Honda’s CRF250R may not have enjoyed the hype that Yamaha’s YZ250F did in 2014. Even though the Honda was practically an all-new design, its thunder was effectively stolen by the radically revised Yamaha, which dominated the conversation – and the majority of shootouts – in the 250cc motocross class.
It’s safe to say that Yamaha came about as close as a manufacturer can to setting the motocross world on fire with the YZ250F in 2014. Borrowing heavily from the architecture of its revolutionary YZ450F, the company’s all-new quarter-liter contender broke cover with a new, fuel-injected, rearward-inclined engine that places the straight downdraft intake out front and the exhaust in the rear. In addition to the new cylinder head’s symmetrical port design, which allowed Yamaha engineers to extract a lot more power from the engine, the compact engine allowed Yamaha to centralize the 250F’s mass in an all-new compact bi-lateral beam chassis that is shared with the YZ450F.
Every fall, the big magazine where I used to work hosts an industry ride up in the mountains outside Yosemite, a time for the ad sales people to get in some serious schmoozing, and an excellent time for the rest of us to get in some fantastic riding during the day and some open bar in the evenings.
Among the many things I still didn’t know about riding motorcycles is that you can get stuck riding downhill.