Yamaha brings 12 YZ models for racing in 2021, running from the neophyte-ready YZ65 to the new supercross-platform YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition. Let’s go over the 2021 Yamaha YZ lineup—a dirty dozen for racing.
2021 Yamaha YZ450F
The top-end of the motor for the flagship motocrosser gets a new high-compression cylinder head with steeper valve angles, more aggressive cam profiles, a forged piston, and a magnesium valve cover. Feeding that is a higher-flow air filter with improved air intake efficiencies, with the spent charge exiting through a larger exhaust headpipe connector. The bottom end gets a longer connecting rod.
Yamaha has fine-tuned the rigidity distribution of the frame with changes to its lateral beams and the thickness of the engine cradle tubes. The motor mounts, top triple-clamp, and the front axle have also gotten the attention of the Yamaha chassis engineers. To match those changes, the suspension damping has been modified, with Yamaha claiming “improve[d] cornering performance, traction and bump absorption.”
With a faster motor, Yamaha also gives the YZ450F a new braking system, with a focus on improved feel.
2021 Yamaha YZ450F Price: $9399 MSRP. Available: July 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition
Unlike the factory editions from Honda, Husqvarna, and KTM, which include functional updates, the YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition is purely a graphics package.
2021 Yamaha YZ450F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition Price: $9599 MSRP. Available: August 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ250F
The 2021 Yamaha YZ250F’s power gets the most attention this year. The YZ250F’s top-end has a new cylinder head, and the cams have new profiles. The airbox and intake track are new, as is the silencer. Optimizing those changes is a new ECU, with the Yamaha-stated goal of “stronger mid- to top-end power and increased peak power, while retaining its class-leading low-end torque.” The clutch and transmission also get updates, along with the water pump impeller.
Additionally, the YZ250F gets the same chassis and suspension modifications as the YZ450F.
2021 Yamaha YZ250F price: $8299 MSRP. Available: September 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ250F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition
If you prefer the look of the factory YZs, you will want to spend the extra $200 to get the high-end graphic and color treatment for your YZ250F.
2021 Yamaha YZ250F Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition Price: $8499 MSRP. Available: September 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ250
It’s a holding year for the YZ250 two-stroke, with no changes other than the latest version of Team Yamaha Blue.
2021 Yamaha YZ250 Price: $7499 MSRP. Available: July 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ125
Like the YZ250, the YZ125 is unchanged this year, except for the shade of Team Yamaha Blue.
2021 Yamaha YZ125 Price: $6599 MSRP. Available: August 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ85
The new Team Yamaha Blue is the only update for the YZ85 for 2021.
2021 Yamaha YZ85 Price: $4699 MSRP. Available: July 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ65
If you like the newest Team Yamaha Blue, you’ll be fully satisfied with the updates the smallest YZ gets in 2021.
2021 Yamaha YZ65 Price: $4599 MSRP. Available: July 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ450FX
The latest YZ450FX gets the same top-end motor mods as the YZ450F, along with the longer connecting rod. Yamaha has also improved the crankcase breathing system to reduce pumping losses. The YZ450FX’s transmission has been updated for smoother shifting.
The same chassis mods that benefit the YZ450F are also carried over to the YZ450FX, including the new braking system with a new front brake caliper.
2021 Yamaha YZ450FX price: $9699 MSRP. Available: September 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ250FX
Unlike the YZ450FX, the YZ250FX doesn’t get the updates accorded to its motocrossing brother. Instead, the YZ250FX is unchanged this year.
2021 Yamaha YZ250FX price: $8499 MSRP. Available: October 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ250X
There are no changes to the YZ250X two-stroke cross-country racer, other than the new shade of Team Yamaha Blue. We will remain patient for electric starting and a six-speed transmission.
2021 Yamaha YZ250X Price: $7599 MSRP. Available: August 2020.
2021 Yamaha YZ125X
The smallest-displacement Yamaha cross-country racebike returns with no changes apart from the new Team Yamaha Blue plastic color.
2021 Yamaha YZ125X Price: $6699 MSRP. Available: August 2020.
Action photo by Michael Brigida.