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Tested: 2020 Yamaha YZ250F

Yamaha YZ250F 101.4kg 37.7bhp

The YZ250F is also unchanged for 2020, apart from graphics. But it’s still a solid bike that got the all-new treatment last year with revised plastics, chassis, engine and electronics. After years of using the reverse cylinder head and rear-canted motor, Yamaha really does have its engineering nailed. That combines with a frame that sets the standard for precise handling and reliable KYB forks.

The AOS 48mm forks are immediately impressive, although the fastest tester thought they were a tad soft. Slowing the compression improves them, but it’s best to speed up the rebound a click or two as well to stop it packing down.

The rear KYB works well, tracking the terrain without kicking and ensuring good traction.


Motor oil: 0.75 litres.
Oil and filter replacement: after break-in and then every 7.5 hours (oil) and 12.5 hours (filter)
Air filter cleaning: after each use.
Piston Replacement: every 12.5 hours
Valves: Check every 7.5 hours.
Starter motor: No maintenance required
Front : Pirelli Scorpion MX32 Mid Soft 80 / 100-21
Rear: Pirelli Scorpion MX32 Mid Soft 100 / 90-19

What the testers said:

Morgan Lesiardo:

It’s a great bike, although initially it takes a bit of getting used to as it is wide in the front and seems cramped between the saddle and footrests. But when you are riding, it works well. I did manage to catch the exhaust on my left boot.

This year I didn’t like the forks as it pushes through the stroke too easily. Adjusting compression helps but it’s not perfect.

On the other hand it has a great rear shock with a lot of traction and it’s stable on the faster parts of the track. And the engine is powerful and helps you push on hard, especially with the more aggressive map.

Stefano Dani:

My usual race bike is a Yamaha YZ250F so I know it well. I just hardened the fork on compression and I found it well balanced. The bike is always very balanced, neutral handling and has no obvious weak points. It has excellent handling in the straights and it’s very staley in fast corners. It has good traction and the engine has lots of power everywhere: low, medium and top-end with a great over-rev. The only negative point is that the fork is not too supple, but otherwise it is a great package. It’s ready to race.


We loved the Yamaha YZ250F in last year’s tests but for 2020 it’s unchanged and faces stiff new competition from the revamped Kawasaki. The Yamaha is still a top bike, scoring high across the board in the ratings. But it divided the riders,  with Stefano Dani continuing to appreciate the bike while Morgan didn’t like the forks, which affected his overall impression of the bike. Both agreed the engine is strong, even if this year it’s overshadowed by the new KX250. And in the air thanks to the gyroscopic forces of the rear-canted engine, it’s the best of the bunch.