3rd Place Of The 2019 250F MX Shootout: Yamaha YZ250F
The Yamaha YZ250F is all-new in 2019. Compared to the prior generation model, it has better top-end power, firmer suspension settings, and improved ergonomics. The engine also features the capability to be tuned wirelessly from a smartphone via the Yamaha Power Tuner app. The top three finishers in the 2019 250F MX Shootout were very close in the overall rankings and the YZ250F rounds out the podium in third. The blue bike is a great machine that will suit lots of 250 four-stroke riders well.
Before the shootout got underway, we mounted a Dunlop D404 street tire on the rear wheel and ran the YZ250F on our in-house Dynojet dynamometer, where it produced 37.45 hp at 12,390 rpm and 18.53 pound-feet of torque at 8,440 rpm. The Yamaha ranks fourth in the horsepower department and fifth in torque. We then mounted a fresh set of Dunlop MX33 soft-to-intermediate-terrain tires to ensure consistency in traction among the six competitors through the duration of the test.
The YZ250F engine is almost 450-like. It makes great bottom-end power, has a very strong midrange, and decent top-end. But it doesn’t have the over-rev the KTM and Husqvarna do, and because it signs off sooner than the Austrian bikes, it can’t carry a gear quite as long. Still, with the Yamaha’s excellent low-end power, it’s very user-friendly and can pull third gear in most corners. It offers the most tunability with the Power Tuner app and the handlebar-mounted dual map switch. The YZ250F is the loudest bike in the class—not only the muffler, but also the intake noise.
Yamaha’s KYB Speed Sensitive System (SSS) fork and KYB shock are phenomenal. The SSS fork works great and matches with the shock very well. The KYB components are plush throughout the stroke, remain supple on braking bumps and acceleration chop, and also have a firm but comfortable feel on large impacts. As a result, test riders made very few, if any, clicker adjustments to the fork or shock. The Yamaha’s suspension offers the most comfort and shines brighter as the track gets rougher.
The YZ250F weighed in at 236 pounds on our automotive scales, which makes it the third-heaviest bike in the class. It’s not the lightest-feeling or nimblest in the shootout, but it is the most stable and predictable. It corners well, but not as sharply as the Honda CRF250R or the Austrian bikes. The recommended shock sag setting is 104mm to 106mm, and we found good results with 104mm. Yamaha improved the YZ250F’s ergonomics for 2019, but they still aren’t as agreeable as the other bikes in the class. The radiator shrouds and gas tank area are still a touch wide, and the rider triangle is slightly off as the handlebar feels a bit high and the seat has a significant dip that makes it more difficult to move forward. Both brakes offer good stopping power with the front having a very progressive feel at the lever.
Why It Should Have Won
It has a broad, powerful engine with more low-end than any other bike in the class. It also has the plushest suspension, a stable chassis, and comes with the Power Tuner app.
Why It Didn’t Win
The engine doesn’t make as much top-end or over-rev power as the KTM and Husqvarna. Because of this, it can’t carry a gear as long and therefore requires more shifting than the Austrian bikes. It also has a slightly heavier overall feel, the least agreeable ergonomics, and is the loudest bike in the shootout.