When fellow pro tester Chris Barrett and I received the email to come out to Milestone MX park to go burn some laps on the new Yamaha two-strokes, it was safe to say we were both equally stoked. If showing up at a groomed track with a bunch of brand new, ready-to-go YZ’s doesn’t make you excited, then you probably should stop reading this article. Barrett chose the YZ125 as his bike of choice for the day, and I was more than pumped to be riding the new YZ250.
After attending a brief introduction from Yamaha on the bike, we were all informed about the new changes for the 2011 models. Yamaha went with a quieter exhaust, slightly lower compression, and altered jetting to accommodate the changes. Soon after, we all geared up, the Yamaha guys filled up the gas tanks and we were off to burn some premix.
The first thing I noticed about the new 250 is how light it is. After spending the last couple years riding a 450 four-stroke, you forget how light and nimble the 250 two-strokes are. When you come into corners, you notice the lack of engine braking and the free-wheel coaster effect of the two-stroke machine. This often leads to a few laps of blowing your ruts and lines before you realize that you need to actually rely on the brakes instead of the engine braking that we get used to from the four-strokes. The bike has a very solid chassis that is predictable and suspension that works well for a wide range of riders and skill levels.
When riding the 250, you must be on you’re ‘A’ game. You cannot get lazy and depend on the torque to pull you through the corners. You must be in the correct gear, keep up your momentum, and ride the bike in the meat of the power at all times to ride the bike at its full potential. When ridden in the meat of the power, this bike is very fast! This is often a dying art that you don’t see from many kids these days that never got the chance to ride 125 and 250 two-strokes. I believe that riding these premix burning machines makes you a better rider and helps you with line selection compared to its four-stroke brothers.
After spending most of the day riding the 2011 YZ 250, it is safe to say that I love this bike. Whether you ride trails, tracks or desert, this Yamaha can do it all!