Yamaha has enjoyed championship-winning success with its YZ250F and a real turnabout in the fortunes of its YZ450F in major product shootouts while at the same time reaping success by introducing new and exciting off-road competition models and championing a full two-stroke motocross line, the only one of the Japanese manufacturers to do so.
Adventure bikes are one of the trendiest motorcycle segments today, but for every ADV review or unveiling we publish, it’s become de rigueur for commenters to ask “…but how often are people actually going to ride these off-road anyways?” It’s a fair question, as a lot of so-called adventure-tourers will rarely stray off the tarmac.
Unlike the Harley-Davidson LiveWire, your choice for Best Electric, there’s nothing shocking about the Honda CRF450R, and yet its popularity is certainly understandable. Big Red’s sleek and slick big-bore moto thumper has been the model of consistency since its debut 15 years ago, and Honda has never strayed from the basic elements that make it a perennial contender.
It might be easy to dismissively refer to the all-new 2015 Yamaha YZ250FX as a YZ250F with a six-speed transmission or a WR250F without lights. Based on the FX’s technical merits, both statements could be considered mostly true, but neither would remotely do justice to Yamaha’s all-new quarter-liter off-road racer.
Triumph unveiled four new Tiger 800 variants today at EICMA 2014 – the XR/XRx, and the XC/XCx. The former favor a more road-going bias with occasional light-duty off-roading, while the latter flip the script and prefer dirt to pavement. As standard fitment, all four models receive traction control, ABS and ride-by-wire throttle. XRx and XCx models come fitted with cruise control (the first in its segment) and three riding modes which enable the rider to control throttle response, traction control and switchable ABS. Further, XC models come equipped with WP suspension for greater off-road ability (Showa components adorn XR models). In the engine bay, all four Tigers are powered by the existing 800cc Triple. However, Triumph claim a 17% increase in fuel economy over last year, jumping to 65 mpg vs. 55 mpg.
Astute e-bike fans might remember the name BRD, the group setting out to make an electric motocross (and supermoto) competitor from the ground up, called the Redshift, with an emphasis on performance. As we found out at the AIMExpo recently, 2015 brings the bike and the company a few surprises.
Honda released the details of its 2015 Honda CRF450R last June, and we have been anxiously awaiting the chance to throw some roost on it ever since. That chance finally came this week, as Honda invited us to the picturesque Zaca Station MX Park north of Santa Barbara, California, to sample its latest red rooster. We’re happy to report that the 2015 model boasts updates to make it even more competitive in what is a brutally intense category.
Yamaha attempted to defy conventional wisdom in the 450cc class when it introduced an entirely different YZ450F in 2010. The all-new YZ’s rearward-slanted cylinder and reversed cylinder head engine architecture, while not completely original, was a radical departure from the contemporary crop of 450cc contenders.
Pssst! Hey, you, Joe moto fan. Did you hear who Suzuki has hired to ride for the Yoshimura Suzuki team next year? Sounds like it’s going to be that Roczen guy from Germany and Broc Tickle in the 450 class. Boy, Suzuki had better have a solid bike for them to ride…
In a class where keeping up with the latest technology can mean the difference between being on the podium and being left at the starting gate, Yamaha’s YZ250F was waaayy loooong overdue for an update in 2014. The Blu Cru’s quarter-liter four-stroke could do little more than hold its own against its rivals, suffering a power deficit and lacking a more precise and easier to tune fuel-injection system. If only Yamaha could come up with something more competitive while retaining the 250F’s excellent handling character…