TransWorld Motocross Race Test YELLOW MAGIC!

Last month we had the rare opportunity to throw a leg over Sean Hamblin’s factory Suzuki RM250, and the experience left us in awe of the performance of a true factory machine. To be honest, riding a bike as fast and easy to ride as Hamy’s spoiled us, and we found ourselves a little disappointed with the performance of our stock Suzuki RM250 ever since. Even though the 2004 Suzuki RM250 blew through our annual 250cc MX Shootout with flying colors and emerged the hands-down Bike of the Year, it was hard not to remember just how good the works bike was when we were riding our mild-mannered-in comparison-stock bike.One afternoon we decided to head down to Bill’s Pipes to see our buddies Bill Cervera and Jeff Springman about getting ahold of a pipe and silencer for our bike. While we were there, we ran into’s race team crew chief Ed Longacre, one of the coolest guys in moto. After hearing us hem and haw about how great Hamblin’s bike had been, Longacre gave us a backhanded slap, loaded our bike into the back of his deluxe Chevy mini truck and told us he’d have it back to us in a couple of weeks. At the race shop, Ed handed our bike over to Dean Gibson, who gave our test bike the full race team treatment.

Deano stripped the bike down to the frame and sent our chassis off to be powder coated black, just like the race team’s. While the motor was out, the guys at Bill’s Pipes ported the cylinder, modified the head and installed a Wiseco Single-Ring Race Series Piston and a Moto Tassinari V-Force 2 reed valve. The engine package was capped off with a Bill’s Pipes pipe and silencer, and fed VP Ultimate 2 race gas. A new Regina chain and Sunstar sprockets rounded out the power train, and our stock hubs were laced up to a set of unobtainable race team florescent yellow Excel rims (Thanks, Ian!).

Deano threw the catalog at our bike, choosing the same products that the race team uses on its race bikes: Braking brake discs, Carbone Lorraine brake pads, Tag Metals triple clamps and handlebars, Works Connection aluminum accessories, IMS footpegs and a Hinson clutch basket and clutch cover.

While we have built and tested plenty of high-performance project bikes in the past, there’s something to be said about riding a bike that was hand-built by a factory race team mechanic. There’s a big boost in confidence knowing that you don’t have to worry about the wheels falling off or the transmission having oil. Gibson’s attention to detail when assembling our bike was second to none, as we’ve discovered over the past few weeks while servicing the bike.

The motor itself was astounding. From the moment we fired it up, it was apparent that this thing had some bark! After fiddling with the jetting and gearing (Gibson had installed a SX-style 51-tooth Sunstar rear sprocket, and we went back to a 49), we were pleased to find that the RM250 had a monstrous powerband that pulled everywhere. Low-end throttle response is instantaneous and the bike rips out of corners like there is no tomorrow. The power pulls hard and strong into a beefy mid-range surge, but there is no uncontrollable burst to prematurely tire you out; instead, it pulls as smoothly as the stock engine. On top, it is possible to rev the bike out in each gear as the bike keeps pulling hard without flattening out, but at the same time the engine will pull a tall gear for those who like to short shift.
Just for kicks, we installed an iCAT ignition device to the bike, and were even more blown away by the way it felt on the track. Though we felt we had the jetting pretty dialed in, the iCAT gave the bike even more throttle response and allowed the motor to rev cleanly throughout the rpm range.

So, just how fast is our bike now? Swap raced it at Cahuilla Creek MX Park a few weeks ago and pulled two fat holeshots on the track’s sandy uphill start straight and rode off to both moto wins. Even more impressive is the fact that out of the 17 other riders on the line, he was the only two-stroke rider. The four-stroke revolution may be upon us, but there is still no comparison for the feel and performance of a fine-tuned 250cc two stroke!

As for the rest of the parts on the bike, we were most impressed by the feel and power of the Braking discs. The stock Suzuki brakes are great, but the aftermarket Braking units were even better. We also liked the wide stance of the IMS footpegs, as they eased the blow to our arches on hard landings. Furthermore, their sharp edges kept our boots where they were supposed to be: on the pegs! All of the Works Connection stuff fit perfectly and provided flawless performance, especially the quick-adjust clutch perch and lever combo.

So, is the project bike that our buddy Ed built for us just as good as Hamblin’s factory bike that we rode last month? Well…no. However, it shouldn’t be! With a seemingly unlimited budget and access to hand-made exotic factory parts, one would expect the factory bike to be untouchable. The bike, however, is more bike than 99% of the riders in the world could ever use to full potential, and 100% better performing than stock. Best of all, though, is the fact that a quick call to the guys at Bill’s Pipes for the motor mods and a visit to for all of the hard parts can result in the exact same super Suzuki that we have in our TWMX garage!

PARTS IS PARTSBill’s Pipes cylinder and head mods $299.00
Bill’s Pipes pipe and silencer $299.00
Call 909/371-1329 or visit
Braking Wave front rotor $214.97
Braking Wave rear rotor $214.97
Hinson Racing clutch basket $224.95
Hinson Racing pressure plate $174.99
Hinson Racing clutch cover $225.00
iCAT $200.00
IMS Pro Series footpegs $84.99
Moto Tassinari V-Force 2 $148.00
Regina Gold chain $34.95
Sunstar rear sprocket $49.95
Sunstar countershaft sprocket $18.95
Wiseco Single Ring Race Piston $139.10
Works Connection Pro Perch $165.00
Works Connection frame guards $52.45
Works Connection glide plate $65.95
Works Connection case guard $65.00
Call 888/929-9111 or visit