After winning the 2015 AMA Supercross West Coast Lites Championship; AMA Motocross Lites Championship; MX Nationals MX2 Championship; MX Nationals MXD Championship; and MX Nationals MXR Championship, Yamaha’s YZ250F looks in good stead to be the most winning motocross machine of 2015. With a host of updates and refinements for 2016, Yamaha’s YZ250F not only impresses, but surprises with its latest features.
Chassis – For 2016 Yamaha have continued their use of the aluminium bilateral beam frame that has remained relatively unchanged since the redevelopment of the YZ250F in 2014. As seen in previous years the frame still provides great rigidity and surface contact area around and above the swing arm pivot, with required flex being provided in the upper regions. Overall, the 250F has a very similar ride feel to that of its big brother YZ450F, which in my eyes is a huge plus considering how stable the big bore bike is for 2016.
Engine – Yamaha’s YZ250F engine package has received numerous refinements for 2016, including a new lightweight piston, redesigned piston cooler sprayer, higher specification con rod, additional crankshaft counterweights and a newly designed balancer. In the opening few laps riding the bike I was surprised by the broad range of both torque and power produced by the bike through the entire rev range. The YZ250F runs a fairly standard 13.5:1 compression ratio. Like most current 250’s I feel most comfortable riding it in the upper part of the rev range.
When exiting turns in higher gears, assistance from the clutch is required to get that desired snap of power. When trialing gear selections, again, I found I was more comfortable in running the lower gear, then late shifting once I began to near “red line”. This is unusual for myself, as I much rather use the torque of an engine to do the work, but the 250F asks to be ridden higher up in the rev range. Overall, the bike has really good acceleration like it’s 2015 predecessor, but it doesn’t seem to drop in acceleration near as much when approaching the red line like it did in last year’s model, which ultimately is a big benefit for aggressive riders.
Suspension – For 2016, Yamaha have made numerous suspension setting refinements to the YZ250F, which were focused towards eliminating the effects of harsh forces and excessive push through the stroke. I can guarantee you that the development team hit their mark, because the new machine is impressively settled, either under load or when braking. There is no worry of a harsh impact when landing flat or pushing through large braking bumps, and this is directly due to the exceptional bottoming resistance provided by the YZ250F.
During acceleration, as expected, the front end sits light, but what I quickly noticed was how comfortably the rear end squatted while under load. The rear wheel didn’t jump out unexpectedly, and it tracked very well through the few chopped out sections at Gum Valley. In addition, while braking, both the forks and shock seemed to sit evenly throughout the stroke, which meant I had no worry in the front end pushing or tucking when entering high speed turns.
Transmission – As the little brother of the YZ450F, the YZ250F has undergone the same clutch and transmission changes for 2016, with the introduction of a newly finished clutch boss, new shift stopper lever, 20 per cent stronger springs and improved roller shape. These updates provided me with an improved accuracy in the use of the clutch and allowed a more exact shifting feel while under load – no more false neutrals.
Braking – A further addition to the 2016 YZ250F is the addition of a larger diameter 270mm front disc rotor. Again, this comes straight off the back of the 450F update, but is received with open arms, as you can never have too much stopping power! As you would expect, it is much easier to slow the YZ250F now, but most notably the improved brake system increases the feel for what the front end is going to do before it happens.
Graphics – For 2016, the YZ250F comes in its standard “Yamaha Blue” graphic. Alternatively though, it is also available in the limited edition Yellow 60th Anniversary style graphic for an extra $200.
Final Thoughts – Overall, I believe the 2016 Yamaha YZ250F provides the complete package. This bike will continue to serve as both a race and championship-winning machine, but will also give the general consumer everything they want from a 250F machine. Except maybe an electric start, light kit and aluminium kickstand – but those features are available on the Yamaha YZ250FX, click through to the Yamaha YZ250FX review.
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