To test the flood of 2020 bikes in recent weeks we received the help of former European MX and SX champion Nick Kouwenberg! As a rider, “Kouwy” gained experience in just about every possible situation and he rode on many different bikes. However, this test brought Nick back to a brand that he is very familiar with…
I can tell you that the life of a journalist – at first glance – isn’t that bad! Yamaha had invited the media to Teutschenthal, the well-known Talkessel, a hard pack track that has been hosting the German GP for many years. Everything at the event was flawlessly arranged.
STRONG AND PROVEN
Last year I rode the Swedish championship with the 2019 YZ250F and for the brand with the crossed tuning forks, they came out with a whole new generation of machine: a completely new engine, frame and plastic!
Both in Europe with Jago Geerts in the GPs (and Raivo Dankers in the EMX250) and in the US (SX champion with Dylan Ferrandis), Yamaha went ahead with this engine. This engine has changed very little – apart from the new graphics – compared to 2019 so we can be brief about that. The YZ250F is strong, rides comfortably, behaves predictably and has two different engine mappings as standard that you can choose between while riding. For those who really want to look competitive, it is also a fantastic basis. At Yamaha people (rightly) put a lot of emphasis on all the beauty that you can do in terms of adjustment to this engine with the Yamaha Power tuner app.
STANDARD VS. GYTR
Whoever says power in the quarter liter class actually comes naturally to the YZ250F. The YZ250 set the course for 2019 in the middle range and at the top. In fact, at Yamaha they have given the standard engine just about the same power as in the past with the GYTR kit on it. And of course, the more the engine is pushed to get higher power, the less maintenance friendly it becomes and more often a piston needs replacing …
We were therefore particularly curious about the GYTR kit. And maybe in 2019, or should I say 2020, we are spoiled. The standard YZ250 is already so incredibly good in these times that it somewhat disappointed my expectations of the YZ250F GYTR.
Of course the GYTR is better. In the middle area and in terms of top power, it certainly became stronger. This offers benefits on a hard, flat or fast track. I found it a bit less at the bottom, but perhaps this can be eliminated with a different mapping. Of course you risk losing something in the upper area. This is of course different for everyone’s personal taste.
THERE IS THE POWER TUNER!
In any case, that wireless (!) Yamaha Power tuner app is a revelation. Whoever has or wants a YZ250F should definitely use it. The nice thing is that you can get started with your personal preference without having to worry that you screw it up! There is freedom to try a lot of adjustments while Yamaha built in boundaries to keep everything technically safe and secure.
Also useful is the race log function in which you can save and link all adjustment data, both of the folder and the setting of the suspension, to the circuit conditions. Then on with the YZ450F, we also had the opportunity to test both the standard machine and the machine with GYTR kit.
YZ450F: GROUND UPDATE
The third generation of the YZ450F is normally working on the penultimate year in 2020, but there is still a cartload of innovations for 2020: renewed frame, the top end of the power source was taken in hand (cylinder head, camshaft, valves), additionally, the extensive technical presentation mentioned a new connecting rod for the crankshaft, as well as improvements to the exhaust, gearbox and suspension.
The goal of all this thorough homework is controlled power, and precise and predictable behavior. The standard engine in Teutschenthal actually immediately made a very good impression. This “heavy” 450f is increasingly coming towards the steering qualities of the 250F! When they came up with the new model in 2018, there was of course a big difference. Nevertheless, the improvements of this makeover are also noticeable.
The YZ450 has again received more power, the chassis feels less stiff, the engine looks lighter and steers sharper. In short, the entire package was lifted to a higher level. You can also do a lot with the mapping with this engine. Certainly because it already has good power and strong capacity as standard. Turning on the Map 2 light, which we were offered in Germany, was advised for the Talkessel. On a sand track you can go to war with this powerhouse without much effort.
In the MX1 class, the YZ450F was always a strong, even aggressive engine. Sometimes the steering behavior was on the nervous side, but they have listened well at Yamaha to come up with an impressive list of improvements after two years. The result is a balanced, well-balanced engine that still has a lot of power. How Yamaha has succeeded in having the 2020 YZ450F perform in a controlled manner is excellent news for all riders, from hobby riders to ambitious private riders at World Cup level.
As I learned, the kits were rather pricey. But for the YZ450F it was certainly a great addition to an already good engine.
With four engines to be tested and the almost endless adjustment options, our day in Teutschenthal flew at lightning speed. There is no doubt that they have a winner at home with the new 2020 YZ450F at Yamaha. I myself am very curious how the bike will cope with typical tracks at home.