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.
After riding Yamaha’s all-new 2015 WR250F at Cahuilla Creek Motocross Park in Anza, California, let’s just put it this way: If you’ve been waiting to sell your trusty pre-2014 Yamaha WR250F in the hope that Yamaha would introduce an all-new machine based around its AMA National Motocross Championship-winning rearward-inclined engine technology, the wait is over. It’s time to get your classified ad ready and get that old blue machine sold, because like its YZ250F sister, the 2015 WR250F is so radically improved that it practically obsoletes the previous model. It’s effectively a YZ250F that you can ride anywhere your trails take you. A year in the waiting – Yamaha didn’t sell a 2014 WR250F – the new WR’s 249cc DOHC four-stroke Single is virtually identical to the class-conquering 2014 YZ250F motocrosser, except that it’s tuned for enduro competition and aggressive trail riding and fitted with the required emissions and sound equipment to make it EPA-legal and CARB Green Sticker-certified.
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…
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.