The 250 Motocross class used to be the premier division of motocross racing before the advent of new-generation four-stroke dirt bikes. Now 450cc machines have replaced the original 250 motocross bikes and the quarter-liter engines have replaced the former 125cc division. The 250 motocross division is one of the most hotly contested and controversial racing classes in all of motocross.
Originally intended as an entry class into the professional ranks, the 250 motocross class has become a hodgepodge of racers from young, hungry rookies to wily veterans. Unlike the big bike classes, 250 motocross has a much higher emphasis on bike performance; meaning in order to be competitive on the highest levels requires an enormous amount of engine modifications. For this reason, struggling privateers often elect to jump straight into the big-bike divisions simply because it takes less money to prepare a competitive machine.
Riders who participate in the 250 motocross class have many different motocross bikes to choose from. Most motorcycle manufacturers have stopped developing and producing 2-stroke versions of the 250 motocrossers, but some like Yamaha and KTM still do. Additionally, every manufacturer offers a four-stroke 250 motocross machine.
The most popular models are the Honda CRF250R, Husqvarna TC250, Kawasaki KX250F, KTM 250 SX-F, Suzuki RM-Z250 and Yamaha YZ250F. Technology on modern 250 motocross bikes includes things like electronic fuel injection, high-revving engines and lightweight aluminum or steel chassis.
In Supercross, the 250 machines are referred to as the Supercross Lites class. It’s not unusual to see the 250 riders laying down lap times that are competitive with the bigger bikes. On the tighter indoor tracks of American stadiums, the smaller, lighter and quicker-handling 250 bikes are often more desirable.
The AMA has recently begun allowing two-stroke 250 motocross bikes to compete against the same displacement four-stroke dirt bikes. With the rapid advance in motocross technology, the two types of 250 motocross machines are closer than ever in peak performance. There has already been some discussion about the professional 250 motocross circuit adopting the same rules.
If so, the manufacturers will have a new reason to develop a competitive two-stroke again and it could bring some renewed energy to the dying two-stroke breed. For the time being, 250 motocross is one of the most interesting and exciting forms of motocross racing available.
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