Shares DNA With Yamaha’s YZ-F Motocross Bikes

Essentially a carry-over from 2008 when the WR250R added a street-legal stablemate to the Yamaha WR lineup, the 2018 model carries-on carrying-on dual-sport fun. It’s not really a street-legal version of the WR250F, though the model designation tends to make it seem so. “WR” indicates it’s a wide-ratio gear box, and beyond that, the sky’s the limit. The wide-ratio gives an acceptable balance of highway capability and off-road responsiveness, desirable in the dual-sport market.

Continue reading for more information on the Yamaha WR250R.

  • 2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
  • Year:
    2015- 2018
  • Make:
  • Model:
  • Engine:
    Liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves
  • Displacement:
    250 cc
  • Top Speed:
    85 mph (Est.)
  • Price:
    6699
  • Price:

Design

2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
- image 733495
The WR250R shares DNA with Yamaha’s YZ-F motocross bikes and the WR off-road models.

The WR250R is not a fast bike; it’s not supposed to be, but people love it. It’s lightweight and agile and the 250 cc engine is spunky enough, though you have to wind it up pretty tight to get to speed. As a commuter, you can jump up the interstate for a few exits, but know that there’s no roll-on left to you when cruising at those speeds. There’s a little vibration at interstate speeds, but not enough to jiggle the mirrors; they stay solid and steady.

The seat height is rather tall — a skosh over 36 inches — so you’ll have to be fairly tall to flat-foot it. The bike is very narrow, so you don’t waste a lot of inseam between the seat and the ground, if that helps. The up-side to the lofty seat (which is hard as a rock, by the way), is that you have a great vantage point — sitting high and upright gives you a commanding view.

Instrumentation is minimal. There is no fuel gauge, though it does have a low-fuel light. This speaks more to off-road than on-road and the whole display is quite small.

Chassis

2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
- image 733499
Seat height is certainly up in dirtbike country at 36.6-inches tall, a necessary evil in order to get the requisite ground clearance, and fairly typical for the class.

Yamaha borrowed design features from its 250 cc YZ and WR dirtbike range when setting up the composite frame for the WR250R. The upper parts of the twin-spar frame are made of either cast or forged aluminum, and use square and rectangular shapes for strength and rigidity.

Since the downtubes flow back to form a cradle that actually supports the engine, they had to be extra tough, so Yamaha clapped on a set of tubular-steel members to make up this crucial, load-bearing section and complete the unit. A tapered aluminum swingarm with extruded forks and cast braces completes the skeleton with a racetastic flair, and keeps unsprung weight low at the rear tire.

As I mentioned, seat height is up in dirtbike country at 36.6-inches tall — a necessary evil in order to get the requisite ground clearance — and fairly typical for the class. Really shorty-shorts might need to find a stump or something to use as an “upping block.”

The WR250R favors the brown over the black, and the suspension capabilities approach that of full-blown dirtbikes. Beefy-looking and tough as nails, the 46 mm, inverted front forks come fully adjustable with compression- and rebound-damping tweaks, as well as variable spring preload. A centrally located, linkage-mount monoshock supports the rear with the same adjustable parameters as the front, and components at both ends provide 10.6 inches of wheel travel.

The 26.7-degree rake and 4.4-inch trail is a good balance for a dual-purpose bike, and the 11.8-inch ground clearance and mild suspension is sufficient for all but the most enthusiastic off-road shenanigans. Yamaha doubles down on the off-road bias with laced rims to mount the 80/100-21 front and 120/80-18 rear tires that are really much more a straight-up knobby than many of the dual-surface tires available today. Brakes are sized for dirt as well, with a twin-pot caliper binding a 250 mm, wave-cut front disc and a single-piston caliper pinching the 230 mm, wave-cut rear.

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

Drivetrain

2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
- image 733502
The engine has more of a streetwise temperament, with a linear power delivery that works well on dirt or pavement.

The engine has more of a streetwise temperament, with a linear power delivery that works well on any surface. Power generation comes courtesy of the 77 mm by 53.6 mm, 250 cc, water-cooled thumper that churns out 28 ponies and 17 pounds of grunt, but you have to wind it out to a screaming 10 grand to get all of it. Good news is; the engine likes to be wound up, so you can go ahead and wring the throttle with abandon. Part of this power comes from the Yamaha Fuel Injection (YFI) system and ECU-controlled, coil-on-plug ignition system.

The factory also uses something it calls the “EXUP Exhaust” valve and electronic intake-control valve to stretch the usable powerband a bit, and the results are encouraging. Between the engine performance, the six-speed tranny gearing and final-drive ratio, the WR250R can prowl around rocks and rough terrain with almost trials-bike control and resistance to stalling. The mill delivers its power while sipping at the gas at an impressive 71 mpg, and if you have the nerve for it, a top speed somewhere just proud of 90 mph. That’s on the superslab of course, not off-road. I’m quite sure I don’t want to go that fast on any surface riding on knobbies, but maybe that’s just me.

