Summer has become the time for new bike news, but most of it is expected. You can usually track the standard number of years between bike redesigns, as well as the cadence of new bikes in each class. For example, Honda revamped the CRF450R in 2017 and 2021, and it's likely the CRF250R will be all-new for 2022 (because the 250 usually gets a revamp a year after the 450). KTM made few changes to its 2022 motocross bikes, but rumor has it that next-gen bikes could appear as Factory Editions, and then all the regular KTMs would be due for as 2023 revamp. This is the kind of timing we've come to expect.
But today comes news we didn't see coming! For the first time in 15 years, Yamaha has redesigned the YZ125 two-stroke! Let's just add another sentence with an exclamation point!
We could get technical here and mention that the frame from the old 125 stays in tact, but with a new engine, bodywork and more, we'll take it and just say this bike is all-new even if not every part is new. New tech in the two-stroke world doesn't come around often enough! Exclamation!
There are also changes to Yamaha's two-stroke YZ85, including a new big-wheel model, and the venerable YZ250 two-stroke gains the same new bodywork as the 125, as well as some updated parts and pieces. Here's info straight from Yamaha's press release today:
MARIETTA, Ga. – July 8, 2021 – Yamaha Motor Corporation, USA, is proud to announce the expansion of its benchmark-setting two-stroke motocross lineup, highlighted by a new version of the race-bred YZ125. Features include a powerful new 125cc two-stroke engine, improved suspension, updated brakes, enhanced ergonomics, and new modern YZ styling including updated bodywork with premium embedded graphics. This marks the first full model change for the revered YZ125 in more than 15 years and positions it back at the top of the 125cc two-stroke class by offering the perfect blend of race-winning performance and real-world usability.
Other notable changes to Yamaha’s lineup of race-ready two strokes include an improved YZ85 and a new-for-2022 YZ85LW (Large Wheel) model, offering enhanced off-road performance and a more “big-bike” feel through the addition of a larger 19-inch front wheel, 16-inch rear wheel and longer swingarm. Both 2022 YZ85 models feature enhanced rider ergonomics, a more efficient intake design, lightweight aluminum subframe and swingarm, updated rear brake master cylinder, and new modern seat and plastics with premium graphics reflecting the YZ’s unmatched racing heritage.
Additionally, Yamaha’s flagship YZ250 two-stroke receives an enhanced lightweight braking system, updated suspension settings, improved ergonomic design with updated, modern YZ styling and new premium graphics. Yamaha is also proud to extend the popular Monster Energy® Yamaha Racing Editions to the two-stroke lineup with the new 2022 Monster Energy® Yamaha Racing Edition YZ250 and 2022 Monster Energy® Yamaha Racing Edition YZ125, offering two-stroke aficionados the opportunity to sport the Yamaha factory look of our championship-winning Monster Energy® Star Yamaha Racing team.
“At Yamaha, two-strokes are in our blood. That’s why we continue to develop and offer a full range of off-road two-strokes, and why we are so excited about these important new updates to our lineup” said Derek Brooks, Yamaha Motorcycle Product Line Manager. “These bikes are all about providing the fun and exhilaration of a lightweight, powerful two-stroke to the next generation of riders. We feel that Yamaha YZ two-strokes will continue to play an integral role in developing young riders and building future champions.”
The YZ125 gets an all-new engine, revamped body work, improved brakes, suspension and more. Here are more direct details on the new YZ125:
New 2022 YZ125:
The new 2022 YZ125 represents an important evolution in Yamaha’s two-stroke lineage. As the first full model change to the iconic YZ125 in more than 15 years, Yamaha designers and engineers put considerable thought into developing a motorcycle that would be both dominant on the racetrack and user-friendly for developing riders looking to bridge the gap between recreation riding and competitive motocross. The result is a significantly better YZ125.
It starts with a new, more powerful liquid-cooled 125cc two-stroke engine. Every functional part of the 2022 YZ125 engine is new, including the cylinder body, cylinder head, piston, piston pin, connecting rod, crankcase and expansion chamber. It all adds up to increased power across the mid- to high-rpm range. Enhancing fueling and power delivery, a new high-precision Hitachi Astemo® Keihin PWK38S carburetor with throttle position sensor and 3D-map-controlled CDI unit provide clean, crisp throttle response and superior rideability. A new intake design with VForce4 carbon reed valve leads to a more efficient draw of air into the engine for an improved feeling of power in the high rpm range.
