Not quite your everyday enduro motorcycle and not a dirt bike either, the WR250R is Yamaha’s most versatile two-wheeled machine, one that can take you off-road and on pavement with great ease thanks to a highly evolved and easily adaptive chassis and a potent quarter-liter engine. As you probably already infer, the best thing about it is that it can actually go on public roads, so it qualifies as a commuter too.
If it is to make a short, but still proper introduction for the 2010 Yamaha WR250R, I would call it an off-road motorcycle with a headlight and mirrors. In fact there’s plenty more to it and definitely worth checking out.
For starters, with 11.8 inches of ground clearance and 10.6 inches of travel both front and rear, the bike makes for a great solution even for hardcore off-road riding, but the 36.6 inches high seat won’t help much when you’ll be needed to touch the ground at traffic lights and intersections. The frame is a motocross derived semi-double-cradle aluminum piece ensuring a great balance between strength and rigidity (and that feels on the streets as well) while the wave brake rotors are the perfect solution for all riding conditions, surfaces and styles.
Yamaha really tried to make this the bike that would suit everyone’s riding needs and the engine had to comply. A 250cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, four-valves, four-stroke thumper with motocross DNA mates to a six-speed gearbox in order to make commuting possible, but not the best thing this bike can do.
The headlight, taillight, signal lights and mirrors are all signals of street legality, while the tires are meant to do great with or without a grippy surface underneath them.
But this isn’t a new addition to Yamaha’s dual-sport lineup, so seeing where it came from sure helps in knowing where it’s heading.
Yamaha has plenty of opponents with which to share the class, but none is as potent as their WR250R dual sport motorcycle. For instance, the Honda CRF230L is built both to commute and ride the trails, but it remains faithful to its 223cc air-cooled, SOHC, two valve, single-cylinder four-stroke engine. No problem, but it has to feature fuel injection! Hmm…no, it doesn’t. The reliable Honda engine still works with the 30mm CV carburetor. At least the seat is a little bit lower (31.9 inches), but that is justified through the 9.5 inches of ground clearance. With an MSRP of $4,999, you really can’t ask for more, but we would have loved it if Honda had stepped up for the challenge.
The 2010 Kawasaki KLX250S is a slightly more expensive alternative (MSRP starts at $5,299) than the Honda, but still much cheaper than the Yamaha. The 249cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke, DOHC, four-valve single-cylinder engine is closer in attitude to the one on the Yamaha even though fed through a Keihin CVK34 carburetor. There’s a six-speed gearbox as well and long-travel suspension, but these bikes really seem in a class of their own compared to the Yamaha.
What about the Suzuki DR200SE ? Well, that’s worth mentioning and nothing more.
First and foremost, the WR250R was created to be versatile, properly accommodating and practical, but Yamaha also tries to set it closer to YZ models and I reckon they do a damn good job even though the bike will never pass as such a model not even in front of a newbie.
There is a high mounted front fender atop, close to where you’d expect to see the number plate only that in this case you’ll find a square-shaped headlight. They haven’t gotten rid of the fork’s mudguards and they look as aggressive on the WR-R as they do on the Yamaha motocross and off-road models. Although this is a class-leading dual-purpose motorcycle there are no standard handguards, but they’ll make a nice aftermarket addition in our opinion.
Street legality requires mirrors and signal lights too, but this doesn’t mean that can’t have a pair of aggressive side panels mounted around the 2 gallons tank, which is positioned low into the frame, just like on the bike’s racing siblings. Covered in even more aggressive graphics and blending perfectly in with the dual-tone seat and white colored side number plates, the side panels “make” the bike.
Underneath the engine you won’t find a skid plate even though this bike is perfectly suitable to jump over logs and rocks. This would make for yet another aftermarket accessory.
At the rear end, the WR250R introduces us to an also high fender and the silencer looks like an actual part of the bodywork. The rear passenger place doesn’t look like an attractive spot to position your butt on, but it does the job on short rides.
Team Yamaha Blue/White is the only color scheme available for the 2010 Yamaha WR250R.
"Granted, 250cc four-strokes will never be arm-yanking torque monsters, but the Yamaha’s high-tech mill felt like it had less low-end than an old XR250R. On the other hand, it runs circles around the XR on top so once you get the short-stroke motor spinning, you’ve got your reward. It’s reminiscent of a 125cc two-stroke..." – dirtbike.off-road
"Of course, for a motor to be usable off-road, the chassis, suspension and tires must be at least equally capable. The largest surprise in the R package might just be the suspension. Japanese dual-sport bikes tend to wallow when pushed off-road, and whoops are best avoided. To be sure, this is no off-road racer, but the R will delight." – ultimatemotorcycling
"More accomplished off-road journalists are carrying greater speeds than I, and when we stop and converse about the bike everyone seems impressed with the performance of the suspension, making the WR250R a competent tool for a wide variety of riders with varying degrees of skill." –motorcycle
"In short, the WR-R was immensely confidence-inspiring on the asphalt. It had none of the twitchiness you’d expect from a small-bore dual sport and plenty of power to change lanes with authority in heavy traffic. On highway stretches, it easily cruised along at the 65mph speed limit, thanks in large part to the tall sixth gear." – amadirectlink
Yamaha is good at valuing their products, especially class-leaders, and the 2010 WR250R comes with a base MSRP of $6,390. That’s incomparable to the Honda CRF230L and Kawasaki KLX250S just like these last two are incomparable in matters of performance with the Yamaha.
