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2008 Yamaha WR250R First Impressions

posted Jul 28, 2011, 8:50 PM by Don Smith   [ updated Jul 28, 2011, 9:32 PM ]
Greetings loyal fans!

Today I'd like to share a few first impressions of my new bike. I realize some people are actually doing research on purchasing their own bike and really value feedback from other owners. Just to save you some time let me get right to it: In summation I am very pleased with it, and I would recommend it to anyone who does the kind of riding I do*.

Now for the details my really hard core fans want. I'll bullet a few key points to keep it short and sweet:
  • Power: it has good power. I was really concerned about this since I was trading down from a WR400 which had gobs of snort. I wouldn't accuse the WR250R of having snort, but it does have good power in the upper RPM range. Low down grunt is not there. Believe me, I check often and I stall the bike each time I do. Some of that is poor clutch management on my part but I am getting better at it. I think next year I will put a larger sprocket on the rear to gear it down just a tad. I think that will help on the trails, which is where I prefer to ride.
  • Electric start: I think I know what Chris Matthews was feeling when he said he "gets a tingle up his leg". My right leg is sooo happy! Especially with all the extra stalls I have been having. No more kicking!
  • Ergonomics: I think I look like a giant on the bike, but it doesn't feel too small. It handles very well. I much prefer riding it over the WR400. I do think I might add some slightly taller bars in the future, but that is because I am a tall guy, 6'2" and that makes stand-up riding more comfortable on any bike. Controls are smooth. The speedo was way off, but I put speedo-healer on to remedy that. The computer does have some trip adjustment controls, but I haven't taken the time to figure them out. The manual isn't very helpful here.
  • Traction: Stock tires are mostly lame off road. They do OK in the dry, but they gum up fast if there is any mud. I made a spectacular fool of myself in front of Shane Watts. I was flying down the trail and hit a rut which wouldn't have been a big deal except it was pretty muddy. The bike fell over like a dead horse and I quickly got off in Superman style over the handle bars. I got muddy like a pig in a new wallow, and a huge bruise on my thigh where my leg caught the handlebar on my dismount. Grasshopper just laughed as he rode by. I was so embarrassed. I blame the tires. Kenda TrackMaster 760s have already arrived and will be mounted this weekend.
  • Suspension: A little soft. I've bottomed it a few times. I need to figure out how to stiffen the shocks a bit. Also the ground clearance is lower than what I am used to, but I've put a heavy duty skid plate on to protect the under side.
  • Wheelies: I was pretty sure I could not really do a wheelie on this bike. It just didn't seem to have the power or gearing for it on my first couple of rides. But that was before Shane Watts taught me how to wheelie. Turns out the WR250R can wheelie just fine. In fact I can pop over a 24-inch log without stopping. You'll read more about that in a later post about my DirtWise Academy experience. 
I will mention that I've also been impressed with some of the design features of the bike. Yamaha clearly put a lot of thought in to designing this bike. Good job Yamaha team!

*If you ride enduro events, or just strictly off-road then this is not a good choice for you. There are much better machines for the hard-core off-road racer, or the rider who will just never need a license plate. This bike is the perfect balance of dual-sport and price.