(1) Timeline. The 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250 is identical to the 2019 RM-Z250. What about the pre-2019 RM-Zs? Compare the 2018 and earlier RM-Z250s to the 2019 and 2020 models, and you will find an updated frame, forks, front rotor, dual injectors, new shock, revised cylinder head and new plastic. All of these updates made the 2019 and 2020 RM-Z250s significantly better than the 2018 model.
(2) Horsepower. The 2020 RM-Z250 offers the least peak horsepower in its class by about 3 horsepower. The 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250 produces 39.50 horsepower, while the KX250 makes 43.26, the Honda CRF250 42.98, the Husky FC250 43.01 and the KTM 250SXF 43.22; however, with its low-to-mid powerband, the 2020 Suzuki is one of the easiest bikes to ride. It is at its strongest below 8000 rpm, and there is no benefit to over-revving it because the power is relatively mellow after 8000 rpm. Its easy-going nature makes it perfect for young riders who aren’t ready for the fire-breathing, 14,000 rpm powerband of the 2020 KTM.
(3) Maps. The 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250 comes with three easy-to-use, plug-in fuel couplers that change the EFI tuning. Don’t waste your time with the grey or black couplers. The white coupler is the most aggressive off the bottom and gets the rpm to rev through its range faster. Every MXA test rider chose the white coupler, as it produced the most responsive power.
(4) Forks. The RM-Z250’s forks are terrible. This is the fourth time in the last seven years that the Suzuki engineers have made this mistake. The 2019 and 2020 RM-Z250 forks come with 5.0 N/mm springs in them. That is the same spring that Honda, Yamaha, Suzuki and Kawasaki run in their 450 forks. We dropped the fork spring rate to 4.9 N/mm for fast riders and 4.8 N/mm or lower for smaller or slower riders. The stock compression clicker setting is 11 clicks out. We turned it out 3 to 5 clicks but left the rebound alone.
(5) Shock. The 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250 has an overly stiff, 52 N/mm shock spring. This is way too stiff. We dropped the 52 N/mm shock spring for a 50 N/mm and set the sag at 107mm. The shock has lots of clicker dials, but thankfully they are color-coded. We ran the high-speed compression (blue), low-speed compression (silver) and low-speed rebound (red) on 14 clicks out. The high-speed rebound is found under the shock, and we also ran it on 14 clicks out.
(6) Clutch. At the lever, the clutch has the easy pull that everyone loves. Unfortunately, that easy pull translates into the friction plates needing to be replaced more frequently. Put stiffer clutch springs in on day one.
(7) Electric start. The 2020 Suzuki RM-Zs are the only 2020 four-strokes that you have to kick. Given that fact, you’d think they would be lighter than the competition.
(8) Weight. At 226 pounds (without fuel in the tank), it is too heavy. The RM-Z250 weighs 5 pounds more than a KX250, 7 pounds more than a FC250 and 8 pounds more than a 250SXF (it weighs the same as the CRF250). It would top 230 pounds with an electric starter, battery and wiring harness.
(9) Handling. Given more practical suspension, the RM-Z250 is the best cornering bike in its class. It gets in the corner with ease and doesn’t oversteer or want to stand up in the middle of the corner.
(10) Hop-ups. Be careful when spending money on trying to make a 2020 Suzuki RM-Z250 faster. MXA spent $5000 building an AMA National-ready engine, and when we were done, it still didn’t make more horsepower than a stock KTM 250SXF.