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Yamaha WR250R Review: [Specs, History & Comparison]

Looking to get a Yamaha WR250R but not sure if it’s the right bike for you? It’s good at a lot of things, but it certainly isn’t the “perfect dirt bike” for everyone.

I’ll cover the practical info as well as why you should or shouldn’t get one, whether you’re a beginner or experienced rider.

Who is the Yamaha WR250R for?

It’s a street legal dirt bike for dual sport riding. If you’re a beginner that wants to ride on the road and on some easy trails, this is a good bike to start on. It’s not particularly great at anything, but it’s good and versatile at a lot of things.

Keep reading to learn more.

A stock Yamaha WR250R is highly a very capable dual sport bike because it can go just about anywhere.
A 2014 WR250R is essentially the same as a 2020, but that’s not necessarily bad

WR250R vs WR250F – what’s the difference?

The main difference is that the WR250R is a dual-sport motorcycle that can be legally ridden on the road, while the WR250F is a higher-performance trail bike for off-road riding only.

They don’t share much in common other than the fact that they’re 250cc liquid-cooled 4 stroke dirt bikes from Yamaha.

Engine

The WR250R has a street-bike-based engine, so it doesn’t share any common parts with the WR250F or YZ250F dirt bikes. It’s tuned for smooth and predictable power and it’s geared to be able to cruise on the highway without wringing it out.

Does it have enough power?

It’s not lacking power, but it definitely doesn’t have much ‘snap’ or ‘giddy-up’, which makes it beginner-friendly for learning to ride. It has enough power for any adult to have fun, but the weight and suspension are the biggest factors to how well it rides off-road.

Suspension

If you’re new to riding off-road, the stock suspension is plenty good to start on. The stock rear shock is known to have poor rebound damping, which makes it more uncontrollable the harder you ride it on rougher terrain.

For street riding and casual trail riding, it’s good enough unless you weigh well over 200 pounds. Going to stiffer shock and fork springs is a cheap way to prevent it from bottoming out.

The WR250R is a middle-of-the-road dual sport bike, so it’s not meant to be raced, but it can still handle all sorts of riding from different types of riders.

If you plan on keeping this bike longterm and/or adventure riding, then it might be worth investing in some practical suspension upgrades to make it more comfortable for you. Even then, you need to know what you want the bike to do differently, or else the “upgrade” might actually turn into a “downgrade”.

Moral of the story – Ride it and learn how to feel what the bike is doing so that you can work on tuning specific areas to make it work better.

Handling

Being a dual sport bike, the Yamaha WR250R is not going to handle tight singletrack trails as well as a trail bike for a few reasons. 

Tires

The tires are DOT street legal, so they don’t have as good of knobbies on them for riding off-road. This means you won’t have as good of traction, making it easier to slide out the more aggressive you are on the brakes and throttle. 

Size

At 36.6″, it’s not the tallest dirt bike, but it’s taller than most street bikes. This makes it hard to touch the ground if you’re a short adult or have short legs like me. 

If you have good balance skills then it’s not an issue, but as a beginner, riding a bike that’s too tall won’t give you as much confidence because it’s easier to tip over. 

The WR250R is a good size dirt bike if you’re between 5’6″ to 6’2″ in height

Weight

For trail riding, it’s heavy, but for riding on the road it’s pretty light. That’s pretty typical for dual sport bikes because they have to be good for riding on and off road. 

An average weight of a trail bike is 250 pounds, so the WR250R with a weight of 295 pounds is a huge difference. The slower and tighter the traip you ride with it, the more you’ll notice the weight. It will be harder to lean and turn quickly unless you’re physically strong and can “man-handle” the bike. 

Specs & Dimensions

These specs are from Yamaha’s website:

Engine250cc liquid-cooled 4 stroke
Transmission6-speed manual clutch
Seat Height36.6″
Weight295 lbs (wet weight)
Horsepower30 HP
Top Speed90 MPH

Model year history

Yamaha first came out with the WR250R in 2008 but discontinued it in 2020, most likely due to lack of popularity. 

No major changes were made in all those years, so there isn’t really a “best model year”.

Is the WR250R reliable?

There weren’t any common major issues with the WR250R. It’s a very reliable dirt bike and will last thousands of miles if you do simple maintenance, such as oil and air filter changes. 

Bottom Line: Is the WR250R a good dirt bike?

Yes, it’s good if you want a beginner-friendly street legal dirt bike. It’s reliable, easy to ride, gets great gas mileage, and has enough power to have fun. 

It’s not great for hardcore trails riders or riding a lot of miles on the road – at least in stock form. But it can be turned into a pretty good lightweight adventure bike for riding the back roads around the country. 

If you still can’t decide, here are some quick pros and cons of buying a Yamaha WR250R:

Pros:

  • Smooth and predictable power
  • Reliable
  • Electric start
  • Fuel injection
  • Has enough power for most types of riding
  • Great lightweight adventure bike to start on

Cons:

  • It’s heavy for a trail bike
  • It doesn’t do anything great (typical for a dual-sport bike)
  • Tires are limiting because they’re 50/50 (street/dirt)

WR250R vs WR250X

While these two 250 four-strokes from Yamaha are very similar, the main difference is that the WR250X has full street wheels and tires, and the WR250R has dual sport tires for on and off-road riding.

You can ride on the dirt with a WR250X, but it’s not going to handle very well because it doesn’t have any “real knobbies” to get good traction.

Learn how to ride with confidence off-road

Riding a dirt bike is relatively easy, but riding it with control is difficult off-road, especially on trails if you’re new to riding. It takes proper balance and learning how to properly use the bike, but so many beginners don’t learn the basic techniques, and this often results in them crashing more often.

That’s why I created a simple guide that teaches you the basics, step by step, and I want to give it to you for free as a gift. Click here to learn more.