Road Test Of The MZ ES250/2 Trophy


It gives a comfortable ride with its well padded seat and handles fairly well apart from its wobbles.


When people have had enough of running cars at great expense or the seventeen year old boy wants to graduate to a full 250 and can't afford a decent bike the MZ comes into its own. No other 250 can boast a price tag of £225. The nearest rival is the CZ at about £60 more.

The bike I road tested and still ride was a two year old and had clocked seven thou. The full history of the bike was not available but I found out things like after two months the bike needed new crankcases after the chain had snapped and smashed the casings. Also the engine was replaced after seizing up. They used to use 33 to 1 petroil but now they use 25 to 1.

When I first got the bike I found it difficult to start. I still do when the engine is cold. Once started, usually after 10 to 20 kicks, the bike could be ridden away. Riding in heavy traffic didn't bother us and it could handle most situations that we met up with. With a flat out speed of 75-80 mph and a fuel consumption of over 70 mpg. this very torquey 250 seemed just right and to have all the essentials needed.

Starting once warm was usually an affair of a few kicks but could be awkward at times. The clutch was easy in operation and didn't grab or slip. Gear changes were successful if you took your time. If you didn't it seemed to be a hit or miss affair and one could find countless neutrals and then be in top or something. Acceleration at first was poor and opening the throttle was a gentle affair or the engine would cut out. I found this was due to the carb bolts being loose, the carb had almost fallen off. I put this right and the bike ran a lot smoother and really accelerated well.

Stopping the bike was rather odd as the bike rose at the nose when braking due to the twin swinging arms incorporated on this model. The suspension was quite efficient and would take most bumps. The brakes were okay - just. You couldn't lock the front wheel (but could the rear), but it would squeal. It had a lot of feel too and only faded under prolonged braking. A bad point when braking hard in a straight line was that the handlebars would sometimes wobble from side to side, sometimes viciously.

This wobble would also show when just slowing around 40 mph or when giving hand signals; these were often necessary with the stock flashers. They were barely stuck on the end of the bars and would flash haphazardly. Occasionally they would flash okay but they were very unpredictable. In the dark when lights were necessary they were useless, flashing once a minute at any engine speed. Anyway I've had them removed and have ordered a four lamp set. On the end of the bars was a useful overtaking mirror, useful that is once I had tightened it up, though it still blurred at over 20 mph.

The layout of the bars and switches was simple. The six position ignition and light switch was in the headlamp shell. The lights were bright to look at both front and rear although the headlight beams were of little use above 45 mph. Dip had a good cut off but gave a very fuzzy yellow beam. Mainbeam was a spot on the road about four feet in diameter. So no night riding with this one boys. The speedo was poorly lit and was hard to read in the dark. Marked up to 80 mph the speedo was very erratic and has registered 70 in first. In the speedo were two worrying lights; a red charging light and a green neutral light. The second was very unreliable and would often come on when in second. These lights were ¼in diameter but were obscured when any steering lock was applied, as was 10 to 20 mph on the speedo.

The bike had obsolete 6 volt electrics so of course bulb buying was a problem. The stop light too was another poor feature. One day it was on all the time except when braking. I don't think it works at all now. The battery was mounted in the left hand panel and was accompanied by a first aid kit. This had instructions in German and was okay for touring Europe. It was hard to get at and was wet. It contained bandages, plasters, string (!) and an eye patch in a kind of purse. I thought this a good idea but not enough thought had been given to protection from the elements or to easy access.

The toolkit in the right hand panel was also hard to get at. It was a comprehensive kit, metric of course, and should cover most needs on the bike.

Riding the bike is . . . er . . . er . . . indescribable. It's alright if you don't expect too much. You could pop a wheelie by revving up and dropping the clutch; the front wheel would rise to about four feet. It gives a comfortable ride with its well padded seat and handles fairly well apart from its wobbles. The rear tyre had worn and was replaced with an Avon Speedmaster Mk II at five thou and the front tyre was stock. Sizes are rear 2.50 x 17 and front 2.50 x 16. The bike could easily be leaned to extremes for corners, having excellent ground clearance.

Cross-country the bike was great fun for although there was not much top speed it would give most saloon cars a run for their money.

Off road riding - as the tank cap boast suggests - was great fun with the bike seeming almost as much at home in the mud as on the road. I have taken it over muddy humps over three feet high and stayed on. In ISDT they go through rivers and the like but this proved a failing point on this machine. Halfway through a ford it packed up, water had got in the dynamo and cut the electrics. However it did not dry out and I was stuck. So just one point there for the trial type. The engine was very tractable on this kind of terrain and was very manageable too. With a pair of knobbly tyres you would be well away.

Other complaints concerned stupid things like the choke lever which would not stay on. Mounted on the right hand handlebar this lead to difficult starting. Another point was the dip and indicator switches which protruded too far making operation difficult. The exhaust pipe also was far too long and finished about four miles past the rear wheel. The chrome around the pipe flange was going yellow.

The frame, a heavy and well made job that will stand the knocks, had good welds and is obviously made to last. Maybe the general appearance of this machine isn't superb but it is very reasonably priced and economical. If they do not wobble like ours they are relatively safe as well.

Consider that the whole Polish Police Force is MZ mounted.


Roland Potter

Start of quotation The tyres and wheel sizes should be 3.00x16" front and 3.50x16" rear. End of quotation

- Ray Cattle

Thanks, Roland wrote that but they were mistyped. Well spotted Ray.

Start of quotation Hi, the trick to starting an MZ is thus:

Turn on fuel, hold on choke, do not turn on ignition.
Kick engine over four times.
Release choke, slightly open throttle, turn ignition on.
Kick bike over.
Bike should now start 1st or 2nd kick.

This is to create the correct mixture. If you don't follow this, the bike won't start and would take the 20 or so kicks you describe.

Hope this helps. End of quotation

- Dan Rodd

Start of quotation The 'choke' lever is not a conventional choke, it is a cold start device, enriching the mixture in the carb. If it isn't working too well, dismantle the plunger assembly and inspect the plastic end. If it is detached, get a new one, or carefully glue it back on.

The silencer is long, but it is a tuned silencer, not a bolt on thing to quieten the noise. You will find the silencer is exactly the correct length for the engine.

The correct petroil mix was, is, and always will be 33:1 but they will tolerate gloopier mixes.

To ensure good starting, follow the advice above and keep the battery well charged. The 6v regulator is mechanical and can fry batteries, or under charge, as the case may be. A modern battery maintenance device should be used to keep things going.

I did a 2 up camping trip of France, Switzerland, Italy and Monaco in 1980 on my ES250/2. We covered 3500 miles in 3 weeks and it didn't miss a beat. All I had to do on return was re-tension the drive chain and re-gap the spark plug. End of quotation

- Tony H from Windemere

Open quote Absoloute bollocks. Try some maintainance. I've had one of these for three years and rode it back to its home town in East Germany 1,400 miles, no problems.Close quote