One for o-road beginners,
Yamaha’s baby enduro is the perfect beginner’s bike. Now made even friendlier…
YAMAHA’S WR250F IS probably the dirt bike you should buy. Certainly a 250cc four-stroke enduro bike is the best starting point for most people who ask: ‘what’s a good first off-roader?’ Yamaha’s everyman and woman bike sees a lot of fine tuning by engineers who’ve largely concentrated on the engine for 2018. Their unique answer to mass centralisation, the rearward slanted engine (which allows the fuel tank to sit further back and lower), has new porting in the cylinder head, a redesigned air intake funnel, a new camshaft and valve springs, a flat-top piston design and diamond-like coated, shorter piston pin plus a new nickel chromoly steel connecting rod. All-in that boosts bottom, mid and top end power but chiefly helps broaden the power spread as well as improve reliability. Engine character and power changes mean a revised electronics system. The ECU now uses 3-axis mapping for the fuel injection system and works with the mechanical changes to produce that broader, stronger spread of power. In technical and slow riding, where older 4T models were so prone to stalling or coughing, the new engine is sweeter at low revs. A redesigned push lever makes the clutch feel smoother while the kickstarter mechanism has been deleted, leaving the reliable electric start button to deal with all firing-up duties. I tested three versions of the bike with different stages of exhaust fitted: standard, just a muffler and with a full system. As standard the 250F is quiet and less ‘sharp’ off the throttle and is more
‘WR250F is sharper and the freer-revving engine brings new life’
novice and trail friendly. With the Yamaha kit part muffler upgraded, pick-up off the throttle improves distinctly and it starts to sound sweeter (louder) and handling is lighter. But the new engine works best of all with the Akrapovic Yamaha kit parts. It’s still smooth at low revs but the
engine revs and sounds like you’d hope the engineers designed it to. £566 for the muffler and header respectively. The WR chassis is based around the YZ250F MX model with a central beam now 12mm wider at the widest point and with new engine mount brackets and re-positioned footrests. The WR’S chassis feels stiffer than a steel back-bone type, common on some enduro models, but not too stiff. The claimed wet weight of 118kg is heavier by a handful of kilos than some rivals but that is with road homologation parts fitted. Unless you want to use it as a road bike, most of those parts will be removed by a dealer (or just not fitted) giving you a 5kg lighter bike. Even less if you change the exhaust system. With slight improvements to the 2018 KYB suspension the WR arguably has the best stock enduro suspension. Where some stock bikes become a handful the faster you go because they are too soft, the KYB kit is more controlled. The forks cope with a range of bumps, taking the big hits but not standing too firm on smaller bumps or in corners. It is fully adjustable too. 2018’s WR250F is sharper and the freerrevving engine brings new life to this model, while smoothed out fuelling make it more useful to every rider.
Engine changes make life easier for the rider, regardless of talent or lack thereof Expensive, but they work and add value
Smoother running means less sweating