YZ85: A Closer Look at Yamaha’s 2-Stroke Race Bike

In the dirt bike world, there’s lots of reverence for the Japanese 4. The list of the 4 wouldn’t be complete without the Yamaha. In the minibike category, their YZ85 has proven time and again to be versatile. This versatility cuts across durability, performance, and even speed.

Young man riding on his Yamaha YZ85 in the trail

Little wonder the YZ85 top speed is 65 mph (105 km/h). For its 73 kg weight and 33.1 inches (841mm) seat height, this is a decent speed capacity. Typically, kids aged 10-12 years can ride this bike. 

Older kids can ride it as well, provided they are within the 100 lbs weight limit. The YZ 85 price is $4,899. For this price, this bike’s performance as a motocross bike is formidable. 

A Comprehensive Review of the YZ85

It is a given. The Yamaha YZ85 is a force to be reckoned with on the dirt track. Its beastly two-stroke engine packs a punch. Its agile handling also delivers a smooth ride. Here are the pros and cons of the YZ 85:

Pros and Cons of Yamaha YZ85


  • Lightweight chassis
  • Readily available and replaceable parts
  • Agile handling
  • Durable and reliable
  • Peaky engine power


  • Too slow for faster riders
  • Stiff suspension system
  • Not beginner-friendly

Top Features of the YZ85

Isolated image of Yamaha YZ85 in lavender background

For many motocross riders, agility and performance is key. These qualities can be derived from superior parts and features. Those of the 2-stroke Yamaha YZ85 include:

1. Lightweight Frame

The well-engineered chassis of the Yamaha YZ85 allows for an effortless ride. It’s easy to navigate sharp corners and varying terrains. This is possible due to its lightweight aluminum frame. The seats and handlebars are designed to reduce fatigue. 

2. A Potent 2-stroke Engine

Isolated image of Yamaha YZ85 in yellow background

Beyond the striking exterior lies the potent 2-stroke engine of the YZ85. This engine can generate a power output of about 23.49 HP with its maximum torque nearing 14.38Nm. These all give the rider sufficient control on the race tracks to advance fast at lower rpm power. This is without being overwhelming or underwhelming.

3. Sturdy Suspension System

Relative to the 85 KTM dirt bike, the suspension system of the YZ85 pales in comparison. Yet, this suspension system delivers a smooth ride. The YZ85 has been fitted with adjustable front forks and a rear shock absorber. This way, riders can customize the suspension to their liking.


The Yamaha YZ85 gives an overall mid-range performance. It sure can tear through tight corners without losing balance. This gives credit to its suspension system which makes for a stable ride. 

This bike is not beginner friendly. It attains peak power in a short period. This makes it difficult for beginner riders to gain control of the clutch before zooming off.

Taller riders may find it a bit restrictive to ride the YZ85. This can be addressed by swapping the small wheels for the YZ 85 big wheel. The YZ85 big wheel is fitted with a 19 inches front wheel and a 16 inches rear wheel. This is as against the 17/14 of the small wheels.

Yamaha YZ85 Specifications

The YZ85 Specifications are as shown in the table below:

Engine and Transmission

Engine Characteristics85cc, liquid-cooled, 2-stroke; reed-valve inducted
Final DriveChain
Bore x Stroke47.5mm x 47.8mm
ClutchWet, multi-plate clutch
Fuel systemHitachi Astemo Keihin PWK28 carburetor

Starter and Gas Capacity

StarterKick Starter
Tank Capacity4.9 l (1.3 gals)

Suspension, Brakes, and Tires

Suspension FrontKYB inverted fork, fully adjustable, 10.8-in travel
Suspension RearKYB single shock absorber, fully adjustable, 11.1-in travel
Brakes Front/DiameterHydraulic Disc brake, 220 mm 
Brakes Rear/DiameterHydraulic Disc brake, 190mm
Tires Front70/100-17 Dunlop Geomax MX3SF 
Tires Rear90/100-14 Dunlop Geomax MX3S


Weight of Bike161 lbs (73kg)
Seat Height33.1 inches ( approx. 841mm)
Ground Clearance12.6 inches (320 mm)
Wheelbase49.4 inches (1255mm)

Price and Warranty

Warranty30 Days
Extended WarrantyLimited Factory Warranty

Rival Brands to Consider

The 85cc dirt bike class is one of the most popular. They serve as good beginner bikes. But they also feature in top-rated motocross racing events. This adds to their market value. So, a lot of bike manufacturers jump in to produce bikes of this class.

“This is the best version of him seen”.

Eli Tomac – Popular motocross champion

In addition to the Yamaha YZ85, there are a few brands that rank in the best 85cc dirt bike group. 

These rival brands to the YZ85 include:

1. The KTM 85 (Small wheel or Big wheel)

The Austria-made KTM is a renowned name in the motocross world. It has the small wheel model and the KTM 85 big wheel model. It is more pricey than other bikes in this class though. 

2. The Kawasaki KX 85

The Kawasaki KX 85 when pitted against the Yamaha YZ 85, there’s a little to be desired. It requires a bit more clutch power to negotiate corners. Nevertheless, it still drags out a lot of power.

3. The Suzuki RM 85

Of the popular Japanese 4 dirt bikes in this class, the Suzuki 85 dirt bike is the bike with the most modest price. But this is not its only selling point. It comes with durable parts. The throttle response is also snappier than that of the Kawasaki.

YZ 85KX 85
Engine85cc, 2-stroke84cc, 2-stroke
BrakeDisc brakeDisc brake
Top Speed65 mph80mph
Seat Height33.1 in (841mm)32.7 in (830mm)
Dry weight161 lbs (73kg)165.3 lbs (75kg)
Electric starterNoNo


In the 2023 YZ85 model, the bend angle of the handlebar allows riders to maintain a natural riding position. Hence, riders worry less about losing control of their bikes. 

‘Yamaha is very much about family’.

Ricky Johnson – AMA National Motocross Champion

Their engineers utilize rider feedback and incorporate them into bike production. 

Furthermore, when it comes to ease of maintenance, the requirements are minimal. Most of its frame can be readily replaced when damaged. If the bike stays too long without routine maintenance, the longevity reduces significantly.


Isolated image of Yamaha YZ85 in brown background

The 2023 YZ85 price is  $4,899. Although pricey, this YZ 85 price is fair. The bike has a reputation that keeps its resale value slightly below the price of a new bike. 


The YZ85 embodies the spirit of motocross. Like most of the motocross dirt bikes this Yamaha is not designed for beginner riders. With the higher seat height kids aged 10-12 years can still gain great control of the bike. But, that really depends on kids body size and riding experience.

The shroud of this bike has received significant improvement over the years. This is a testament to Yamaha’s devotion to improving the technology of this bike. For easy attainment of a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h), the YZ 85 is recommended.


How much is a YZ85 worth?

The Yamaha YZ85 price is a base MSRP of $4,899.

How fast can a YZ85 go?

A YZ85 can muster a top speed of 65 mph (105 km/h).

How big is a YZ85?

The YZ 85 seat height is 33.1 inches (841mm). Its dimensions (LxWxH) measure 71.7 in x 29.9 in x 44.7 in.