Dirt Bike Test recently received Yamaha’s 2017 YZ250FX, their four-stroke off-road race bike, We went straight to testing at Glen Helen Raceway as we had a hurried schedule to race it at the upcoming 24 Hour. Most of the riders on our team are expert level riders but the weight range varied between all of them and here is what we felt after our first day on the bike.
Since the YZ250FX received most of the same changes that the YZ250F got last year, we were already familiar with how the motor reacted in different situations. Right away, all of the testers were amazed with how strong the motor is in stock trim. It has an explosive hit off the bottom and continues to build strongly through the mid-range and into the top end.
One of the changes that was made to motor includes altering the rev limiter so it doesn’t sign off quite as early as previous models. This same change was made to the Yamaha’s 250F motocrosser and we feel it is a welcomed change. Similarly, when you get into tighter single track trails or on slippery, hard pack terrain, just riding a gear high keeps the wheel spin to a minimum and allows for a more controllable bike when finesse is needed and this motor will pull it with ease.
As far as handling goes, the suspension was a little soft for our faster testers who are around 155 pounds.But this is largely a West Coast/desert terrain thing on a bike that is designed to work (or compromise to work) everywhere. Both the KYB SSS spring forks and shock blew through the stroke a little fast and we feel the bike could benefit from stiffer springs for more aggressive riding.
We stiffened up the compression and slowed the rebound down a bit on the forks and shock to try and compensate for the softer spring rates and we got it working pretty good but we are almost maxed out on adjustments. However, the bike feels balanced and it wouldn’t take much work (we feel just springs) to get it working perfectly.
Although many say the bike is wide and heavy due to its looks and numbers on the scale, we feel it is pretty agile and the airbox/air intake above the radiator shrouds didn’t interfere with our legs at all while riding.
The clutch pull is very light which can be a good thing or a bad thing. It’s easy to pull which many like and won’t tire you at as much–but it also tends to lead towards utilizing it more which wears it out faster than normal. The 6 speed transmission worked flawlessly and the spacing between gears was just about perfect.
The brakes work pretty good and now the option of kick starting the bike is gone since it only features as electric starter. Most wouldn’t ever bother to kick their bike but having that option in an emergency is always nice.
In conclusion, Yamaha still continues to impress us with their 250F’s whether it’s the F, FX, or WR, they are all very strong and appealing. The power output from the motor is incredible and the suspension is still some of the best out there. Sticking with their tried-and-true SSS spring systems seems to have paid off.
Also, Yamaha’s durability has proven to be top notch in the past and we don’t expect anything different from this bike. We’ll have a full race test of this bike soon as we are competing in the 24 Hours of Glen Helen and doing some additional testing in tighter and more technical conditions.