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When I heard Yamaha was coming out with a new YZ85 in 2019, I wanted to task my son with the job of writing the review. As a test rider I come in contact with a lot of new bikes, parts, etc., but I really wanted my son to know that all of this doesn’t come without a cost. There is work to be done once I get these machines. This isn’t a free for all and he doesn’t get free bikes just to thrash/ride. I wanted to keep this test/review as is and only clean up some grammar errors for reading purposes. I wanted to make sure this article was as good for your kids to read as it is for you, the parent, that may be in the market to purchase a new 2019 Yamaha YZ85. I want to keep our kids on dirt bikes and not on their Playstation’s playing FortNite all day. Without further adieu here is Aden. -Kris Keefer
Hi everyone, my name is Aden Keefer, I am 5’0, weigh 84 pounds, have red hair and I like to ride dirt bikes. My dad has been helping me with how to feel out a motorcycle when I go ride for the past couple years, so I thought I would give writing a review a shot. I have ridden a 2018 KX85 and 2018 YZ85 in the past, so in this article I will go back and forth and compare the 2019 Yamaha YZ85 a little between the other two bikes I have ridden. Riding dirt bikes with my dad is more fun than playing Fort Nite on my Playstation (editors note; but that doesn’t stop him from wanting these things called “V-Bucks” all the time for that damn game), but now I have to do some work and write about it. My dad keeps telling me nothing in life is for free and now I know what he means. I hope you enjoy my article and get to learn something about this cool new 85 by Yamaha.
Some of the highlights of the new 2019 YZ85 that caught my eye are the 85cc 2-stroke engine has a YPVS (Yamaha power valve system) that boosts low and mid range power, a 36mm KYB coil spring fork, an updated shock setting, new aluminum swingarm, new routing on the front brake hose, wave style brake rotors and dunlop MX3S tires. When my dad showed me all of this it got me excited because I like riding 85’s that have a powervalve more because it always made me ride smoother, which from what my dad tells me, makes me ride faster. I guess I will trust his judgment since he is so old, sorry dad.
Here are some of the other key details of the 2019 Yamaha YZ85 that Yamaha sent us that I need to tell you about: Yamaha makes the 2019 YZ85 better by creating adjustability for growing riders as the YZ85 comes with a 4-position adjustable bar mount, with 1-1/8 aluminum Pro-Taper style handlebars and adjustable front brake/clutch levers. Yamaha’s 85cc 2-stroke engine with YPVS (Yamaha power valve system) boosts low to mid-range power with strong high-RPM power. The mechanically controlled dual valves begin to open at 8,500 and fully open at 9,000 rpm. The valve open compression increases from 8.1:1 to 8.2:1 and the valve closed compression is 9.6:1. The connecting rod is 4mm shorter with a resin balance weight added, the crankshaft oil seal ID is reduced 8mm, there is a revised crankcase shape to optimize charge flow as the primary compression ratio is increased. On the carb side of things the Keihin PW28 carburetor has some new settings with a new high-flow spacer-style reed block and high tension reed pedals,(0.42 to 0.52mm). There are new expansion chamber dimensions, a revised CDI mapping, a new higher voltage coil, new water pump housing and exit pipe, a wider base on 3rd and 4th gears that is claimed to increase gear strength and help with smoother shifting. There is a rear sprocket change from 47 to 46, a new 36mm KYB coil spring fork and shock settings, the new 36mm KYB spring front fork has a high rigid one piece outer tube, new aluminum swingarm, new front brake hose and wave style discs, new Dunlop MX3S tires, new chain adjuster, chain guide, the front brake has a more direct brake hose routing with wave style front and rear discs, updated fork guards, an oversized 1-1/8 aluminum taper style handlebar with new 4 position adjustable bar mounts and finally adjustable reach clutch and brake levers. As you can see there are tons of changes to this bike and it was tough for me to get all of them in there, but hopefully I got them all in.
