As Good As Ever
Story & Photos by Trevor Hunter
The 2020 Yamaha YZ250F is back with a vengeance for the new year. The bLU cRU had us out at Milestone MX yesterday to get our first taste of the YZ250F – though we could be mistaken for the 2019 model with the absence of graphics. Due to its complete overhaul last year, the ‘20 model year received two changes – BNG and a rubber grommet on the air filter which is claimed to prevent a fluttering effect at higher RPMs.
On the track, the YZF performed just as we had expected. The motor boasts bottom end power and torque untouched by its competition in the 250cc ranks and is well received by our testers. As noted last year, the current generation YZ has made strong improvements in the mid-top range where it lacked in the past generation. Now, it’s competitive with the top heavy motors and is a nice compliment to the already strong bottom end. Our testers also noted how easy the bike is to ride on multiple occasions. The torquey motor allows you to successfully ride it a little lazier, more like a 450, and clear just about any of the booters on the Milestone main track from the inside. Contrarily, you can still rev the bike out more and ride it on the aggressive side while still making power giving us the best of both worlds.
The biggest advantage the YZ250F has over the rest of the 250F’s out there is its ability to be ridden in the low-mid range power. Expert/Pro level riders rarely ride in the lower RPM’s and don’t necessarily get a true appreciation for the Yamaha’s torque. However, novice/vet riders frequently stay in the bottom-mid range as they circulate the track and reap the benefits of Yamaha’s engine design.
The YZ250F also features Yamaha’s proprietary Power Tuner App allowing us to make mapping changes in an instant and really fine tune the power. For the first ride day, Yamaha had some maps on hand for us to try and to no surprise, our favorite was the aggressive map. It rushed through the bottom end a little bit quicker than stock, but gave it more mid-top end power and allowed us to stay in each gear longer. We’ll continue to develop some maps as we get more time on the bike and travel to different tracks and terrains.
On the handling side of things, the KYB components worked as good as we could have hoped for out of the box. We set the sag at 105mm and clicked off laps without hesitation. With our two riders ranging from 155lbs to 170lbs, we didn’t need to touch a clicker all day. The track wasn’t overly rough, but it developed a lot of smaller chop and deeper ruts. The SSS suspenders offered a comforting feel absorbing all the chatter while offering a progressive feeling as it dived deeper into the strokes. Even when we would over jump or flat land off a jump, the bottoming was met with a cushioned feeling.
The bike has a very balanced feel and is stable at speeds. Whether we were diving into the deep inside ruts or railing some of the outside berms, the bike handled it with ease. Pair that with a slimmed bodywork and our riders were able to jump on the bike and feel right at home. The rider cockpit area ranging from the bars to the seat to the footpeg felt like a typical Yamaha and only a minor lever and bar adjustment was all that was needed to get comfortable. The triple clamps do offer offset bar mount positions to move them forward and backward, but we kept them in the stock position all day.
Overall, Yamaha’s 250F motocrosser is as good as ever, or the same as last year if we really think about it, after all two of the changes were made from the successful 2019 model. The motor package is one of, if not the, strongest in the class and the suspension and handling is another highlight on the blue machine. We’re looking forward to putting more time in on this bike in the coming months and continuing to mess around with the Power Tuner App so stay tuned to the site for more updates.
For more mapping options on your latest generation Yamaha, the bLU cRU has a few different maps they have developed here: https://www.yamahamotorsports.com/motocross/pages/yamaha-power-tuner-smart-phone-app
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