By Ryan Adams
Not that long ago riders had only one option for a high-performance, 4-stroke 250 and it took the form of a purpose-built motocrosser. And in the beginning, these newcomers were designed as direct replacements for 125cc 2-strokes, which limited their appeal to a fairly narrow spectrum of younger, track-oriented buyers. Fast forward to today, and we have a number of manufacturers extending this platform into a crop of very versatile off-road weapons. These new, competition-oriented 250 thumpers are appealing to riders of all ages, riding styles, and terrain preferences. Progress is good.
Currently, Honda and Yamaha are the only two Japanese manufacturers competing in the off-road competition segment. Yamaha has had its YZ250FX on the market since 2015 while the Honda CRF250RX entered the field in 2019. So, how do these two machines stack up? We left the urban sprawl of Los Angeles and ventured deep into the California desert to find out.
Differences between the two were immediately apparent. After two full days of testing the 2019 Honda CRF250RX and Yamaha YZ250FX, we were surprised by how differently the two manufacturers chose to tackle the job of building off-road competition machines. These two bikes represent near polar opposite ways of doing the same thing. Both are a blast to ride, yet couldn’t be more starkly contrasted. Let me explain.
Note how far rearward the Yamaha YX250FX’s motor is slanted. This, combined with other features such as the centralized low fuel tank, Yamaha claims, helps with mass centralization. Both test riders agreed with the Blu Cru’s claims.
Minutes after swapping bikes on our test loop, it became clear that Honda and Yamaha had two different ideas in mind of how to tackle a GNCC-style competition bike. The Yamaha has tons of torque down low and …read more