This is how we set up our 2016 Yamaha YZ250F for
the track. We offer these settings to help steer you in
the right direction.
KAYABA SSS FORK SETTINGS
If you are under 150 pounds, consider dropping the
fork springs to the optional 4. 5 N/m rate. You can also
lower the oil height in 5cc increments until the desired
performance is met. Most MXA test riders felt that
the fork springs were sufficient for a wide range of
rider weights and speeds. For hard-core racing, we
recommend this fork setup for the 2016 Yamaha
YZ250F (stock specs are in parentheses):
Spring rate: 4. 7 N/m
Compression: 14 clicks out ( 10 clicks out)
Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 12 clicks out)
Fork-leg height: 5mm up
Notes: Don’t be afraid to make very large swings in
compression and rebound clicker settings. We tested
everything from 10 clicks out to 20 clicks out. These
big alterations help you zero in on the perfect numbers
for your style. As a rule of thumb, we ran less
compression damping than stock and more rebound.
KAYABA SSS SHOCK SETTINGS
Last year we were surprised to discover that shock
performance improved every time we softened up
the low-speed compression. So, for this year, Yamaha
spec’ed a lighter shock spring rate, which softened
up the low-speed compression with or without
clicker changes. The lighter spring is better suited to
the target audience of the YZ250F (under 160 pounds),
but amazingly it works okay for riders as heavy as
180 pounds. We have always complained about the
YZ250F’s rear suspension kicking in the rough. The
new 54 N/m spring doesn’t eliminate this complaint,
but it, and a little less high-speed compression, helps.
For hard-core racing, we recommend this shock setup
for the 2016 Yamaha YZ250F (stock specs are in
Spring rate: 54.0 N/m
Race sag: 102mm
Hi-compression: 1-1/2 turns out (1-1/4 turns out)
Lo-compression: 15 clicks out ( 12 clicks out)
Rebound: 10 clicks out ( 13 clicks out)
Notes: The shock has a tendency to hop under
heavy braking and down rough straights. We sped up
the high-speed compression and softened up the
low-speed compression. ;
Suzuki. Yamaha went to 270mm for 2016.
( 4) Tires. We’ve long had a love affair with
Bridgestone’s 403/404 sneaker combo. The rubber works
well in a variety of conditions and holds up well to abuse.
( 5) Choices. Yamaha is the only manufacturer to offer
a motocross model in two different colors—blue or yellow.
We prefer the blue combo, but to each his own. The
yellow costs $100 more.
( 6) Reliability. Although it doesn’t have the buzz of
electronic gizmos and mega-power mods, Yamaha’s
reliability updates are sound marketing.
( 7) Clutch. In a left-handed compliment, the YZ250F
has the best clutch of any Japanese-designed 250
( 8) Power. Yamaha’s power profile is one of quality
instead of quantity. It makes do with less horsepower,
because it puts the power where most people want it
Q: WHAT DO WE REALLY THINK?
A: In a reversal of roles, Yamaha has positioned
the YZ250F as David versus Goliath (with Goliath being
the KTM 250SXF). That’s so strange, because KTM has
Underdog: Although it gives up 4 horsepower to the KTM
250SXF, the YZ250F has a few powerband tricks up its sleeve.
always been the underdog boutique manufacturer that
fought against the leviathan Japanese brands. My, how
the times have changed. David has become Goliath
and vice versa. The 2016 Yamaha YZ250F is throwing
40-horsepower stones against the 44-horsepower Goliath.
It can only win the battle if the stones are all lined up
and ready to throw and each one hits the target.