2012 Yamaha YZ Review


Yamaha’s motocross line, the YZ line, consists of the YZ85, 125, 250, 250F, and 450F. The “F” signifies the four-stroke engines, and the remainder and tried and true motocross two-strokes.

Originally released in the mid 1970’s, Yamaha’s pure dirt machines have a well-known pedigree of durability and performance in the rough and tumble world of motocross. Yamaha’s commitment to dirt racing was evident throughout the 1980’s and 1990’s and led to the development of the first mass-produced four-stroke motocross machine, the YZ400F, in 1998. For 2012, all of Yamaha’s YZ two-stroke line (YZ85, 125, and 250) are carryovers from 2011, but both of the four-strokes (YZ250F and 450F) are upgraded for 2012.

The 2012 Yamaha YZ250F and YZ450F are available in Team Yamaha Blue/White or White/Red and both retain the straight-up motocross styling that is a result of function more than anything else. With fully-adjustable handlebars, a long seat for easy movement during braking and acceleration, and well-placed foot controls, the YZ line is built for speed on the dirt.

Considered by many to have the most reliable motors in their classes, the Yamaha four-strokes have great low end power and easy revving up to the high end, a testament to Yamaha’s years of engine development. Because they are carbureted versus fuel injected like their competition, the Yamaha four-strokes are lighter than most bikes in their class, and thus more maneuverable in the ever-changing conditions of motocross. Handling is also excellent because of aggressive mass centralization by Yamaha engineers, putting as much of the bike’s weight as possible in the mid-point of the motorcycle.

Not unlike liter sportbikes on the street, the most hotly-contested segment of the motocross market is the four-stroke 250cc motorcycle. Yamaha was the first to produce one, and riders looking for an exciting and reliable machine to take to the track or just out free-riding should look no further.

New For 2012

  • All Yamaha two-stroke models for 2012 are unchanged from their 2011 predecessors.
  • The four-stroke models, however, have both received new mufflers designed to meet 94 dB standards, improved front and rear suspension settings and valving for smoother suspension performance, have acquired new seat foam material, and offer two color options (Team Yamaha Blue/White or White/Red) which both feature rich-looking black rims and a gold-color drive chain.
  • YZ250F
  • To increase throttle response in the mid-to-high speed range, subtle engine refinements like a larger carburetor, improved spark plug firing through optimized Capacitor Discharge Ignition (CDI) mapping, and a lighter piston give the 2012 YZ250F more power and improved power delivery.
  • The air cleaner cage is a new design that increases airflow which contributes to the improved throttle response in the mid- to high-speed range.
  • A Bilateral Beam frame with a refined balance of three-dimensional rigidity is used for improved cornering performance and better stability on rough, high-speed straights.
  • Increased diameters on the outer fork tubes and triple clamps result in increased front end stiffness and stability.
  • Fork trail has been increased in 2012 which contributes to excellent straight-line stability and reduces the tendency of the front fork assembly to resist changing direction.
  • YZ450F
  • Revised fuel injection settings (mapping for injection and advance) offer smooth, controllable engine response in the low-to-mid-rpm range.
  • ECU programming is updated to optimize performance characteristics with the new-spec muffler

2012 Yamaha YZ Specs

  • Model: YZ 250F
  • Engine Type: 15.2 cubic inch, liquid-cooled, single cylinder, carbureted four-stroke with five valves
  • Bore and Stroke: 3.03 x 2.11 inches
  • Compression ratio: 13.5:1
  • Valve Train: Double Overhead Cam (DOHC)
  • Induction: Keihin carburetor
  • Ignition: Kick starter
  • Transmission: Five-speed manual transmission
  • Final Drive: Chain
  • Fuel Capacity: 1.6 gallon
  • Estimated Fuel Economy: N/A
  • Brakes (Front): Single, 9.8 inch diameter hydraulic disc
  • Brakes (Rear): Single, 9.7 inch diameter hydraulic disc
  • Suspension (Front): KYB inverted fork, fully adjustable for preload and rebound damping, 11.8 inches of travel
  • Suspension (Rear): Twin-sided swing arm with fully adjustable rear monoshock, 12.5 inches of travel
  • Wheelbase: 58.1 inches
  • Rake: N/A
  • Trail: N/A
  • Seat Height: 39.0 inches
  • Curb Weight: 227 pounds, including all standard equipment and all fluids, including oil, coolant (as applicable) and a full tank of fuel.jh
  • Tires (Front): 21 inch 80/100 R21 tires mounted on tubed, aluminum rims
  • Tires (Rear): 19 inch 100/90 R19 tires mounted on tubed, aluminum rims


  • Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing (GYTR) by FMF® Factory 4.1™ Muffler: This all-new muffler lowers sound level while maintaining maximum power output and the patented canister shape increases internal volume for more sound-absorbing material. Factory Forward Engineering centralizes mass and is less prone to impact damage. Meets AMA® and FIM sound requirements and is used by the JGR and Star Racing factory-support teams.
  • ""Standard"" Rear Wheels by Talon: CNC machined from billet aluminum, Talon hubs are paired with Excel Notako rims and Bulldog stainless steel spokes. Wheels come complete with rotor bolts and billet spacers.
  • AIR4ORCE™ High Performance Tunable Intake System: replacing the stock air intake boot, this intake is custom designed to allow maximum air volume and includes interchangeable velocity stacks to fine-tune power delivery.
  • GYTR® Performance Camshaft Kit: designed to maximize horsepower and torque in the mid-range and top-end without sacrificing any low-end power

Key Competitors For The 2012 Yamaha YZ

  • Honda CRF250R
  • Kawasaki KX250F
  • Husqvarna TC250
  • KTM 250SXF
  • Suzuki RM-Z250