Yamaha Motorcycles

Yamaha has brought a wide selection of 2012 model motorcycles to the dealerships this year, with 10 in the street bike category and an even dozen dirt bikes. Let’s take a look.

Street Bikes

Yamaha breaks their street bikes out into four subcategories: Super Sport, Super Sport Touring, Adventure Touring, and Dual Purpose. In the Super Sport area there are five bikes, the YZF-R1, FZ1, FZ8, YZF-R6, and FZ6R. The biggest is the YZF-R1, with a 998cc engine (MSRP: $14,490 – $13,990). The FZ1 ($10,590) is also 998cc and then the FZ8 ($8,690) steps down to 779cc. At the lower end, the FZ6R ($7,590) sports 600cc. All are fuel-injected inline-fours.

Yamaha MotorcycleThe one Super Sport Touring machine is Yamaha’s superlative 1298cc FJR1300A ($15,590). This bike offers all the goodies: heated grips, adjustable windshield, adjustable ergonomics, ABS, and of course, hard bags are part of the package. One extra feature is a glove box that contains a 12-volt outlet for phones, GPS units, electric vests, or anything else you need to plug in.

For Adventure Touring, Yamaha offers the 1199cc Super Tenere ($14,500). This go-anywhere bike is built for adventure with a compact parallel twin engine that is located down low so as to provide excellent handling. Featuring both ABS and a Unified Braking System, braking application can be selected depending on the need. A squeeze on the front brake by itself does apply some braking to the rear, but step on the rear brake first and you’ll be able to work the two brakes independently.

Three bikes comprise the Dual Purpose category, the WR250R ($6,590), XT250 ($5,090), and TW200 ($4,490).

While engine size is approximately the same for the first two, the big difference between them is that the WR250R is liquid-cooled while the XT250 is air cooled. The XT also has a larger gas tank (2.4 gallons vs. 1.9 gallon). The 196cc TW200 is air-cooled.

Off-Road Bikes

Yamaha uses two subcategories for their dirt bikes: Motocross and Off-Road. For 2012 there are five of the former and seven of the latter.

The five Motocross bikes are the YZ450F ($8,350), YZ250F ($7,290), YZ250 ($7,150), YZ125 ($6,290), and YZ85 ($3,990). While the YZ450F is fuel-injected, the rest use carbs. All are chain-driven. All are liquid-cooled. All have inverted forks and hydraulic disk brakes. As with any dirt bike, seat height is substantially higher than on a comparable street bike, with the smallest, the YZ85, sitting at 24 inches. The seat on the YZ450F sits at 39.4 inches.

Off-Road Yamahas run from the WR450F ($8.090) to the child-sized PW50 ($1,390) and TT-R50E ($1,490). In between are the WR250F ($6,890), TT-R230 ($3,850), TT-R125LE ($3,190), and TT-R110E ($2,190). As with the Motocross bikes, the 450 is fuel-injected, while the rest are carbureted. All are chain-driven. Of the two kids’ bikes, the TT-R50E offers electric start and three-speed automatic transmission, and the PW50 has a fully automatic transmission. The TT-R50E offers an inverted fork while the PW50 has a standard fork. The seat heights on these smaller models are 21.8 and 19.1 inches respectively.

Of the three mid-sized TTs, the R230 features electric start and a four-stroke engine. It also boasts a six-speed transmission with heavy-duty clutch. The R125LE is also a four-stroke and has five gears. The R110E has a four-speed auto-clutch transmission and is considered appropriate for larger children as well as adults. The WR250F is a five-speed with electric start. Its computer displays pace management functions such as timer, distance-compensating tripmeter, average speed, etc., when switched to race mode.

From top to bottom, there is a Yamaha motorcycle built for any rider—even the youngsters.