Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2013 Yamaha YZ250F Project Bike

Monday, December 30, 2013


Until the release of Yamaha’s thoroughly overhauled ‘14 YZ250F (read about it in the 2014 Yamaha YZ250F Second Ride), the blue brand’s 250-class motocrosser was one of the most dated in in terms of engine architecture. Still, it provided the trusty feel of a worn-in glove making it a friendly machine to stretch the throttle cable on smooth and rough motocross tracks, alike. And stretch the throttle we did, so much that the YZ needed some routine maintenance to keep it running tiptop.

Since a 250F dirt bike engine spends most of its life under heavy load at high rpm with a relatively small volume of oil (only 1.27 quarts), it’s important to keep tabs on oil service. Although the service manual calls for oil changes every 2.5 hours we stretched it to five-hour intervals by using a high-quality lubricant like Maxima’s Maxum4 Blend Oil.



It features a semi-synthetic formula making it less likely to breakdown with heat and contaminants from the clutch’s fiber plates as they wear. Available in two viscosity ranges (10W-40 and 20W-50), we ran the lighter oil as it has a greater operating range in different climates. However if you plan on frequent rides in 100-plus degree summer weather it’s wise to select the heavier mixture. For the oil filter we stuck with the stock paper element, replacing it every other oil change.

Besides routine oil and air filter service the next consumable on a dirt bike are tires. We love the versatile and long-lasting performance of the OE-fitted Bridgestone M403/404 intermediate terrain combo so we spooned on another set. This time however, we opted for a wider 110-series rear knob. Though slightly heavier, we prefer the larger footprint and overall handling of the bigger tire. Plus it just plain looks beefier when sitting on a bike stand. Like always, the M-series tires work well on the dirt we typically encounter on SoCal motocross tracks and provide better durability than other brands we regularly lap on.



The way the rider interacts with their motorcycle is a crucial aspect of the ride. Accordingly, we aimed at mitigating arm pump and hand blisters by installing a softer pair of handlebar grips from Pro Taper. Available in two versions (soft and medium) we went with the softer Synergy Full-Waffle MX Grips since we value a soft and cozy touch rather than outright durability. The grips are easy to apply and with a little Pro Taper Grip Glue and along with a couple of twists of safety wire they stay in place moto after moto. They also reduce the chance of arm pump even during long rides over rough terrain and kept the palms of our hands smooth enough to trick people into thinking that we work behind a desk all-day.

Keeping the drive chain clean, lubricated and properly adjusted is a key factor in extending its life. Thus we picked up a couple cans of degreaser and chain lube, again from Maxima. As its name implies, the Clean Up Multi-Purpose Degreaser can be used to remove gunk from virtually any component of the motorcycle with minimal elbow grease. It’s also non-toxic and has a pleasant fragrance. After cleaning we spray the chain with Synthetic Chain Guard to keep the links free and in good working order.



We’ve always had favorable results with the YZ250F’s clutch. But after 42 hours of hard riding it had worn to the point that it didn’t respond until the very end of the lever’s throw, even with proper cable tension adjustment—a telltale sign that its nearing the end of its useful life. Thankfully, clutch replacement is a simple fix. Heck, if you lay the motorcycle on its left hand side the oil doesn’t have to be drained.

Although aftermarket companies sell less expensive clutch kits, in our experience some components perform best when stock. So while pricey, we sourced an OE clutch pack including frictions, steels, springs and a clutch cover gasket. However if money is tight you can measure the thickness of the steel plates and clutch springs, re-using if they are in spec.



Aside from a couple metric sockets and a ratchet, all that's needed is recording the order of the 11 friction and 10 steel plates. It’s also important to pre-soak the new friction plates in oil so they are lubricated when the engine is first started upon re-assembly. Besides those tips, installation is literally plug-and-play easy.

All told, we clocked 45 hours on our YZ during this past riding season. If we had held on to it longer we would have had to replace the drive chain and sprockets as well as both front and rear brake pads. Aside from those components and of course routine suspension service, it performed very much like new and still felt fresh—something that we can’t say the same about on other brand’s 250Fs when they accumulate that type of hard riding time.

