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How much better is the 03 vs the 02 YZ250F

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I'm ready to buy my son an 03 YZ250F for trails riding in Washington. See a lot more deals on the 02, but the magazine reviews on the 03, when it came out, say it's twice as good as the 02.

Would there be a noticable difference to an intermediate rider? We ride mostly in the Cascades in the Naches area, so lots of tight trails, and climbing. Usually 1st-3rd gear stuff.

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2002 Yamaha YZ250F

In October 2000, the world got its first glimpse of what the YZ250F was capable of as Ernesto Fonseca ran away with the win (and a lead of more than 10 seconds) in the All-Japan MX Final. With the YZ250F, Yamaha proved it is more than competitive when it won six out of eight races, the 125 East/West Shootout in Las Vegas in May 2001 and the 125cc West Championship, making the YZ250F the first four-stroke to ever do so.

Maybe it all started in 1997 when Doug Henry won the Las Vegas Supercross aboard his YZM400 four-stroke, the first four-stroke to not only qualify for a Supercross Main Event but actually thump the entire field en route to the checkered flag. Maybe it started 1998 when Yamaha Motor Corp. introduced the production YZ400F to consumers. Maybe it started when Doug Henry clinched the 1998 National #1 Plate aboard his YZ400F. Maybe it started in 2000 when Yamaha upped the ante with its YZ426F. Maybe when it started is irrelevant, but one thing is certain: Yamaha’s four-stroke technology is the benchmark by which all other competitors and contenders are measured.

Right when the competition was approaching the starting gate, Yamaha pulled another holeshot by introducing the 2001 YZ250F four-stroke.

With Yamaha’s ultra-trick, titanium, five-valve, liquid-cooled, four-stroke powerplant, the YZ250F is capable of turning out an eye-watering 13,500 rpm’s. The DOHC 249cc powerplant features a bore and stoke of 77mm x 33.6mm with a compression ration of 12.5:1. Power is supplied via a Keihin 37mm FCR flat-side carburetor with Throttle Position Sensor. Harnessing the power under increased loads, the YZ250F’s five-speed transmission has superb gear-shifting operation via an involute-spline transmission. This, combined with Yamaha’s exclusive “works-style” adjustable clutch allows the YZ250F pilot smooth yet durable clutch action.

The YZ250F features a removable aluminum subframe, and as if last year’s YZ250F wasn’t light enough, the weight is reduced even further for 2002 with a newly designed rear arm just like those of its siblings the YZ125, YZ250 and YZ426F. The new design also improves over all handling, suspension performance and rigidity balance, making this thumper even more race dominant. The suspension of the YZ250F also receives several improvements for 2002. A new two-piece piston in the front fork allows for smoother oil flow leading to better overall suspension performance, as does a new rear shock absorber.

The forks feature anti-section dust seals, outer tubes with low friction internals and a lightweight aluminum piston rod for smoother suspension characteristics. The rear shock has a fully adjustable compression damping adjuster that allows the rider to dial in his suspension to meet the ever-changing track conditions on race day. The front forks feature a nylon spacer and a change in the bump rubber characteristic while the rear shock absorber’s lower mounting section features a needle bearing, aluminum guide and new bump rubber. These features improve the “bottoming” feeling and reduce unsprung weight in the rear.

Its power and lightweight may be the highlights, but YZ owners will be equally impressed with the 250F’s front brake master cylinder and disc. A Nissin front master cylinder coupled with a “floating” 250mm front disc provides excellent stopping power and increased controllability. With an all new 245mm rear disc brake and new, rear brake caliper, riders will feel improved braking performance. Yamaha’s lightweight hub, aluminum spoke nipples, and Dunlop 739FAs complete one of the most aggressive rear setups on a production machine today.

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2003 Yamaha YZ250F

So revolutionary no one has attempted to enter the arena in which the YZ250F is king. Moving into its third year of domination, the YZ250F has developed an astounding following and caused quite a commotion. Some think it's an unfair advantage with its unmatched competition, unmatched fun-factor and two Supercross championships - the YZ250F is the bike on the 125cc race circuit today.

At 250cc the YZ250F is legal in the 125cc class, because it's a four-stroke. The larger motor and additional power gave the bike an advantage. But, in a sport where light and nimble are two important factors, extra power isn't always a blessing as four-stroke were known less responsive, heavier handling bikes than their two-stroke counterparts. Enter the YZ250F, shattering the technological walls and combining the best of both worlds. As just 208 pounds (dry weight), the 2003 YZ250F has a narrower chassis and offers quick, responsive similar to a YZ125 or YX250 two-stroke.

The engine is the heart of the YZ250F gem featuring an ultra-trick, titanium, five-valve, liquid-cooled, four-stroke powerplant capable of turning out an eye-watering 13,500 rpm's. The DOHC 249cc powerplant features a bore and stoke of 77mm x 33.6mm with a compression ration of 12.5:1. Power is supplied via a Keihin 37mm FCR flat-side carburetor with Throttle Position Sensor ensuring precise air/fuel mixture and quick throttle response.

Harnessing the power under increased loads, the YZ250F's five-speed transmission has superb gear-shifting operation via an involute-spline transmission. This, combined with Yamaha's exclusive "works-style" adjustable clutch allows the YZ250F pilot smooth yet durable clutch action. The YZ250F features a removable aluminum subframe, and as if last year's YZ250F wasn't light enough; the weight is reduced by more than six pounds for 2003. The 2003 model also features all-new bodywork with a flatter seat, fuel tank and radiator shrouds for a more aggressive riding position and optimal rider movement. This is vital in turns where you want your weight as far forward as possible.

The suspension of the YZ250F also receives improvements for 2003 for additional support when landing those long double jumps. The all-new tapered rear swingarm features less weight and greater rigidity for a more compliant rear suspension. In addition, the rear shock has a fully adjustable compression damping adjuster that allows the rider to dial in his suspension to meet the ever-changing track conditions on race day. The front suspension features an inverted telescopic fork and a lightweight aluminum piston rod for smoother suspension characteristics.

Its power and lightweight may be the highlights, but YZ owners will be equally impressed with the 250F's front and rear brake set up. All-new front and rear master cylinders and calipers combined with a "floating" 250mm front and 245mm rear discs provide excellent stopping power and increased controllability. Yamaha's lightweight hub, aluminum spoke nipples and Dunlop 739FAs complete one of the most aggressive rear setups on a production machine today.

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Thanks guy's. I found one today at a local shop for $3300, so picked it up. Bike wasn't raced, which was one thing I was looking for.

We were comparing it to my 99 YZ400F, which feels about 40lbs heavier. Hope I don't like it better than my 400, or there might be some family problems!

I was half expecting that hesitation off idle when you snap the throttle to be gone by 2003, but it's not. Guess I'll be buying a PowerNow. I built my own for my 400, but I don't want to go thru that again.

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We have an '01 and an '03 - the '03 is like a different bike. Good choice. :)

I also had a '99 YZ400F. Chances are you will like the little "F" better... :)

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the 03 was mch flatter seat than 02 and could corner better IMO than 02. The motor put out more HP ,too, due to internal changes. There was a big jump in performance all around from 02-03.

the bad news is 03 -04's blow a lot of 4th gears.

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There are a couple of minor advantages to the 02's though. Seat has more cushion, and the motor holds more oil which can't hurt reliability. If you put an aftermarket tank on an 01 or an 02, it holds the fuel much lower, thereby giving you that lower CG feel of the newer bikes. Then you get an auto decompressor and your basically there. I'd still prefer an 03 though of course if the prices were close.

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