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Motorcycles 2021 Yamaha YZ250F Review First Ride

18:45  28 october  2020
18:45  28 october  2020 Source:   dirtrider.com

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We’re just a few weeks away from our 2021 250F Motocross Shootout and the final bike to ride before the comparison test was the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F. We had plans to put Yamaha’s new 250 four-stroke motocross through its paces at Glen Helen Raceway to get an idea of how it performed on a super rough and gnarly track, but high winds in the San Bernardino, California area forced the famed racetrack to close for the day, so we headed south to State Fair MX.

a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: Riding the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F at State Fair MX in Perris, California. © Mark Kariya Riding the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F at State Fair MX in Perris, California. a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: Riding the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F at State Fair MX in Perris, California. © Provided by Dirt Rider Riding the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F at State Fair MX in Perris, California.

Although the Perris, California facility doesn’t offer the same type of elevation changes or as large of acceleration and braking bumps as Glen Helen, we still got a solid idea of how bLU cRU’s updated 250 four-stroke motocross bike performs in comparison to last year. In fact, Yamaha even brought out a 2020 model for us to do a direct comparison with. While the prior year YZ250F was certainly an outstanding machine, the 2021 bike is noticeably better.

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2021 Yamaha YZ250F Engine

a plane sitting on top of a dirt field: Even though the 2021 YZ250F’s muffler is larger, the bike still seems loud. © Provided by Dirt Rider Even though the 2021 YZ250F’s muffler is larger, the bike still seems loud.

With major changes in the engine department, I was concerned Yamaha was going too far in one direction. The updates made to the cylinder head, exhaust camshaft, intake boot, and the addition of a new 70mm (2.75-inch) longer muffler—all to gain more peak power and additional over-rev—could have meant a reduction in torque and low-end throttle response. Fortunately, the 2021 YZ250F’s engine characteristic is improved over the 2019-2020 model.

a man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: The revisions made to the YZ250F engine improve areas of the powerband without taking away from others. © Provided by Dirt Rider The revisions made to the YZ250F engine improve areas of the powerband without taking away from others.

The usable power of this engine has somehow become even better. The YZ250F seems to have retained its great roll-on torque power and super strong midrange, and now continues to rev out even further. Without a KTM 250 SX-F to compare it with, it’s hard to say if the blue machine revs as far as the Austrian bike, but Yamaha said they made an effort to build more top-end power like a KTM. The mapping was crisp and responsive, and engine braking was minimal.

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a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: The amount of shifts per lap is decreased on the 2021 model due to the engine’s broader power. © Provided by Dirt Rider The amount of shifts per lap is decreased on the 2021 model due to the engine’s broader power.

Numerous updates have been made in the transmission. They have wider third, fourth, and fifth gears, making them stronger to handle the increase in peak rpm power. The gear ratios remain the same and the spacing is very good. With the shifting mechanism featuring a revised shift cam, shifting seemed to be very smooth with no issues or false neutrals.

a plane sitting on top of a dirt field: Even though the 2021 YZ250F’s muffler is larger, the bike still seems loud. © Mark Kariya Even though the 2021 YZ250F’s muffler is larger, the bike still seems loud.

The engine’s broader power seems to decrease the amount of shifting per lap as well. The clutch basket has also been updated for durability and the overall performance remains superb. Clutch fade is something that can be an issue on smaller displacement bikes at times, but it was for the most part nonexistent on the new Yamaha.

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a man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: The revisions made to the YZ250F engine improve areas of the powerband without taking away from others. © Mark Kariya The revisions made to the YZ250F engine improve areas of the powerband without taking away from others.

The YZ250F is still the only bike in the class that features a free way to make EFI mapping adjustments to it. After downloading the Power Tuner app to your smartphone, you can connect to the bike via Wi-Fi and change the ignition timing and fuel delivery. There are multiple preloaded maps available in the app and additional configurations are available on Yamaha’s website.

2021 Yamaha YZ250F Suspension & Chassis/Handling

The 2021 YZ250F chassis is exactly why you don’t judge a book by its cover. While it may not look different from the 2019-2020 model in terms of the frame and other main chassis parts, the bike received the same updates as the YZ450F did in 2020. The chassis components that are new for 2021 include the frame, engine mounts, top triple clamp, and front axle, with the suspension settings having been updated to match.

The new top triple clamp still offers four handlebar mounting positions. For 2021, Yamaha has the bar mounts in the forward holes facing backwards as a stock setting. The front and rear brake have been updated to the same components as what the YZ450F received last year. The front brake caliper has 12 percent larger pistons, holds 29.2 percent bigger brake pads, and the rotor has 16 percent more surface area. The rear brake features a new rear rotor that is 5mm smaller for a total diameter of 240mm. The seat height and the rider triangle remain the same.