To match increased engine performance, an updated lightweight braking system features larger front pistons, a more rigid caliper, a redesigned 270mm front rotor with a 30% increase in pad contact area and higher friction pad material, all combining to provide exceptional braking power and feel. A redesigned rear rotor maintains the same braking power while dropping outer diameter from 245mm to 240mm, reducing unsprung weight without compromising performance. Taking the YZ125's category-defining suspension and handling characteristics to a new level, front and rear suspension damping has been revised to further improve bump absorption and cornering performance. Best-in-class KYB® suspension includes an inverted front fork, now with new fork internals for more precise damping.
A new flatter seat and more narrow fuel tank design, along with smoothly integrated body panels and slimmer radiator shroud width all combine to enable greater freedom of movement forward and back, allowing the rider to easily shift body weight for increased control and confidence. Emphasizing the YZ125’s mission to win races, a bold, aggressive Yamaha Blue and dark blue colorway with premium embedded graphics ensure excellent durability and scratch resistance.
2022 YZ125 features and benefits
- Redesigned liquid-cooled Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS)-equipped 125cc two-stroke engine boasts more power in the mid- to high-range for increased usability over the previous model
- New high-precision Hitachi Astemo® Keihin PWK38S carburetor features throttle position sensor and 3D-map-controlled CDI unit resulting in crisp throttle response and superior rideability
- New straight intake design improves power output, letting the rider feel an excellent pull in the higher revs and a strong sense of over-rev
- New shorter, lighter muffler
- High performance brake setup features more rigid front caliper, larger front pistons and redesigned rotors with increased pad contact area for exceptional stopping power and feel, along with less unsprung weight
- Improved rider ergonomics with a more narrow tank, flatter seat and slimmer radiator shrouds offering greater freedom of movement
- Fully adjustable KYB® inverted front fork now includes a leaf spring in the mid-speed valve for increased performance and comfort
- Revised fully adjustable KYB® rear shock features reduced-friction Kashima Coat™ internals
- Race-proven, highly developed forged aluminum semi-double cradle frame
- Removable aluminum rear subframe constructed of square-section tubing for reduced weight
- Lightweight finely tuned chassis for nimble handling, more control and less rider fatigue
- Revised six-speed, close-ratio transmission has wider transmission gear tooth width and new, optimized gear ratios for maximum performance
- New lightweight rear sprocket design
- New lightweight chain
- High-capacity radiator features a 10-row core with blacked-out louvers to deliver maximum cooling and aggressive looks
- Lightweight aluminum handlebar with two-position adjustable handlebar clamp
- Adjustable clutch lever with works-style cable adjuster
- New premium graphics are now embedded for improved durability and scratch resistance
- Race-developed Bridgestone® Battlecross X20 tires
The new 2022 YZ125 will be available from dealers this October in next-generation Team Yamaha Blue for $6,899 MSRP.
Yes, $6,899. Sounds manageable, right?
The YZ250 returns to the lineup with the same awesome motor Chad Reed used to win the 2004 AMA Supercross Championship. The rest of the bike gets some tweaks similar to the new 125:
New 2022 YZ250:
Yamaha’s race-tested YZ250 two-stroke is already known for its fast, powerful engine, plush suspension, class-leading handling and rider friendly character. With significant updates for 2022, it’s now even better. Beginning with improved rider ergonomics, a more narrow fuel tank, flatter seat, slimmer radiator shrouds and new side covers all contribute to greater freedom of movement front to back and easier weight transfer. Changes to the seat and bodywork have also enabled a new, straighter intake design, allowing a more efficient intake path to the engine for a better feeling of power in the high rpm range.
The YZ250's already renowned suspension and handling performance takes another step forward with revised front and rear suspension damping to enhance bump absorption and cornering agility. An updated brake setup includes a more rigid front caliper, larger front pistons, a redesigned 270mm front rotor with a 30% increase in pad contact area and higher friction pad material, all combining to provide exceptional braking power and feel. A redesigned rear rotor maintains the same braking power while dropping outer diameter from 245mm to 240mm, further reducing unsprung weight with no compromise on performance.
Wrapping up the package, a premium new Yamaha Blue and dark blue embedded graphics scheme provides excellent durability and scratch resistance while accentuating the YZ's racing pedigree. The 2022 YZ250 retains the fast and fun liquid-cooled YPVS-equipped 249cc two-stroke powerplant, the compact chassis and meticulously developed lightweight aluminum frame, and the intuitive handling character and all-around usability that’s made it a favorite among both competitive motocross racers and recreational riders alike.
The new 2022 YZ250 will be available from dealers this July in next-generation Team Yamaha Blue for $7,799 MSRP.
