VIDEO: 2016 Yamaha YZ250F, Dirt Rider 250F Motocross Shootout

The 2016 Yamaha YZ250F won Dirt Rider’s 2016 250F MX Shootout for the third consecutive year.

The 2016 Yamaha YZ250F won Dirt Rider’s 2016 250F MX Shootout for the third consecutive year. The strength of this machine is that it does nothing bad and some things better than any of the other bikes. The 2016’s most significant motor changes are a new, flat top piston and new ECU settings (leaner) that boot midrange, a one-rate lighter rear shock spring, and a lager front brake rotor (from 250mm to 270mm). The Yamaha got the most first place votes and was the shootout favorite by a very healthy margin.

The YZ-F has strong bottom end power with excellent roll-on out of turns. The power never drops off through a usable mid-range and strong top end, which continues its surge of strength almost to the very end. The Yamaha does lack in over-rev compared to the Husky, KTM, and Kawasaki, and it might be a tick less sharp in its mid-range snap than the Honda and Suzuki, but the YZ is impressively powerful and responsive across the entire rev range.

The Yamaha also dominated the score sheets in in the suspension category. While not as plush as some of the bikes this year, especially the Austrian twins, the YZ-F’s fork and shock were excellent in the chop with great bump absorption and tracking. After what feels like a slight firmness at the start of the stroke, the KYB components are progressive with no mid-stroke harshness and great bottoming resistance and control at bottoming. Compared to the other bikes, none held a candle to the Yamaha once into the mid-stroke down to the end of the travel.

The blue bike has stability all day, with all testers universally praising its straight-line, high speed manners. Also, the chassis lays over and stays over through corners, with great grip on both tires; but it requires proper rider technique. The Yamaha is neutral enough that riders could steer it with either the front or rear wheel.


The engine is strong and response from bottom to top, the suspension was universally loved, and the handling agreed with most in both stability and cornering.


The Yamaha is wide and tall and overall feels big, and it is not the most fun bike to ride.