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a motorcycle parked on the side of a road: The seat foam is still a little thin and has too much of a pocket for our liking. © Provided by Dirt Rider The seat foam is still a little thin and has too much of a pocket for our liking.

The KYB suspension on the YZ250F is most likely the best in the class and the revised settings seem to reduce the bike’s pitching; for the most part, it was not noticeable. With the stock settings, the shock is a little softer than the fork. This can be slightly exaggerated by the pocketed seating position. I made a few adjustments to the shock to help reduce this feeling. I settled on closing the high-speed compression from one turn open to 5/8-turn open.

a man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: Yamaha’s 250 four-stroke motocrosser still leans more towards stability as opposed to cornering capability, but it changes directions just fine and inspires confidence at speed. © Provided by Dirt Rider Yamaha’s 250 four-stroke motocrosser still leans more towards stability as opposed to cornering capability, but it changes directions just fine and inspires confidence at speed.

There is a significant amount of comfort in the YZ250F’s new chassis as a result of the extensive amount of updates that were made. It still leans more in the stability direction over cornering ability. However, what it gives up slightly in turning capability, it easily makes up for in stability. This can be an advantage considering the engine pulls well down long straightaways.

a man flying through the air while riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: The YZ250F’s new chassis offers amazing comfort. © Provided by Dirt Rider The YZ250F’s new chassis offers amazing comfort.

Although the Yamaha’s stability was outstanding, I was having a hard time with front wheel traction and control. My first change was to move the bar mounts to the rear holes and rotate them to the forward position. This helped with steering control and seemed to reduce the amount of input needed to the handlebar. I also unexpectedly experienced the front end knifing a few times when transitioning from different dirt conditions. Lowering the fork from 7mm to 5mm in the triple clamps helped alleviate this.

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2021 Yamaha YZ250F Overall Impression

a bicycle is parked next to a motorcycle: Although it looks fairly similar to the prior year model at first glance with the exception of the number plate and fork guard colors, the YZ250F enjoys an extensive amount of updates for 2021. © Provided by Dirt Rider Although it looks fairly similar to the prior year model at first glance with the exception of the number plate and fork guard colors, the YZ250F enjoys an extensive amount of updates for 2021.

After making only a few minor adjustments, the YZ250F was very comfortable. With more time on it and a few additional tweaks, the YZ250F could be a very competitive racebike right off the showroom floor. I was pleased to feel it did not give up any of the lower rpm or midrange power characteristics with the engine changes. I would say the Yamaha is the easiest 250F to ride and keep in the correct rpm. It has everything the 2020 engine has with more over-rev. Although the YZ250F didn’t win the 2020 250F Motocross Shootout, I have to think it is certainly in the running to win this year’s 250 four-stroke motocross bike comparison test.

a man riding a motorcycle down a dirt road: After our first day of testing on the YZ250F, we can safely say it will be a contender to win the 2021 250F Motocross Shootout. © Provided by Dirt Rider After our first day of testing on the YZ250F, we can safely say it will be a contender to win the 2021 250F Motocross Shootout.

Gearbox

Helmet: Arai VX-Pro4

Goggle: Scott Prospect

Jersey: Fly Racing Evolution DST

Gloves: Fly Racing Evolution DST

Pant: Fly Racing Evolution DST

Boots: Sidi Crossfire 3 SRS

a motorcycle parked on the side of a dirt field: With a claimed wet weight of 234 pounds, the YZ250F is said to weigh the same as the 2019-2020 model. The retail price of the 2021 bike is $8,299, which is $100 more than the prior year. © Provided by Dirt Rider With a claimed wet weight of 234 pounds, the YZ250F is said to weigh the same as the 2019-2020 model. The retail price of the 2021 bike is $8,299, which is $100 more than the prior year.

2021 Yamaha YZ250F Tech Spec

PRICE $8,299
ENGINE 250cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke
TRANSMISSION/FINAL DRIVE 5-speed/chain
FRAME Aluminum bilateral beam
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB Speed-Sensitive System (SSS) coil-spring fork adjustable for compression and rebound damping; 12.2-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.5-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Nissin 2-piston caliper, 270mm disc
REAR BRAKE Nissin 1-piston caliper, 240mm disc
WHEELBASE 58.1 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 38.2 in.
FUEL CAPACITY 1.6 gal.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 234 lb. wet
AVAILABLE Now
CONTACT yamahamotorsports.com

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