Overshadowed by various 450cc to 500cc dual-sport singles and larger multi-cylinder ADV bikes, Yamaha’s perennial WR250R still has plenty of merit. Descended, generally at least, from Yamaha’s YZ250F motocrosser, the WR250R is off-road focused but fully street legal. Its DOHC 250cc single is liquid-cooled and fuel injected, and a wide-ratio six-speed gearbox grants you gears for everything from navigating box canyons to relaxed highway cruising. Impressively, fuel economy is a claimed 71 mpg (your mileage may vary when roosting through a Mojave sand wash).
Differentiating the WR250R from other small dual-sports are its aluminum frame, fully adjustable suspension with a generous 10.6 inches of travel, front and rear petal-style disc brakes, and contemporary 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels, which are just begging for some proper knobbies in lieu of the stock street-legal rubber (OE tires are satisfactory until you hit deep sand, then watch out…). The suspension travel comes at a price, though, in particular a 36.6-inch seat height. Taller riders will welcome this, and shorter or less-skilled riders will not. But it shows: The WR250R is really about the dirt.
Likes: Bred for dirt first and street second; truly dirtworthy suspension
Dislikes: Stock tires run out of talent off-road; tall seat won't please everyone
Verdict: An industry benchmark among 250cc dual-sports