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2009 Yamaha WR250X First Impressions


by Marc Cantin ,

The Yamaha WR250X, a light Super Motard, floored me when I rode it in urban and country roads. I expected the bike to handle like a small racer, which it did – I did not expect a 250cc engine to shoot me past 100kph, cruise calmly at 130, and push up to 140 where my personal barn-door aerodynamics balanced out against available power. That was enough to make me wonder if you need more than 250cc in a modern engine to reach exciting performance levels on a light bike.

This WR comes with a modern, high revving, injected, liquid cooled single cylinder engine.

The gentrified Super Motard genre has quickly developed into an effective bike for zipping effortlessly around town, but also capable of commuting at highway speed, or even touring if you add the requisite side and tank bags. And all this on a bike with full-on street tires, and brake and suspension to suit its very light weight. I have grown to understand that weight is the enemy of us all, and look for lighter machines for thrills – and my next bike purchase.

This WR comes with a modern, high revving, injected, liquid cooled single cylinder engine, using all the technologies borrowed from F1, MotoGP and World Superbike, to deliver almost 110hp per litre, an amazing figure on a par with high performance car engines, and amazing efficiency when you consider that it also delivers surprising torque across the rev range, as well as satisfy all current emission controls standards. Naturally, the gearbox takes full advantage of the low mass engine and clutch with smaller internal, to deliver effortless gear changes up and down the scale, without touching the clutch lever if you are so inclined and know how to smooth things out with the throttle.

The suspension was naturally soft and absorbing on stock settings, almost like “Squeezing the Charmin”, given the extra travel typical of a Super Motard. I fiddled with preload and damping to reflect my considerable mass, plus that of my photographer passenger, ending up with a smooth fully laden ride with adequate damping. I also corrected for riding alone, over city bumps as well as on country roads, with similar happy results.

The single front disk brake was up to the task for all but the most enterprising attacks on smooth paved surfaces, where only real Banzaï riders will want a bigger piece of kit in any case.

The single front disk brake was up to the task.
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