Engine Type: Liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves
Displacement: 250cc
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI with direct ignition coil
Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch

Pricing

2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
- image 733506
MSRP on the 2018 Yamaha WR250R is essentially the same price as it has been since 2012.

MSRP on the 2018 Yamaha WR250R is $6,699, essentially the same price as it has been since 2012. It should be no surprise that the only available colorway is the persistent Team Yamaha Blue/White. Yamaha gives you a one-year limited factory warranty on your new WR250R.

Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Team Yamaha Blue/White
Price: $6,699

Competitors

2017 Honda CRF250L / CRF250L Rally
- image 719864
2015 - 2018 Yamaha WR250R
- image 733509
Dual-sports are among the more purpose-driven designs, similar to dirtbikes, where form absolutely follows function.

Since the Big Four all have something to offer in this sector, and all are long-time competitors, I felt like I would get the closest comparison from another Japanese manufacturer. It didn’t take too long for me to settle my sights on the CRF250L from Honda. I won’t belabor the looks; dual-sports are among the more purpose-driven designs, similar to dirtbikes, where form absolutely follows function. They both look like street-legal dirtbikes with turn signals and mirrors, ’nuff said.

Yamaha comes out strong with a 46 mm front end to the Honda’s 43 mm, usd front forks, and while the WR250R comes with fully adjustable suspension at both ends, the CRF gets only a preload adjustment at the monoshock. The Yamaha suspension is a bit on the soft side, just right for relaxed adventure riding, but the Honda suspension is downright mushy and the lack of adjustment is a definite turnoff.

Brakes are pretty much a wash, and both bikes run a 21-inch front and 18-inch rear tire on laced rims, so there is little to choose between the two here. The CRF does have a shorter seat height at 34.7-inches tall, significantly lower than the lofty, 36.6-inch saddle on the WR, and that may be a comfort for shorter riders.

Honda surrenders less than one cube to the Yamaha mill with a 249.6 cc displacement, and it follows the same four-stroke, liquid-cooled, single-cylinder layout, all the way down to the dual, over-head cam in a four-valve head and electronically managed, throttle-body induction. Performance falls off a bit with the CRF mill, and it only cranks out around 20 ponies and 14 pounds versus around 28 and 15 from the WR. Not a huge difference, but once you factor in the weight difference between the 320-pound CRF and the 295-pound WR, that power difference starts to mean a lot more, pushing the WR from 0-to-60 almost two seconds faster at 6.7 seconds. Another score for Yamaha.

About the only place Honda gets a solid win is at the checkout counter. The WR250R rolls for a lofty $6,699, significantly higher than the $4,999 CRF250L, but I would submit that those savings come at too high of a price. Unless you are hard up against an iron-bound budget, I would have to recommend that you go ahead and spring for the extra cheddar and score the Tuning Fork bike.

He Said

My husband and fellow motorcycle writer, TJ Hinton, says, “As usual, you can pencil me in as ’just don’t get it’. These bikes do the same thing as enduro bikes, in the same way, heck they even look a lot alike; dirtbikes with turn signals. While adventure bikes are a real thing, I think these little dual-sports are just enduros with a kitchy new marketing name, and are really nothing particularly new or exciting under the sun.”

She Said

“Since I tend to gravitate to off-road on these dual-sports, I would have to spring for some accessories: chain and caliper guards, hand guards.....stuff like that. Fuel economy would put this squarely in the commuter category, as well. It’s a spunky little fun bike and with this trend in recent years to go to smaller cc engines, this ride might just be what you need to combine some fun with a short commute.”

Specifications

Engine & Drivetrain:
Engine Type: Liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke; 4 valves
Displacement: 250cc
Bore x Stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Fuel Delivery: Fuel injection
Ignition: TCI with direct ignition coil
Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis:
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
Dimensions & Capacities:
L x W x H: 85.6 x 31.9 x 48.4 in
Seat Height: 36.6 in
Wheelbase: 55.9 in
Ground Clearance: 11.8 in
Fuel Capacity: 2.0 gal / California model 1.9 gal
Fuel Economy: 71 mpg
Wet Weight: 295 lb
Details:
Warranty: 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)
Color: Team Yamaha Blue/White
Price: $6,699

References

2017 Honda CRF250L / CRF250L Rally
- image 719858

See our review of the Honda CRF250L.

All images featured on this website are copyrighted to their respective rightful owners. No infringement is intended. Image Source: yamaha-motor.com, powersports.honda.com

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