Compared to the KTM 250, the YZ250 gives up 4 hp in the middle and 3 foot-pounds of torque, but makes it back on overrev.
grunt versus over-rev.
Q: IS THE 2018 YAMAHA YZ250 BETTER
THAN THE 2018 KTM 250SX?
A: No. The 2018 KTM 250SX weighs 7 pounds less,
has incredible brakes, features a bulletproof hydraulic
clutch, handles better, doesn’t vibrate (thanks to a counter-balancer), has a no-tools airbox (with a plug-in air filter),
makes more power in the meat of the powerband, and is
outfitted with Dunlop MX3S tires (instead of the YZ250’s
old-school MX52s). In a direct comparison, the YZ250
weighs more, has weaker brakes, old-fashioned handling,
considerable vibration and can’t hide its 12-year-old genes;
however, what is amazing is that for a bike that was
designed when “Malcolm in the Middle” was a hit TV
show, the YZ250 is still a very good bike. Maybe it is not
the purpose-built race bike that the KTM 250SX is, but it is
a workman-like, all-around bike.
Most MXA test riders love to ride the YZ250 two-stroke
because it is “good enough.” It has good-enough power to
be competitive in the right hands, good-enough handling
to get around the track without incident (something that
not every 2018 450 can claim), and good-enough ergos for
Vet racers and professional practice riders. Amazingly, it
is good enough that the majority of MXA test riders said
that they believe that the Yamaha YZ250 is the most iconic
motocross bike of the last 20 years.
Q: WHAT’S SO ICONIC ABOUT THE YAMAHA
A: Make no mistake about it; motocross bikes are
expendable, throw-away, obsolescence-prone machines
that see their time in the sun come and go very quickly.
To be iconic, a bike must have a purity of purpose that
allows it to transcend time. It not only has to have been
great when it was new, but it still has to be considered
great a decade later. The acclaim must be almost universal,
beyond reproach and, most difficult of all, virtuous. Think
about that for a second. How many virtuous bikes can you
think of? We aren’t talking about the latest and greatest
models of 2018, as good as they are, for they have yet to
stand the test of time. When polled, the MXA wrecking
crew could only agree on two motocross bikes from the
last 10 years that could be considered iconic, virtuous and
beyond reproach—the 2008 Honda CRF450 and any year
Yamaha YZ250 (starting in 2006 because of the introduction of Kayaba SSS suspension).
And while we rate the 2008 CRF450 as a watershed bike,
we probably wouldn’t line up to buy one today. But, we
would gladly put our money down on a Yamaha YZ250.
Q: WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT THE YZ250
A: To sum it up in one word, outdated. Don’t get us
wrong; it does many things well and some things great,
but the front end is shaky at speed and there has always