Yamaha is one of the iconic dirt bike brands and in this article we talk about the best Yamaha Dirt Bikes.
For those who do not know, Yamaha has really known for building high-quality dirt bikes with some of the best stock suspension in the industry.
In 1955 Yamaha founded its motorcycle division (Yamaha Motors) and the first motorcycle that was built by Yamaha’s motorcycle division was a 125cc 2 stroke motorcycle.
Yamaha is known for innovating in the offroad dirt biking world and was the first to build the “Mono Shock” in the early 70ies.
Fast forward to today, Yamaha Motorsports builds all sorts of different kinds of dirt bikes for all different kinds of dirt bike riding.
But what dirt bikes are known as the ‘best’ in the Yamaha camp?
We are talking about ionic Yamaha dirt bikes that really had an impact on the entire dirt bike world. Yamaha, in my opinion, had 2 bikes that really changed or contributed to the success of Yamaha more than all of its other dirt bikes combined.
Below we list out all of the dirt bikes that Yamaha has in there lineup and what riding terrain they are used for. But scroll past that if you just want to jump to what the best Yamaha dirt bikes are.
Yamaha Dirt Bikes Types
- YZ Motocross Race Bikes
- YZX CrossCountry Race Bikes
- WR Trail dirt bikes
- TTR Trail dirt bikes
- Dual Sport dirt bikes
Lucky for us we have lots of different Yamaha dirt bikes to choose from to suit whatever riding style or terrain you want to dirt bike on. Below is a list of all the Yamaha dirt bikes that they offer in 2020.
- Yamaha YZ450F
- Yamaha YZ250F
- Yamaha YZ250
- Yamaha YZ125
- Yamaha YZ85
- Yamaha YZ65
Yamaha Cross Country
- Yamaha YZ450FX
- Yamaha YZ250FX
- Yamaha YZ250X
- Yamaha YZ125X
Yamaha Offroad Enduro (Trail)
- Yamaha WR450
- Yamaha WR250
- Yamaha TTR230
- Yamaha TTR125
- Yamaha TTR110
- Yamaha TTR50
- Yamaha PW50
Yamaha Dual Sport
- Yamaha WR250R
- Yamaha XT250
- Yamaha TW200
For racing 2 strokes would produce more power per CC than an air-cooled 4 stroke motor. All the motocross and offroad race teams would mostly choose 2 strokes.
BEST YAMAHA DIRT BIKE
In the motocross world and offroad racing world, everyone was racing the YZ250 2 stroke dirt bike. This is one of the MOST iconic dirt bikes every to be built.
The YZ250 won championships after championships.
Yamaha YZ250 USA Championships:
- 5 AMA Motocross titles
- 9 AMA Supercross titles
- 6 AMA offroad
The original 1974 YZ250 was an air-cooled 2 stroke motor but in 1982 it was replaced with a liquid-cooled reed valved two-stroke motor (YZ250 History).
When all the dirt bike manufactures stopped making two-strokes in the early 2000’s Yamaha is one of the only dirt bike manufactures to keep two-strokes in their lineup.
The 2020 YZ250 uses an aluminum frame that reduced the overall weight (Dry weight 212lbs). This aluminum frame replaced the steel frame in 2005. The YZ250 Motor puts out around 48.8 HP so the power to weight ratio is really good.
The YZ250 was well known for its solid power and excellent suspension. The Racing community really liked them but the freestyle and offroaders really loved them.
Easy to work on and tune the YZ250 to this day is one of the best 2 strokes on the market. EVEN with them not updating them really since 2006. They are reliable and fun to ride.
The 2020 YZ250 comes in two different models, the 2020 YZ250 motocross bike and the 2020YZ250X cross country bike.
The YZ250 is one of the Best Yamaha dirt bikes ever made
1998 Yamaha YZ400F
The YZ400F is a dirt bike that changed the entire dirt bike world. For a very long time, the 250 two-strokes were the kings of racing and all things performance. The YZ400F was the very high-performance liquid-cooled four-stroke and was put into production 1998-2000. The YZ400F weighs around 250 lbs and could redline up to 11,600.
But it wasn’t until Doug Henry won an AMA Motocross Championship aboard the YZ400F. This was HUGE as this was the very first time that 4 strokes no could be considered as a competitive racing dirt bike.
