to scour the planet only to end up with a bucket of junk
with blown big-end bearings.
The MXA wrecking crew never gave up on the two-stroke. When every other magazine stopped testing
them, we not only filled the magazine with them, but
we searched the corners of the earth for the trickest
two-strokes to test. Amazingly, over the ensuing years,
dedicated two-stroke buyers have snapped up most of the
piles of junk—and with pride of ownership have turned
those forgotten old bikes into things of beauty.
THAT HAVE BEEN
THEM BACK INTO
THE DOG IN OUR
The MXA gang decided to do the same thing. We had
a couple rules to follow: (1) We didn’t want to spend
more than $1000 on the base machine. The cheaper we
bought it, the more money we’d have to spend tricking
it out. The post-purchase budget wasn’t a big concern
for us, because once the bike was fit as a fiddle, we
could spend money on it in one big splurge or over the
long haul. ( 2) We wanted a 2006 or later Yamaha YZ250.
Nothing older and no other brand. Why? In 2006, Yamaha
put Kayaba SSS suspension on the YZ250. It is, was and
always has been the best production suspension ever
made. We saw no reason to start with bad suspension
on a different brand. Plus, YZ250s hold their resale value
better than any other used bike. ( 3) As with any used
bike, especially a 10-year-old beater, we accepted the
fact that we would have to tear it down and replace all
questionable parts. Thus, we spent extra time inspecting
the frame, engine cases, swingarm and subframe to make
sure that we weren’t buying into something tweaked
Finally, we found a used 2006 Yamaha YZ250 on
Craigslist that had more miles on it than a Checker
cab. We were pretty sure that the original owner never
worked on it, because the air filter looked like a fuzzball
from under a bed in a deserted house. But we didn’t care
whether it sucked dirt or not, because we were going
through the engine anyway. We parted with a grand and
loaded the pitiful-looking bike into the back of our truck.
We’ve all heard stories about mistreated pound dogs
that have been adopted by caring families who turned
them back into loving pets. The dog in our story was a
YZ250 two-stroke. Our goal was to make it ride, race and
feel like a brand-new 2016 YZ250. How could that be
possible? Easily. The differences between a 2006 Yamaha
YZ250 and a 2016 model aren’t all that great.
Step one. We disassembled the smoker piece by piece
until the only thing on the bike stand was the frame.
We had a lot of choices as far as making the frame look
better, but instead of polishing the frame and swingarm,
we sent them to San Diego Powder Coating to have them
Step two. The stock cylinder was in bad shape with
some nicks in the liner. We’ve seen this before and
know how to fix it. We sent the cylinder to Millennium
Technologies to re-plate it back to the stock bore. To finish off the rebuild, we ordered a Wrench Rabbit rebuild
engine kit. The Wrench Rabbit kit included a Hot Rods
complete bottom-end kit, main bearings, transmission
bearings, seal kit and complete engine gaskets. To
complete the engine, we installed a Vertex Pro Replica
piston kit and trusted the clutch to Hinson.
Step three. When we got the frame back from pow-
der coating, we replaced all of the bearings with Pivot
Works components. The rebuild covered the wheel
bearings, swingarm pivot and steering head bearings.
Step four. We sent the suspension to Race Tech. They
were in the suspension business long before our 2006
Yamaha YZ250 rolled off the assembly line. Race Tech
made the components sit higher and made the stroke
firmer to be more adept at working on modern tracks.
Step five. We didn’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell
us that our 2006 YZ250 looked old fashioned. It did,
especially since Yamaha updated the 2015-16 YZ250 with
new plastic and a new airbox. The easy path would have
been to just order a YZ250 restyle kit from UFO, but we
decided to go whole hog and run a 2015–’ 16 Yamaha
airbox. We threw the old 2006 airbox in the trash and got
a 2015 OEM airbox from our friendly local Yamaha dealer
(it mounted to the 2006 frame with no drama). For the
rest of the plastic, Cycra sent us its Powerflow body kit
for the 2015 YZ250.
Step six. The rest of the bike was icing on the cake,
but it did require several trips to the MXA dumpster.
Here are a few of the parts that you can find in our
dumpster and what we replaced them with: The puny
front rotor got replaced with a Tusk 270mm oversized
rotor. The dented pipe and empty silencer were replaced
by a complete FMF system. Moto Tassinari supplied
the VForce reed block. The Pivot Works wheel bearings couldn’t fix our bike’s oval rims and questionable
spokes, so we tossed them and ordered a set of affordable Tusk Impact wheels. And we mounted durable TM
Designworks works chain guide parts.
Step seven. Remember the part where we said the
post-purchase budget wasn’t a big concern? Well, we
meant it. Once the bike was running and rolling, we had
pride of ownership—and that meant an empty wallet. So,
we added Applied triple clamps, DeCal Works graphics,
MAY 2016 / MOTOCROSS ACTION 105