Welcome to the club: Yamaha bit the bullet and became the
third Japanese manufacturer to spec a 270mm front rotor.
horsepower at 13,800 rpm. And, not many Novices are
going to extract the last ounce of power from a bike that
has to be ridden at full shriek.
Success on the YZ250F, especially against the KTM
250SXF, comes from hitting your shift points perfectly.
If you try to match the orange flyer rev for rev, you will
find yourself on the losing end of a horsepower war. But
if you shift at 11,500 rpm, you will stay in the Yamaha’s
wheelhouse—any higher and you will be playing in
Q: HOW DOES THE 2016 YZ250F RUN ON THE
A: Since a quick perusal of the modifications that
Yamaha made to the 2016 YZ250F don’t point to any
improvements in the power department, we weren’t
disappointed to discover that at no spot on the dyno
curve was the 2016 YZ250F better than the 2015. Peak
horsepower was 39. 87 at 11,800 rpm with torque at 20. 44
foot-pounds at 8400 rpm.
When it comes to horsepower, the YZ250F is just a hair
shy of 40 big ones. That is a solid number, except for the
fact that the KTM 250SXF engine pumps out 43. 79 horsepower at 13,200 rpm, with 20. 20 foot-pounds of torque
at 8800 rpm. The KTM 250SXF comes as close to kissing
44 horsepower as the YZ250F comes to 40 horsepower,
which means that on dyno numbers alone, the YZ250F
shouldn’t be able to run with the Katoom. But it can.
Not because it makes more horsepower (it doesn’t), but
because it makes more torque from 5000 rpm to 9000
rpm. Torque is the thrust that allows the YZ-F to get the
jump on the SXF leading into the midrange—and why a
YZ250F racer never wants to play high-rpm chicken with
a KTM racer.
Q: IS YAMAHA’S SSS SUSPENSION STILL
A: You bet. As air forks proliferate on the dealer’s
showroom floors, the siren call of Yamaha’s coil-spring-equipped Kayaba SSS forks is even more melodious. MXA
has always been a big proponent of Kayaba’s old-school
suspension; it dates back to 2006. We love the way SSS
suspension works. It is the only fork that can be used by
a Beginner, Novice, Intermediate and Vet with nothing
more than a clicker change. Forget everything you know,
believe or have heard about PSF- 2 or TAC air forks. They
can’t hold a candle to Yamaha’s 10-year-old coil-spring
MXA test riders aren’t blind to the potential of air
forks, but we aren’t deluded enough to believe that the
constantly changing protocol of air forks has a ghost of a
chance of catching up to the fluid perfection of Kayaba’s
ground-breaking SSS forks any time soon. As in most
years, Yamaha hasn’t stood pat with its SSS components.
Yamaha made damping changes to the 2016 fork and
went down one spring rate on the shock spring.
Q: HOW DOES THE 2016 YAMAHA YZ250F
A: If we told you that the YZ250F uses the exact
same frame geometry as the YZ450F, you might get
spooked. But you can relax. The lighter-weight, lower-horsepower and decreased rotating mass of the YZ250F
drivetrain make it handle completely differently from
the YZ450F frame. Unlike the YZ450F, the 250’s front
end doesn’t feel loose on the entrance of turns or want
to step out on the exit. But, the reality is that the 2016
Softer: To better suit lighter riders the rear shock spring was
changed from 56 N/m to 54 N/m.