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2009 Yamaha YZ85
2009 Yamaha YZ125
2009 Yamaha 250F
2009 Yamaha YZ250
2009 Yamaha YZ450F

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Ah, here it is again...new bike season. Tim Olson (Yamaha Off-Road Media Relations Manager), and Jonathan Belding (Yamaha Testing Department) recently stopped by the Vital MX offices to drop off the latest information on the 2009 YZs, and we’ll give you a quick visual look at the changes that run across the board.

To answer your quick question, nope, there's nothing wildly different for the blue machines this year. So if you were hoping for fuel injection, laser-guided suspension, or a new cup holder....well, you'll have to maybe wait another year. But if you're looking for a host of refinements to some already-sweet machines, read on.

The YZ85 receives only minor changes for ’09, with a graphics update, several items that are shared throughout the line.

For example, the front brake house guide is a new straight aluminum clamp design, rather than the curved steel unit used in the past. There’s a slight weight savings, but mostly the new design will give high-falootin’ bike testers one less thing to gripe about.

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The chain is a new D.I.D. unit with a gold (no, not that kind of gold) anti-rust coating.

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It also gets a new pair of tires for the front and rear.

And finally, remember the ’08 textured seat cover that was nearly impossible to get clean, no matter how much you blasted it with a washer, or scrubbed on it? Well, the ’09 model has been changed, and it features a new pattern, as well as improved stain resistance.

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The YZ125 gets the same small details, but the screaming two-stroke also gets a proprietary front sneaker…the same one used on tbe YZ450, a new Dunlop D742FA. In the rear, the 125 gets a Dunlop D756G that’s lighter than before, but with similar traction.

While the two-stroke market is still shrinking, 250cc two-stroke fans can rejoice that the YZ250 is still in the line. It also shares the Dunlop 742FA front tire with the 125 and 450, and it also gets the brake hose clamp, seat cover, gold chain, and other goodies.

To get into the real substantial changes, you need to jump over to the YZ250F.

For example, the headpipe on the exhaust is still titanium, and has been lengthened by 60mm in the 35mm section where it first exits the cylinder, before it expands to 45mm. The muffler can itself is now 50mm shorter for lighter weight, with no change in exhaust note. Combined with the constant 50.8mm midpipe, and Yamaha claims that this gives it more low end power and improved throttle response.

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On the performance side there’s also a different ignition map, and a richer carb needle spec, which allows for more adjustability, as well as improved low end and throttle response.

Riders and mechanics who didn’t like the clutch basket design on the ’08 models will be happy to hear that the clutch basket design on the ’09 uses eight rubber dampers instead of the six coil springs, and that all the steel clutch plates are now the same. That means faster and easier service.

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For riders who wished there was more adjustability in the top clamp, you got your wish. By modifying the position of the bar mount (or rotating them forward or backward) on the new top triple clamp, you have several different offset options over a 20mm range, and they’re also interchangeable with the clamps on the YZ450, which are 4mm taller.

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If you caught the sneak peek photo from a couple weeks back, you no doubt remember the look of the new swingarm. This hydroformed piece has a revised rigidity balance, where the twist and vertical rigidity were reduced, and the horizontal rigidity was increased, all while trimming 350 grams from the ’08 design. The linkage now resides below the swingarm, but maintains all the same ratios as before.

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If you’re a Yamaha guy who has some spare wheels you were planning on using on your ’09 as well, you may need to rethink that plan. There’s a new compact rear hub design that trims over 265 grams from the current design, and the axle size has jumped from 22 to 25mm. Instead of two bearings, the new hub now uses three…one on the brake side, and two on the drive side.

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What else is new on the 250F? How about a proprietary M403 Bridgestone front tire that has a flatter tread pattern, for a lighter steering feel, but without sacrificing traction?

There are also several other small goodies, like an all-new clutch lever assembly with a shorter lever and more reach adjustment built in, as well as new mid-cable adjusters for cable play that don’t require tools.

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On the cosmetic side, a new black magnesium valve cover matches the clutch, oil filter and ignition covers.

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The 450 gets pretty much all the previously mentioned changes (new top clamp, larger axle, new swingarm and rear hub, new clutch lever, cable adjusters, new seat cover, brake clamp, etc.) It also gets a few specific things like a stator that has four mounting points instead of three, for increased durability. It also has longer shift forks on the first and third shift forks, for a more solid shift between second and third gears.

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Oh...and if you're into freedom of choice, you can pick from the usual blue for both the YZ250F and YZ450F, or an optional white. model.

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All in all, it looks like there’s lots new at Yamaha for ’09. We’re looking forward to seeing these bikes firsthand, but in the meantime, you can check out the photo galleries for each model in the Photo section.

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