Bike Review

2024 Yamaha YZ250F Review

Author: David Hogan

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The 2024 YZ250F is lighter, sharper and more advanced than ever before.

Is it time for an upgrade? In 2024 the YZ250F has had some subtle, yet appropriate upgrades itself making this class-leading and class-dominating machine even more of an enticing offering in the 250cc MX range.

Not to mention it’s the 50th anniversary of the “YZ” model for Yamaha and they have gone into the archives with a modern flair for a very special 50th-anniversary edition that would be the envy of many a Yamaha tragic.

In 2024 the YZ250F is lighter, sharper and more advanced than ever before. This is something to be curious about given the bike has been dominating US shoot-outs and AMA MX and SX events for a number of years now. Improvements to the model seem like an unnecessary R&D expense. But to truly progress. One must adapt and that is where this new model is making strides to learn from its past models. It’s past critics. To enable it to be more advanced.

Plenty of power to blow berms on the YZ250F in 2024

In short, Yamaha has made the engine stronger. The chassis is more agile for cornering and connected for traction. The body is now slimmer than ever before. With even more features available to modify and customise your YZ250F via the Yamaha power tuner app.

In more depth. From the engine standpoint. Yamaha has a new high-flow air intake. When combined with the changes to the air filter size (increased surface area by 56% over the previous model), shape and significantly different air box cover (No more air ducts on the air box cover). Mean a stronger mid and over-rev engine characteristic that results in a higher HP output over its 2023 efforts. The air is now drawn in around the radiator shrouds and fuel tank areas. Making for a quieter intake noise from the cockpit when riding.  The cam chain has been improved. It’s been beefed up to improve strength and durability. 

The ECU has been optimised from the fuel injection and ignition aspect to match the new intake and cam chain designs. Not to mention the simplified wiring harness layout and length that has saved a few more grams off the bike’s total weight which is 105.6kg in 2024 (Wet – 6.1 litres of fuel on board).

The bike is 50mm narrower at the radiator shrouds in 2024 compared with its 2023 counterpart.

The chassis and ergo’s of the 2024 model might be the most interesting changes for this year though. The “Wide” Yamaha and “Stable” or “Harder” to turn Yamaha’s might be a thing of the past. Like it’s big brother the YZ450F who got many of these updates in 2023. The YZ250F has had some key frame aspects lowered, and key sections of the downtube and swingarm pivots strengthened. Notably, the engine mounts have been thinned out from 8mm in 2023, to 5mm in 2024 and stepped in which would give more flexibility to the overall package. 

These chassis changes have, as you should expect resulted in a new standard fork and shock setting in 2024. Whilst still being on trusty KYB components. The dust seals and fork guards have all been increased in size to protect the forks more to improve seal life. On a big positive, the KYB forks have tool-less operation fork caps to allow fast compression adjustment changes by hand.

The ergo’s are also very different. The bike is 50mm narrower at the radiator shrouds in 2024 compared with its 2023 counterpart.

I felt really at ease with the new Yamaha ergo feel straight away

The rider triangle is also bigger. The pegs are down and back 5mm more, the seat is taller by 5mm and the bar position is slightly taller due to the top clamp position in 2024.

So what does all this mean when you hit the track on the 2024 YZ250F though? Yamaha invited some of the media out to MX Farm in Gympie QLD to test out the new model and see if the changes were really worth the squeeze as they say.

I have come from mostly European manufacturers in my recent riding years. But I felt really at ease with the new Yamaha ergo feel straight away. Except for the seat once we returned to the bike after lunch. Some things take longer to notice than others but the narrow, round seat design was not something this hind quarter was all that familiar with and ended up being unhappy with come the second half of the day. But, the overall foot peg, to bars, to seat, to radiator width and positions felt absolutely spot on. Handlebar bends and grip types are always a personal preference and for me are never straight enough in terms of the bars. Or slim enough in terms of the grips. But I was able to roll the bars up a tiny bit and felt just fine. The grips, well. They would go the first day I got home but that’s just me. Many people will love them. I’m just not one of them haha.

As you roll up to the track, the new-age feel of flatter bikes and consequently lower rear-end feel becomes apparent to me pretty quickly. For a guy who likes a slower more technical track. A bike that matches that is more aggressive with its rear ride height to push the front end into the corner. But these new MX bikes are going the way of a flat or lower rear end. The YZ feels similar in that sense to me. We initially started out with 104mm of sag but I quickly bumped that to 102mm and that got things heading into that sweeter spot for me.

