2013 Yamaha YZ250F TestThe 2013 Yamaha YZ250F is the natural progression of the Yamaha YZ250F motorcycles that revolutionized the small-bore class at motocross tracks all over the world over a decade ago.
Up until that point nobody thought a 250 four-stroke could compete with the high revving and lightweight 125cc two strokes that competed in the same class.Once released it was clear how dominant the four-stroke could be with twice the displacement, Yamaha enjoyed this advantage for a few years until the other manufactures caught up and built their own competitive 250cc four-strokes. 12 years later, very few manufactures even build 125cc two-strokes, and 250cc four-stroke have flourished.While the chassis and suspension of the 2013 Yamaha YZ250F are state of the art and look the part, the motor, while receiving many updates through the years is the same basic five-valve, dry-sump design as the 2001 version. In fact, the YZ is the only 2013 four-stroke motocross bike available that still uses a carburetor.Our test bike ran nice and clean straight-away, and the true Keihin FCR carb, only required a slight turn of the air screw to get it running perfect! Other than taking a little longer to warm up, you would never know it didn’t have EFI. Starting was no problem–it even started easier than some EFI bikes we have ridden.The power of the YZ250F can best be described average. While no slug, it doesn’t have near the punch of the 2013 KX 250f. It’s pretty comparable to the Suzuki RM-Z250, with slightly more bottom end power and a little less on top. The chassis and handling on the other hand is top notch!The Yamaha YZ250F has a very comfortable riding position, and feels totally natural from the start. If you are unusually large or small, the handlebar clamps can be moved forward or back. Out on the track we were able to ride the YZ wide open from the opening lap, the bike just inspires confidence. It’s very stable even on the roughest tracks or when the track is dry slick as it was on our first test ride.Often stability in a bike comes at the compromise of turning; this is not the case with the Yamaha. While it doesn’t turn as quick as say a RM-Z250, we have no complaints with the way the Yamaha carves the corners. We would also describe the cornering as stable and comfortable; you feel good about pushing it hard into and out of the corners.Part of the reason the bike feels so good on the track is its suspension. The front fork is the Kayaba SSS (Speed-Sensitive System) that Yamaha has been using for a few years, and is dialed in. Out back, the Kayaba shock is equally as good. The YZ250F has the best stock suspension of any MX bike we have ridden!Our young test rider Ty Cullins raced the Yamaha at Glen Helen’s REM track, which gets super rough and choppy. He felt so good on the bike that he had his best results in his career, and was able to keep pushing late in the motos when he was tired and the track was at its worst.He attributed this to feeling so good on the bike and he called the handling “magical”. He didn’t feel the mediocre power hurt him at all, even against other brands with aftermarket exhausts. The only complaint was a little clutch fade towards the end of the moto, which is typical for a MX bike without a hydraulic clutch. All MX bikes should come with hydraulic clutches, but at this point only the bikes from Europe have this feature.The looks of the bike are very sleek and modern. Other nice details include 1-1/8 inch bars, comfortable grips, a nice cushy seat with a “gripper” cover, and nice wide footpegs. Add to this the Yamaha is widely considered the most reliable 250 four-stroke on the market and it’s a winner, even with the old fashioned carb!Power is easy to come by – handling is more difficult to improve. As the 2013 Yamaha YZ250F has the latter, the former can be achieved with an exhaust and a bit of motor work. In the meantime, Yamaha has announced next year’s YZ250F, which will have EFI. So, if you’re a fan of carbs, you’ll want to snap up a 2013 Yamaha YZ250F as it’s the last of a disappearing breed.Chris Cullins owns TEC-Cycles.comTy Cullins races in the Geico Motorcycle EnduroCross Series and the AMA/NATC MotoTrials USA National Championship Series.Photography by Don WilliamsRiding Style:
This week we ride two genre-departing motorcycles from the established American manufacturers. Jess McKinley gives us his thoughts on the all new Harley-Davidson Pan America Special, and Ron Lieback gives his on Indian’s latest version of the FTR 1200 S.