2016 Yamaha WR250F

MSRP: $7,990

Roost
  • A great bike built for everyone from a novice to an experienced trail rider.
  • Performs well in all conditions from slow speed single track and rocks to high speed roads.
  • Traditional Yamaha characteristics of exceptional durability while still producing a very competitive bike.
Endo
  • Compared to Yamaha's other 250F's, the motor is very tame.
  • The bike can feel heavy in certain situations on the trail.

Credits

  • Writer: Trevor Hunter
  • Photographer: Jimmy Lewis/Matt Matoon

Introduction

  • Yamaha's off-road trail bike.

Since Yamaha has the YZ250FX designated as their four stroke off-road race bike, the WR250F exists as more of an off-road trail bike not purpose built for racing. The bike took on a complete makeover for 2015 and many perceived it to be an outstanding bike for its purpose. The bike is based off of the YZ250F motocross bike and shares a plethora of parts; however, several components have changed in order to meet the requirements necessary for being a legal off-road bike. Does this bike suit the type of riding you do?

" The WR250F exists as more of an off-road trail bike not purpose built for racing."

Changes

  • Bold New Graphics

After completely revamping this bike for 2015, Yamaha didn’t really update the WR for 2016. The only notable change this bike received was some bold new graphics for the new model year. However, this update is more than enough as it didn’t really need to be changed after its complete makeover only one year ago.

" The only notable change this bike received was some bold new graphics for the new model year."

Power

  • Performs well everywhere from slow, rocky singletrack to fast straightaways.
  • Power is controllable when it needs to be and surprisingly fast when needed.

Since the bike must comply with strict off-road regulations, the motor remains very restricted. Before riding the bike, we removed the throttle stop, the smallest restrictor inside of the muffler, and the sound dampening snorkel inside of the air intake tract leading to the air filter. The motor on the WR250F is very similar to the YZ250FX, Yamaha’s off-road race model; however, it feels like a completely different motor once you hit the magic button. When first starting the bike, it sounds like a very mellow, low power motor due to all the requirements necessary to have a green sticker bike. Also, the exhaust is very quiet leaving most of the noise coming from the air intake right under the cockpit. When we first got on the bike, we were skeptical of how fast the bike would be due to its quietness. That all changed; however, once we hit a fast fire road where the motor was able to go to its sweet spot in the top end. As the RPMs increase,the power becomes more apparent as it likes to be ridden in the higher RPMs like most 250F’s. The bike has a linear power delivery with no significant steps throughout the range as it continues to build. Additionally, the wide-ratio, six-speed transmission worked perfect with not having too large or small of a gap between gears. Having good power on long, fast straightaways, we were pretty surprised how the bike also worked well in tight, rocky canyons where the smoother bottom end could help keep the bike stay in control when atop the loose rocks. Also, when climbing steep, slippery uphills, the bike excelled when it needed to be lugged in order to keep traction making hill climbs. Even in abusive situations, the clutch held up well and never started to fade despite riding through numerous tight canyons and single track where heavy clutch use was necessary.

" That all changed; however, once we hit a fast fire road where the motor was able to go to its sweet spot in the top end."

Suspension

  • Very plush suspension.
  • Didn’t deflect off any rocks while moving slow in canyons.
  • A little head shake in high speed braking bumps.

The famed SSS forks and shock that come on the motocross models also come on the WR. Yamaha went to a softer spring rate both front and rear as well as different valving to comply with the harsh terrain off road riding throws at you. While riding in high speed chop, the forks can be a bit twitchy due to its soft setup which results in blowing through the stroke too quickly. However, in the slow, rock filled canyons or tight single track, the forks worked perfectly, staying planted to the ground and not deflecting off any sharp rocks. Adjusting the clickers will fix the soft forks and shock if riding at race speed. Also, the bottoming on the suspension worked very well as it didn’t have the typical harsh feel when hitting metal-to-metal which allows for a softer setup for the rocks and roots while still performing in the high speed areas. Whether riding at a slow pace or racing, both the fork and shock felt comfortable and didn’t do anything unexpected.

 

" However, in the slow, rock filled canyons or tight single track, the forks worked perfectly, staying planted to the ground and not deflecting off any sharp rocks."

Chassis - Handling

  • Much heavier than it feels while riding it due to the design.
  • Ergonomics felt comfortable in stock position for shorter riders.

After seeing that the WR250F weighs 255 pounds full of gas, we were nervous the bike would have trouble in the tight, technical trails. However, we are more than impressed on how light and nimble the bike felt while riding it. From deep ruts and mud to rocks, the weight was never a problem as the bike felt agile and stayed planted throughout the trail no matter what obstacles presented themselves. Also, the bike appears to be wider than it actually feels due to the radiator shroud/air intake on the front.  Although the air intake is a bit wide on the front of the bike, it never affected the performance of the bike as the intake was clear of where we stood/squeezed the bike. Additionally, having a smaller rider made making a quick pivot/u-turn on the bike difficult as the weight became apparent when having to lean the bike over quite a bit. Likewise, the ergonomics of the cockpit felt very comfortable in stock form where the bars weren’t too tall or a far reach. The seat was comfortable to sit on as it wasn’t too soft or too hard and it had a nice grip to it to prevent sliding back off the seat. Also, the brakes worked pretty well whether we were descending a steep hill or slowing down off a high speed road. The odometer is a nice feature as it warns you when the bike is close to running out of fuel and the headlight works decent enough to get you back in an emergency. Also, the skid plate could use some holes in the bottom to keep mud and dirt from building up inside of it while riding. We were able to get around 50 miles per tank of gas and with the way the fuel tank is, seeing how much gas you have is difficult as you can only really see it when the tank is close to full. Lastly, the grips were nice where it didn’t tear up our hands and they didn’t tear when hitting the ground.

 

" However, we are more than impressed on how light and nimble the bike felt while riding it."

Conclusion

  • Features several off-road necessities.
  • Equipped with modern technology.

Overall, Yamaha has built up a reputation of building great motorcycles over the years and this WR250F is no exception. The bike features several modern components like EFI showing that Yamaha is serious about their off-road bikes. Of course, having electric start is always a nice touch to any motorcycle. The bike comes stock with a plastic skid plate and a heavy duty kick-stand, but it could benefit by coming with a set of hand guards.

Compared to the CRF250X and KTM 250XCF-W, the competitors counterparts in this range of motorcycles, the WR remains very competitive. It’s motor and suspension package rival the other bikes and its price point sits right in the middle. Although this isn’t a great bike to race competitively on, Yamaha does offer a GYTR competition kit if you are interested in racing the bike. However, if you’re looking for a fun bike to rip through single track and cruise around on, this bike fits the job. The mild mannered motor and trail oriented suspension makes it easy and fun to ride and it’ll leave you a feeling of enjoyment every time you ride it.  

" However, if you’re looking for a fun bike to rip through single track and cruise around on, this bike fits the job."

Recent Product Tests

What Others Said

Australia's Moto Online details how well the bike performs down under.
http://www.motoonline.com.au/2015/09/08/review-2016-yamaha-wr250f/