Cycle News spent the day riding the 2017 Yamaha YZ250F ($7699) and YZ450F ($8699) at Glen Helen, where Yamaha introduced the bikes to the media. Both bikes have been updated for 2017, with the 250 receiving substantially more updates than the 450, which took on a number of updates last year (2016). With the changes both bikes maintain their great handling traits, thanks in part to the KYB suspension and traditional spring forks.
Check out our first look at the 2017 YZ-F’s HERE to see a more in-depth look at what Yamaha changed for 2017.
2017 Yamaha YZ250F
The YZ250F has been dominating the 250F class for a few years now and with updates to the engine and chassis for 2017 Yamaha hopes that trend will continue. Out on the track the 2017 YZ250F’s engine changes were felt immediately. The rev limiter sequence is quicker and more abrupt, letting the engine pull all the way to the 14,000 limiter instead of decreasing the power as it approaches 14,000 rpm. Our fast test riders really liked this change along with the intake and cylinder head changes that have boosted mid to top power over 2016. Across the entire rpm range the 2017 feels like it has more torque, a nice addition to the increased mid and top power.
The chassis now uses stiffer frame sections near the footpegs (same change the 2016 YZ450F received) with a material change to the engine mounts. These changes, along with stiffer fork tubes allowed Yamaha to go one rate softer on the fork springs. The YZ250F is balanced, plush without bottoming and overall confidence inspiring. After a full day on the Glen Helen track we are happy with the improvements in both the suspension and engine and look forward to many more days aboard the 2017 YZ250F.
The YZ250F won our 2016 Cycle News 250F MX shootout. Can the revised 2017 YZ250F do it again?
2017 Yamaha YZ450F
The list of changes to the 2017 YZ450F aren’t long, it is a great bike and in 2016 it won our Cycle News 450F Shootout. For 2017 the YZ450F received an updated rear brake-rotor material for improved heat resistance, durability and braking feel. The air-cleaner cover was revised to help prevent contact with the quick-release quarter-turn Dzus air box fasteners. The biggest change was the switch to Dunlop MX3S tires.
Riding the 2017 YZ450F was just like riding the winning bike of our 2016 450F shootout, fast, balanced and fun. Without any changes the familiarity of the YZ450F is welcome. We love the power delivery, suspension and overall easy of usability. The change that made the biggest difference in feel was the welcome switch to the Dunlop MX3S tires. They hook up much better on most surfaces. The drawback is they wear much quicker than the Dunlop MX52 tire they replaced. Yamaha still is the top dog when it comes to ease of engine power adjustability with their GYTR tuner and in less than a minute changes can be made to suit the track condition or rider needs.
Again, this was just our first taste of the 2017 YZ four-stroke motocrosser. We will have more in-depths tests on both bikes in an upcoming issue of Cycle News magazine.
For more motorcycle ride reviews and first looks, click HERE