For 2003, Suzuki made changes to the motorcycle in focused areas. The engine receives a new exhaust powervalve for better low-end to midrange power and 10% larger radiators offer better cooling. The fork gets stiffer springs, while both ends get internal changes and alterations to the valving. The footpegs are now 10mm longer, and the rear-brake-pedal and mount are modified to give more ground clearance. The seat is also changed, becoming softer, 7mm shorter and more durable with a thicker seat cover. The best change of all is for the eyes, as the heinous yellow number-plates have been changed back to white.
On the track, the Suzuki RM125 generated nothing but praise from our test crew who simply loved its engine. “An awesome motor that pulls all the way through the powerband,” reported tester Dennis Ewing. The riders agreed that the engine was a little soft off the bottom but made up for it later with a screaming midrange and nice pull up top. It ranked near the top of every tester’s evaluation form, receiving no lower than a second place.
The RM’s carburetor jetting was leaned out a bit before testing for better all-around performance. The main jet was dropped from a 460 to a 450, the needle was raised by a half a clip from the third position to 2 ½ with a spacer, and the pilot jet was dropped from a 40 to a 37.5.
The shifting action is typical RM, smooth and consistent with no missed shifts; the clutch exhibited typical Suzuki grabbiness. Long-time RM owners know what we’re talking about (like the clutch basket that wears with time) and probably like the way the clutch feels. It’s just one of those things that you either love or hate.
The suspension and handling on the Suzuki are top-notch. “This bike turns on a dime, is really easy to maneuver, and I still didn’t get any headshake,” said one tester. The brakes on the RM125 were perceived to be a bit spongy feeling at both ends, but the overall power was never in question and a careful bleeding would likely rectify that condition.
Most of the riders really liked the flat and soft seat, although one tester did hate it for the same exact reasons. Go figure. Overall, the riders were very impressed with the Suzuki’s smooth motor and great handling. It’s definitely a solid package that was propelled high into the final standings.