THE Yamaha WR250F has been completely revised for 2020 to maintain its status as the machine of choice for E1 enduro racers and super-fast trail riders, who want to cut through the dirt.
Originally launched as a 2001 model, the high-performance quarter litre enduro racer was developed for Australian conditions by legendary ISDE competitor Geoff Ballard alongside YMA enduro riders Steven Cotterell and Peter Payne.
This model retains its antipodean connection by continuing development under Peter Payne with assistance from former world MX rider Josh Coppins. The WR250F has carved a name for itself as the fastest way through tight sections of bush known as single track.
The Bush Scalpel, or Single Track Express as it became known, continued to evolve alongside its YZ250F MX cousin. For 2020, the WR250F is closer than ever to the YZ250F and the cross-country racing YZ250FX.
All three models are based on the same platform but with significant differences that suit the type of riding for which they have been designed.
The goal for the new WR250F is to provide superior handling and increased steering precision while retaining high-speed stability. And to create a slimmer and lower machine that inspires more confidence with a lighter feeling.
The updated chassis of the 2020 WR250F allows super easy direction changes with high levels of manoeuvrability. The power delivery feels stronger right across the rev range, delivered in a linear fashion with excellent traction characteristics.
The engine is based closely on the fuel-injected YZ250F design, and features a rearward-inclined cylinder and reverse cylinder head. Its air box is situated in front of the rider and the fuel tank located at the centre of the bike.
It’s a unique configuration that contributes to the bike’s mass centralisation, which plays a pivotal role in achieving light and agile handling.
The filter element features reduced airflow resistance and intake noise combined with increased reliability. The new filter and the length of the intake funnel contribute to an excellent feeling of traction and linear characteristics during acceleration and deceleration.
Plus, dust filtering capability is increased by adding rubber seals to the centre positioning pin.
On board WiFi means you can tune the WR250F to different track conditions using your smartphone. A downloadable Power Tuner app allows you to make fuelling and ignition timing changes instantly and upload/share them for the ultimate in track-side tuning.
A bar-mounted dual engine map switch has been adopted to enable changes in the engine power delivery characteristics mid-race. The switch allows the rider to select one of two engine maps on the fly to cater for changes in the riding environment.
The WR250F now runs the same bilateral beam frame as the sharp handling current model YZ250F. To achieve a rigidity balance with the amount of flex needed for enduro riding, the engine mount brackets have been altered.
The upper-side mounts are the same as on the YZ250F, while two-plate type mounts are used for the front-side mounts. The result contributes to the machine’s excellent feeling of contact with the ground and offers feedback about the riding surface.
It’s the same KYB air-oil-separate closed chamber upside-down front fork as the YZ250F but with model-specific enduro settings to provide stable damping force.
The rear shock absorber is also based on the YZ250F unit and features enduro model-specific settings. A coil with a higher fatigue strength than the current model’s and an 11.5mm wire diameter achieves a weight reduction of approximately 350 grams.
The capacity of the reservoir has been increased by 30cc to run cooler and achieve a more stable damping force. The 2020 Yamaha WR250F features a 6-speed constant-mesh transmission.
It has a 7.9-litre fuel tank, and a three month parts warranty. It is available in Team Yamaha Blue and is priced at $13,999 ride away.
This article was written by independent journalist Gareth Jones for Exhaust Notes Australia. The test bike was supplied by Yamaha Australia. To find out more about the 2020 Yamaha WR250F, contact your local Yamaha dealer.