2014 250F MOTOCROSS SHOOTOUT
SCREAM FACTOR FIVE
great thing is that every suspension tuner in the universe
has experience with KYBs. They are an industry standard.
Also on the advantage list is the motor’s powerband. It
is super easy to use. Most of the power is in the middle
and low end, which means there’s not much clutch work
required. If you fall off the powerband, you won’t fall far.
Top-end power is good too, but with the KTM and the
Kawasaki in attendance, it’s a tough room.
Likewise, overall handling is a strong point, but the YZ still
can’t be called a winner in this category. The YZ is reasonably agile and stable, and it’s also the lightest bike in the
test, even if only by 2 pounds. Mechanically, it’s too early
to say if the new YZ will be trouble-free, but its predecessor
was the most reliable bike in the 250F world.
WEAK POINTS: The Yamaha isn’t a little bike. Small riders might feel like it’s too big for its class. The whole idea
behind the engine layout was to deliver a bike that felt lighter than it really was, but that didn’t happen. If anything, the
Yamaha seems just the opposite. It also inherited a tiny bit
of the 450’s odd front-end feel. There are times when front-wheel traction isn’t especially inspiring. Thankfully, this isn’t
as alarming on a 250 as it is on a 450.
BOTTOM LINE: We’re pleased to report that the Yamaha
250 was worth the wait. It’s as good as we thought it would
be. Now Yamaha can rest and see who will fire the next
shot in the ongoing 250F war.
Yamaha has already conceded the sales battle in the
250F class. The YZ arrived late and in very limited quantities, so there was no way it could outsell the other bikes.
But, there were some riders who were willing to put off buying a new bike, hoping the Yamaha would be worth the wait.
The big news is, of course, the reverse engine layout, plus
the move to fuel injection. The 450 got this treatment (to limited applause) several years ago. This year both bikes were
reworked with a new aluminum frame and bodywork. The
engine layout is new to the 250F and is said to centralize
mass in the very middle of the motorcycle for better overall
handling. The motor has four titanium valves that replace
the old five-valve design, fuel injection with a 44mm throttle
body, and a redesigned five-speed gearbox.
By taking its time with the release of this model, Yamaha
was able to give the 2014 YZ250F a second-generation
design. All the bugs were worked out on the 450. So even
though the bike seems radically new, it’s actually well tested
STRONG POINTS: Topping the list is suspension.
Yamaha stuck with an old-school, two-spring KYB fork that
has years and years of development, and it paid off. There’s
no testing or setup time required; just get on the bike and
ride. The shock is also stunningly good. Both ends are set
up for slightly heavier riders (about 170 pounds), but the
The grand debut
Yamaha gave the
YZ250F the backwards-engine treatment after
four years of testing on