PHOTOGRAPHY BY: Buddha
Inspired by the YZ250X racer, the WR250R has made a name for itself as one of the most light, versatile and tractable power delivering dirt bikes on the market today
- The motor puts out mild power, but is really effective on the tight trails and around the tarmac jungle
- Versatile, accommodating and practical
- Strong mid-range
- Compression and rebound adjustable
Engineering and appearance
Not a lot has changed for the 09 WR over its older '08 brother, aside from fresh graphics kit. It's still a 250cc, liquid-cooled DOHC 4-stroke tucked inside an aluminum chassis based on previous YZ-F motocross frames.
There is a high mounted front fender atop which you'll find a square-shaped headlight. They haven't gotten rid of the fork's mudguards and they look aggressive on the WR-R.
Although this is a class-leading dual-purpose motorcycle there are no standard hand guards, but they'll make a nice aftermarket addition.
Street legality requires a pair of mirrors and signal lights, but this doesn't mean that you can't have a pair of aggressive side panels mounted around the 7 ½ litre tank which is positioned low into the frame, just like on the bike's racing siblings.
Underneath the engine you won't find a skid plate, even though this bike is perfectly suitable to jump over logs and rocks. This is an aftermarket add-on.
At the back end, the WR250R sports a high fender and the silencer looks like a part of the bodywork. The rear passenger possie doesn't look too comfy, but it does the job on short rides.
Performance and handling
While the bike does very well zipping around town and on the freeway, Yamaha created the WR250R with pure off-road adrenaline in mind.
The fuel-injected engine fires up quickly and provides an enjoyable, but not loud exhaust note.
Everything fell easily to hand; good seat height at 929mm, good ground clearance at 300mm and the footpegs were set up just right for my 5/10 foot frame.
There is enough power coming from the small engine that you'll have no problems with fast launches. The midrange is very strong and that's what you'll be enjoying on the trails. Also, a light clutch feel and a responsive gear lever does the trick. The gearing is fairly tall for off-road use, but I guess that's where Yamaha remembered that they actually plan on taking this model to the streets.
With such easy to use ergos on the WR this means you can concentrate more on the feedback coming from the bike and WR's is all positive. It handles very light and the tyres grip well, be it on tarmac or gravel while the 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels easily go through potholes and over logs. The frame and swingarm are probably the most refined pieces of this bike and they provide awesome geometry which results in quick handling.
When it comes to cornering, the little WR is sharp. The suspension also works very well. Up front, a 46mm inverted fork is compression and rebound adjustable while its 270mm of travel mean you'll never encounter bottoming resistance problems. Distance travel at the rear remains the same, but you're able to adjust compression and rebound, and preload as well.
The brakes are 250mm front and 230mm rear floating discs. Mated with the dual-piston Nissin caliper up front and the rear sporting a single-piston unit, this results in efficient braking under all riding conditions.
For a bike that many hardened trailies might consider underpowered and overweight, the WR250R received a lot of compliments from the people who rode it. The bike is put-together well, comfortable, reliable and surprisingly effective.
This isn't a bike that people will run to as the solution to their every two-wheeled need, but it's definitely a popular secondary machine or way to return to the sport. Anyone can ride it and have fun, which counts for a lot.
Read in-depth motorcycle reviews in the latest issue of Motorcycle Trader & News, on sale now.
See the Yamaha WR250R for sale here.
Engine Type 250cc liquid-cooled DOHC
Displacement (cc) 250
Bore x stroke (mm) 77.0 x 53.6
Carburation Fuel Injection
Ignition Direct ignition coil
Fuel tank (L) 7.5
Transmission Constant-mesh 6-speed;multiplate wet clutch
Length (mm) 2174
Width (mm) 810
Height (mm) 1229
Seat height (mm) 929
Wheelbase (mm) 1419
Clearance (mm) 300
Dry weight (kg) 125
Suspension front Inverted fork; fully adjustable, 270mm travel
Tyres front 80/100-21
Brakes front Hydraulic single-disc brake, 250mm
Suspension rear Single shock; fully adjustable, 270mm travel
Tyres rear 120/80-18
Brakes rear Hydraulic single-disc brake, 230mm