03 YZ250F a good bike? Can get one local for $1500 or so

I have a two stroke KX250 and my boy has a YZ85, so I know more about 2stroke machines.


A local dad has an 03 YZ250 that he has only riden around the farm fields with his kid.  LOW hours and never raced, totally stock.


Tempted to try a 4-stroke, but cant afford a new one.


Was this year a good bike?  $1500 seem like a good deal?


Thanks for any advice.



I honestly would be scared to buy one that old unless the top end has been done and valves are good. My buddy just bought an 04 and rode it for 2 months and it locked up yesterday. Probably going to cost $1500-1800 to fix.

If the owner took very good care it and it's been updated, I would say yes.

03 seems to be a good bike, especially since that one has low hours and not raced. That year they started the auto-decompression so that will make starting it real easy. Look on CL to see what the going price for bikes are around your area. Wouldn't hurt to try to offer him $1200-$1300. But here in Colorado on CL it shows 2002-2004 bikes going for $1800 up to $2400. So to answer your question--yes, a good deal

Thanks guys, thanks for the quick replys.


I told him I'd stop by and look at it and talk to him tomorrow night (have to Trick-or-treat tonight).


I know dirt bikes and know what to look for on head bearings, linkage, swing arm, radiators, clutch, chain & sproket, wheel bearings, ect.  But not to versed on 4strokes.


If it were a two-stroke, I'd know what to look at on the pipe, piston skirt, reeds, , ect.

Anything specific I should pay attnetion to on the motor?  How do I know the condition of the valves and piston by looking/feeling it?  Just have to ask him what maintnence he has done....and trust him.  Mabe he has a maintnence log?


I have adjusted valves on 4stroke ATVs and TTR125 so know what to do....but what can I do, look at in his garage?


If it looks good, I'd certainly have a pocket full of $100s and offer him a low ball.  Cash


Looking forward to any more advice.  My local race shop guy has an 07 RMZ250 that he rebuilt.  So that one I know is good to go.  $2500 more firm.  But I'd know that one is good.  But if I could steal this 03, might be a good first start at a 4stroke...if it checks out AOK.



The 2003 is a very good bike. The improvement from the 01-02 was huge- something like 10 lbs lighter, trimmer, plus auto decompression cam with the hotstart mounted on the handlebar.

My son and I both had 03 YZ250Fs back in the day. We ran the wheels off those bikes and they kept on screaming without protest. The one bike had something like 30 enduros and hare scrambles plus a TON of play ride & practice ride hours.

Favorite mods for that bike- aftermarket seat foam & grippy seat cover, different handlebars, higher compression piston, jet the carb- toss the stock leak jet for a #50, and you're good.

For $1500 for a low hour machine, that's a real good deal and I wouldn't be afraid of it all. Bring it home!

Edited by BazookaJoe

I don't know if there is really any good way to check the valves without actually opening the caps or w/e and using feeler gauges... But generally speaking, if the bike starts up with the first few kicks fairly easily, the valves are probably at least rideable. You could also take a compression tester if you wanted to be more thorough. Definitely fire it up and warm it up then give it a test drive around the area real quick and make sure the transmission feels good and smooth... Listen for weird noises etc... Well these engines are noisy anyways and sound sometimes like they have marbles rolling around inside. The weird noises are further amplified if there is a bash plate installed.

Edited by fdme

the 03 was very solid. I had one and sold it with about 140 hrs on it. $1500 is a fair price around here.

Head bearings won't tell you anything, as all the one's I've ever come across feel notchy. 03s are great bikes. 04s are a little better due to the 48mm forks. $1500 for a really nice bike is right at fair market value.

Like said, $1500 is about fair market value, not a screaming deal or anything. I would try to talk him down at least.


These bikes are notoriously the most reliable of the 250F's. That said, they can still have issues if neglected. At the same time, a running engine can be completely rebuilt top to bottom for a few hundred bucks if you aren't afraid to do the work yourself. I have bought a few blown up bikes cheap and fixed them because people are afraid to work on them themselves and the shops quote them $2000 to fix them. I have yet to spend more than $800 on a blown up motor and that one needed a crank, cylinder, piston, and cylinder head.

Listen to Joe, he knows what he's talking about.


I'd base my decision on the honesty of the seller and appearance of the bike. Do you know this guy and is he a straight shooter? Does he point out any flaws in the bike? Does he appear to maintain his stuff well, things like that.


Does the bike look low hours? Plastic and stickers still stock? Tires and chain condition. Oil and water look clean. If all those check out you've probably found a cream puff, buy it. Offer less but pay $1500 if you have to. That's a fair deal if its a good one. If a seller is asking much less, its probably a roach.



