Supple: Once we dialed in the Kayaba SSS suspension we
were confident about hitting any size hole, bump or ripple.
Good and bad: We love that Yamaha used Dzus fasteners on
the airbox cover, but hate that they fall out with regularity.
the YZ450F. Instead, the YZ250F’s front end is planted,
tracks well at tip-in, and stays low in ruts.
Beware, we aren’t saying that the 2015 YZ250F is the
best-handling bike in the class. It isn’t. In stock trim, the
balance is slightly askew due to a more rear-end weight
bias, which makes the front end drift on hardpack. But,
by raising the sag, changing the fork-leg height and
dialing in the clickers, you can make the chassis worthy
of the engine.
Q: WHAT DID WE DO TO IMPROVE THE 2015
A: Find satisfaction by making these changes:
(1) Mapping. GYTR, Yamaha’s in-house development
subsidiary, developed the Power Tuner for EFI-equipped
Yamaha models. It’s a must-have item. We were able to
improve the YZ250F powerband by changing the ignition
and fuel-mapping settings. The Power Tuner does not
boost horsepower; instead, it changes the power delivery.
It particularly comes in handy when dialing in the engine
after installing an aftermarket pipe. Available at your
local Yamaha dealer, the GYTR Power Tuner ($279.95) is
worth the investment.
( 2) Front brake. The YZ250F front brake has quickly
become outclassed by the competition. KTM has held the
distinction of having the best front brake for years, and
now the 2015 Kawasaki and Honda have invested in
larger rotors. On the other hand, Yamaha’s front brake
is terminally late to the party. Do yourself a favor and
spend the dough on an aftermarket front-brake kit. We’ve
had good luck with the Moto-Master Flame
( www.moto-masterusa.com), Galfer Tsunami
( www.galferusa.com) and Braking Batfly
( www.braking.com) rotors.
( 3) Air filter. As happy as we are that Yamaha went
to Dzus fasteners on the airbox cover, we don’t like the
built-in air filter backfire screen. It hinders performance
and creates a whirring sound as air passes through it.
Twin Air makes a Powerflow kit ( www.twinairusa.com,
$259.95) that replaces the stock filter cage with a sturdy
aluminum unit. A flame-retardant air filter is also
included. Testers noticed an improvement in throttle
response, and the annoying intake sound was eradicated.
( 4) Exhaust. Last year we conducted a six-pipe
Yamaha YZ250F exhaust shootout (in the July 2014
issue). Surprisimgly, the stock exhaust was excellent, but
there were better options. Vet riders favored the DR.D
and HGS systems, Novices chose the stock and FMF
systems, Pros raved about the Pro Circuit system, and
every test rider agreed that the Yoshimura system was
best for the widest range of skill levels.
Q: WHAT DO WE HATE?
A: The hate list:
(1) Handlebars. The oversize handlebar bend and
sweep isn’t our cup of tea. We opted for a slightly taller
bar bend with a cross brace. Renthal makes a nice 997
Twin Wall bend.
( 2) Front brake. Honda and Kawasaki beefed up
their front brake rotors. We were hoping that Yamaha
would join the party. Sadly, the YZ250F’s 250mm front
rotor is only a little better than Fred Flintstone’s feet.
( 3) Exhaust pipe. The YZ250F is blessed with an
excellent-performing stock exhaust system; however, if
you decide to invest in an aftermarket system, then be
ready to Harry Houdini the pipe to get it to fit.
( 4) Vent hose. We don’t like the way Yamaha routs
the gas cap vent hose. It’s an eyesore and ruins the
otherwise sleek look of the cockpit. We rerouted the
hose underneath the airbox cover and out the front.
Consult the “Wrench Tech” feature in the October
2014 issue for a proper tutorial.
Q: WHAT DO WE LIKE?
A: The like list: