YZ250F isn’t the best-handling bike in the class. Almost
every other bike in the class can do something, even if
it’s just one thing, better than the YZ250F. Even though
the YZ250F doesn’t shine in any handling category, it also
doesn’t suck wind in any category, either. The balance is
slightly weighted to the rear, especially with the softer shock
spring, but running a little less sag, sliding the fork legs
down in the clamps and utilizing the high-speed compression
adjuster to steady the pitch can make the YZ250F a very
stable platform to work from.
Q: HOW MUCH DOES THE 2016 YZ250F WEIGH?
A: At 221 pounds, the YZ250F and KTM 250SXF are in
a tie for the lightest bike in the class. When the YZ250F
had a Keihin carb, it was 218 pounds. It should also be
noted that KTM makes its fighting weight with an electric
starter and battery.
Q: WHAT DO WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Exhaust pipe. The YZ250F is blessed with an
excellent performing stock exhaust system. But, if you plan
to work on the engine, set aside ample time to get Yamaha’s
jigsaw puzzle of a pipe off the bike. It has twice as many
bolts as any other exhaust system.
( 2) Air filter. We hate the Dzus fasteners that hold the
airbox cover. They seem like a good idea until they rip your
pants or fall out. We remove the D-rings (and use a screwdriver to remove the bolts) or cover them with duct tape.
We also remove the backfire screen from the airbox and
replace it with a Twin Air Powerflow kit, which comes
with an aluminum cage and a flame-retardant air filter.
You could cut the wire out yourself, but be sure to order a
fire-resistant Twin Air filter. You will feel an improvement
in throttle response and some of the annoying intake
sound will be lessened.
( 3) Boom box. The noise that comes out of the gas
tank-mounted airbox is irritating. You’ll get used to it over
time in the same way that people who live on the flight
path to LAX get used to jets landing
( 4) Gearing. Faster test riders experimented with a
one-tooth-taller (49-tooth) sprocket; it allowed them to carry
more speed from turn to turn.
( 5) Radiator wings. We run Cycra radiator shrouds. They
are thinner, lighter and less complex. Yamaha’s stock airbox
design has been improved over the past few years, but it
has a long way to go.
( 6) Gas cap. Don’t put it on too tightly, because it sticks
(and the little winglet on top doesn’t offer much leverage).
( 7) Handlebars. Half of the MXA test riders had issues
with the bar bend—and they had Yama-thumb to prove it.
Q: WHAT DO WE LIKE?
A: The like list:
(1) Suspension. Forget air forks! Kayaba’s SSS units are
works forks for the masses.
( 2) Mapping. The GYTR Power Tuner is a must-have
item. We were able to improve the YZ250F powerband by
changing the ignition and fuel-mapping settings. The Power
Tuner comes in handy after installing an aftermarket
pipe, porting the head or running race fuel. See MXA’s
recommended map settings for the stock pipe and pump
gas on the next page.
( 3) Front brake. The only manufacturer who didn’t
accept the invitation to the oversized front brake party is