Yamaha WR250R is a middleweight dual-sport bike that has been a relative hit with motocross and off-road riders since its production. The beast of a motorcycle may not be the fastest or the most powerful on the road, but it makes up for it with its gigantic amounts of torque and ability to take some beating.
With its aluminum semi-double-cradle frame, tapered aluminum swingarm with a large diameter pivot shaft, and six-speed transmission, the fuel-injected, 4-stroke, 250cc Yamaha WR250R was undoubtedly aimed at all-terrain enthusiasts.
But is this workhorse the motocross machine you’re looking for? How well does it make up for its lack of power with its ability to take off and go? Let’s explore the answers to these questions through this article, where we will review the Yamaha WR250R, discuss its key specs and features, along with plenty of related queries.
About Yamaha WR250R
The Yamaha WR250R is a dual-sport motorcycle introduced in 2008 for the 2009 model year, replacing the previous WR250F that had been around since 2001. The WR250R is based on a YZ250F motocross bike and shares its engine and frame.
In addition to being a very competent dirt bike, the WR250R is street legal. Essentially, it’s a well-rounded bike capable of handling commuting, trail riding, adventure touring, and dual-sport racing.
Although based on the YZ motocross models, it has several features that make it more street-friendly. These include a smooth-shifting six-speed gearbox and wide-ratio transmission. Other features include fuel injection, an aluminum frame, and dual disc brakes.
But what makes the WR250R different from Yamaha’s other small dual sportbike, the WR250X?
The main difference lies in the motor. The X has a more street-oriented engine optimized for low to mid-range power, while the R has higher top-end performance but still has plenty of bottom-end torque to make it easy to ride through technical terrain. The R is also lighter, has better suspension performance, and is easier to handle.
It’s also slightly larger as the frame is made from larger diameter tubing. But for all its advantages, the R is still a ‘compact’ dual-sport bike with a relatively low center of gravity. It will still roll over on occasion and give you a good buzz when pushed. So in many ways, it is like a larger version of its motocross cousin, the WR450.
Yamaha WR250R Specs & Features:
While the WR250R may appear merely a street-legal variant of the WR250F, it’s an entirely different machine, including the motor, frame, and suspension. Check out Yamaha WR250R’s key specs and features below.
The Yamaha YZF-R1 engine is a 250cc liquid-cooled, four-stroke fuel-injected with electric starting. The 4-valve DOHC engine produces 30.3 horsepower at 10,000 RPM and a maximum torque of 23.7 Nm (2.42 kgf/m) at 8,000 RPM, which means you can keep your drive train simple with only one gear to worry about.
WR250R utilizes a TCI system incorporating an electric starter and a digital ignition system with a timing advance mechanism. The Coil-On-Plug Ignition coil rests on top of the spark plug.
When the engine is started, the timing advances automatically to provide more starting power. Then, as the engine warms up, it reverts to regular timing.
Transmission and Drivetrain
The WR250R’s transmission uses a wide-ratio six-speed gearbox, which allows for comfortable cruising at low RPMs, resulting in less vibration and better fuel economy.
It also has a smooth-shifting mechanism that provides you with accurate, quick shifts. The drivetrain features a wet multi-plate clutch with an automatic cam chain tensioner.
Yamaha WR250R comes with a 250mm single-disc front and 230mm single-disc rear hydraulic brakes with stopping power for street and off-road use. There’s a single piston on the rear disc in contrast to the front disc’s dual-piston Nissin caliper.
The bike is equipped with a long-travel suspension. Its front suspension offers 11.8 inches of wheel travel to absorb the bumps, ruts, and holes in the trail or track, while the rear provides 12.5 inches of wheel travel.
A KYB speed-sensitive Telescopic fork mounts the front wheel with compression and rebounds damping and spring preload adjustability. The rear one rides on a Swingarm link single shock with adjustable high-speed and low-speed compression damping, rebound damping, and spring preload adjustability.
Wheels and Tires
Yamaha WR250R’s front and rear wheels are 21 and 18 inches in diameter, respectively, making for a desert-ready motorcycle. The high-profile tires (2.75 x 21) also feature an aggressive tread pattern for excellent handling on rough surfaces.
To ensure you can follow your own tracks when navigating through dunes, dirt trails, or rocky terrain, the 2.75-inch rear (120/80) and 2.5-inch front (80/100) tires provide plenty of traction.
The motorcycle’s overall length is 85.6 inches, width of 31.9 inches, and height 48.4 inches. The wheelbase measures 55.9 inches, while its maximum ground clearance is 11.8 inches with 5.5 feet turning radius. It has a seat height of 36.6 inches to accommodate riders of varying heights.
