It used to be that the best way to end up with a high-performance off-road bike was to start with a motocross bike and modify it to your taste and needs. Sure, there were trail bikes available, but most were overweight, underpowered, and under-suspended.
That's no longer the case. Today's off-road rider can start out with a high-performance bike that's not only got motocross-style power, handling, and suspension, it's also got off-road essentials from the factory. What are these off-road essentials? A spark arrestor, lights, and an 18-inch rear wheel, just to name three.
If this describes your off-road riding aspirations, then the Yamaha WR250F deserves your attention. Although the Yamaha WR lineup also includes a 450cc bike, we're presenting the 250cc model as the more versatile of the two simply because the added weight and power of the 450 is friendlier to bigger and/or more experienced riders. A 250F is easier to handle, lighter, and the lower power output makes it fun to grab a handful of throttle without trepidation.
At the heart of the WR250F's chassis you'll find a motocross-inspired aluminum frame that cuts weight and adds precision to the suspension and handling. Bolted into the frame's head tube is a pair of fully adjustable 48mm forks delivering 11.8 inches of travel. The rear suspension is up to the same par with a YZ-style linkage system that produces 12.2 inches of progressive, adjustable suspension travel. No question: This is motocross hardware.
Engine-wise, the WR250F is powered by a liquid-cooled four-stroke that boasts a five-valve cylinder head. The valves are rendered in lightweight, high-performance titanium. Fuel and air are delivered by a 37mm Keihin FCR carburetor. While the latest and greatest fuel systems are EFI, the WR 250F's Keihin is a highly engineered, highly developed item that benefits from heavy aftermarket support and is simpler and less expensive compared to an EFI system.
If you like your dirt rides on the aggressive side and need essential off-road hardware, take a look at the Yamaha WR250F. Yes, you could start out with a motocross bike and modify it for trail riding, but the WR250F lets you go straight from the dealership to the dirt.