Yamaha’s 2010 YZ85 stands out as one of the best means to power you from mini bikes to the real think. Even though it still is an evolutionary step in an ambitious rider’s career, this is the bike on which the first racing skills are being developed and that’s all that matters sometimes.
A smaller replica of the YZ250 and YZ125, the revised two-stroke model is sure to be a great success because no matter what you’ll do, it doesn’t manage to stay behind even if you play around with palls on bigger, but not smokier rides.
The bike’s main feature is the 84.7cc liquid-cooled cranckcase reed-valve inducted engine that comes mated to a six-speed gearbox. An enjoyable revver, the two-stroke motor remains a dear friend on each track section and the small in size, low in weight gearbox is there to make sure you get the best out of it. All through the rev range, there is a lot of power, perfect to make it a leader in motocross races.
Read about the single backbone, semi-double-cradle frame and you’ll know that this is not a bike that goes out of control easily and together with the adjustable suspensions, it definitely competes as the most adaptable offering on the market.
Having used their dirt bike legacy that started early in the 1970s, Yamaha has pulled out an impressive bike from the very first model year (2002). It arrived late – that’s a fact – but it made its presence felt from the very first race it entered.
There haven’t been done much modification to it, except styling, and the bike simply followed its ascendant trend through its relatively short and bumpy career. Many motocross riders “made their hands” on one of these things and there was no better model to complete Yamaha’s 2010 lineup than the YZ85.
It would have been a perfect world if nobody else would have thrown the glove, but we wouldn’t have spoken about competition in that situation and this is the generating factor to heavy development almost each and every time.
Suzuki is in for conquering the hearts of small motocross addicts and the results of this fact are known as the RM85 and the RM85L. Also being developed like a true competition motocross bike, the RM is an identical alternative to the bike we’ve decided to study for today. The engine is, as you can suppose, an 84.7cc, liquid-cooled, case-reed and comes fitted with aluminum exhaust valves. These Suzukis are also inspired on their bigger siblings and, like on the Yamaha, the gearbox has six speeds so that it will push the engine further more. The only thing remaining to be mentioned is the chassis, composed of the rigid frame and fully-adjustable suspensions for adaptability and ease of riding.
Unlike Yamaha, Suzuki also offers a bigger version, the RM85L. This last comes with bigger wheels and a longer swingarm apart from the main features of the model we’ve just presented.
Kawasaki wasn’t supposed to retrieve from initiating beginners into motocross so they offer the KX85 for 2010 as well. The engine is the same 84cc liquid-cooled, two-stroke, single-cylinder, but implements new features such as the electrofusion-coated cylinder. All in all, it develops comparable power with the previously mentioned bikes and the frame is also a high-tensile perimeter one, making it feel the same as a Yamaha or Suzuki, only that it comes with green coloring.
What comes as an advantage on the Kawasaki is the Uni-Trak rear suspension unit that keeps it more stable around the corners, something that contributes at gaining performance.
The Honda CR85R is also a powerful opponent even though it hasn’t been revised from 2007 so it doesn’t get our full attention.
Yamaha’s smallest motocrosser is also the nicest as it has the racing design features of bigger models that lead to its creation. Bikers who were upgrading to 125cc bikes after only riding mini motorcycles felt like the step was too big for them to handle and this is how the medium-sized YZ85 was introduced.
Of course, it had to look good and make a great first impression because, as you already know, a kid will always choose with its heart, even though it plans to race. Also, that very same kid will stick to the maker that initiated him and that is another reason why Yamaha needed the gorgeous small model.
From fenders, side panels and seat to mudguards and number plates, the Yamaha YZ85 is a small replica of either the YZ125 or the YZ250, you choose it. Compact and aggressive, this is the 2010 model year.
There’s nothing more enjoyable and fulfilling for a rider than to know that it made the right choice from the very first ride on his new bike and that is the feel you get from the YZ85. Considering the fact that we didn’t even bought the bike and experience that despite the fair share of experience behind our backs imagine how a teenager will react. If you’re a parent reading this, be ready to sign up for some serious sponsorship.
By now, it is no doubt that the Yamaha YZ85 offers an accurate idea of what serious motocross riding means and it is all due to the always winning combination of a light and versatile chassis powered by a capable and very dependable powerplant.
The motor starts effortlessly at the first kick and provides a unique sound and rush that dirt riders will miss later when turning to four-stroke models, but that’s how things are in this sport. An important step in a rider’s evolution, the YZ85 will most likely be these’s first two-stroke, so it is good knowing that two-stroke bikes really need to give them gas (…and oil) and I am not referring to the mixing process, but to acceleration. This type of engine doesn’t provide impressive low-end torque (especially with 180 pounds to carry on its back) so revving is always the solution to position yourself on top of the crowd.
A young rider will also have to select the gears properly as it has six to work with. First gear is fairly short while second and third are ideal to work with especially if riding for the first time. I wasn’t, so the track’s main stretch allowed me to achieve a more than decent 50 mph in fifth gear.
The great thing about the YZ85 is that it doesn’t spare its rider from scary (for the parents) wheelies and jumps as well as treacherous riding over whoops. Very light (156 lbs wet) and easy to maneuver, it feels inviting and not overwhelmed even though my physique doesn’t fit in the machine’s target. With all possible suspension tune ups, I just couldn’t have theYZ85 react as smooth as I needed, but this doesn’t mean that 14 year old kids won’t. Still, the front end didn’t bottom out very easily and the rear end remained stable while cornering at all speeds.
Being incredibly well engineered and with a single goal in mind – performance – the Yamaha YZ85 handles extremely easy, just like it should as a an entry-level bike. But, more importantly, it is precise so there are no troubles in directing both wheels on that perfect trace. Though it would have been nice to see an “L” version of it, the 17-inch front and 14-inch rear wheels remain Yamaha ’s choice and there’s always a bigger two-stroke bike in their lineup and riders will most likely stick to that as long as Yamaha continues making them. After such a ride, we can only hope they do.
Deciding to go for the Yamaha is the easiest thing and I bet the price will also have a certain influence. In fact, the MSRP of $3,690 situates the YZ85 just under the Suzuki RM85 ($3,699) and the Kawasaki KX85 ($3,849).
Also showing it can be advantageous, the new 85cc Yamaha dirt spreader is in for a successful new year.
The Yamaha YZ85 stands as one very interesting 2010 Yamaha model, which although not heavily revised, makes quite an entry due to its refreshed looks and small details that complete the overall renewed feel.
It is indeed small, but its performance and adaptive behavior determine a rider to ride it for several seasons until finally feeling like it exceeded it and heading towards angrier two- or four-stroke models.
Engine and Transmission
Type: 84.7cc liquid-cooled 2-stroke; reed-valve inducted
Bore x Stroke: 47.5 x 47.8mm
Compression Ratio: 8.2:1
Fuel Delivery: Keihin® PWK 28
Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain Drive
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: Inverted fork; fully adjustable, 10.8-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; fully adjustable, 11.1-in travel
Brakes/Front: Hydraulic single disc brake, 220mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic single disc brake, 190mm
Length: 71.7 in
Width: 30.9 in
Height: 45.7 in
Seat Height: 34.0 in
Wheelbase: 49.5 in
Ground Clearance: 13.8 in
Fuel Capacity: 1.3 gal
Wet Weight: 156 lb
Warranty: 30 Day (Limited Factory Warranty)
Features & Benefits