Lately, it seems that when Suzuki redesigns a competition motorcycle, its attention to detail is phenomenal. This was certainly true with the redesign of the 2000 GSX-R750 superbike (see our articles dated September 23, 1999 and September 24, 1999).
Well, the same attention to detail has gone into Suzuki’s redesign of its 2001 RM 125 and 250 motocrossers.
With all the buzz about four-stroke motocrossers (and, yes, we think Suzuki is on the way with its own), the two-stroke motocross bikes — the backbone of American and international motocross for many years — are getting pushed to the back of motorcycle publications. For this reason, it is somewhat surprising that Suzuki has completely redesigned (literally from the ground up) its 2001 RM 125 and 250 two-stroke motocross models.
Currently leading the FIM World 250 Motocross Championship (with Mickael Pichon in the saddle), Suzuki is dead serious about its motocross bikes, and these two new models evidence that.
New frames, new motors, new suspension, redesigned brakes — just about everything you could think of is brand new on both the 125 and 250.
Let’s talk about the 250 first. With a claimed overall weight loss of roughly nine pounds (if I added up all the grams correctly), the 2001 RM250 should challenge Honda’s CR250 for the title of lightest production 250. The 250 also has an entirely new motor. Over two pounds lighter than last year’s motor, the new engine is more compact and powerful. Displacing 249cc (with a bore of 66.4mm and a stroke of 72mm), the engine features a completely new exhaust powervalve system (with the main exhaust valve replaced by a two-stage, two-piece valve), as well as redesigned ports, new head design, new exhaust pipe and, on the intake side, redesigned 38mm Keihin carburetor with throttle position sensor.
The 250’s entirely new frame and subframe feature new geometry and new wall thickness which, according to Suzuki, combine to achieve lighter weight and a better handling motorcycle. To adjust the riding position, the footpeg mounds have been relocated 9mm higher and 9mm further to the rear. These changes work in combination with all of the other ergonomic changes resulting from the new frame.
The 250 receives Kayaba forks and shock this year (using Showa components last year). The new forks are nearly two pounds lighter, and feature the air bladder system first used by Kawasaki last year. The detail refinements are so numerous I can only hit the highlights. The brake rotors have been redesigned, both front and rear, and the rear brake master cylinder is redesigned. The fenders and front number plate are new (saving several ounces of weight, believe it or not), the front wheel hub is new (again, contributing nearly 50 grams in weight loss), the chain, rear brake pedal, and several other details have been redesigned for either better performance or lighter weight (or both).
The 125 also has an entirely new frame and redesigned suspension (although the 125 features Showa suspension components). The 125’s engine is also completely new. Displacing 124.8cc (with a bore of 54mm and a stroke of 54.5mm), the engine is roughly 1.7 pounds lighter and 21mm shorter than last year’s unit. Featuring a new 38mm Mikuni carburetor, revised intake tract, exhaust port timing and exhaust pipe, the new RM125 is claimed by Suzuki to be substantially more powerful than last year’s model. Most of the detail changes described for the 250 also apply to the 125. We did not calculate the overall weight loss for the 125, but it should be equally dramatic.
All in all, Suzuki’s new RM125 and RM250 appear to be “state of the art”, and we’re looking forward to riding these new models (we may receive a 250 test unit as early as next month). The new 250 should be available at your dealer in late August, and the 125 in mid-September (at least, initial shipments) at an MSRP of $5,899.00 (U.S.) for the 250 and $4,999.00 (U.S.) for the 125.