2016 Yamaha YZ250 Review

By Todd Jarratt

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250

Yamaha are one of the only manufacturers still producing a 250 two-stroke motocross machine and in 2016 it has undergone a few minor refinements, as well as seeing the addition of black rims and a complementary race kit. To break open the nutshell, this is one bike that never fails to lengthen your arms by two inches, but still leave you with a huge dirt filled smile after every ride.

Chassis – As seen in years past, the lightweight main frame featuring aluminium castings, forgings and extrusions remains in place for 2016. The main frame is paired with the traditional, square sectioned aluminium sub frame and YZF style foot pegs to provide that trademark YZ feel. As a whole, I was immediately taken aback by how light the bike felt and how effortless it was to turn. I know that may sound obvious considering it is a modern two stroke, but after racing four stroke machines solely over the last few years, it is a big shock to the system to ride something so agile. The bike asks to be pushed around, whether it is dropping the front end into ruts, powering out of turns or negotiating the bike mid air, it definitely impresses in terms of its handling and maneuverability.

Engine – For 2016, Yamaha have continued their use of the 38mm Keihin PWK carburetor, throttle position sensor, YPVS power-valve system and digital CDI ignition. In terms of the YZ’s actual power output, it provides a remarkably crisp throttle response throughout the entire rev range and the overall delivery is usable all the way through the band. As a result, it is possible to run a gear higher and use the torque of the engine to pull out of turns – something that is more of a struggle on the 250F’s. In saying that, as you would expect, the two-stroke likes to be ridden in the upper rev range, but it does require respect from the rider to ensure you don’t find yourself tangled up in the trees off to the side of the track.

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250

Suspension – The YZ250 has not undergone any suspension modifications for 2016 and as a result resumes its use of KYB 48mm spring forks. As seen in recent years the KYB forks feature the same Speed-Sensitive System as the YZ250F and therefore provide the same smooth initial feel and exceptional bottoming resistance. All of the required front and rear end movement is very predictable with no surprises, which allows you to quickly build confidence and increase your riding intensity.

Transmission – The 2016 YZ250 employs a standard five speed, close ratio transmission, which provides a very smooth shifting feel. In testing gear selections and shift changes, there are no concerns of false neutrals or making miss shifts whilst under load or passively changing. Additionally, I found that the current setup provides an appropriate balance between bottom end acceleration and top end power, which was most noticeable upon exiting tight turns.

Braking – The braking systems used on the YZ250 feature a 250mm front and 245mm rear-braking disc, which provide ample stopping power and sufficient feel in controlling the alignment of the bike. As a part of the Race Kit (mentioned below) a 270mm front brake rotor and caliper kit are provided with every 2016 model sold and therefore if the standard setting doesn’t seem up to par for you, the solution is provided!

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250

Graphic – For 2016, the YZ250 comes in its standard “Yamaha Blue” graphic, but now also features black rims, which seem to set the bike off with a completely redesigned look.

Race Kit – For every 2016 YZ250 sold, Yamaha are throwing in a complementary Race Kit valued at $875. The pack includes a GYTR 270mm front brake rotor and caliper bracket; GYTR hole shot system; GYTR by FMF nickel plated exhaust; GYTR 51 tooth aluminium rear sprocket; and Yamalube start up pack.

Final Thoughts – For 2016 Yamaha have not only maintained the generation spanning reputation of the YZ250, but also improved its attractiveness by introducing the long awaited black rims and highly valued Race Kit. This bike is a new favourite of mine, and if you are racer looking to not only perform, but have fun while doing so – this is your bike! Alternatively, if your focus is more towards enduro, cross country or trail riding, it would pay to continue reading below.

  • YZ250 RRP including GST – $10,299 (With race kit and black rims)
2016 Yamaha YZ250X Review

In 2016 Yamaha are introducing the highly anticipated YZ250X! Built with foundations from the motocross oriented YZ250, the 250X features many distinct changes and is the bike of choice for those looking to mix speed with trail riding.

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X

Chassis – The YZ250X shares the chassis and frame feel of the YZ250, but exclusively features an 18” rear wheel, enduro specific tyres, aluminium kickstand, and sealed O-ring chain. These added adjustments tailor and proof the bike to more off road style riding, but still provide the same competitive feel as the YZ.

Engine – The power plant of the YZ250X is very similar to that of the YZ250, but is altered slightly through the implementation of its enduro tuned digital CDI ignition, reserve fuel tap, narrow expansion chamber, and revised compression ratios and exhaust port timing. Again, each of these alterations is applied to enhance the usability of the bike in off road riding – and I can safely say the reserve fuel tap has already saved my butt once, so I’m definitely a fan of its addition.

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X

Suspension – The KYB 48mm Speed Sensitive spring forks common to the entire Yamaha 250 range are also implemented on the new 250X. With slight adjustments made internally for enduro and trail specific settings, the forks feel slightly softer through the middle part of the stroke, but still inherit that exceptional bottoming resistance I find so remarkable in the Yamaha range.

Transmission – The 2016 YZ250X’s transmission is characterised by a wide ratio five-speed gear set. It’s motocross oriented brother, the YZ, features a close ratio five speed transmission and therefore you will notice Yamaha have opened up the transmission ratio for the off road bike.

Braking – The YZ250X utilises an identical braking system to the YZ and as a result features a 250mm front and 245mm rear brake rotor.

Graphic – The 2016 YZ250X comes in its standard “Yamaha Blue” graphic.

Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X

Lighting Kit – As an optional extra, Yamaha have a lighting kit available for installation on the YZ250X, making this off road bike even more trail friendly.

Final Thoughts – The 2016 Yamaha YZ250X provides you with the best of everything – two stroke engine with an abundance of power; reserve fuel tap and aluminium kickstand for ease of use; and the option to run either the trail focused lighting kit or race ready front plate! Whatever your preference, the all new YZ250X will not disappoint!

  • YZ250X RRP including GST $10,499
Yamaha YZ250X Specifications
  • Engine – 249cc, Liquid cooled, two-stroke, reed valve induction
  • Bore x Stroke 66.4 x 72.0 mm
  • Compression Ratio 7.9 : 9.4:1
  • Fuel Management PWK38S Keihin
  • Ignition CDI
  • Starter System Kick
  • Fuel Tank Capacity 8 L
  • Final Transmission Chain
  • Transmission Constant mesh 5 speed
  • Length 2184 mm
  • Width 825 mm
  • Height 1290 mm
  • Seat Height 970 mm
  • Wheelbase 1486 mm
  • Ground Clearance 361 mm
  • Dry Weight 98 kg
  • Wet Weight 104 kg with 8 litres of fuel
  • Frame Type Aluminium control filled
  • Suspension Front KYB Speed-Sensitive System inverted fork; fully adjustable, 300 mm travel
  • Suspension Rear KYB Monoshock; fully adjustable, 315mm travel
  • Brakes Front Hydraulic single disc, 250 mm
  • Brakes Rear Hydraulic single disc, 245 mm
  • Tyres Front 90/90-21 Dunlop AT81F
  • Tyres Rear 110/100-18 Dunlop AT81
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X
Todd Jarratt on the 2016 Yamaha YZ250X

For more details on the YZ250 click through to the Yamaha Motor Australia Website Yamaha YZ250 Page

For more details on the YZ250X click through to the Yamaha Motor Australia Website Yamaha YZ250X Page