In my opinion, the Yamaha YZ250F does everything that a 250F should do. The engine lugs well through turns, it accelerates toward jumps with authority, and it runs up hills like a champion up top, while the suspension is a great balance of comfort in small chop and performance over big hits. I think the bike sounds too loud to the rider (not so much when you're not on board), the shroud/tank area has a perception of being bulbous, and the handlebar is a bit low. However, I can overlook these things when I take into account the bike's high marks in every other category. The Honda impressed me at multiple tracks; once you find a great setting, the bike is nearly as competitive as the Yamaha, and I trust the CRF250R's durability more than any other bike in this comparison—I think it's the best bang for my buck out of the whole group. Perhaps the biggest challenge of this shootout was separating the Husqvarna from the KTM; for as similar as these bikes are on paper, they sure do behave differently! Simply put, I was more comfortable on the KTM on rougher tracks and more at home aboard the Husky on tighter, jumpier courses. I'd give the overall nod to the KTM by a hair. Initially, I was surprised by how close the Kawasaki was to the blue and red machines, but it began to inch backward the more we rode it. Fear not, green bleeders: This 250F is a quiet exhaust and a few mods away from being a front-runner again. And then there's the Suzuki. Sweet, sweet Suzuki, how I longed to rank thee higher. But in the end, it's too much of a chore to keep the RM-Z in the power, and in a class where motor is everything, the highly changed yellow bike still has room for improvement. —Chris Denison, Intermediate, 5'10", 155 lb.