At the San Diego Supercross earlier this year, Yamaha unveiled its all-new YZ65 youth motocross bike. Big Blue was aware it had a relatively large gap in its product offering between the PW50 to the YZ85, and has filled that gap with the YZ65. The all-new machine features a 65cc, two-stroke, Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS)-equipped engine, KYB suspension components front and rear, and a steel frame. Yamaha invited us out to Competitive Edge MX Park in Hesperia, California, to test the all-new YZ65, and we let our youth test rider Jack Carrigg loose on it to give us his first ride impression.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
The YZ65 is an all-new model for Yamaha.Junior Ojeda

The power valve-equipped engine is fed by a Keihin PWK 28mm carburetor and fires to life easily with a few kicks, even when cold. The engine sounds crisp and delivers a surprisingly deep and throaty note for a 65 as well. Another thing that's immediately noticeable is how easy the clutch pull is, a very ideal characteristic for younger riders with smaller hands. On the track, the engine pulled quickly through the gears, which was very impressive, especially considering Carrigg's 4-foot-10 95-pound stature. The bike accelerates quickly through each gear due to a combination of how fast the engine revs as well as the gearing of the six-speed transmission being pretty close, which required a foot near the shifter most of the time to keep grabbing gears. Lastly, very minimal clutch work was necessary when exiting corners as long as the correct gear was selected.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
The YZ65 retails for $4,599 and is available beginning this month at Yamaha dealerships.Junior Ojeda

Similar to the rest of the YZ line, the YZ65 is spec'd with KYB suspension components front and rear. The fork is a 36mm coil-spring unit with rebound and compression damping adjustability and 8.5 inches of travel. Out back, the shock is a link-less design with adjustable spring preload, rebound, and compression damping and 10.6 inches of travel. With the stock settings, the YZ65 felt balanced from front to rear, but Carrigg opted to stiffen the compression a few clicks on the fork and shock to get better hold-up in corners, which helped significantly. The KYB units did a great job of absorbing the small chop as well as the larger jump landings with a plush feeling that Yamaha's KYB suspension has become so well-known for on the full-size bikes.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
The Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS)-equipped 65cc two-stroke engine delivers an impressive amount of power for a 65 and pulls quickly through each gear.Junior Ojeda

The YZ65 uses a high-rigidity steel-tube frame and aluminum subframe and swingarm. Also, the front and rear wheels are blue Excel rims fitted with Maxxis Maxxcross tires. The rider cockpit felt very comfortable, and the seat in particular was slim, flat, offered good grip, and was fairly long, which allowed for ease of movement. The shifter and rear brake placement were spot-on and the footpegs were nice and grippy as well. The bike cornered impressively, especially after stiffening the compression on the fork and shock to get better hold-up. The YZ65 features four position handlebar mounts with 27mm of adjustment range. Carrigg opted to leave them in the stock position for the first ride as they felt fairly comfortable there, but he intends to move them forward due to his taller size for the bike.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
Like the full-size YZs, the 65’s KYB suspension is plush and handled everything from braking bumps to jump landings well.Junior Ojeda

All-new motocross models are not that common, especially in the youth market, and we applaud Yamaha for producing a new bike to offer another option for those looking to buy a 65cc motocrosser for their young one. The YZ65 impressed us from the get-go with a powerful engine with a crisp throttle response, plush suspension, and a balanced chassis.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
Stiffening the compression on the fork and shock helped the bike’s already-good cornering capabilities.Junior Ojeda

After his first full day of riding the it, Carrigg commented that the bike’s size, power, sound, and fun factor were all spot-on, and that it felt “just right” for a 65. The new YZ retails for $4,599 and is available beginning this month at Yamaha dealerships. It’s also eligible for Loretta Lynn’s as well as other amateur national events that host classes for 65cc machines. We’ll be putting more time on this new blue ripper at different tracks, so stay tuned for the full review after we put more time on it.

2018 Yamaha YZ65
The 2018 Yamaha YZ65 impressed us from the get-go with a powerful engine with a crisp throttle response, plush suspension, and a balanced chassis.Junior Ojeda

Tech Spec

2018 Yamaha YZ65  
PRICE $4,599
ENGINE 65cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder two-stroke
FRAME Steel tube
FRONT SUSPENSION KYB 36mm fork adjustable for rebound and compression damping; 8.5-in. travel
REAR SUSPENSION KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, rebound and compression damping; 10.6-in. travel
FRONT BRAKE Single 198mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper
REAR BRAKE Single 190mm disc
RAKE/TRAIL 26.4°/2.5 in.
WHEELBASE 45.0 in.
SEAT HEIGHT 29.5 in.
CLAIMED WEIGHT 134 lb. wet