Great things come in small packages
Bike test | YCF Pilot F150
The pit bike craze took off over 20 years ago about six years after eBay was launched. The e-commerce site enabled customers to buy what most people would deem as “cheap products” at a very affordable price by cutting out the middle man. It also provided customers with a far greater range of products to pick from because the retailer wasn’t limited by shelf space.
The downside to the explosion of e-commerce sites like eBay was the quality of the product. Like I said, in the early days especially, eBay products felt cheap and that’s because they were. China’s manufacturing went through the roof as more and more retailers worked out they could sell far more product online. The cost was of course quality, why buy an expensive Japanese branded kid or pit bike when you can buy a bike that look exactly the same for a quarter of the price on eBay, right? Wrong.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard a positive story about a bike being purchased off eBay. That’s not to say there are no good stories about bikes purchased off eBay, I’m just saying I haven’t heard one. So, it’s a good thing then that the YCF range aren’t the same kinda “cheap products” I’m talking about. Sure, they’re made in China (although they’re designed in France) but they’re not sold on eBay. You can get parts to fit a YCF off eBay but you can’t buy a whole bike. That’s important.
YCF genuinely care about their product and the customer (well more than any bike you will buy on eBay) and want to offer aftersales support and parts. Among many other things like performance and componentry, this is one of the reasons you should not lump YCF with every other pit bike found online.
We recently had the opportunity to test a bunch of different YCF machines and can personally vouch for the performance of the YCFs. We can also vouch for the customer service as we were met by Nik from Lowry Imports (yep, an official importer. In fact, the same mob that import Beta!), the official importer of YCF into Australia. The bikes were all prepared well and he offered technical support all day.
One of the YCFs we tested was the 2022 YCF Pilot F150. It’s the bigger of the YCF offerings and comes loaded with quality components making it an excellent pit bike.
What do you get?
The 2022 YCF Pilot F150 now comes with electric start (and kick) and is largely based off the popular Pilot F125 but with more power thanks to the single-cylinder, four-stroke, air-cooled motor. It also comes with a better frame and better suspension for 2022. It runs the same 14″ and 12″ wheel set as the 125 and hydraulic disc brakes.
In fact, most of the parts on the 125 and 150 are the same from the four- speed manual gear box with clutch (the 125 has an auto clutch option) to CNC triple clamps, USD fork and mono shock. Simply looking at that list of fancy parts should be enough to prove the YCFs are more than just eBay pit bikes.
The YCF150 runs a high tensile tubular steel cradle frame that stands 800mm tall so it’s almost too big to be called a pit bike. It tips the scales at 70kg wet and as hard as this might be to believe runs 305mm of ground clearance (a Yamaha TT-R125LWE only has 295mm). It carries 2.8L of fuel and a Nibbi PE19FL-SP carb.
How does it ride?
We swung a leg over the Pilot F150 and had a ball. It felt very similar to the Yamaha TT-R125 LWE but with beefier suspension. Some of the finishing felt a little cheaper than the Yamaha, and that’s because it is, coming in under $3000 as opposed to the Yamaha that costs over $5300.
It could lug our 90kg frame around a kids motocross track and we could jump it, turn it and rip it just like you see those adults ripping kids bikes on your social media. It was fun and played its part as a play toy for in-between serious motos on the big boys, but, it is a little bigger than most kids bikes that adults seem to be riding nowadays.
While we had heaps of fun playing supercross heros at a quarter of the pace and without jumping more than a couple of metres, Nik suggested the F150 is still aimed at kids in their early teens learning to ride so we grabbed a young pup by the name of Levi to see what he thought.
“It’s a lot better for jumping than any other model we tested today and the seat’s flatter” Levi said. “The power is good on the small kids track because out of the corners you can pin it and it doesn’t get into trouble. The power is smooth has heaps of torque and felt very different to my YZ65 and YZ85”.
“This bike was the only bike we tested today with a clutch and it was handy to have in the corners because you could ride the clutch for a little more control and power.
“The suspension was set really good for my weight and height (about 35-40kg). It never bottomed out or bucked hard. It feels really balanced in the ruts, it didn’t feel like it wanted to high-side or slide out.”
“There’s enough grip from the tyres despite them not looking super aggressive. As the track dried up a bit it got better because the slop was pushed away”.
Not just another eBay bike
The YCF Pilot F150 is more than just another cheap pit bike off eBay. It felt just as sturdy and performed just as well as the more recognisable Japanese brands and in the time we had to test them we had no mechanical problems with it. As opposed to the other capacities offered by YCF, the Pilot F150 is more of a beginner bike than a small pit bike so if you’re looking for an affordable option to get your kids into riding dirtbikes this could be it.
A quick search on eBay for pit bikes and it looks like you can indeed still purchase pit bikes that range in capacity from 70cc to 200cc with the cheapest costing around $800 and the most expensive $2000. These bikes look the same and on the spec sheet may seem similar but, unlike the bikes we tested, I’ve never really heard of one lasting more than a day, let alone the time we spend testing the YCFs. For the sake of a few extra dollars to at least get something with better customer support, I’d go the YCF. If it’s good enough for FMX legend Cam Sinclair to muck around on jumping than it’s good enough for me.
YCF 150 Pilot
TYPE Single cylinder, 4-stroke, air-cooled
DISPLACEMENT 146 cc
COMPRESSION RATIO 9.8:1
STARTER Kick starter and electric
CARBURETTOR Nibbi PE19FL-SP
TRANSMISSION Manual, four-speed
FRAME High tensile tubular steel cradle
WHEEL BASE 1170 mm
SEAT HEIGHT 800 mm
GROUND CLEARANCE 305 mm
WEIGHT (WET) 70 kg
FUEL TANK 3.8 L
FRONT SUSPENSION USD Fork
REAR SUSPENSION Monoshock absorber, adjustable preload & rebound damping
FRONT BRAKE Hydraulic / Single disc ø220 mm and double-piston calliper
REAR BRAKE Hydraulic / Single disc ø200 mm and single-piston calliper
FRONT TYRE 60/100-14 Knobby
REAR TYRE 80/100-12 Knobby
Price & Contacts
BLOWER (07) 3518 4000
WARRANTY 6 months parts only