Power up: Every MXA test rider raved about the usability and
raw power emitted by the YZ250F engine. This thing rips.
Archaic: Yamaha missed the memo about needing to upsize
their front brake rotor. The 250mm rotor is hardly adequate.
system achieves the required tuned length without
gobbling up valuable space.
Most important, the YZ250F engine is fast. The
powerband has a remarkable chunk of bottom-end gusto,
a midrange that very well could be best in the class,
and just enough top-end power to hold its own (there
is a slight increase in over-rev from last year). It’s not
mandatory to keep the rpm in the midrange—that is to
say between 8000 rpm and 10,000 rpm—but it just so
happens that the YZ250F works best in this ballpark. It
is a Novice-friendly powerband, but it is also more than
capable of running at Expert speed.
We would be telling a white lie if we said that the
YZ250F engine is a jack of all trades. Why? The spread
is broad, but it is lacking in the upper reaches where the
fastest of the fast live. Failing to shift before hitting the
rev limiter hinders forward progress, unlike what test
riders like about the 2015 KTM 250SXF high-rpm
shrieker. Then again, the YZ250F performs better
everywhere else. The real question is not how fast you
are, but how great your understanding of rpm dynamics is. It’s possible to shift late, with the caveat that an
overzealous throttle hand overloads the powerband; but,
whatever you do, don’t shift down too early entering
corners. Unfortunately, the YZ250F is a victim of
excessive engine braking, which puts a load on the
suspension and changes the handling characteristics.
Q: IS THE KAYABA SSS SUSPENSION
A: Not to our way of thinking. Call us old-fashioned,
but we are still big proponents of Kayaba’s SSS
suspension. It may not be deemed cutting edge in the
highfalutin world of air forks, but the proof is in the
pudding. The YZ250F suspension is the cream of the
crop for a multitude of reasons. Let us remind you why.
(1) Dummy-proof. You don’t need to meticulously
check various air chambers with the YZ250F forks. An
air pump isn’t necessary. It’s not stretching reality too far
to suggest that many modern riders won’t click a clicker,
let alone set up three different air chambers. With the
Kayaba SSS fork, you merely jump on the bike and go.
No guesswork. Plus, coil springs never go flat.
( 2) It works. MXA test riders aren’t naive. We know
that an air fork, when set up properly, has the potential
to be a superior product. The same, however, can be said
for that bucktooth girl in the back of your history class.
It’s a question of how much time and effort you want to
put into the project. To our way of thinking,
the Kayaba SSS fork is already a prom queen. Clicker
changes are noticeable, and there are very few weak
areas in the stock setup. We loved the SSS suspension
when it was first introduced in 2005, and in the decade
since, our love has only grown deeper.
Q: WHAT DO WE THINK ABOUT THE 2015
A: Since Yamaha unveiled the radically new 2010
YZ450F, we’ve had issues coming to terms with the odd
handling characteristics of the big-bore thumper. Straight-line stability was never the issue. Instead, we struggled
to get the YZ450F to corner properly. Turn-in was vague,
which caused riders to oversteer in the middle of the
corner, followed by a countering effect upon exit. You
don’t need Sherlock Holmes to tell you that the MXA
wrecking crew has never been a fan of the YZ450F’s
frame geometry. What does this have to do with the
2015 YZ250F? Everything and nothing.
Did you know that Yamaha uses the same frame layout
on both the YZ450F and YZ250F. Even Doctor Watson
could surmise that the YZ250F should handle just like
the YZ450F. It’s elementary. Guess again. Perhaps it’s
due to the smaller cubic displacement engine, decreased
rotating mass or lighter overall weight, but the YZ250F
is the superior-handling bike in Yamaha’s four-stroke line.
It doesn’t hunt and peck at the entrance of turns like