One for o˜-road be­gin­ners,

Yamaha’s baby en­duro is the per­fect begin­ner’s bike. Now made even friend­lier…

BIKE (UK) - - CONTENTS - Pho­tog­ra­phy: Garry Barnes/yamaha

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

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