The Suzuki RM125 has gone through a few changes for the 2002 season. Physically, it has acquired a tapered swingarm, a stiffened frame and of course, new graphics. Inside the engine is where the magic happens, though. The exhaust valves have been changed for ’02 to improve throttle response and to gain more low and mid power. The cylinder head has been changed for more compression, and finally, the transmission has been lightened.
The RM125 ranked high in our shootout last year, due to its crisp handling and easy-to-use power. This year, it’s even better. The stiffer frame makes the RM125’s steering more precise. It carves and still likes the inside line. The suspension also feels smooth and the stiffer frame and suspension work very well together. It’s not harsh like you might think.
The RM125’s engine feels a lot like it did last year, only better. The changes made to the exhaust valves did, in fact give the RM more low-end grunt. The engine pulls hard off the bottom, and keeps going and going.
What would we do different about the 2002 RM125? Box-stock, the bike is a well-rounded unit. It’s fast, precise, and easy to ride. Some riders might want to add one or two teeth to the rear sprocket, though, just for better pull out of tighter corners. All in all, the RM125 is a great bike, but we’ll have to see how it stands up to the competition in our 2002 125 Shootout.