So Yamaha released its new range of motocross bikes today, where the only bike to get any significant updates was the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F, but what exactly is new about it? Let me explain.
The 2021 Yamaha range didn’t get a massive overhaul as they only recently introduced its new-generation bike over the last couple of years, but here in Australia, they were hosting a big online reveal for these new bikes, so it did make me think that there could potentially a massive update or new generation bike on the way.
So for year model 2020, the YZ450F received a bunch of updates, mainly to the chassis and engine, and basically those sort of upgrades are what we’re now seeing on the 2021 YZ250F.
The YZ250F is one of the best all-round packages in the 250 class, and if you go to any local race there will generally be a sea of blue, which is thanks to their renowned performance and reliability.
You might be looking at this bike and thinking it’s the same as the previous model just with all blue plastics, and you’re right - it pretty much looks the same, but the major changes are beneath its appearance.
Before I get into the key updates, Yamaha has done something new this year by offering the YZ450F and YZ250F in a Monster Energy Yamaha Racing Edition, which is basically just a replica of the factory bikes in standard trim.
There are no fancy parts or anything like you would see on the factory edition KTM and Husqvarna’s, where they’re fitted with a bunch of performance components, so if I’m honest, that’s bit of bummer Yamaha didn’t go to those lengths.
So the first key change on the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F is an upgraded engine, and there’s a lot to cover here.
It’s safe to say the YZ250F is one of the strongest engine packages on the market and is by far the best amongst the Japanese manufacturers, so for it to be enhanced even further is really impressive and a testament to Yamaha’s will to continue developing its platform.
Headlining the engine upgrades is a brand-new cylinder head, and this has been accompanied by updates to the exhaust camshaft profile and a new intake port shape.
The newly-designed intake features a new airbox lid that has been designed with new a intake duct that allows for increased airflow, while there’s also been revisions to the transmission, clutch, and water pump impeller, but these changes are relatively minor.
To get the most out of these engine updates, Yamaha has also designed an all-new muffler, which is probably the most visual difference between the 2020 and 2021 aside from the plastic colour, and then there’s also an updated ECU.
The existing model already had the option to switch between maps via a switch on the handlebars, and that remains for 2021 along with the free Yamaha PowerTuner app, which lets you tune your engine mapping from your phone.
So what’s the aim out of the 2021 YZ250F engine upgrades? Well, Yamaha says the combination of a new cylinder head, ECU and muffler is designed to produce stronger mid to top-end power, while still retaining it’s renowned low-end torque.
This is the one thing I’m really excited to experience - like I said, the Yamaha engine is already so strong, so for it to be improved even further is probably worth the upgrade to the 2021 in itself.
Next up is a new updated chassis, and this brings the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F in line with the premier class 450 machine.
For 2021, Yamaha says it’s fine-tuned the rigidity balance of the chassis with changes to the lateral beams and engine cradle thickness, while the engine mounts, top triple clamp and front axle have also been revised the complement these updates.
The changes to the rigidity balance basically impacts the flex characteristics of the frame, and according to Yamaha, the end result is supposed to offer a smoother chassis movement with improved traction, cornering, and bump absorption.
Yamaha has always had a particular feel to them thanks to the engine configuration, so I’m intrigued on how these updates will alter the characteristics of the bike.
Now to accommodate and complement the new chassis updates, Yamaha has gone and revised the suspension settings for 2021 as well.
The YZ250F still uses the KYB spring fork and shock, which is already a proven package, but the updates basically relate to damping to work with the new frame.
The final updates include an upgraded brakes package and increased durability amongst a host of components.
So the brake package features a more rigid calliper at the front, and a more compact rear calliper with new pads and discs. The changes basically result in a boost to the feeling on the brake and its controllability.
Now the increased durability comes through refinements on a bunch parts, including:
- Crank case
- Cam chain and tensioner
- Clutch basket
- Third, fourth and fifth transmission gears
I haven’t owned a Yamaha YZ250F before, so I’m not sure if there were any issues or lack of durability with those parts, but if there was, it’s cool to see Yamaha get on top of them.
So those are the key changes to the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F, and while they are somewhat minimal, combined they make for what is going to be a new feeling bike, and I’m really excited to get a chance to ride this bike and see how these upgrades stack up.
Are you considering upgrading to the 2021 Yamaha YZ250F?