We Test Two Shocking New Products That Every YZ250F Rider Needs
Like its big brother the YZ450F, the Yamaha YZ250F received an all-new aluminum chassis for 2006. Unlike its big brother, however, the YZ250F lacks the cornering prowess enjoyed by the big blue thumper. Even though the new chassis is narrower and boasts a lower center of gravity, the YZ250F maintains a tall-bike feel and has a vague feeling in the front end that inspires little confidence. In flat or slippery corners, testers complained that the YZ250F’s front end enjoyed little traction and would often push, even when the rider’s weight was extremely far forward.
Wanna know what factory Yamaha riders Chad Reed, David Vuillemin and Heath Voss did to their ’05 YZ450F race bikes to get them feeling lighter and more flickable? They lowered the radiators! Moving the radiators down on the chassis in turn lowers the bike’s center of gravity, which results in a lighter-feeling motorcycle on the track. Doug Dubach was quick to try this out on the new YZ250F, and has developed a Dr. D Radiator Lowering Kit that consists of six small aluminum brackets. Installing the kit is a 10-minute affair, and the end result are a pair of radiators that sit nearly one inch lower on the frame.
On the track, the change is very noticeable. The YZ250F feels several pounds lighter, in fact! Leaning the bike over in the corners requires much less effort from the rider, and the bike takes on a much nimbler, responsive feel. At less than $50 bucks ($49.95), this kit should be on every ’06 YZ250F rider’s shopping list, ahead of items like graphics, bars and exhaust systems. Dollar for dollar, this is one of the biggest single improvements you can make in the YZ250F’s handling department.
Making just as big an improvement is a set of Applied Racing triple clamps, which Dubach also helped develop. Designed with less trail, the clamp kit vastly improves the front-end traction of the YZ250F, and the pushing sensation in flat, slippery corners is eliminated. Getting the bike to crank over and catch an inside rut is a cinch, and the bike remains stable on the fast, high lines as well.
The Applied Racing ’06 YZ250F Clamp Kit costs $369 and includes a top and bottom clamp, and your choice of stock height bar mounts, or 5mm or 10mm taller versions, in either solid or rubber mounted styles. Since we love the bend of the stock Yamaha Pro Taper bars but feel they could benefit from more height, we opted for the 5mm taller clamps and felt that the combination was perfect.
All in all, the combination of the Dr. D Radiator Lowering Kit and the Applied Racing Pro Clamp Kit vastly improved the handling of our ’06 Yamaha YZ250F test bike. After spending an afternoon switching off between the modified blue bike and our shootout-winning Honda CRF250R, we must admit that we preferred the cornering habits of the Dr. D/Applied Racing bike better.