2018 Yamaha YZ250FX

Free-range racer.

2018 Yamaha YZ250FXCRS

Just as with the YZ250 and YZ450F, for 2015 Yamaha made over the vaunted YZ250F for open-course racing, bringing the company’s current range of woods racers to three. Like the national motocross title-winning YZ250F, the basis of the YZ250FX is a 250cc DOHC single with fuel injection and four lightweight titanium valves. It’s a grunty, snappy motor that shrugs off abuse with ease. Tuning is cross-country-racing specific. Then, in a big change for off-road fun and games, gone is the YZ250F’s close-ratio five-speed gearbox; replacing it is a wide-ratio six-speed gearset that enables significantly higher top speed while still letting riders pull out of riverbeds, up rocky climbs, and such.

Electric starting in place of the 2018 YZ250F’s kickstarting, wider Dunlop tires designed for woods use, and an 18-inch rear wheel instead of the MX bike’s 19-inch wheel visibly distinguish the machines. Naturally, the YZ250FX’s KYB suspension is factory tuned for off-road duty; also included are a durable O-ring chain, a skid plate, a sidestand, and handlebar-mounted low-fuel and engine-warning indicators. An accessory plug-in power tuner lets riders adjust the EFI and ignition mapping.

Likes: Electric starting, wide-ratio six-speed transmission, great bandwidth

Dislikes: Delicate front brake rotor is vulnerable; a lighting kit would be nice

Verdict: For average riders, better than the more narrowly focused YZ250F

2018 Yamaha YZ250FX Specs and Pricing

MSRP $7,999