Ditto: Just like the larger two-strokes, the YZ85 front brake
has long been ignored. We’d like more pucker power.
Expansion: If you’re going to spend money on aftermarket
parts for the YZ85, then invest in a pipe and silencer first.
Heart and soul: Increased port timing boosted top-end power.
The engine is suitable for Beginners and Novices.
Shocker: Most of our testers were immediately comfortable
with the suspension settings.
The 2015 Yamaha YZ85 (retail price: $4090) is not a
completely redesigned package. Most of the updates
revolve around body styling, but there are several
noteworthy performance upgrades. The mechanical
revisions are listed below in order of importance.
(1) Port timing. The intake and exhaust port timing
has been moved up 0.5mm. Therefore, the YZ85 has
more power above 10,000 rpm with a stronger and
longer pull at high rpm.
( 2) Clutch. A new quick-adjust clutch perch and lever
assembly provide on-the-fly clutch adjustment. The adjustable lever reach accommodates rider preference and
varying hand sizes, and the revised lever ratio improves
disengagement feel and overall clutch operation. The
YZ85 is the only mini cycle to come with an on-the-fly
clutch adjuster—although it should be noted that the
KTM 85SX and Husqvarna TC85 have hydraulic clutches
( 3) Body styling. Just like the YZ125 and YZ250
two-strokes, the 2015 YZ85 received a facelift in the looks
department. The YZ85 mirrors its big brothers thanks to
a new front fender, front number plate, side panels,
radiator shrouds, graphics, seat cover and airbox. The
handlebars are now black as opposed to gray, and the
triple clamps are dark gray instead of silver.
2015 YAMAHA YZ85 PERFORMANCE
Our testers ranged from Novice to Intermediate
skill levels. They had a substantial amount of seat time
on the 2014 YZ85, so we were able to get a sound
understanding of the differences between old and new.
This is what we learned.
(1) Powerband. The 2015 YZ85 engine trumps the
older engine. It delivers a stronger dose of power in the
midrange and into the top end. Climbing hills was
easier, and getting the engine to ramp up into the sweet
spot of the powerband—the midrange—wasn’t nearly as
difficult. This is due to the new intake and exhaust port
timing. Catering to a broader range of riders equates to
more ability to keep the YZ85 on the pipe. It is still not
in the realm of the KTM 85SX and Husqvarna TC85
powerplants, but at least now the YZ85 won’t be