APPLICATION: 2002 Suzuki RM250
PRICE: $200; shock mods $175 5.2 kg Shock spring $90
The 2002 Suzuki RM250 is one of our favorite middleweight bikes of the year, and as a result, our test bike has been ridden plenty over the last few months. In stock condition, the bike handled great, especially when the suspension was new. Once the components began to wear in, however, it became apparent that the bike’s handling had deteriorated. It was time to send the fork and shock off for not only a rebuild, but a little tweaking as well.
George Quay’s chain of Pro Action Suspension franchises may be the most underrated suspension specialists around. Based in Pennsylvania, Quay has gained a stellar reputation for great suspension modifications and excellent motor hop-ups out on the East Coast. We’ve had experience with Pro Action suspension mods in the past, and knew that Quay could do our RM250 Kayaba units right.
Upon receipt of our suspension components, the Pro Action technicians grilled us about the test rider who would be riding the bike most. Things like height, weight and ability, plus average race finishes were taken into consideration. We thought that last question was odd as first, but when you think about it, a winning intermediate is likely to need stiffer settings than a mid-packer or backmarker. Good point!
Taking our specifications into account, Pro Action elected to leave the stock .43kg fork spring in, but gave it an extra 5mm of preload to fix what they believe is an error in the stock unit from Suzuki. Pro Action valve bodies with more compression damping were added to the forks to help us eliminate the divey feel that the stock fork got as it wore in. Out back, Pro Action installed a stiffer 5.2kg spring to balance the bike out, then added their proprietary 3-stage incremental valving stack for a more progressive ride.
On the track, we were very pleased with the Pro Action modifications. Initially the rear tended to overpower the front end, causing the bike to jump front-end low, but a few more clicks on the fork’s compression adjuster solved that problem right away. We first tested the bike at Lake Elsinore MX Park, a fast, somewhat smooth course with Supercross-style obstacles. The modified suspension did an excellent job of soaking up the big hits of both the jump faces and hard landings. The fork and shock gobbled up the small bumps that develop on the LEMP track, and inspired plenty of confidence.
Next, we rode the bike on a hacked-up Thursday afternoon at Glen Helen Raceway. To compensate for the rougher conditions, we went in on both the fork and shock compression adjusters, and found that the bike did indeed work much better in the treacherous conditions than it had in stock form two weeks earlier.
The key to a good suspension technician lies in their ability to meet the customer’s requests. There is no “magical setting” that works for all bikes, and deciding what your individual needs and desires are is crucial. Pro Action figured out what we wanted out of our stock RM250 suspension and tailored it to our needs on the first try.Call 724/846-9055 (East Coast), or 909/280-9882 (West Coast) for more information, or visit www.pro-action.com