As for reliability, they are extremely well built machines and will run forever if maintained and not ridden hard. Most of us know about honda 4t play bikes that run forever and never die. Well the yami 250f is like those if you just put around on them. The reason 250fs have a bad rep for reliability is people race them hard and scream the motors to the limiter, a lot. They rev really high to maximize hp for racing and that wears them out. If yamaha set the rev limiter 3000 rpm lower they would probably never die.

Edited by moleson10


This is all good information.  Thanks.  I am encouraged.

I don't know the guy, but he lives in the nest town over, so might as well go see it.

He has a PW50 for sale too....so maybe he and the kid just gave up on the sport.  He only road it around the neighborhood.  Stickers look dead stock....tires too.  No numbers on the plates.  I'm hoping he is original owner.


I'm encouraged with the input on this thread...this TT is awesome.

Side story:

CubScout event at a local farm pond.  I mossey around and look in the old man's barn.  Some cool old tractors and signs....and a car under a cover.  I peel it back, dust is floating, I'm the first one to touch it in years...A wierd "M" eblem on the wheels.  WTH?!  Sure enough...a Masseratti.  I get a good look at it and see it's a biturbo with an old car phone mounted to the cousel.


Talk to the old guy about the old M car.  It's his son's and has been there for years.  Two weeks later his son is in from Az.  I ask him about it..."oh that old Masseratti aint worth anything.  It ran when I parked it there."



I look all up about the mid '80s Masserratti BiTurbo. 


Find out it is the lamest car ever.  Like a Ford Pinto or AMC Pacer or Cadillac that could zig (whatever that was) or any of those J-body cars of the 80s.  :(


SO that was a let down.  I don't even want it now.  Would rather have a four-stroke dirt bike, even if it is ten years old.  Didn't want to hear that the 03 YZ250F was one of the lamest dirtbiles ever.  Like the 24" front wheel Honda Elsinor 125 from the mid 80s.


I'll post back with an update.


I have been thinking about a 4s.  Seems I should try one as I go pretty good on the KX250 2stroke.

Also scan the guys garage, is it a mess with only minimal tools? A mans garage speaks volumes.

Also scan the guys garage, is it a mess with only minimal tools? A mans garage speaks volumes.


What he said. ^^^


And the bi-turbo.... I started to read that and thought NO!!! Cool looking back in the day but total POS. Italian Vega.

Edited by moleson10

Probably to late for feedback, but I bought an 01 WR250F for 500 dollars last year.  It looked like it was worth about that much too.  I've put 60 hours on it so far and a lot of $$$ making it ride well.  I'm very happy.



Me and the boy went over there and the guy knew me from CubScouts (I'm pack master so a lot of parents "know" me).

The bike looks pretty good and the history sounds lagit.

Cold engine fired up.

Ran fine.

Seemed tight and right.


Wife and finances might agree....

Why not try a 4s?

Sounds like a go! Grab on, twist a grip, and enjoy my friend.

Very very very good bikes. I had an 01 with 03 cams bought it prolly with 40 hrs on it from the original owner then i proceeded to put easily 200 hours on it. Adjusted the valves once and one piston. Never missed a beat even with tons and tons of riding and racing.

Very very very good bikes. I had an 01 with 03 cams bought it prolly with 40 hrs on it from the original owner then i proceeded to put easily 200 hours on it. Adjusted the valves once and one piston. Never missed a beat even with tons and tons of riding and racing.

I am awaiting some 05 cams to put on my 01. Can't wait. These bikes are pretty solid regardless of what some people think. Enjoy the ride coo

They are by far the most durable 250fs not even close, the external oil tank, head design, and matrrials all add up to an extremely reliable set up. Keep the oil and filter fresh, and itll outlast any bike in its class 2 stroke or 4 in my opinion



Such rage reviews.

I'm going over there with 15 hundos tomorrow!

Such encouraging posts.


It really felt solid.  No wobble in the wheels, swing arm, steering, linkage, pipe,triple clamps, seals, seat ...all around solid.

No spooge either :)


But.... why not?!  I can and I deserve.  Be cool to have a 2s and a 4s....can't see selling my KX250.


Going to take a bit of getting used to I recon.


He is the second owner.  He used to work at the local Yami shop. 

Garage certainly instilled confidence the guy could (and did) change oil.


So this will be fun.

To bad it's end of season around here.  That said, any nice day I can ride laps around my own track.  Will be interesting to note how this one goes around it different than my KX.  I know that bike and my own track pretty dang good.  Will be neat to mix it up a bit.



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