[dropcap]L[/dropcap]ate this month, Yamaha dealers will begin getting delivery of the 2016 YZ250X, the first 2-stroke woods racer Yamaha has offered its dealers since the mid-1990s. While GNCC and Hare Scrambles racers will find the YZ250X newsworthy, the resurgence of the 2-stroke market may be even more important news to dealers. In fact, the tuning fork folks are playing sweet music to fans of ring-dings with a full range of 2-stroke dirtbikes for 2016, including the YZ85, YZ125 and YZ250. Celebrating 60 years of racing success, Yamaha is also bringing back the bumble bee limited edition yellow and black livery.
Given the old-school graphics and 2-stroke powerplants, Tom White’s Early Years Of Motocross Museum made the perfect backdrop for the roll-out of the 2016 off-road range. Even more appropriate was a great video on the history of Yamaha’s landmark off-road machine, the DT-1 (done by the Motocross Files and The Penton movie producer Todd Huffman), and then former Team Yamaha MX legend Mike Bell rode one of the distinctive yellow and black bikes into the museum itself.
Although dealers began taking delivery of their YZ450F MX machines in June and newest 250F at the end of July, they had to wait for the “X-Factor” 2016 YZ250X 2-strokes until the end of August. “This bike was conceived, engineered and built specifically for Cross Country and Hare Scrambles competition,” claims Yamaha. The “X” is powered by Yamaha’s proprietary YPVS power-valve system, coupled with a new wide-ratio, five-speed transmission.
It remains to be seen if the pundits in the press who have dubbed the new X a “KTM-killer” in the woods will be proven right. Until then, we can at least confirm the specs. The bodywork is borrowed from the YZ motocrosser but modified from the front fender to the rear brake guard. More important to the off-road crowd is 18-inch Excel rear rim and woods-tuned KYB suspension. Add in a kickstand, gripper seat and some other GNCC-inspired details and this is a proper successor to Yamaha seminal DT-1 (okay, make that the IT series of Yamaha off-roaders). MSRP is set at $7,390.
The rest of the range of 2-strokes for 2016 includes the YZ85, YZ125 and YZ250. All three MXers get gold-colored chains and black wheels for a factory look and come in the Team Yamaha Blue/White scheme. The YZ85 retails for $4,090; the YZ125 MSRP is $6,390 and the YZ250 for $7,290. All three bikes will be available in dealerships in late August.
Although the 4-strokes are already out, the 2016 YZ250F and YZ450F details bear repeating for comparison sake: The YZ250F will retail for $7,590 in Team Yamaha Blue/White and $7,690 in Limited-Edition 60th Anniversary Yellow. The YZ450F is priced at $8,590 in Team Yamaha Blue/White and $8,690 in Limited-Edition 60th Anniversary Yellow.
The consumer press has already put the 2016 YZ-Fs through their paces, with favorable reviews already filtering in. MotoUSA’s Adam Booth says, “Buy a GYTR Power Tuner, it is easy to use and radically changes the power delivery and character of the engine, but you may find, like we have, that the stock setting is pretty darn good.” Adam Waheed’s second opinion from MotoUSA adds, “Overall if you’re seeking a fluid, comfy and fairly un-intimidating 450 to pound out motos, the YZ450F is hard to beat.”
Old school 2-stroke or next generation thumper, Yamaha is playing a tune can we dance to!