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After posting our ride review of the 2001 YZ250F on Tuesday, we received an e-mail from a reader accusing us of “masking the truth”. Although this is an unjust accusation, I can see how it might come about. The December 12th review was extremely

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complimentary. I thought I might help quiet any suspicions by giving everyone my perspective on this bike.

After riding the bike at our outdoor test compound on Sunday I was determined to test it on a race track before it was returned to Yamaha. I managed to get the bike out to Competition Park MX in San Jacinto, California for a brief 2-hour session on Wednesday afternoon.

I spent most of my time at Comp Park’s latest addition, a small, technical track in the center of their dirt oval. This track consists of tight bermed corners linked together with short straightaways and mid-sized double/tabletop rhythm sections. The dirt is thick and loamy and the track was in perfect condition.

After riding the bike for a while I managed to come close to dialing in the suspension settings. After reading the review in weekly moto-journal Cycle News I had dropped the forks in the tripe clamps until the bottom of the fork cap was flush with the top of the clamp. I didn’t have any trouble with headshake after this change. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to write down the suspension settings I was using, but they were working much better than stock. The front end still seemed somewhat soft, and I might consider a change to stiffer fork springs were I to buy this bike.

I was extremely impressed by the excellent cornering manners of this bike. Frequently-ridden MX bikes for me recently have included a 2000 Kawasaki KX125 and a 2001 Suzuki RM250, and I can confidently say that the Yamaha outcornered both of them. The front wheel stays planted, helped out by the weight transfer from the four-stroke engine braking, and the bike carves through the corners with little effort.

In fact, low effort is an excellent way to describe this bike. I was able to ride almost twice as many laps as I can usually manage before pulling off due to arm pump, and I never became winded. I also felt that I was able to concentrate more on using proper riding technique because the bike was so easy to ride. In fact, I felt faster and more confident Wednesday than I have ever felt on a motocross track.

One thing I found hard to adjust to was the 250F’s power. Having ridden two strokes for most of my life, I felt that the 250F’s excellent low-end torque was an invitation to short-shift, grabbing the next gear somewhat early. It was not until a tip from a friendly YZ400 rider that I tried holding on to the gears and revving the motor out. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that the bike has an excellent top end pull. The powerband is definately much fatter than any two-stroke 125 I’ve ever ridden, but not quite in the same class as a two-stroke 250 (no surprise there).

Overall I found the YZ250F to be a near-perfect MX bike. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I’m contemplating making the 250F my next bike. If I were to own a 250F I would make few changes – an aluminum MX bar would reduce vibration, and stiffer fork springs might help me with bottoming on big jumps. Otherwise, the 250F would suit me just fine.