2011 Yamaha WR250X
Wow. Wow. Wow. Enough wows? You won't think so once you swing a leg over the 2011 Yamaha WR250X and put it through its paces. Although by their very definition supermotards are neither fish nor fowl due to their dirt bike chassis rolling on small street tires, if you can calculate a fun quotient based on the smile you have on your face when you ride a bike, the WR250X scores a maximum ear to ear total.
The sheer power that is churned out by the 250cc, four valve, DOHC, liquid-cooled, four stroke powerplant with featherweight titanium intake valves and electronic fuel injection will make you stop and check out the engine carefully to confirm whether or not Yamaha made a manufacturing error and plunked a YZ450F motor into the chassis of your WR250X. This little supermotard will definitely flatten your cheeks when you crank the twistgrip to the breathtaking 10,000 rpm redline and when you accelerate hard through an apex you'll think you're riding a YZF-R6, albeit on stilts. The handling is that good (for a supermotard). Off camber corner coming up? Who cares? You'll just lean and power your way through it with the aplomb of flying through the high bank at Daytona.
What makes the overall WR250X such a treasure is how all of its parts work together to provide a harmony of purpose that is rather difficult to find in most of the generally compromised supermoto class. Although Yamaha suffers from the same Alphabetsoupitis that Suzuki does with way too many EXUP, WPC, ACM, SOQI, AIS and other fairly obscure acronyms the WR250X just works.
The suspension system components may just be some of the best ever fitted onto a supermotard and are specific to this model alone. On the front the 46mm adjustable inverted Kayaba cartridge forks provide 10.6 inches of travel and let you choose through 20-way compression damping and 19-way rebound damping how you like to experience those inches. The Monocross rear is a 10.4 inch travel, monster sized SOQI piggy-back style shock with 12 way compression damping and 22 way rebound damping. You want to carve corners? You want to dirt track it? It's all the same to the WR250X.
Strictly in the nitpicking category, the wave style disc brake rotors are very attractive, but by their very delicate design are too fragile and give up a bit too much surface area to provide maximum stopping power. The high set front fender leaves the front of the frame and engine to be smacked with all the dirt and mud that gets kicked up by the tire and it can soon cake on to the point where you think you're riding a mudpie. But the bottom line is that the 2011 Yamaha WR250X is an eye opening, eye flattening, exhilarating joy ride that rules the lightweight supermotard roost.
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2011 Yamaha WR250X At A Glance
Base MSRP: $8,599
Engine Displacement: 250 cc
Engine Type: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled,
Bore & Stroke: 77 x 53.6 mm
Ignition Type: Starting TCI / Electric
Compression Ratio: 11.8:1
Valve Train Type: DOHC, 4-valve, single
Transmission Type: 6-speed
Final Drive Type: "O" ring chain
Front Tire: 110/70R17 (radial)
Rear Tire: 140/70R17 (radial)
Wheelbase: 1,425 mm (56.1")
Saddle Height: 895 mm (35.2")
Curb Dry Weight: 136 kg
Fuel Capacity (US): 7.6 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released