Yamaha goes on producing the WR250F model with more talent and dedication as ever before. Featuring the popular DOHC, four-stroke; five titanium valves quarter-liter engine mounted on a light and nimble aluminum frame, it stands as an awesome off-road machinery, but as you’ll further see, it also features goodies that can’t be passed unnoticed.
No matter what, a dirt bike retains the basic features which practically make it a blast on the tracks and trails, but the features that mark a change in this case are the push start button and digital enduro race computer with speedometer, clock and tripmeter.
Inspired on the YZ250F racer, the WR250F has made a name for itself as one of the most light, versatile and tractable power delivering dirt bikes on the market today, and in order to better know where it heads, we should see better where it comes from.
Launched in 1998, the year of the first R1, the WR250F was and still is part of Yamaha’s big future plans which until this time have proved very efficient and realistic. Also participating at the four-stroke revolution, it caught the big wave in what concerns technical achievements and inspirations from the YZ250F motocrosser.
First, there’s the five-titanium-valved motor, a Yamaha unbeaten characteristic followed by the light chassis and comfortable riding position. These are the main features which have contributed at making the WR name grow so fast and the 250F didn’t miss them at all.
Like most Yamahas of the time, the WR250F was kind of a brute when it came to strong acceleration and linear power delivery so if you’re a Yamaha customer of the time, there are great chances that you would be pretty scared of it. But as you can suppose, refinements soon came and after 2001 it became a little more user-friendly while 2003 made it a real trail companion. By this time you only needed a few twists and turns in order to accommodate with it and start revving all the way up to the 13,500 rpm redline. Imagine how the bike is now.
Today, the only decent Japanese alternative for this off-roader is the Honda CRF250X as it follows the same recipe. That consists in a powerful, compact bike that has undergone a severe diet, making it perfect for both trails and motocross tracks. Electrically started, the tricked-out 249cc liquid-cooled single-cylinder Unicam four-stroke engine is the perfect competitor for our bike. Taking in consideration the retuned suspension and wide-ratio gearing, the Honda is a real blast. Shall I even dare mentioning the $6,699 MSRP?
KTM presents the 250 EXC-F SIXDAYS, a dirt bike that has got the engine performance and chassis finesse to sit next to the Yamaha and Honda. The bike is new for 2009 and has power coming from a 248.6cc single-cylinder four-stroke engine that can be both kick and electrically started. Weight has been reduced and ergonomics improved so that it would make a point from the first corner it takes.
You cannot talk about KTM without mentioning Husqvarna as the manufacturers are declared competitors. In this case, the TE 250 becomes the subject of discussion as it is equipped with the only fuel injected motor in this category. Powered by the also electrically and kick started 249,5 liquid-cooled single-cylinder, four-stroke DOHC four-valved-engine, the 2009 Husqvarna TE250 is the last mentioned, but the fiercest competitor for the Yamaha WR250F.
What is so great about these dirt bikes is that they look way better that the dual-sport models and get closer to the motocross bikes that inspired their creation. As you could read above, this is also the case of the WR which has been derived from the YZ250F, ending up looking like a real racing bike.
With big alloy wheels (21 inches front and 18 inches rear) it looks suitable to deal with any type of terrain, pass through rivers and jump over logs. The seat is pretty low (38.6 inches) and that helps at keeping the thing in control when having it put in those kinds of situations.
Styling is also nice, with a pair of aggressive fenders and the “knitted” headlight.
The Blue and White coloring is what gives this maker particularity and apart from the white number plates, and mudguards, blue is what it is all about.
It is hard not to think at dirt racing when riding the Yamaha WR250F as this bike is a great reminder of the 2009 Yamaha YZ250F even if not being necessarily ridden on the motocross track. Very adaptable and easy to work with, the 2009 model year unveils all benefits of riding on an aluminum frame that meets a perfect balance between resistance and rigidity.
The biker gets familiar with her/his ride fairly quick, but at least we know that the machine makes all the possible for things to be that way. No wonder, as the start button ensures quick engine starts at all temperatures, the seat is positioned only 38.6 inches from the ground and there’s an aluminum kickstand with which those who come from motocross will have the joy of getting used too.
Surprisingly, the seat isn’t that narrow and at least at the start of the day it feels pretty well accommodating. The bars are positioned at quick reach and the pegs were also built with ergonomics in mind. These features culminate into kind of a ‘get up and go’ riding position that is similar to the one of motocross bikes. That’s good as long as you weren’t expecting for an enduro model, but not vice-versa.
Relying on a 249cc liquid-cooled, DOHC four-stroke engine with five titanium valves, this WR’s powerplant is enormously capable and still not fuel injected. No problem. Fed through a 37mm Keihin FCR flat-slide carburetor, a simple twist of the throttle in any of the five gears (preferably the first three) unveils the engine’s torquey character and healthy exhaust grunt. From what my sensors can detect Yamaha aims at both experienced and beginning riders with the WR250F. So it can provide an adrenaline rush to those who seem unconscious, but know what they’re doing and stand as a light and versatile dirt bike for those who are just starting.
Hill climbs are children’s play for the quarter-liter Yamaha, but this bike enjoys descending as much as it does ascending. The Kayaba inverted fork offering 11.8 inches of travel front and the single shock standing for 12.2 inches are there to make sure that even chubbier guys won’t come off of this bike with broken backs after a more aggressive jumps session. Also, the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear proved adequate for harsh riding terrains and the tires gripped really good to slippery surfaces, even rocks. That’s good, especially when being needed to stop. Otherwise, the motocross-like brakes worth nothing even though they only need to stop a 260 lbs + rider mass.
Handling feels light and responsive and the WR-F remains stable at high speeds and under strong acceleration. You really can’t query the compact motorcycle’s ability to go fast and safe around the corners as you can’t query any of the off-road abilities of this thing.
The headlight is very helpful for those who can’t get enough of this bike and ride it till dark falls and you can always buy one of those street legal kits that I keep hearing about. That when you’ll be simply unstoppable!
With a price tag of only $6,699, the Yamaha is a great bang for the buck, leaving you trying to find another one with five valves per cylinder at this kind of money. In fact, no matter the amount, your search will be in vain. The Yamaha WR250F is also green sticker approved for California.
Not highly improved for the present year, but very well balanced and with power to spare, the Yamaha WR250F has its future trail days sorted out, something that we can’t say about all of the similar Japanese models. So it has to find its competitors in Europe and prove to them what a blast it is.
Engine and Transmission
Type: liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 5 titanium valves
Bore x Stroke: 77.0mm x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 12.5:1
Carburetion: Keihin® FCR 37
Transmission: Constant-mesh 5-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain Drive
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: Inverted fork; fully adjustable, 11.8-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; fully adjustable, 12.2-in travel
Brakes/Front: Hydraulic single disc brake, 250mm
Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic single disc brake, 245mm
Length: 85.2 in
Width: 32.5 in
Height: 51.1 in
Seat: Height 38.6 in
Wheelbase: 58.3 in
Ground Clearance: 14.4 in
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gal
Wet Weight: 260 lb