First Impression: 2006 Yamaha YZ250

By Michael Young

We rode the new 2006 Yamaha YZ250 at Glen Helen this week and once again it was another great riding day in the books. As always the YZ has the best appearance in the pits but we are not going to go on about how it looks, you want to know how it rides, right?

Well the YZ250 comes with all new carburetor specs that makes the throttle response super-snappy. Going down straights and getting to that overrev, your bike won’t snap, crackle, or pop, and in tight corners you don’t have that fat loaded-up feeling. The newly designed exhaust pipe makes the bike pull forever. Second gear is probably the bike’s strongest gear from coming out of a tight corner and overreving it to the moon, and when you start to hit that overrev spot, the power doesn’t just hit a wall and you’re stuck trying to get into the next gear. I am usually not a big fan of the Yamaha transmissions but the five-speed, close ratio transmission in the ’06 is really good. I never had a problem with shifting coming out of corners or wide-open straights—it speed shifts smoothly

The YZ250 comes with a new thicker rear shock rod and new titanium shock spring, which to me made the bike feel a little stiff and rigid in the rear but with definite potential. The forks tracked really good coming into choppy corners and ruts. The shock was just really rigid down straights and coming into corners. It never felt like the back was working for me, and I was feeling too much of every square edge and bump instead of it sticking to the ground and soaking up the bumps. But with some work and testing I feel like it has potential to put that new rod and titanium spring to work. The bike corners awesome and you can definitely still feel the weight loss from the aluminum frame. The bike lets you feel like you can do whatever you want, and flick it and throw it wherever.

It comes stock with a Renthal bars that have a good bend to it, but compared to my Pro Tapers, I need a little more flex. You can also turn the stock bar clamps around to bring the bars closer to you. I felt a lot more comfortable in the stock position but someone smaller with shorter arms might love the offset option.

After all said and done, the 2006 YZ 250 is a good bike with an amazing motor and ergonomics. After messing around with the rear shock and doing some testing, I could definitely race this bike.

Michael Young