Motorcycles 2021 Yamaha YZ250F Review First Ride
2021 Yamaha YZ450F Review First Ride
2021 Yamaha YZ450F Review First RideRelated: 2020 Factory Supercross Bikes—Justin Barcia’s Yamaha YZ450F
We’re just a few weeks away from ourand the final bike to ride before the comparison test was the . We had plans to put 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.
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
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.
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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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.
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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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
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 thereceived 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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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.
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.
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
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, I have to think it is certainly in the running to win this year’s 250 four-stroke motocross bike comparison test.
2021 Yamaha YZ250F Tech Spec
|ENGINE||250cc, DOHC, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder four-stroke|
|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|
|SEAT HEIGHT||38.2 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||1.6 gal.|
|CLAIMED WEIGHT||234 lb. wet|
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