One year ago, Yamaha introduced their totally redesigned YZ250F, and much to the disappointment of many testers, it fell short in quite a few categories—namely the handling department. The bike just didn’t want to turn and pushed when going through flat or rutted out turns alike. Factor in a less than stellar motor and the bike was destine to be pushed aside for other faster better handling motorcycles.
Fast forward one year later to ’07 and Yamaha has taken all of the complaints to heart, as they have changed numerous things on the blue bike in an attempt to put a smile on even the most skeptical testers’ faces. Recently, we got the chance to spin some laps aboard the improved YZF at the soon-to-be-opened Milestone Motocross track. So, what were our initial thoughts about the bike? Scroll down and find out…
When the Yamaha engineers went back to the drawing board to improve the YZF, they had three main goals: to increase power, reduce weight, and improve handling. Of those three, though, the biggest changes were made to improve handling with much of the focus being centered around improving the turning prowess of the bike.
Starting with the motor, Yamaha only made a few minor changes, but all of which combined for an increase in over-rev to allow the bike to pull longer and further through each gear. First, the tip of the muffler was modified from ’06 and made longer to reduce noise and increase the over-rev. There was also quite a bit done to the carburetor, as there is now a new mounting manifold, new overall settings, and a revised accelerator pump. All of which were designed to improve throttle response.
As far as weight saving goes, Yamaha managed to shave quite a bit of weight off through minor weight reductions throughout the bike. Starting with the seat, Yamaha changed the makeup of the foam for lighter foam that resists breakdown. Next, the radiator hose layout was changed to chop off another small amount of weight, while lightweight radiator braces were added for improved protection in the event of a crash. The subframe also had a few pounds shaved off by the use of different lighter-weight bolts throughout. Perhaps the most weight was saved in the brakes, though, as the front system is almost completely redesigned for ’07. The caliper is more compact and the mounting points were changed from ’06, while the master cylinder was also changed to make the lever more level for increased rider comfort. The YZF also comes equipped with lighter wave brake rotors and magnesium engine covers. Overall, the weight reduction was three pounds, and Yamaha claims the ’07 YZF is now the lightest 250f they’ve ever produced.
While all of this was definitely noteworthy, Yamaha tried the hardest to improve the handling of the YZF through numerous changes. They changed the bend of the Pro Taper bar, repositioned the engine to sit more upright in the frame, moved the steering head 3mm further back, and lengthened the shock by 1.5mm. All the changes combined to move the traction more to the front wheel, and make the bike feel lighter and easier to turn.
OUT ON THE TRACK
The day we rode the YZF, the wind was howling, and the track was sandy and brand new—not the best conditions for testing a bike. Be that as it may, though, we gave it our all, and came away pretty impressed with the improvements Yamaha made to their new 250f.
Like we mentioned before, Yamaha put a huge emphasis on improving the turning prowess and handling characteristics of the bike, and we must say we felt the difference. When compared to the ’06 bike, the ’07 turns much easier. No longer does it have a vague feel to it, and when charging hard into ruts or flat turns the bike grabs the dirt and gets plenty of traction. As the day progressed, we began to notice the improved turning ability of the bike more and more, since the track began to break in and build up lines as more riders burned laps around it. It is definitely going to be interesting to see how the YZF handles on a different track and in different conditions.
On the sandy track, the motor seemed plenty fast. The improved over-rev is definitely noticeable, as the bike pulls for a very long time before even thinking about signing off. The clutch action is also buttery smooth, and shifting was never a problem, as the bike did so effortlessly under power or not. The brakes are also awesome. We were a little skeptical at first when Yamaha unveiled their new front caliper, simply because there really wasn’t much wrong with the old brake system. Once we rode it, though, we were pleased that while weight was saved with the smaller design, performance wasn’t hurt at all.
As far as the ergonomics go, the YZF fits us really well. Last year the bar bend was a little low for our liking, but the new higher bend on the ’07 bike made things much more comfortable.
Overall, we are pretty impressed with what Yamaha has managed to improve on the new YZ250F. Every complaint anyone had last year they took to heart and came back this year with improvements. The bike now turns better, revs longer, and has just a few other fine-tuning aspects to make it just that much better than before. With the improved YZF now in the mix, this year’s 250cc four-stroke shootout is going to be even tougher than ever before. We are definitely going to be splitting hairs to pick a winner, and we can’t wait!
FIRST IMPRESSION VIDEO
See the new 2007 YZ250F in action…
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