At Dirt Rider we take our testing seriously, and as part of a thorough evaluation we consider the likely audience for a certain bike while testing it. For example, every rider on staff eagerly spends time on play bikes, but none of us is the real target audience for them. We use test riders who are of proper age, skill and size for each bike, then we spend some time on them whether we fit the actual bike or the profile for the target audience.Recently we added a section called Reader's Ride to the back part of the magazine, and one of the first bikes that caught Jimmy Lewis' eye was a fully customized Honda CRF230F ridden by one of the www.dirtrider.com regulars. While shooting the Reader's Ride shots we realized that Courtney Sullivan was a perfect tester for the 2009 WR250F. She is the audience intended for the WR250F: a play bike rider experienced enough and ready to move up to a full-size bike.Csully, as she is known on DR.com, can thank her dad for building her a really cool bike to learn on, and for her shot as a test rider. Her opinion is from a rider actually in the market for a bike of this type and size. At the other end of the spectrum is Sean Foos. Foos is a moto kid with a strong track background who rides off-road. He has recently made the switch from minis to a 250F. He also fits the profile of a potential WR shopper, so we had him spend a hardcore day of trail riding on the WR.Naturally, their impressions (with both riders tipping the scales under 140 pounds) stepping up to the WR are more positive than mine temporarily stepping down from a YZ450F.The WR250F has not changed for 2009, but the model has seen many recent upgrades including the YZ-style aluminum frame. Since we had the luxury of testing on private property, we used the YZ throttle stop and removed the tiny inner baffle in the muffler tip (only the smallest!). We ran stock jetting and kept all of the smog equipment in place. For an experienced, aggressive or heavy rider the little WR will feel sluggish on roll-on, and the transmission spacing will be wide enough to feel the gaps. Keep the little motor spinning hard and the bike is surprisingly quick. Handling is a strong point as the bike is nimble with extremely supple suspension.
--Karel KramerAs someone who has been riding a CRF230F for the past two and a half years, I've become accustomed to the mellowness and manageable height of a mid-sized bike. Jumping on the WR250F was a whole new experience.Right off the bat I was battling with the height. At 5'8", I can comfortably put both feet on the ground while sitting on my 230. On the WR, I could get one foot down; providing I was on flat ground that is. It would have helped to have the sag set right, but we couldn't get the correct amount with the stock spring. I'm used to having the comfort of being able to stabilize myself with my feet; this became something I had to learn to let go of. However, it took hardly anytime at all to figure out how to handle the taller bike, and in actuality, I liked it better...at least while I was riding! The height of the bike was perfect while I was standing on the pegs. On the 230 I often feel cramped and like I have to bend over to the bars more, but on the 250 I could stand in a much more comfortable position which made me feel like I had better control of the bike. Unfortunately, more control or not, it didn't stop me from 'tipping over' a few times, which led to the next problem I had: weight.Not only is the WR250 taller than my 230, it's heavier as well. The actual added difference isn't too much, but it's magnified by the height. Being a girl, I tend to lack the upper body strength of my male counterparts, so picking up the bike was fine a few times or on flat surfaces, but picking it up on the side of a hill or in sand was much more difficult than I expected.Height and weight aside, I really enjoyed the WR250F. My favorite part is...the extra power! Going up hills became much easier. Smaller hills were almost effortless compared to my 230, and on larger ones I didn't feel like I needed more than my bike could give half way up. While riding the bike, it felt light and nimble, and very peppy. Over whoops and bumps the bike easily pops right over them making the trails even more fun. I had no problem getting the front end up over whoops, which has been a constant battle for me on the 230. I think for the first time ever I enjoyed hitting a few whoops! At times the extra power was intimidating, and I often wished for a gear lower than first; but I think it's something that most people can get used to pretty quickly.Over all, the bike is a lot of fun. I think it's a bike that many different types of riders can enjoy. It has more than enough power for the average rider, it's easy to maneuver, and its size makes it comfortable enough to ride all day. I had an absolute blast on it, and I look forward to riding one again!
-Courtney Sullivan 5'8"/135 lb./dedicated trail riderI really like riding motocross, and think part of that is from being a kid and loving to jump, but part of it is because of the available machinery. After I outgrew my XR70R, I have wanted more power and suspension than I could get from trail bikes. I had two-stroke 65 and 85cc bikes before getting a 250F. The closest I came to experiencing a true off-road bike was testing the KTM 85 XC. Before I rode the WR250F, I had never had suspension that worked off-road. At 120 pounds I have to go way down on spring rates to make the bike even work on a track. I'd start pushing on trails and get kicked by the suspension and get spooked. Even though we could only get 85mm of sag at my weight, the WR tracked straight and smooth in whoops or chop. And sand washes that would have had my MX bike tapped out found the WR with some speed in reserve thanks to the wider gearbox. The weight wasn't really a problem, and it took no time at all to get spoiled by the electric starter! I also like how quiet the bike is, but I would like a little more snap out of the engine. My dad has always had an off-road bike and a moto bike, and now I see why. Starting with a bike designed for off-road makes a huge difference in how much fun you can have riding trails. I had the best time I'd ever had trail riding.
-Sean Foos 5'7"/120 lb./Novice motocrosser**