2013 Yamaha YZ250F Project Bike
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
Recent Dirt Bike Reviews
2014 Kawasaki Ultra 310LX R Jet Ski First Ride
With summer almost here, MotoUSA makes a splash aboard Kawasaki’s revised Ultra 310LX Jet Ski to see how entertaining life can get on the water.
2014 250 Motocross Shootout
MotoUSA gathers the current crop of 250cc motocross bikes and heads to the MX track to test which brand is best for 2014.
2013 Suzuki DR-Z400SM First Ride
Suzuki's DR-Z400SM Supermoto is back for 2013. We put this affordable single to the test with slides, stoppies and wheelies.
MotoUSA Staff Motorcycles - Suzuki RM-Z450
Suzuki’s 2012 RM-Z450 is one of our favorite motocrossers. So much so, we purchased one second-hand and build it into the ultimate motocrosser.
2014 Yamaha YZ250F Second Ride
A few months ago MotoUSA took a short ride on a pre-production 2014 Yamaha YZ250F. Now the production version is here. Is it just as impressive?
2014 Suzuki RM-Z450 First Ride
For the upcoming Supercross and outdoor motocross seasons Suzuki continues to campaign its proven 2014 RM-Z450. We give it a test ride in this review.
2014 Honda CRF450R First Ride
Following its major overhaul last season Honda tweaks the CRF450R’s air fork and the engine's intake and exhaust. We give it a shakedown test in this dirt bike review.
Honda CRF450R Project Racing Loretta Lynns
Loretta Lynn’s is one of the toughest tests of rider and machine. MotoUSA’s friend and veteran motocross racer Kevin Foley chases a 10th Championship at the historic race.
Recent Project Bike Articles
Burly MX Style Pegs for Harley Sportster Review
We spice up the styling of our 2004 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom project bike with the addition of a set of Burly MX Style Pegs.
RSD Clarity Sportster Air Cleaner Review
We continue wrenching on our 2004 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom project bike, this time installing an RSD Clarity Air Cleaner to increase flow to the engine.
Mustang Tripper Solo Sportster Seat Review
Work on our 2004 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom project bike continues as we update it with a new Mustang Tripper Solo Seat with a Tuck and Roll pattern.
2013 Honda CBR600RR Project Bike
We invigorate more thrills into our long-term Honda CBR600RR by fitting a slip-on exhaust and fresh set of motorcycle tires.
2014 Polaris RZR XP1000 Project - Part 1
The Polaris RZR XP1000 is a high-performance machine that just begs to be modified. MotoUSA decides to get ready to race the WORCS series with a long list of high-end parts.
RSD Clarity Sportster Derby Cover Review
We put an RSD Clarity Derby Cover on our 2004 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom project bike and are pleased with the improvements in form and function.
Progressive Suspension 970 Shock Review
The stock suspension on our 2004 Sportster 1200 Custom project bike had seen better days. We aim to remedy that problem by throwing on a set of Progressive Suspension 970 Shocks.
2013 Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R Project Bike
Our long-term ZX-6R is the go-to sportbike for long days on the road. It gets even better with a couple select parts.
Vance   Hines RSD Slant Exhaust Review
We tear into our 2004 Harley Sportster 1200 Custom project bike, hoping to hop it up by swapping out its old pipes for a set of Vance & Hines RSD Slant Exhaust.
MotoUSA Staff Motorcycles - Suzuki RM-Z450
Suzuki’s 2012 RM-Z450 is one of our favorite motocrossers. So much so, we purchased one second-hand and build it into the ultimate motocrosser.
2013 Ducati 1199 Panigale S Project Bike
Thinking of purchasing a 1199 Panigale? First, find out what it’s like to live with Ducati’s Superbike in this long-term street and track review.
Barry Synogrounds 1962 Li150
The final mount in the vintage scooter comparison is a 1962 Lambretta Li150. See how it stacks up against the Series II TV175 and Rally 200.
Diego Torres 1960 Series II TV175
Reaching further back in history, Gabe Ets-Hokin jumps aboard a 1960 Lambretta Series II TV175 to see how it stacks up in this vintage scooter comparison.
Paula Crossfields 1972 Rally 200
Gabe Ets-Hokin gets the vintage scooter comparison underway with a 1972 Vespa Rally 200, provided generously by its owner, Paula Crossfield.
Dealer Locator
 
 
 

Login or sign up to comment.