2018 Yamaha YZ250

Know your history—and then ride it

2018 Yamaha YZ250
2018 Yamaha YZ250CRS

Fancy a go on one of them old-fashioned ring-dings, do ya? After a few laps on the two-stroke YZ250, you may never return to four-stroke power. This machine derives from previous models that Jeremy McGrath and Chad Reed rode to four supercross titles from 1998 to 2004, and represents a nice stroke (ahem) of luck for us that Yamaha has continued the lineage. The YZ250 and its four-stroke YZ250F cousin both have aluminum twin-spar frames, fully adjustable speed-sensitive KYB suspension, and blue-and-white Yamaha bodywork.

To be sure, the YZ250 is a way-back machine with its 249cc long-stroke, carbureted motor, but reed-valve induction and an exhaust power valve help maximize peak output and power spread. As well, the 38mm Keihin carburetor has a power jet (which fattens up the fuel mixture below half throttle) plus a throttle-position sensor that works with the ignition system to match spark timing to conditions. The latest in a long line of YZ250s extending more than 45 years, the 2018 model now has a standard aluminum handlebar with adjustable clamps, a works-style quick adjuster for the clutch cable, and a gripper seat.

Likes: Hard-hitting two-stroke power, unique sound and ride experience

Dislikes: Despite its simplicity, the YZ250 is only 4 pounds lighter than the YZ250F

Verdict: Altogether now: two-strokes forever!

2018 Yamaha YZ250 Specs and Pricing

MSRP $7,399