Here's info on the new YZ85 and YZ85LW (large wheel):
New 2022 YZ85 & YZ85LW:
As an important entry into the world of competitive motocross, the YZ85 has long been the mini race bike of choice for future champions. Light, nimble and fun with a high performance two‑stroke engine and top shelf suspension, it serves up big-bike spec in a small bike package. Along with its proven liquid-cooled YPVS-equipped 85cc powerplant, fully adjustable suspension and large diameter brakes, the new 2022 YZ85 boasts numerous enhancements to expand its overall performance.
Rider ergonomics have been improved by way of a new, more narrow tank design, flatter seat, new side covers and slimmer, symmetrically sized radiator shrouds. This enables greater freedom of movement for smooth shifting of body weight and better machine control. Along with the new bodywork, a sharp, new premium graphics scheme inspired by its YZ125 sibling highlights its distinctive race-bred YZ DNA. The redesigned seat and rear bodywork also enable an updated rear-positioned straight-through intake for an improved feeling of power in the low rpm range.
For demanding junior racers, the new YZ85 has been enhanced in several key chassis areas to optimize strength and rigidity, including revisions to the main frame, swingarm and rear wheel axle. The aluminum swingarm was redesigned to enhance balance between longitudinal and torsional rigidity for improved handling stability. A new removable rear subframe constructed from lightweight, high-strength aluminum reduces weight. The rear brake master cylinder now has a built-in sub-reservoir providing more linear brake response and increased control.
New for 2022, the YZ85 Large Wheel (LW) model takes the race-winning YZ85 formula and enhances off-road capability even more with the addition of a larger 19-inch front wheel and 16-inch rear wheel wrapped in high performance 70/100/19 front and 90/100/16 rear Dunlop® MX3S tires. A longer swingarm accommodates the larger rear wheel and increases handling stability. The YZ85LW is designed to be the ideal transition between the standard YZ85 and the full size YZ125, perfect for those advanced 85cc riders looking for a more "big-bike" feel.
2022 YZ85 & YZ85LW features and benefits
- Improved rider ergonomics with a more narrow tank, flatter seat and slimmer, symmetrical shrouds offering greater freedom of movement
- New straight intake design improves feeling of power in the low rpm range
- New removable lightweight aluminum rear subframe is 570g lighter than previous steel frame
- Redesigned aluminum swingarm improves longitudinal and torsional rigidity
- New rear brake master cylinder design with built-in sub-reservoir provides more linear brake response
- New premium graphics are now embedded for improved durability and scratch resistance
- New lightweight handlebar is 40g lighter than previous model
- Four-position handlebar mounts adjust to suit rider preference
- Advanced 85cc two-stroke engine features the Yamaha Power Valve System for broad power delivery
- Crankcase design features a spacer-style reed valve intake for improved air/gas flow
- Hitachi Astemo® Keihin PWK28 flat-slide carburetor offers seamless throttle response
- Race-proven KYB® inverted cartridge fork and KYB® rear shock are fully adjustable
- Big 220mm and 190mm wave-rotor disc brakes offer precise control and one-finger stopping power
- Transmission features oversized gears for enhanced engagement and smoother shifts
- Blue lightweight rims are stylish, durable, reduce unsprung weight and come wrapped in high performance Dunlop® MX3S tires
- High-capacity lightweight radiator has large cores for efficiency and new blacked-out louvers for a more aggressive look
The new 2022 YZ85 and YZ85LW will both be available from dealers this December in next-generation Team Yamaha Blue for $4,799 and $4,999 MSRP, respectively.
In addition, Yamaha announced that its two-stroke YZ "X" line off off--road racers will return for 2022. No changes there but...wait until next year?
Yamaha’s YZ125X and YZ250X models return for 2022 to give cross country and enduro enthusiasts two class-leading, competition-ready two-stroke options. Optimized for the unique demands of cross country racing, the YZ125X and YZ250X feature the Yamaha Power Valve System for exhilarating two-stroke power, paired with precise, smooth-shifting transmissions and carefully considered ratios to put that power down exactly when needed for exceptional usability. A lightweight aluminum frame hosts the industry-leading fully adjustable, KYB® speed sensitive spring-type suspension that is tuned specifically to meet the rigorous demands of cross country racing. The 18-inch rear wheel, sealed O-ring chain and high performance off-road tires mean the YZ125X and YZ250X are ready for GNCC® and Hare Scramble competition straight out of the box.
The 2022 YZ250X will be available from dealers this July in next-generation Team Yamaha Blue for $7,799 MSRP and the 2022 YZ125X will be available from dealers this August in next-generation Team Yamaha Blue for $6,799 MSRP.