With its dry weight measuring 263 pounds and fuel tank capacity of 2 gallons, the power to weight ratio of 12.65 horsepower per ton fits Yamaha’s flagship dirt bike for enthusiasts.
The WR250R features a lightweight, semi-double-cradle frame designed to offer superb handling characteristics and high levels of rigidity. A sturdy steel engine guard protects the bottom of the engine from rocks, logs, and other trail hazards.
Yamaha’s unique EXUP (Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve) system is a servo-controlled exhaust valve that improves torque and power in the low-to-mid rpm range, resulting in more controllable power delivery. Additionally, it helps to reduce emissions.
Yamaha WR250R Top Speed
The Yamaha WR250R top speed is 82 mph, ranking among the finest in its category (dual sport). Moreover, it can go from zero to 67 mph in just under five seconds, which is pretty impressive for a 250cc motorcycle.
However, this speed may vary depending on wind, altitude, road conditions, upkeep, etc. The rider’s weight might also affect how quickly the bike reaches maximum speed.
According to several user forums, reports suggested a few users weighing less than 170 pounds were able to reach even 85 mph, while others weighing over struggled to go beyond 80 mph.
Yet, despite outperforming many models with larger displacement, the WR250R isn’t designed to go as fast as some other models, after all—like KTM 500 EXC or Honda CRF450L. While racing dirt bikes strive for speed, dual sport bikes like the WR250R put versatility and maneuverability above all else.
How to Increase the Yamaha WR250R Top Speed?
The Yamaha WR250R may not be the fastest bike in the world, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a little fun trying to add some speed to it. With some tweaking and a few modifications, you can considerably increase the Yamaha WR250R top speed, whether you are racing or just for fun.
Here, I’ve compiled some of the most practical and cost-efficient ways you can boost your Yamaha WR250R’s top speed.
You can increase your WR250R’s top speed by changing your gearing. In this way, you can enable your WR250R to run at a higher RPM and, therefore, higher speed. This process involves changing the rear sprocket cogs, commonly known as “Re-gearing.”
With its 14/48 tooth sprocket set, the WR250R comes with 14 teeth up front and 48 at the rear. Increasing the size of the rear sprocket increases the speed at the expense of acceleration and vice versa.
Thus, if you want to increase speed, you should decrease the number of teeth on your front sprocket (14) and add them to your rear sprocket (48). The result will be a lower gear ratio, but it will also bring your engine RPM into an optimal zone for top-end speed, which is about 11000 RPM.
Modifying the Cylinder
The engine’s cylinder head and compression directly affect its power output and top speed (among other things). The WR250R’s stock compression ratio is 11.8:1, which is low enough that you can safely raise it even further without causing engine damage (assuming your engine isn’t compromised in some other way).
With a bit of careful porting, you can raise your bike’s compression ratio to 13:1 without any internal modifications and up to 14:1 with new pistons to increase the top speed by up to 4 mph.
Raising the Rear Suspension
Raising the rear suspension can increase the WR250R’s top speed when ground clearance is its primary limiting factor. A higher ride height will also allow for a better aerodynamic tuck on the straights and more weight transfer to the front wheel while cornering.
Increasing rear suspension ride height requires aftermarket components, such as a higher spring rate and longer shock. You should raise front forks at the same time to maintain proper geometry. This mod is not recommended for riders who do not currently have a problem with ground clearance scraping or bottoming out.
Installing a Camshaft
Adding a camshaft is another option for increasing the top speed of your WR250R/X. The camshaft will replace your stock unit and allow for a better flow of engine gases, leading to more power at the rear wheel. To install this modification properly, you will need to install an aftermarket re-mapping tool or flash the WR’s ECU.
Yamaha WR250R – Pros and Cons:
The Yamaha WR250R is not without its share of cons, despite its many pros. Let’s discuss some of them.
- High Revving Engin: The WR250R’s 282cc liquid-cooled four-stroke engine promises years of reliable service. The WR250R’s engine obtains fuel via Yamaha’s Fuel Injection system, designed to function effectively even in high altitudes and temperatures.
The fuel-injected engine is very responsive due to its lightweight piston, which reduces the weight of the reciprocating parts. The lightweight piston also allows the engine to rev higher, which gives it an additional boost of power.
- Advanced Fuel Injection: Yamaha has specifically tailored the fuel injection system to maximize the performance potential of the 4-stroke powerplant. It supplies precisely the right amount of fuel for the current engine speed and throttle position for crisp throttle response in all conditions.
