Primary use: Motocross practice
Main Mods: Nada, just trying to figure out how to make it better
Moment of Glory: Going to a track I haven't ridden in about a year and feeling completely comfortable after one lap.
Forgettable Experience: Having to true the front wheel a bit after the 250F shootout. It was a little potato chippy.
Hours: 11.5
Aftermath: One Twin Air filter change, one oil change using Yamalube Semi-Syn 10w-50, and one oil filter change

Out of all the motocross bikes, 250s and 450s, I chose the YZ250F. For me, it was the winner of the shootout, but shootouts wouldn't be worth much if it were just one guy's opinion. But when all the opinions, notes, and benchracing was done, it still came in second place.

Since the shootout, I've taken the bike out for three rides, two at Milestone MX and one at Perris Raceway under the lights. I've also changed the oil, popped in a new oil filter, and swapped the dirty stock filter for a brand-new, pre-oiled Twin Air air filter. If you've never owned a Yamaha or are in the market to buy one, these frequent maintenance tasks are fairly simple. There is only one oil compartment for both the engine and clutch; therefore just one fill cap and one drain bolt and the oil filter is on the pipe side of the bike and replacement is straightforward. The YZ250F does have an oil screen that is sort of tucked away in a strange place. Below the ignition cover, behind the shifter there is a retention bolt that overlaps the oil screen pull tab. Once you remove that bolt you just pop out the screen, clean it, and pop it back in.

“The YZ250F isn’t the nimblest of 250Fs, but it is the most predictable, for me at least”

- Sean Klinger

2018 Yamaha YZ250F
"The bike has enough power to pop right out of an inside line and hit the next jump." —Sean KlingerJulia LaPalme

Air filter changes are super easy as well. Unlike the updated 2018 YZ450F, on the 250 you still have to remove the upper shroud/intake tracts as well as the airbox cover all as one piece. But what is cool is this procedure is toolless—the shrouds are attached by pegs and rubber grommets where you just pull them apart and push them back together. Then there are three Dzus fasteners that hold on the airbox cover. Pretty simple overall, and for 2018, the Dzus fasteners are more protected since on previous models, some riders were accidently turning them with their knees.

Now to the riding. I've been having a hard time figuring out what I want to change on this bike. The only thing that is a given is that I plan on getting the suspension set up for my weight (215 pounds isn't the target weight for a 250F), but other than that, there isn't anything that stands out to me. One thing is it seems really loud, but that could be just the intake noise directly below the rider. Regardless, I could try a Akrapovic pipe—in the past I've used an Akro pipe on a KX250F that was obnoxiously loud in stock form but pleasing to the ears with the aftermarket piece.

2018 Yamaha YZ250F
"Next, I'll see how proper spring rates make the bike feel." —Sean KlingerJulia LaPalme

As far as motor performance, there isn’t anything more that I could really want out of a 250F. It makes great torque, it’s insanely responsive, and is just plain exciting to ride. If I preferred to scream a bike to its rev limiter, then maybe I would want to squeeze out a little more over-rev, but that’s not my style.

The bike has a great motor and plush suspension, but so far my favorite characteristic of the bike is its predictability. I can expect it to act the same at any track in any conditions. As the track gets rougher, it’s like the bike works better and better. I find myself learning tracks faster and having more “confident laps” sooner than on other bikes that take a while to find a groove with. For my next update, there will be some parts and changes to talk about, so stay tuned.