The WR250R is a must to experience if searching for the adequate dual-sport bike for you not only because it is light, versatile and enough comfortable for commuting, but because the fuel-injected 250cc engine can be compared with much bigger models powered by carbureted engines. Probably the best example is the DR-Z400S.
Engine and Transmission
- Displacement: 250cc
- Type: liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke;4 valves
- Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
- Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
- Carburetion: Fuel injection
- Ignition: Direct ignition coil
- Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch
- Final Drive: Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
- Suspension/Front: Inverted fork; fully adjustable, 10.6-in travel
- Suspension/Rear: Single shock; fully adjustable, 10.6-in travel
- Brakes/Front: Hydraulic single-disc brake, 250mm
- Brakes/Rear: Hydraulic single-disc brake, 230mm
- Tires/Front: 80/100-21
- Tires/Rear: 120/80-18
- Length: 85.6 in
- Width: 31.9 in
- Height: 48.4 in
- Seat Height: 36.6 in
- Wheelbase: 55.9 in
- Ground Clearance: 11.8 in
- Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal
- Fuel Economy: 71 mpg
- Wet Weight: 298 lb (California model 297 lb)
Features & Benefits
- Directly descended from our YZ motocrossers and WR off-road machines—even the original Yamaha YA-1 of 1955—the WR250R is here to make Yamaha’s off-road prowess street accessible.
- Not exactly an enduro model and not a streetbike either, the WR250R is for riders who ride off-road more than on. Its sibling, the supermoto-inspired WR250X, is for riders who spend more time on pavement.
- 250cc liquid-cooled, DOHC engine with two titanium intake valves and two steel exhausts, forged piston and plated cylinder for outstanding durability.
- Pentroof combustion chamber with downdraft-type straight intake helps make excellent power across the rev band, with maximum power at 10,000 rpm.
- First use of fuel injection on a 250 Yamaha on/off-road bike. The system relies on input from a crank sensor, intake air pressure sensor and throttle position sensor feeding a compact ECU to provide optimum combustion.
- An ECU-controlled EXUP® exhaust valve, along with an electronic intake control valve, broadens the powerband.
- High lift cams have WPC surface treatment in which the surface is sprayed with fine powder at over 100 meters per second to increase surface hardness.
- Three-axis engine layout keeps the engine compact. Wet sump tucks between frame rails to keep the engine height down.
- Rare earth-type ACM alternator keeps the weight down while providing all the current needed to run the FI and lighting systems.
- Direct ignition coil sits atop the spark plug—another first on a Yamaha on/off-road model.
- Six-speed gearbox provides a wide spread of ratios, with shower-type lubrication for reliability. A special light-action clutch makes shifting a snap.
- Tucked-in, three-chamber muffler helps keep mass centralized and the bike quiet.
- Electric start only: Leaving off the kickstarter keeps it light and simple.
- YZ/WR250-inspired semi-double-cradle frame uses a main frame of cast and forged aluminum sections, with high-strength steel downtubes for excellent strength and rigidity characteristics.
- Asymmetrical swingarm provides excellent strength/rigidity balance and a dynamic look. Cast aluminum crossmembers, extruded arms and a 22mm rear axle are carefully tuned for optimum handling.
- Fully adjustable 46mm fork provides 10.6 inches of wheel travel. A forged lower triple clamp and a cast upper one help give outstanding front-end feel. An aluminum steering stem reduces weight.
- Linkage-mounted rear shock provides 10.6 inches of travel with adjusters for compression damping, rebound damping and spring preload—and features a 14mm rod and 46mm cylinder for excellent damping and fade resistance.
- Wave brake rotors front and rear, including a large 250mm front disc, reduce unsprung weight and provide excellent performance. Rear pedal is forged aluminum.
- A slim, steel fuel tank is shaped with knee grip in mind, and the entire ergonomic layout is designed to make the rider feel like part of the bike.
- Narrow, YZ-inspired seat features gripper-type cover for great seat-of-the-pants feel. Seat height is 36.6 inches.
- WR enduro-style instrument panel provides excellent visibility in spite of the compact size. Basic mode provides speed, clock, tripmeter and self-diagnostic function. Measurement mode includes stopwatch, distance-compensating tripmeter, etc.
- Minimalist front and rear fenders are designed for function, simplicity and lightness.
- Bodywork with separate radiator heat outlet helps keep engine and rider cool.
- Lightweight headlight and LED taillight maximize visibility and draw less current.
- Adjustable front brake lever.