- Low-End Torque: The Yamaha WR250R’s engine has excellent low-end torque, giving it a massive advantage over other 250cc dual sportbikes.
The low-end torque makes going up steep hills much easier because it provides constant power for the bike to keep going. The low-end torque also helps the bike accelerate from a standstill much faster than other bikes in its class.
- Rigid and High-Strength Chassis: The WR250R’s high-tech chassis produces precise handling for a wide range of uses. The frame is lightweight and rigid steel with an aluminum subframe. The long wheelbase, large-diameter wheels, and long-travel suspension give superb handling and traction on a wide variety of terrain.
- Rider Focused Ergonomics: Yamaha has done an excellent job designing the WR250R to fit a wide range of riders. In fact, you’ll find that it’s better suited for a wider variety of riders than many other bikes in its class.
The main reason is that the seat height is adjustable from 34.8 to 36.6 inches. That’s a 1.8-inch difference in seat height! That’s a massive difference for riders, especially those on the shorter side.
- Exhaust: Yamaha’s unique EXUP exhaust system on the bike allows for better engine performance throughout the rev range. It also helps with engine braking by keeping the exhaust valve open. The result is a smoother, more controlled deceleration when you let off the gas.
- Fully-Adjustable Forks: One of the most notable features of the WR250R is its fully adjustable front forks. This feature allows you to adjust the bike for different riding conditions and styles. The standard fork settings are good for about 95% of the circumstances you will be riding.
The fork adjustment options include spring preload (upfront), rebound damping, and compression damping. The shock also has adjustments for spring preload (which changes the ride height of the bike’s rear) and rebound damping.
- Smaller Fuel Tank: This model only has a 2-gallon fuel capacity, which means you will have to fill up more often when traveling long distances or venturing off-road where stations aren’t always close together.
- Hard-to-Find Parts: As a to-be-discontinued dual-sport bike, Yamaha has limited parts availability to dealerships. You will have to find an online dealer that sells OEM parts in this situation. Be wary of aftermarket parts because they can be inferior in quality compared to the original parts.
- Vibration at higher RPMs: Like most small-displacement dual sports, you’ll start to notice some vibration once you get past 5,000 RPM or so—not enough to be uncomfortable, but enough to obscure the mirrors and make you wish for a 6th gear to keep things smooth on the highway.
Below we answer some of the most frequently asked questions about Yamaha WR250R.
Is Yamaha WR250R street-legal?
Yes, the Yamaha WR250R is street legal in all 50 states. It comes with DOT-approved tires, turn signals, reflectors, and mirrors. In terms of license plates, you can ride on the street in any state that allows a dual-sport or motocross bike to be plated.
Is Yamaha discontinuing the WR250R?
Yes, Yamaha has confirmed discontinuing the WR250R dual-sport motorcycle, leaving XT250 as the only dual-sport model in their off-road lineup. As of 2021, the WR250R is not available in Europe, but it is available in Japan as the WR250RJ (without ABS). The last European import was in 2014.
Why did Yamaha discontinue the WR250R?
There are several reasons, but the most obvious and critical one is street bikes’ domination in the motorcycle market in America. Dirt bikes make up only a tiny percentage of sales. Out of those sold, most are under 250cc in displacement. Consequently, there aren’t many buyers for the WR250R, so Yamaha didn’t see the point in selling it anymore.
How much does a Yamaha WR250R cost?
Yamaha WR250R prices vary depending on the country and the seller. In the United States, they typically sell for between $6,500 and $8,000. In Canada, they usually sell for between C$7,900 and C$10,000. In Australia and New Zealand, they typically sell for between AU$9,000 and AU$11,000. In Europe (France and Italy), they usually sell for between €4,800 and €6,000.
What will replace the WR250R?
Nothing. There is no replacement for the WR250R. At least not yet. According to Yamaha, it’s too soon to discuss the future of this model, and it will remain on sale for another year.
What are the height and weight of the Yamaha WR250R?
The Yamaha WR250R’s height measures 48.4 inches, and its dry weight is about 263 lbs.
The Yamaha WR250R is a motorcycle that lives up to its hype. If you’re an adventurous soul looking for the perfect motorbike, this bike will have plenty of fun-filled moments for you both on and off the road.
It’s almost as if Yamaha was able to design this bike with all-terrain enthusiasts in mind since it certainly does make up for its lack of power with some well-measured additions to its machinery.
We can confidently say that if you are an outdoorsy type—the kind that spends a lot of time exploring new landscapes—this bike will more than be a worthy companion on your expeditions.