We at this time are starting to see what I call the 4 Stroke revolution. The ENTIRE industry started to switch all their racing programs to these high compression, high revving four-strokes.
Even though at this time the 250 two-stroke was largely still considered a better more powerful race dirt bike.
The dirt bike industry changed. All of sudden the dirt bike world rushed out and bought four-stroke after four-stroke. Leaving the two-stroke behind. Saying that it was an old tech and harder to ride.
2001 Yamaha YZ426F
In 2001 Yamaha introduced an updated YZF motor, the Yamaha YZ426F for more power and better engine response. Another big change was the aluminum subframe. This YZ426F was faster and better than the 1998 YZF. It was around this time that the other dirt bike manufacturers jumped on to the four-stroke bandwagon.
2003 Yamaha YZ450F
With all the success that Yamaha was having with the earlier four-stroke models, they continued to pour research dollars into the YZF.
2003 was one of the biggest years of updates on the YZF models. The engine was increased to a whopping 449cc displacement. This motor produced 52 hp which was more than its two-stroke brothers.
Along with all the engine updates the chassis, plastics, and whole frame changed on the 2003 YZ450F.
2006 Yamaha YZ450F
In 2006 Yamaha again made a ton of upgrades the already popular YZ450F. The power was better and the bike was said to be easier to ride. A new aluminum frame was built to make the YZF lighter and thinner. Also, 2006 was the first year that the legendary KYB SSS forks were fitted to the Yamaha motocross bikes.
Buy this time all of the other big dirt bike manufactures were working hard to catch up with the YZ450F that Yamaha had built.
It’s rare that a specific dirt bike actually changes the entire dirt bike landscape.
Fast forward to 2020
Currently, the YZ450F is a fuel-injected inverted motor beast of a dirt bike.
While in 2010 the offroad world started to wake up to the “4-stroke” revolution the 450F still is the weapon of choice in professional supercross and motocross racing.
450F dirt bikes are known to have gobs of power and the dirt bike manufactures have been working hard to make them more “rideable” for the average joes.
Also, we have seen the 450F’s lose weight year after year. In fact, they are pretty much around the same weight as the two-strokes of old.
At one point we all thought that the four-stroke revolution really meant the nail in the coffin for the two-stroke dirt bikes. As we learned more and more about how four-strokes work we slowly say a resurgence in updated and modern two-strokes.
Two-strokes are just flat out a simple design when compared to a modern 4-stroke. They are easier to work on and cost less to maintain.
However, Yamaha and KTM were the only big dirt bike manufacturers to keep 2 strokes in their lineups. We have Yamaha and KTM to thank for keeping two-strokes alive. Even though Yamaha really hasn’t updated very much in their two-stroke lineup. Luckily for Yamaha, the 2006 YZ250 was really good and even to this day, the YZ250 is a really good two-stroke.
So, the VERY BEST YAMAHA DIRT BIKES are as follows
- Yamaha YZ250
- Yamaha YZ450F
Yamaha makes high-quality dirt bikes and no matter which niche or motor CC you choose you will have a really well built and fun dirt bike to ride.
All the way from their PW50 to their YZ450F motocross bike.
I am happy to see that Yamaha is committed to dirt bikes as some of the other big manufacturers have neglected us. I hope to see many more new and updated models from Yamaha Motorcycles.
The very first Yamaha four-stroke dirt bike I personally rode was my buddies WR426. I remember watching my buddy dump this WR426 into a raging spring runoff river. He and the WR426 disappeared. Once he got out the WR426 still started and we rode it back to the truck. It wasn’t until YEARS later we were riding out in the desert when the ole girl finally gave up the ghost and locked up.
It’s no secret that Yamaha is considered on of the most reliable dirt bike manufacturers out there but I feel like Yamaha is one of the few dirt bikes manufacturers actually wanting to pour research dollars into making us better bikes.
This is good for us and I wish others would take notice.
In fact, we have a Yamaha YZ250X in our garage alongside our other dirt bikes. It really is one of our favorite dirt bikes to ride. Our crew here votes that its one of the top 5 dirt bikes we have ever ridden.
Here is the future of dirt biking and Yamaha is one of the leaders!!