Engine: The Engine on the 2019 Yamaha YZ 85 is very strong coming out of corners, but doesn’t pull my arms off the bars like my 2018 YZ85 did once it hit the powerband. My Kawasaki KX85 kind of takes a while for the power to pick up in corners and is easy to manage, but feels slightly slower off the bottom compared to the new YZ85. I have been racing the AME Minicross Series at Milestone that is basically a tamed down SX track for kids and is very fun. When I come out of the bowl corners on my 2018 KX85 it doesn’t really have the pulling power as much as my 2019 YZ 85 does. The 2018 YZ 85 doesn’t have the top end that the new 2019 YZ 85 has because I can jump longer tabletops easier, which makes my mom nervous. My dad can usually calm her down a little, but when she is nervous she doesn’t talk. With the 2018 YZ85 I had to fan the clutch a lot through the corners, but the 2019 Yamaha YZ85, I can stay off the clutch more and that makes my dad happy. He told me once when we were at the track that he doesn’t want to raise an Alex Ray. I don’t know what he means by that, but I like Alex, he’s my buddy (editors note; Alex is a nice guy, but Yamaha doesn’t have enough clutches in the world to help my kid if he fans a clutch like A-Ray does). What I really like about the new YZ85 is that it takes less work for me to ride fast. I don’t get as tired on the 2019, like I did with the 2018. I am able to go through corners in second gear instead of having to downshift to first. This makes me smile.
Suspension: The 2019 Yamaha YZ 85’s suspension has a firm feel to it with excellent hold up. My dad told me to use the word “hold up” if it was firmer, so I just did. We had Race Tech re-valve my suspension on the Kawasaki KX85 and it was stiff, but that was very useful because I sometimes case jumps. The 2019 YZ85 suspension is similar to my Race Tech stuff because it doesn’t react that quick and feels like it has more of a slower feel to it. I also notice that in braking bumps the Yamaha YZ85 doesn’t move that much and sticks to the ground better than my last year’s Yamaha. The 2018 Yamaha moved a little more in the stroke when I hit bigger bumps, especially at Glen Helen. Last year’s YZ 85 suspension was too soft for me and it hurt my wrists at times when I landed. If I hit a large jump on the 2018 YZ85 the suspension would bottom out. However, on the 2019 YZ 85, the suspension is much better stock and I feel like I have more comfort on landings than I had on my previous year’s bike. I get more confidence with the 2019 YZ85 and that let’s me try to ride faster. I keep telling my mom and dad that I can go faster now, but they keep telling me to take my time (editors note; yes he is right, I have to pump the brakes on his “send it” button).
Chassis: The chassis on the 2019 YZ 85 is stable when I am hauling down straights, but can give me head shake a little at times on square edge, choppy tracks. My dad softened the compression a little and it felt better on rough track days. I really like the way the 2019 YZ85 corners and to me feels lighter than last year’s bike. The 2018 YZ 85 is a hand full for me at times because it can be hard to lean over as I start to get into the middle of the corner. On my Kawasaki KX85 I felt like it cornered good and it hooked up, but felt big when the track was rutty. When I rode rutted tracks the green bike felt long and sometimes it was tough for me to line up in a rut. The 2019 YZ85 feels compact and I am able to put the bike into ruts better. I really like the way the rear pivots in bowl corners because it whips around quickly. I also love the new handlebar! The oversize crossbar-less bar fits me just great. I didn’t move the position and left it stock as it fits me just fine for right now. When I grow I will be able to move he bar mounts forward to help me move around on the bike more.
My overall opinion is that the 2019 Yamaha YZ 85 is a really good bike and I enjoy it a lot. I love railing corners on this bike and hitting some bigger jumps, if my dad lets me. 🙁 I like this bike more than the 2018 Yamaha YZ85 because it is faster and handles better to me. I look forward to ripping it up out there in the future with this bike and having fun. This has been Aden Keefer and I hope you liked my article. Go Check out KeeferInctesting.com and click on “Podcasts” so you can listen to. my dad and I talk more about the 2019 Yamaha YZ 85.