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2017 Yamaha YZ250FX Taking on Last Dog Standing

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This article was originally published in the November 2017 issue of Dirt Rider.

When I accepted the offer to race Last Dog Standing at Glen Helen back in June, I did so without having a bike lined up. I wasn’t able to conjure up a two-stroke in such a short amount of time, but one of our test riders had just returned the Yamaha YZ250FX. I had never ridden the FX model but was familiar with the YZ250F motocross version and knew it had great torque and was easy to ride, and with the YZ250FX coming stock with electric start, it was an easy decision to race it. I installed a clean air filter in it, changed the oil, loaded it up in my truck, and headed to Glen Helen.

The bike’s electric start worked flawlessly throughout the day and came in handy big time when I had to make my way down some extremely steep climbs and shut the bike off several times to try to avoid overheating as coolant began to boil over due to the hot weather and low speed of riding.

The engine on the YZ250FX is fantastic. The bike has tons of torque and is super easy to ride—a very desirable trait to have while competing in an extreme enduro. It especially came in handy when I was riding up a steep hill climb or when I had to use trials maneuvers to get over the many rocks and obstacles I was faced with.

The suspension on the YZ250FX worked excellently for Last Dog Standing. The first race was a GP-style race, and the suspension gobbled up the small chop and rocks with ease. It felt similar to the YZ250F motocross suspension but was noticeably softer. The suspension worked equally well in the second race, which was much more difficult and was as challenging as one would expect an extreme enduro to be.

One of the main reasons I desired to race a two-stroke was for the weight, or lack thereof for that matter, but the YZ250FX didn’t feel heavy while I was maneuvering it on the difficult terrain.

Another day that I spent a considerable amount of time on the YZ250FX was while we were testing two other off-road bikes. In addition to myself, we had one other test rider and a photographer and used the YZ250FX as the extra bike. We had a mechanical issue with one of the testbikes and were naturally about as far away from the pits as we could possibly be, so I used the YZ250FX to tow the non-running bike by attaching a tie-down to one of the YZ250FX’s footpegs to one of the non-running bike’s pegs while the other test rider stayed on it to navigate it back to the pits. It wasn’t pretty, but the YZ250FX’s torquey motor pulled the other bike like a champ.

The Yamaha YZ250FX is an extremely versatile bike. It has a potent engine with plenty of torque, plush suspension, and is an all-around fun bike to ride. And in extreme cases, it can even serve as a rescue machine when another is found dead on the trail.