2014 Yamaha YZ250F Review
Few markets are as highly competitive as that for 250cc four-stroke motocrossers, which are the entry-level full-size motocross bikes for a wide swath of would-be supercross champions.
Although it was late arriving for 2014, the Yamaha YZ250F is new from the ground up, making it one of the most highly anticipated bikes of the year, thanks to a radically redesigned motor and transmission, new aluminum frame, and revised KYB suspension.
For 2014, the YZ250F has adopted the engine layout and design of its larger-displacement counterpart, the YZ450F—exhaust in the front, intake in the rear. The exhaust wraps 360 degrees around the cylinder, which keeps the silencer closer to the center of the bike.
The new aluminum frame gives the YZ250F a compact, lightweight feel, while retaining stability. The fuel tank has been moved toward the center of the bike in a weight centralization effort. The forks have new inner and outer tubes, while the rear suspension has a new reservoir location and spring spec.
On the track, the most noticeable change is the more powerful motor. The new Yamaha/Keihin fuel injection provides smooth, instantaneous power off the bottom end that is perfect for exiting corners. The YZ250F comes alive in the high-speed sections of the track, with impressive mid- to top-end power, and the new transmission (still five speeds) provides precise gear changes. An optional GYTR power tuner allows you to tailor the power delivery to your liking.
After setting the sag to suit my weight, the suspension felt plush and compliant on groomed tracks. In contrast, the suspension initially feels a bit harsh through the breaking bumps on rough circuits; minor clicker adjustments quickly resolved this problem. Over-jumping or coming up a bit short on bigger leaps is handled well by the KYB suspension.
The YZ250F is nimble through the technical sections of the track, as the new chassis means you can put minimal effort into cornering and transitions, especially in tight ruts. On smooth, flat corners the front end felt a bit unstable until I took advantage of the new seat/fuel tank design, which allowed me to get farther over the front of the bike to transfer more weight to the front wheel.
The new air filter location behind the steering head keeps the foam unit tucked away from roost and makes it easier to access for maintenance; however, this comes at the expense of the bike feeling significantly wider than its competition.
I always have my doubts about any first generation bike, but I am impressed with the all-new 2014 Yamaha YZ250F. Whether you are holding it wide open on a long straight or leaning it over in a tight rut, the Yamaha does it with ease, imparting a great sense of confidence to neophytes and experts alike.
- Helmet: Shoei VFX-W Sear TC-2
- Goggles: Scott Notice OTG
- Neck Protection: Leatt-Brace GPX Race
- cHest Protection: Leatt-Brace Pro
- Jersey and Pant: Axo Lightning
- Gloves: Novik T.E.C. Darkness
- Boots: AXO Dart Pro
Photo by Don Williams
Story from the latest issue of Ultimate MotorCycling magazine. For subscription services, click here.