Second Impression: 2002 RM250

[IMAGE 1]First off, allow us to make clear the fact that a “First Impression” is by no means the complete, comprehensive test that one would expect from the printed version of TWMX. Instead, a “First Impression” is just what it sounds like: a brief synopsis of our first day of testing on a new model. It would be impossible for us to deliver an objective test with only one day of riding on a new machine, but the “First Impression” column on our web site has proven to be quite popular with readers. The column allows one to get a quick idea of changes to a new bike, see a photo of it in action and share our testers’ initial reactions and feelings about the ride.

That said, our first day of riding on the ’02 RM250 created some controversy. We posted a “First Impression” of the bike, noting that, just like last year’s model, the RM handled wonderfully but still wasn’t the fastest bike on the planet. Understandably, Suzuki was disappointed by the “First Impression” and invited us out for a second day of testing to see if we could fix the jetting and dial the bike in to make it competitive for our upcoming 250cc shootout. We met them at Glen Helen a few days later, and got quite a surprise!

After spending most of the morning testing, we slightly bettered the jetting and the Suzuki was feeling snappier than it had felt on the first day, but still wasn’t as good as we had hoped. Unsatisfied by our progress, representatives from Suzuki offered us a spin on a completely different, brand new 2002 RM250. What a difference!

Apparently, something was wrong with our first model, but our new ‘Zook is a scorcher! Dyno reports from our buddies at various hop-up shops showed that Suzuki’s new RM was fast, and now the Dyno reports were confirmed in the dirt.

So what caused the problem on our first test bike? Honestly, we still don’t know. We did discover that the bike had double the transmission oil than it was supposed to have and an air filter with about a pound of dirt on it, which surely slowed the bike down, but even after draining the excess oil and cleaning the filter, our new test unit was still not notably faster. Point is, we don’t know what the problem was (keep in mind that we get some of the first bikes off of the assembly line, and occasionally there can be some glitches like last year’s power valve problem), but we do know that our opinion of the 2002 RM250 did a complete 180-degree turnaround.

The ’02 model combines incredible handling with a motor that is competitive right out of the crate. Again, we haven’t spent much time on the bike, but we’re convinced that Yellow riders won’t be as quick to slap on after market products on their RM250 in 2002 as they have been in previous years.

Power on the ’02 lies mostly in the mid-to-upper portion of the powerband, but there is still plenty of power to be had down low. Overall, the TWMX squad is unanimous in saying that this is the fastest RM we’ve tested in years. Combine the newfound power with a bike that drags its bars around corners with the greatest of ease and you have a definite front-runner in the ’02 RM250. One thing we know for sure is that our upcoming 250cc shootout is going to make for some tough decisions for the test riders!