2011 Yamaha XT250
When Honda invented the modern Japanese 250 four stroke single dual purpose bike with their gorgeous 1972 XL250 which featured one of the most prepossessing tank designs in the history of motorcycle styling, the floodgates opened for every manufacturer to provide their own clone. One of the best ones had to be the Yamaha XT250, and after a few decades of refinement and long after Honda gave up on the XL250, it can be said that the student has surpassed the teacher as the current XT250 model is a really great overall utilitarian motorcycle. Sure, it's dated, but it still works so well you won't even notice!
The 2011 Yamaha XT250 could be considered an valid substitute for legs if you didn't have to put down a foot at a stoplight. It's the total all-condition transportation solution for anyone but the most power-hungry and speed-addled rider.
There is literally nowhere that any other reasonable motorcycle can go that the XT250 can't, and if you're looking for one affordable bike that does everything for you instead of running up your credit by filling your garage with a specialty motorcycle for each specific purpose, the XT250 is your ride.
With a seat height of under 32 inches, the XT250 is accessible to riders of almost any stature. That relatively low seat height belies the fact that the undercarriage of the XT250 is over 11 inches off the ground, which makes rolling over large rocks or even street dividers a lead pipe cinch.
The electric starter works instantaneously, and when you hit the throttle, the willing and capable 249cc air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke single fed by a Teikei MV 33 mm CV carb hunkers down on its rear single shock suspension, takes up a bit of that 7.1 inches of travel, and scoots you down the road or trail. Unlike most thumpers, the XT250 likes to sing and the powerband actually peaks out at 7500 rpm with max torque at a relatively spinny 6500 rpm. This is certainly no Triumph Rocket 3 that generates gobs of torque at 100 rpm past idle!
When a squirrel or a Mack Truck suddenly cross your path, the Nissin calipers front and rear will haul your mass to a stop with remarkable alacrity while still providing excellent brake feel.
The 2011 Yamaha XT250 is one of those motorcycles that most riders disregard as a teenager's paper route bike. That's a real shame as if you're looking for a reasonable, affordable bike that will do 99% of everything you want, from grabbing some take out fish and chips to taking you out to the remote lake where you can catch your own fish, the XT250 is the one for you.
2011 Yamaha XT250 At A Glance
Base MSRP: $5,899
Engine Displacement: 249 cc
Engine Type: Air-cooled, SOHC, 2-valve, single
Bore & Stroke: 74 x 58mm
Ignition Type: Starting CDI / Electric Start
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Transmission Type: 5-speed
Final Drive Type: Chain
Front Tire: 2.75 x 21
Rear Tire: 120/80-18
Wheelbase: 1,360mm (53.5")
Saddle Height: 810mm (31.9")
Curb Dry Weight: 131kg (288.2 lb)
Fuel Capacity (US): 9.8 litres
* Specs/pix apply to 2010 model, updates as released