YAMAHA YZ250FX VS. HONDA CRF250RX: THE WRAP

OFF-ROAD 250 FOUR-STROKE COMPARISON

We finally got the Honda CRF250RX and the Yamaha YZ250FX on the same ride so we could do a back-to-back comparison of the two. They are both closed-course competition off-road bikes, meaning they are made for racing. They have no spark arresters, they are just as loud as motocross bikes and they are, in fact, very closely related to the MX bikes in their respective lines. This is what makes each of them an off-road bike :
Larger fuel tank (2.25 on the Honda and 2.16 on the Yamaha)
18-inch rear wheel
Different mapping
Softer suspension
Dunlop AT81 tires
O-ring chain

In our original Honda CRF250RX test, we rode the bike with the stock pipe as well as a Pro Circuit.

Additionally, the Yamaha has a larger clutch and a 6-speed gearbox. The Honda has a 5-speed with the same ratios as the MX version. The bikes end up with very similar weight. The Honda is 235 pounds, measured on our scale without fuel. The Yamaha is 231. Both have a handlebar mounted switch that lets you switch between engine maps. The Honda has three options while the Yamaha has two. The Yamaha works with the Yamaha Power Tuner app, which lets you adjust the mapping with any smart phone. The Honda requires a laptop and some expertise. The prices are similar. The Yamaha sells for $8499 and the Honda is $8299.

We originally rode the Yamaha at an introduction in South Carolina. Now, we finally have a test bike in our hands.

We first rode the Yamaha YZ250FX at a Yamaha introduction in South Carolina. While we were there, we compared it to the YZ125X off-road bike. You can watch the YX125X vs YZ250FX video by clicking here. The Honda has been in our stable for some time. In fact, I have been racing it since December in both motocross and off-road.  You can read the full test of the Honda CRF250RX by clicking here. If you are familiar with the motocross bikes that are the basis these two off-road bikes, you already know most of the story. The Yamaha is a low-end motor, the Honda is a screamer.  Before going any further, I have to make it clear that both bikes are outstanding on the trail  All modern 250 four-strokes have very smooth, linear powerbands. These two are especially well behaved. They don’t stall, they are very controllable and they’re super easy to ride.

Pete Murray on the Honda CRF250RX in So Cal.

Having said that, the soft low-end power on the Honda is actually somewhat of a benefit. The Yamaha clearly has a little more torque down low, but it’s more jerky with an on-or-off feel. It also pops on decel. The CRF is more of a sweetheart off the bottom. When the revs climb higher, the Honda is more of a hard-hitter and the Yamaha is more linear, but by the time you get up there, you generally want more power in a hurry. The Honda also benefits from better ergos, especially for average-to-tall riders, and better brakes. The Yamaha is a little more cramped with tall handlebars. 

Mark Tilley on the YZ250FX in South Carolina.

The YZ’s biggest advantages are the clutch and gearbox. On any smallish four-stroke you have to use a lot of clutch off-road, and the Yamaha’s has a super-light pull and consistent feel. The Honda’s is stiff and heats up quickly. We also like the Yamaha’s gear ratios. First gear is just about perfect for tight stuff. This is unlike the YZ450FX, which has a first gear that’s so low it’s virtually unusable. The Honda’s first gear is a little tall for super-duper tight trail. You could re-gear it, but it already tops out pretty early. The YZ250FX six-speed makes it a more versatile bike.

Personally, I prefer the Honda for trail riding, mostly because I’m a little taller, but I would prefer to race the Yamaha in most of the off-road races out here because of the gearbox. It’s a very close contest. I’ll have a little more on the subject in the June 2020 print edition of Dirt Bike.

STRANGE DAYS

We are living through very strange days. Motorcycle racing is on lock down for the most part. The Sonora Rally got off on schedule and is taking place right now, but everything else has been canceled or postponed through March and early April.  No one is saying what will happen come April 25 when the next Supercross is scheduled to take place in Vegas, but if it happens there has been talk that it will be more than one event–a double header at least. Sam Boyd Stadium is scheduled to be shut down at the end of June, one way or another. It’s very likely that the Supercross will be the last event held there. Another race that hasn’t yet been shut down on that same date is the National Grand Prix Championship, round 5 (correction, now round 4) in nearby Primm. That’s on a wait and see basis. WORCS has announced that they plan on having an 8-round series for this year, with some events doubled up (like the Havasu format). Everything it tentative, of course, and a new schedule has yet to be announced. For more on the races that are affected by the Coronavirus outbreak, click here.

MOTOCROSS DES NATIONS, 1998

Even if we aren’t racing ourselves, it’s still fun to watch some of the classics. This video is from the 1998 Motocross des Nations in Foxhill, England, when Ricky Carmichael, Doug Henry and John Dowd battled with the Belgian team, led by Stefan Everts. Look how young RC is! Good stuff.

LAST DOG

I’ve heard plenty of feedback on my gig as co-host of the Last Dog Standing broadcast on Mav TV.  Okay, I know I’m old and fat. Thanks for the constructive criticism. This show came about when I arranged a meeting between my friends Kelly and Ross at Mav and the Prairie Dogs MC–mostly Craig Hunter. District 37 decided to fund the whole project. That’s how things get on TV these days. There were a number of people who also donated their time to keep the cost down, including camera guys David Dewhurst and Tyson Leeper. The day when Jason Weigandt and I were supposed to do the voice-over was right after the Red Bull Straight Rhythm (for him) and the Ridgecrest NGPC round (for me). I came in with a bad chest cold and no voice at all. He did an amazing job, tough, and we got through it. I was able  to re-record my segments a week later by myself. It was a blessing because I knew what was coming, and was better prepared. Jason did that whole thing cold, never having seen the event or the video. He’s a real pro. We did two one-hour shows and there are still some broadcast times to come. Check the out.

TRIALS CORNER

 

FactoryONE Mototrials is pleased to announce our first professional rider, Willem “Will” Myers. The 15-year-old Downingtown, PA native will be competing in his first full year as a professional at the NATC.
Team manager Christy Williams-Richards says, “I am super pumped to see Will break out in the Pro Class.  I was able to see Will ride at the Youth Nationals in 2016 before taking time off, and I said “that kid is going Pro”.  Now 4 years later he’s on my team and he’s in the Pro class.  The first year is usually tough for Pro riders, but I think we’ll see big things from the one they call “Meatball”.”

Will has seen tremendous success during his progression through the trial’s ranks. He has won multiple championships at the youth level including:
• 2017 West Coast Junior Champion
• 2018 125 Expert National Champion
• 2018 East Coast Youth Champion
• 2019 Expert National Champion

“I am very happy to be with the FactoryOne Mototrials team again for the 2020 season.” Said Myers. “ I am grateful for the opportunities they have presented me to advance my trials career.  I am fortunate to have Ron Sallman and all of factoryONE supporting me.  This is going to be an exciting season and I’m eager for it to get underway.  I have worked really hard for my first professional season and can’t wait to see how well I do against the nation’s best riders. ”

Willem will be riding a Factory Scorpa 300. Scorpa is a sister company of Sherco.

That’s all for now

–Ron Lawson

 

 

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