Issue: October 2001
What we thought: A sweetheart if there ever was one. The Honda and KTM might be faster, but nothing is as well mannered and easy to go fast on as the YZ. Good handling is popular with pros and beginners alike.
Most popular mods: Applied fork clamps, V-Force reed.
Bottom line: This is the best 250 for most riders.

Issue: February 2002
What we thought: Going fast was never so fun. Most riders think they can turn their best lap times on the 250F, even compared to 250 two-strokes. Sometimes the stopwatch says otherwise, but there?s no doubt that the 250F can smoke a 125 two-stroke. In either class it scores big on the fun scale.
Most popular mods: Any aftermarket pipe is an improvement. Applied, 909, PC and Tag fork clamps offer more room in the rider compartment.
Bottom line: Best of the 125-classers. Legal cheating.

Issue: October 2001
What we thought: Great motor, decent suspension. We just don?t know why Yamaha threw away sixth gear. The 2002-model?s wider powerband is offset by wider jumps between gears.
Most popular mods: Applied fork clamps (for more room), suspension revalving.
Bottom line: The other half of the staff choose it best 125.

Issue: January 2002
What we thought: The Yamaha WR426F has become the standard 400-class four-stroke in America for racing and fast trail riding. No wonder; it?s fast and has the best suspension in the business. The seating position is a little awkward for tight trails.
Most popular mods: IMS tank and seat, FMF, Pro Circuit or White-Bros. pipe.
Bottom line: This is still the bike to beat for fast, western-style conditions.

Issue: September 2001
What we thought: Yamaha clearly is aiming at older, more experienced riders with the new 85. The bike is taller, faster and stiffer than its predecessor. Most of the power is on top, but it still makes more low-end torque than a Kawasaki or Honda.
Most popular mods: FMF rev pipe.
Bottom line: Second-best 85 behind Suzuki?s torquey new RM85.

Issue: June 2002
What we thought: Although it still isn?t as dazzling as the motocross version, the WR250F still has revolutionized its class. For the first time since the early ?80s, a 250 four-stroke is a serious threat for the overall win in an off-road race. Just keep it spinning.
Most popular mods: FMF Q pipe, IMS tank and seat.
Bottom line: The best 250 four-stroke for racing, although trail riders prefer the less-high-strung XR.

Issue: December 2001
What we thought: When the YZF was the only show in town, we assumed it won by default. Now that there are others, we are amazed at how well the Yamaha compares. It?s the best handling four-stroke despite giving away a few pounds. Power is hard-hitting compared to the bigger Honda and KTM.
Most popular mods: Everyone likes swapping pipes, although it?s hard to improve on the stocker. Fork clamps from Applied, PC, 909 and Tag give the rider more room.
Bottom line: For supercross-style courses, the YZ might top the CRF. For most courses, the CRF holds an edge.


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