The Yamaha YZ250X is Yamaha’s flagship two-stroke cross-country motorcycle. First introduced in 2016, the YZ250X shares many of the same parts as the YZ250 motocross bike but has a number of off-road-specific components including a wide-ratio transmission, different suspension settings, a narrow expansion chamber, an 18-inch rear wheel, a sealed O-ring chain, a kickstand, and Dunlop AT81 tires.
The YZ250 base engine has been a front-runner in its class for more than a decade. The YZ250X uses nearly all of the same motor parts as the motocross bike but has a revised compression ratio and different exhaust port timing and Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS) timing. Each of these differences are focused on creating a wide, controllable power character for cross-country and off-road racing. On the trail, the YZ250X has a classic two-stroke feel that makes plenty of midrange to top-end power but has a noticeably smoother transition from the bottom-end to the midrange in comparison to the motocross version. It could use a little more low-end torque, but it’s nothing a quick stab of the clutch can’t fix.
The YZ250X also has a wide-ratio gearbox. Further investigation reveals that it has a taller third, fourth, and fifth gear, and the same first and second gear ratios as the YZ250. The stock gear spacing is good for off-road competition with a close first, second, and third. There is also that little extra in fourth and fifth for higher-speed sections. If you plan on riding this bike for longer distances or in desert-type racing, you might desire a little more top speed. An easy option would be going down one or two teeth on the rear sprocket. The clutch was smooth as butter and reacted very well, and just a quick stab of it easily gets the rpm up.
The YZ250X comes with a KYB SSS coil-spring fork and KYB shock. The suspension is good, but requires a little tuning to get comfortable. The initial part of the stroke is a little harsh and occasionally deflects at lower speeds. A plusher setting with a more planted feel would help the bike in slippery sections with roots and rocks. Further down in the stroke, the mid-speed and bottoming resistance are good.
It’s quite easy to get comfortable on the YZ250X. If you are accustomed to riding four-strokes, you would be amazed at how lightweight, nimble, and thin the bike feels. When we say lighter, we mean it weighs 20 pounds less than its YZ250FX four-stroke sibling. Because of the reduced weight, braking and cornering require a little bit of getting used to as the two-stroke allows you to brake later and turn quicker.
The YZ250X is a very fun bike to ride and could be a GNCC race weapon with just a few small tweaks. If you are looking for a do-it-all bike, you could race motocross on the YZ250X as well. It’s always fun to ride a two-stroke. If you rode four-strokes before they became popular, riding a two-stroke makes you feel like a kid again.
|ENGINE||249cc, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder two-stroke|
|FRONT SUSPENSION||KYB Speed Sensitive System (SSS) coil-spring fork adjustable for compression and rebound damping; 11.8-in. travel|
|REAR SUSPENSION||KYB shock adjustable for spring preload, high-/low-speed compression damping, and rebound damping; 12.4-in. travel|
|FRONT BRAKE||Nissin single 270mm disc w/ twin-piston caliper|
|REAR BRAKE||Nissin single 245mm disc w/ single-piston caliper|
|SEAT HEIGHT||38.2 in.|
|FUEL CAPACITY||2.1 gal.|
|CLAIMED WEIGHT||229 lb. wet|