The track was groomed to perfection today and with only seven riders to break it in it did not get any braking or acceleration chop, to speak of. That said here are our initial impressions of the new aluminum-framed machine.
We’ll start with the engine, which remains unchanged for 2005. Last year, we were super pumped on the YZ250 powerplant, as it had boatloads of low-end, monstrous mid-range and good top-end overrev. Since nothing was significantly changed with the engine, we would have assumed that the power delivery would be exactly the same. The Racetown 395 track is located at 2300 feet above sea level and the elevation, coupled with the 98-degree temperatures today, caused out bike to run a little rich down low. Right off idle, the bike suffered from a slight blubber that we tuned out with some jetting changes, but that in turn caused the bike to ping under a load at mid-level rpm. Our novice and intermediate test riders noticed it most, while our pro tester had no complaints about it, whatsoever. Regardless of the jetting woes we encountered today, there was no denying that the YZ250 still packs one hell of a punch. While the deep conditions today dragged the engine down a little, it was still readily apparent that the YZ powerplant remains a leader in its class. As always, transmission and clutch performance were excellent.
The bike handles noticeably different than our ’04 test bike. It has a light, flickable feel, but the cornering habits of the new aluminum chassis require some getting used to. All three of our testers felt that the bike lacked front end traction in the corners and was more difficult to lean over than the ’04 bike, but as with anything familiarity breeds comfort and we were largely able to adapt. Pro tester Pat Foster found that sitting further forward in the corners solved the problem for him, as it in turn placed more weight on the front-end of the bike. The bike is stable at speed, and is an extremely predictable jumper, even when the face of jumps are less than ideal. Under hard braking and acceleration, the bike tracks straight as an arrow and claws for forward traction when the throttle is aggressively applied.
Suspension action was well balanced and confidence inspiring, though we did find that the front fork would blow through its stroke and bottom out on the face of one jump in particular, a high-speed, abrupt-faced obstacle that is most often hit in fourth gear. Going in on the compression adjusters helped, but it didn’t completely solve the problem. The rear shock, meanwhile, gobbled up everything in its path in a calm, predictable manner. As we said earlier, however, the track didn’t really roughen up enough for us to get a good feel for the bike’s characteristics in adverse conditions.
All in all, we’re quite pleased with the new YZ250 and can’t wait to get it out to other tracks in our area, which offer different terrain conditions and a variety of track obstacles. For now, we’ll state that the 2005 Yamaha YZ250 is a bike that is best suited for a fast, aggressive rider. To see our pro Pat Foster in action and loving it aboard the YZ250, click the video link on the top right-hand side of this page.
To view the video, you’ll need Quicktime 6.x, which works for both Mac and PC, is available as a free download at www.apple.com/quicktime/download.
Video Specs: Running time: 2:51.13/File size: 8.2 MB.