changed since 2006, Yamaha’s engineers would beg to differ. They will point to the titanium shock spring, which KTM, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki and even the Yamaha four-strokes cannot claim, and all of the parts that Yamaha transplanted from the four-stroke line, including oversize bars, downsized brake calipers, wave-style rotors, removable bar mounts, aluminum brake cable clamps and new triple clamps. ( 3) Poverty is a good alibi in hard times. Yamaha’s marketing men are quick to point out that research and development are very expensive, and in hard times, which the motorcycle manufacturers have suffered through since 2008, the R&D dollars have to be metered out where there is the biggest return on investment. And, two-strokes are way down on the pecking order (based on sales). ( 4) If you don’t like it, buy from our competition. With only Yamaha and KTM making quantities of 250cc two- stroke motocross bikes, Yamaha can afford to be cavalier in dealing with its two-stroke customers. How so? If the buyers don’t like the snail’s pace of progress on the YZ250, they can buy a two-stroke from someone else— except that Yamaha knows that KTM is the only other source from the “Big Five.” And, they rightly believe that their loyal customers will choose to buy a YZ250 with a seven-year-old design before going orange. Q: WHAT ABOUT HUSQVARNA, TM, BETA AND GAS GAS TWO-STROKES? A: If disgruntled YZ250 consumers poured into the TM, Husqvarna, Beta and Gas Gas dealerships and bought every 250cc two-stroke available, it wouldn’t amount to “a hill of beans in this crazy world.” First, of the four boutique brands named, only TM makes a 250cc motocross two-stroke; the rest are enduro versions. Second, Yamaha isn’t in competition with the little brands because the numbers don’t meet their economy of scale. It wouldn’t be feasible for Yamaha to fire up its production line for the combined sales of these four marques. Third, do you live anywhere near a TM dealer? Didn’t think so (and Yamaha doesn’t think so either). Q: WHAT ARE THE RETAIL PRICES OF THE AVAILABLE 2013 TWO-STROKES? A: The 2013 Yamaha YZ250 retails for $7150. The KTM 250SX price is $7099. The TM 250MX costs $8300. The Gas Gas XC250 suggested retail is $8299. The Beta 250RR-2T is $7999. Obviously the prices are subject to whatever deal you can make at the local level, but be forewarned that these bikes sell out fast—not necessarily because there is an overwhelming demand for them, but because the production numbers are low. Thus, demand always exceeds supply. Q: HOW DOES THE 2013 YAMAHA YZ250 COMPARE TO THE 2013 KTM 250SX? A: We are making the logical leap that the vast majority of two-stroke buyers will choose between the 2013 YZ250 or the 2013 KTM 250SX, which leads to the obvious question about which bike is better—the Yamaha or the KTM? Here are the winners and losers in the two-bike showdown. Horsepower? KTM. On the dyno, the stock 2013 KTM pumps out 49. 77 horsepower, while the YZ250 peaks at
2013 YAMAHA YZ250
2013 Yamaha YZ250: With the
exception of the white rear fender
and new radiator shroud graphics,
the 2013 YZ250 could be transported
back to 2007 and not raise any
eyebrows. It was a looker in its day.