First Impression: 2006 Suzuki RM250

As the 2004 and 2005 TWMX 250cc two-stroke shootout champ, not to mention the bike that propelled Ricky Carmichael to yet another convincing Supercross title in ’05, Suzuki’s RM250 has become synonymous with perfection. As the most complete package right off the showroom floor, in our opinion, the RM250’s power output is nearly flawless, its handling is plush and predictable, and rider confidence is inspired to an all-time high aboard the two-stroke ‘Zook. With this in mind, we awaited the 2006 press intro with open arms when our friends at Suzuki invited us out to Competitive Edge MX in Hesperia, CA, to throw a leg over the new and improved two-stroke champ.

With four-stroke machines dominating the outdoor Nationals, as well as about 90% of all amateur racing worldwide, it’s hard to believe that manufacturers like Suzuki would continue doing the R&D needed to improve their two-stroke machines. For 2006, though, the RM250 received just that—improvement. Starting with the motor, Suzuki engineers hoped to make refinements that would improve power and torque, especially off the bottom. After all, two-stroke 250s are quickly becoming Supercross only specialists, so low to mid-range hit is more important than ever. To accomplish their goals, Suzuki redesigned the cylinder exhaust ports, advanced exhaust port timing, advance the timing and changed the overall shape of the sub-exhaust ports, revised the exhaust valve system, shortened the intake pipe, threw in a new carbon fiber reed valve, and revised the ignition mapping.

The result? The changes made to the ’06 engine accomplished everything they were hoping for and more. The new RM250 powerband is better than ever, featuring improved roll-on acceleration and overall bottom-end hit, and increased power at all rpm levels. Minor gearing changes to facilitate specific tracks and conditions is all this bike needs to function with the best of them, and the improved low rpm engine response was especially noticed and welcomed through the deep, loamy Competitive Edge corners. 

In addition to the motor upgrades, Suzuki also made some noticeable improvements to the chassis as well. Starting with a set of Renthal tapered aluminum handlebars that are rubber-mounted to reduce vibration, a new frame with reinforced engine brackets and a new head pipe location (5mm rearward) for increased straight-line stability, an updated swingarm, new front fork and rear shock compression and rebound settings, revised spring rates, and new rear brake pad material for increased braking performance, the RM250’s overall handling absolutely rips! Tracking was straight and predictable like we’ve come to expect from the ‘Zook, and its cornering prowess remains nearl flawless.

Whether a tight inside rut or a high-speed sweeper, the RM250 instills great rider confidence in anybody who rides her.

If you’re a two-stroke 250cc fan and a Ricky Carmichael fan, new for 2006 is the RM250Z—a limited edition RM250 with special Team Makita Suzuki graphics, gold-colored wheels and a black seat similar to Ricky Carmichael’s championship-winning bike. And as with the entire RM family, RM250 riders will also benefits from Suzuki’s racing contingency program, Good Scholar Program and the Tony D Motocross School. With a package this good and this complete, life will be tough for all those who hope to challenge in 2006.