was to show up at the Torture Test with the best all-around, one-bike-does-it-all off-road dirt bike, with no guidelines or requirements from our side. It was wide open, but everyone knew going in that it would be tough to make the cut to get into the final group of bikes you see in the magazine. Of course, they didn't all make it to the pages of Dirt Rider. Some missed out ever so slightly, some by a longer ways. This is a full test of one of the bikes that missed the final cut. The competition was tough but lurking in this field of bikes you can likely find an example of the perfect bike that fits your needs, or learn what other riders or people in the industry think is the best bike in the whole world. For the people and companies that built each of these bikes, it was the best bike they could deliver.-Jimmy Lewis, Editor Dirt Rider MagazineDirt Rider Post Torture Evaluation:****The best all-around bike because:
An old bike? Well you couldn't really tell this was an old bike unless you stood back and took a look at it. Then you forget it is old as soon as you rode it. The RM 250 has long been known as a snappy, light feeling and aggressive bike that transitions well over to off-road. Just look at the GNCC championships this bike has racked up. FMF picked up a used RM for $2500 and for just $4800 (including the bike) had a machine that was very close to making it into our top six with a sticker price totaling around half of the other contestants'. It won the lowest price award hands down and it didn't loose a thing in performance because of it.Not the best all-around bike because:
We are getting picky here but it comes down to a few things. First, its competition in the two-stroke world at the Torture Test was stiff, showing what the oil-burners have going for them. And in that group, the Suzuki was a little slower handling, at times felt a little bulkier and the brakes were just not as strong. But you'd never notice this stuff if you hadn't just been on a brand new 2009 seconds earlier. And you had to kick-start it: yes that one-kick starting is a penalty now that there are bikes with buttons.Dirt Rider Says:When you factor in that this bike was, just a few weeks before the event, a clapped-out used bike, and now it was competing with some of the brand-new steel in the Torture Test, that is pretty amazing, almost as amazing as the total price.For that price reduction you can suffer through having to kick-start the bike and maybe even get over the fact that there is no kick-stand. Also, no headlight or power for a light might come into play, but that new Baja Designs battery light will cure that problem, and you still have left over cash to buy it. But in terms of performance this RM was just suffering from a suspension setup that was not tuned in particular to any one of our riders, though as with any revalved suspension, that could have been done with a few days of personal tuning. The motor easily carried its own weight. I was pretty stoked that FMF decided to take a chance on an older bike and you have no idea how close this bike came to making it into the final six! It was a tough crowd, for sure.
-Jimmy LewisOn the track the motor is easy to ride it has good low to mid range but will rev out as well the overall feel of the suspension and frame is old school, lots of flex compared to new bikes but handled the jumps fine. Cornering is easy with the suspension setup the way it was.
-Dave Donatoni, Senor ExpertI had mixed feelings with this bike. On the motocross track I did not care for the handling of this bike at all. It felt stiff and awkward, but the engine preformed well. Trail riding on this bike was much better. I liked the low-end torque of the engine through the twisting turns and the suspension felt much better in this terrain. I would get this bike only if I was into trail riding because for me, I just do not think it is suited for a track.
-Sean Crowley, NoviceThis bike really doesn't stand out in any way. Yes, the RM250 motor has always had a unique deep sound to it and the FMF Gnarly pipe really adds more power to it. Power wise it was good bottom to top. The bike had a stinkbug feel to it, a little twitchy and unstable to ride.
-Alfedo MacklisIn the past I've really liked RM 250s, however this one just didn't work for me. The power was actually quite good for trail use but a little too mellow for my riding style on the moto track or some of the faster trail sections. The suspension felt very un-balanced to me, it seemed to ride really high in the rear and the forks rode too low in the stroke (likely due to my weight) and had a very dead feeling to most of the smaller bumps. Add to that a low bend of bar and you have a bike that was very uncomfortable for someone my size.
-Scott Denison 6'2"/ 250lb./NoviceThe suspension was a bit too stiff in the front for this test and I had a tough time in the rocks because of it. The power was easy to use and the bike felt light. Just needed some clickers!
-Jimmy Lewis on Extreme Enduro Test