Less may really be more.
Is the Yamaha WR250R in “Ride Adv” spec the best sub 450cc adventure bike in the world?
I remember when the WR250R came out in 2008. There was some advertising but not much hype. The model seemed in no mans land. It was substantially less powerful and had a lower spec everything then the WR250F, no racer or ex racer would want that. It was water cooled with a high seat height so it didn’t appeal to the farmers buying the TTR250. Was it a commuter? A single cylinder 250cc trailbike with no windscreen as a commuter? No thanks. I do remember Darren Thompson, Yamaha Motor Australia (YMA) head tech, discussing the new model with me, he mentioned the service intervals were 25 000km for an oil change (!) This had been knocked down to 10 000km for Australian release. YMA told Japan they were going to change the schedule, Japan thought there was no need, 25 000km is what the engine was designed for. YMA stuck with 10 000km oil changes, valve adjustment at 25 000km.
The WR250R was a Japanese domestic model in design, that has escaped out into other markets. It’s a wholly Japanese built motorcycle, unlike many trailbikes we now see from the Japanese big 4 that have a large content or are assembled in Thailand, so it was expensive when released, $10 499 was the RRP from 2008-2013.
At that time, 2012, Ride Adv was using 660 Tenere’s as pre run bikes. The nature of pre running is exploring trails, trying to join tracks on maps. The 660 were heavy when you get stuck on a hill when the track you thought was there, isn’t there. Greg saw the 250R and requested 2 as pre run bikes from YMA. A chainsaw (originally out of my shed) was mounted on the back of one and Greg reported back that the bikes were actually very good, but the rear shock was so bad the chainsaw kept falling off.
I had worked on a few of them for customers from 2008, with mediocre results. The forks were a 46mm USD KYB that looked like the 1996-2003 YZ units but had cartridges that were the same size as the YZ85, that’s what the YZ range had in 1988. The shock wasn’t much better. It wasn’t a KYB shock, it’s a Soqi, a wholly Yamaha owned subsidiary company that makes suspension units for the more budget models. The shock has a rebound adjuster straight out of my 1983 YZ125K. That may sound dismal. It’s not. These are very few Adventure bikes with stock suspension componentry I’d describe as anything other than rudimentary. This doesn’t stop me from analysing the stock components on the shock (and fork) dyno and making them perform for a different purpose than the factory ever intended.
6 years on and many suspension settings later we now have a very well developed 250R. The forks didn’t turn out to be a problem with the “little” YZ85 internals, I just needed to mount the forks on the dyno and start working. The shock was harder, we tried 2 different main pistons and 30 setting changes in it over 4 years. The problem, in hindsight was a lack of low speed damping control. One of the questions I always get about our shock dynos is “how fast do they go?” as if that’s an important measure of the dynos ability, in the same way you ask the engine tuner how much HP his chassis dyno. It’s about the least important question you can ask.
For Adventure bikes, under $10K purchase price you get very little. At $15K is still quite lean in terms of stock suspension componentry. So the 250R has old MX technology but its advanced from a Trail bike and Adventure bike standing. Why not just start with a 450 enduro bike? We did that, last year. 3 2017 WR450F’s. Tried to tame them, big tanks, mild mapping, better seats. Were they fun for 3 hours? Yes. Were they fun for 8 hours and successive days? No. Can you compare a hard edged WR450F with a WR250R? Yes and no. They are both blue off road bikes with compliance. The 250R is easy to ride all day and don’t need the maintenance schedule a WR-F does.
We have been developing this suspension package since 2012 with Yamaha Australia and RideAdv on their hire Yamaha WR250R's. Suitable for all riders from that use the WR as anything from a casual trail bike to commuter to a 2 day Adventure Sprint bike. All the problems with the shock are solved with our shock dyno developed settings, plus a spring to suit your weight. We usually retain the OEM fork springs unless you are over 110kg, then we fit 0.48kg/mm. We have tested all our competitors products, we are the only suspension company that uses a shock dyno to develop settings on every customer job.
Bring your bike in and we will do all the hard work or take the suspension out yourself and bring it in.
Pricing based on new or as new bike.If you need consumables such as seals, bushes,bumper, shock seal, etc, extra costs will apply .Freight options include Aust post and TNT , approx $25-35 road.
Click here to learn more about the upgrade packae for you WR250R.