The two colour options for 2024 YZ’s

Things I noted on the out lap that I loved.

  • The Nissan front brake. Positive, firm, and short pull. Just what I want in a front brake. I hate looking for it to work. It should just be there and have a good feel and It did.
  • The light feel to the bike. It moved where I wanted without much effort.
  • The bike really is natural in its width feel in 2024. Its narrowness was much appreciated.

Things I came back in and changed

  • The front end needed less compression as I had a lot of hand impact and front pushing. So we dropped 3clicks (out) of the front compression from standard and put three on (in on Low speed) the back and we got rid of that quick smart.
  • The stock map. This is an interesting one. For anyone who rides a 250 regularly. You should know that they like to be rev’d and rev’d hard. If you don’t. Well, you are probably not getting the best out of the bike. The YZ250F needed to be rev’d hard. Every time I thought I should downshift to pick the rev’s back up. I didn’t need to. I need to just pull the throttle harder and the thing would just pick up the revs and start throwing roost again. But the bottom end or low percentage throttle was missing for me in the stock map. As a guy who likes to carry momentum in his corners and use 0-25-50% throttle everywhere. I was having trouble getting out of corners. After some discussion with the Yamaha Mechanics. We went all in on the “Hard Hitting” map available in the Yamaha Power Tuner app. A quick connection to the bike and the map selection was switched out in no time. We were back in action and ripping corners like nobody’s business.

The YZ250F comes with some pretty cool features as standard. One being the map switch that allows two maps and a launch control option. The two maps can be different or the same with the addition of traction control to one. Now I’ve used traction control in the past for tests and have not been a massive fan. Something about my style or my old-school ways of knowing how to control myself with the clutch and throttle doesn’t lend to needing the mapping to do it for me. But it’s always worth a shot every time is available right?

For the YZ250F, it might be useful on a track that has a consistent hard base. Gympie is a bit of a mix of hard pack on the hillside and loamy sections in the valley aspects with one section on our test day turning to complete sandy powder. In those loamy conditions, I found the traction control unnecessary. Where I wanted the bike to spin up and propel me through the loam. I felt as if the bike was bogging (it wasn’t) it was just the application of the traction control. On the hard-pack corners, I didn’t mind it. But for the whole track, as easy as it is to turn on and off. I think I’m leaving it off for now.

The Launch control was an interesting feature that I would need to spend more time on to get used to but may be a big advantage for a perfect holeshot on concrete start grids. The launch control limited the rev reached in 1st and 2nd gear. This can be altered in the Power Tuner app. With the normal mapping kicking back on once you shift to 3rd year. This means you would likely be over the concrete and the gate and into the deeper dirt and able to utilise 3rd gear and the high rev’s to continue to pull away from the field.

So what are my takeaways from the YZ250F launch?

If you are a MX guy looking to have the best power in the 250 class. Whilst being capable of revving it hard to get the most from it. This is your bike. Particularly with the Power Tuner app to make it suit your style, you could really have a lot of fun on this bike.

The standard suspension setting in this short run was just fine. I cased the uphill triple quite badly one lap and didn’t bottom so I feel it’s firm enough for most people. With a few tweaks to sag, fork height, and clicker settings many will be able to enjoy the factory settings without the need for specialised suspension tuning. If you are going to ride a more hard-packed track you may need a little more subtleness out of the low-speed fork compression to just let the front tyre hold on a little longer.

Some earplugs. I’ve never worn earplugs before. But I did notice that when the YZ250F was really barking. It was a bit loud. Might be all that high revving I was doing to get the most from the motor. Maybe I’m getting old. But whatever the reason, maybe buy some earplugs if you don’t already run them.

Use the power tuner app! The power of adjustment that the bike coupled with the tuner is capable of is unmatched. But be aware. As I rolled out onto the track after switching to the “Hard Hitting” map I did have a moment of self-reflection and was a smart idea as it is way more punchy in that map in first gear heading to the track entrance. So be ready if you go that way. It was fine once I clicked second and headed onto the track. But you can make noticeable changes to your motorcycle from your phone. Very cool.

A quick code entry and you are linked to the bike in the Yamaha Power Tuner App.

As mentioned the YZ is now 50 years old. The special anniversary white and purple was a very cool look and is available to the public also. For 2024, the Team Yamaha Blue YZ250F is available for $13949 whilst the 50th anniversary edition is available for $14249.

Head to your local Yamaha deal to see them in person.

If you want to hear more about the YZ250F and the Yamaha Motor Australia intro day. check out the AlwaysMoto podcast below

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