Motorcycles Prefer two wheels over four?

2011 Yamaha YZ85 Project Bike

Old 06-Nov-2011, 04:11 PM
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2011 Yamaha YZ85 Project Bike

Although there haven’t been any major changes to the bike in several years, we came away very impressed with the little Yamaha YZ85 and its potent motor. Our 5’3”, 95lb test rider found the ergos perfectly suited for his stature during our initial test back in May. The suspension works very well in stock form with just a sag setting and a few clicks of the adjusters. We tested at a variety of practice tracks and were very happy with the overall performance of the YZ, but did run across a few things that we wanted to change if we were to actually go racing. We decided to hit the track and see how it stacked up during a few months of summer racing with only minor upgrades and standard maintenance.

The YZ85 is a very competent machine right out of the box and can easily win races with the right rider. We decided to keep the mods to a minimum and focus mainly on improving durability to ensure the bike would hold up to the demands of racing. Our test rider also had some personal preferences for the controls, so we made a couple of upgrades there as well. Finally, we found the stock gearing a little tall, so we swapped sprockets to better suit the tracks in our area.

Our first upgrade was a set of Renthal 7/8” handlebars. The stock steel bars on the YZ are easily the bike’s weakest link. They bent during testing with only the smallest of falls. Our rider slid out in a low speed turn and the last thing you want after paying an entry fee for the day is to have a simple fall in practice that screws everything up. The Renthal bars provide a low-cost upgrade that will help ensure that your bars don’t end up looking like a pretzel. The Renthals are constructed out of lightweight 7010 T6 aluminum which gives them high impact strength and excellent vibration damping. The bars are available in a ton of different bends and dimensions to fit almost any bike and every rider preference. We opted to run the RC Mini bend and our test rider found them to fit his style perfectly. The 7/8” bars also come in a wide variety of anodized colors to give exact look you are craving.

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