While its rivals are still taking aim at the YZ400/426, Yamaha moves on to create a new category. Sure, there are 250cc four-strokes in Europe, but it isn’t a “mainstream” category. At least it wasn’t until now.
Developing the YZ250F and the WR250F puts Yamaha in a market uncontested by any other major manufacturer selling bikes here in the United States. It probably puts Yamaha in that market without competition for two years — ensuring its dealers high profit margins on the sale of these bikes. Yamaha has been able to do this repeatedly with motorcycles and ATVs. Why? it has to be a combination of two different things.
First of all, Yamaha’s product planners seem to spot trends quicker than their rivals. Second, Yamaha appears to make product decisions quicker than its rivals — bringing concepts to production quicker.
More than one of Yamaha’s rivals plans to make a big splash this Fall with several exciting new models. But will any of those new models create a new category of motorcycle, or will they simply attempt to “out gun” rival bikes in existing categories? Only time will tell, but right now it looks like Yamaha has a valuable formula that most other manufacturers are lacking.