A couple weeks back, we got an invitation to check out the new 2004 Suzukis at the Sobe Suzuki race shop. You may have seen the videos of the race shop and the Sobe Suzuki transporter hosted by Roger DeCoster and Sean Hamblin. If not, click the links to them in the right column. However, we were asked to hold off on cutting loose with the new bike info until now.
Of course, the highlight of the new bike launch was Suzuki’s entry into the four-stroke MX wars, the all-new RM-Z250. The Suzuki team riders seemed as eager to see it as the TWMX staff, and the rest of the press. Everyone from Broc Hepler (I don’t know whether I’ll be on a two-stroke or four-stroke next year”), to Stephane Roncada (“I want to ride it now”), were excited to give it a try. Even Sean Hamblin was eyeing it with interest, and Sebastien Tortelli (remember, this was before he reinjured his knee at Mt. Morris) climbed aboard and said, “It feels good…really narrow.”
This is a model that’s part of the design and production alliance between Kawasaki and Suzuki. It was co-developed between the two companies, and uses a Kawasaki chassis. However, the Suzuki guys were pretty emphatic during the presentation that, “That’s our engine.” Apparently several of the best engineers from Suzuki (including some of the engineers who developed the GSXR powerplants) have been working in-house at Kawasaki on the development of the bike. The alliance seems to have worked well for low-cost non-competitive models, but racing and corporate pride are involved with the RM-Z, so it’s a whole different ball game. Of course, it probably doesn’t help that Kawasaki won with the bike in Japan, and then ran ads in the U.S. touting their race-winning technology.
We should have two-stroke models available for testing soon, and the RM-Z is probably still a few months away from being available. But in the meantime, check out the specs for each model (links are in the right-hand column) and drool.