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2010 250 Dual Sport Shootout Conclusion

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

For My Money:

Adam Waheed – 6', 180 lbs. – Yamaha WR250R
Exploring the Sierra Nevadas aboard the 2010 Kawasaki KLX250S and Yamaha WR250R.
At Mono Lake aboard the Kawasaki KLX250S  Honda CRF230L  and Yamaha WR250R.
Waheed and Gauger said they would buy the Yamaha WR250R, while Garcia and Dare said they’d buy the Kawasaki KLX250S.

First, hats off to Kawasaki for engineering a fun, versatile, and most importantly easy motorcycle to ride with its KLX250S. Even more impressive is that they were able to bring it to market here in the U.S. for $4999. It’s truly impressive. But if my money was on the line I’d pop for the more premium WR250R. To me, its fuel-injected motor, higher quality suspension and superb build quality are worth the extra cash.

Ray Gauger – 6'5", 185 lbs. – Yamaha WR250R
I’ve always wanted this bike in my garage and after riding it I want it even more! Sure the price is steep but you get what you pay for. The craftsmanship is at a much higher level than the rest of the bikes and I really like the fact that the engine is fuel-injected. Considering my height, this bike also fits me the best.

Frankie Garcia – 5'8", 165 lbs. – Kawasaki KLX250S
Don’t get me wrong I love the Yamaha but for me it’s just too expensive. The Kawi does basically everything I need it to and then some. I love the way it handles and while the engine doesn’t have as much power as the WR it still does the job.

Alec Dare – 5'7", 122 lbs. – Kawasaki KLX250S
I was the only guy that could fit comfortably on the Suzuki and Honda yet still I would take the Kawasaki. I like the fact that it’s a larger bike and has some quality components with its liquid-cooled engine and all. The Yamaha was fun to ride too but in the end it’s just a little too big for me.

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MICMERG   August 27, 2012 01:47 PM
Thx for the great review ........ again as always. I agree with all you points and notes except for one major issue: $7k FOR A 250CC ?????????????? I was in the market for one of these bikes for my 16 yr old. The shopping lasted all but 4 hours. I own a Suzuki V-Strom 1000 and, after talking to my dealer, he said that he could get a V-Strom 650 brand new out of the box for about $6800 - $7600 if hard cases included. Decision was to buy a used motocross for dirt for the family and a new V-Strom 650 for the price of the Yamaha 250CC. My son loves the WEE and will be able to keep it for yrs.
Joe Chicago -KLX 250 S  November 29, 2010 07:36 PM
Great Review I went with the 2nd place bike good power and great look .
MrX -RE wrnut - good vids!  November 10, 2010 07:41 PM
To answer wrnut...

Actually there is a supermoto version of the Yam WR250R. It's called the WR250X which is the one I own. Also, since they are essentially the same bike except the wheels/tires and front disk rotor size, you can convert one to the other by swapping out the wheels/tires/brake rotor. Oh, and I think there is a minor difference in gearing which is as easy as changing out a sprocket.

Also, there are aftermarket "big bore" kits available for the WR250R/X.

Regardless, the WR250R/X belies its mere 250cc. With its lightweight and fuel injection it has more torque than the average 250cc 4-stroke bike. It can be easily "uncorked" and stripped down to be a higher performance bike and for a bike that only came out in '08, aftermarket support by third party companies have been incredible.

Mystified -Amazing Review  October 2, 2010 05:50 PM
This was yet again a great comparison review. I felt that this one was less opinionated and more factual than the usual shoot outs of this class. I would like to have seen the Yamaha XT250 in this particular test going through the same conditions. The test seems empty without this similar priced product. But for me I would love for someone to explain to me why no one includes the Kawasaki Super Sherpa in ANY of these tests. I've written Kawasaki on the subject with no response. I noticed that after the 09 re release in the USA they have already stopped producing the bike. This bike has NEVER been in a magazine or web review or shoot out. Funny considering it was new again for 09. I feel like Kawasaki is asking these companies not to review this product. Kind of gives the feel like they just need to clear some warehouses of old parts or something. It's really too bad because this bike intrigues me and they still sell them in Canada.
gas_pig70 -Worth The Premium  August 29, 2010 08:02 PM
I'm 6' and the WR250R fits me perfectly (after some better & taller bars). Almost all of my riding is in the the dirt from single track to desert. In WA state you can't plate a dirt bike so this is the best you can do if you want a plate without getting more expensive and finicky euro enduro machines. My previous DS was a modded DRZ400S which I'm so glad I replaced. Farkles include full FMF system, FMF fuel programer, skid plate, Pirelli MT21 tires, 12/46 gearing and other stuff. The WR250R is a great starting point for a dirty dual sport as long as you're not too short.
crashMW -Nice review -missed one area  August 24, 2010 12:02 PM
This is a very good review, the only thing missing was brought up by some of the folks commenting, was how these bikes might be perceived based upon riding skill. Clearly, the WR is the bike to have, but may not be a good beginner bike. (did they stop making the SM version?). Anyway, the comments about the XT not being included are baseless. If it was included, it would have probably slotted between the Suzuki and Honda -another sportbike comparo where only colors differentiate the bikes... Well done on a good read. Now toss some performance parts on them to see what their potential might be?!?!
wrnut -good vids!  August 20, 2010 08:28 PM
the WR looks mighty fun to ride, good vid! Yamaha should include supermoto street tires, also why not have a WR250RS (S stands for Single) model that's a few pounds lighter and meant for 1 rider wow 5grand for the KLX good write up, but i wish these bikes were all 350's with a more modern street moto look, especially the back of the bikes. maybe make all the signals led's with low profile plate holder
Wilf Adam -Honda Tornado 250  August 20, 2010 02:15 AM
Honda's Tornado would be a contender in this category, 250 cc liquid cooled engine, modern dual sport design. Riding one in Central America, have no idea why they don't send 'em to the States.
Dahveed -A good and fair review  August 19, 2010 09:46 PM
This is a great review. I really appreciate knowing some details about the testers like their height and weight. Perhaps adding something about their riding experience would also be useful. The larger guys liked the WR better while the smaller testers picked the KLX. Since I'm a larger guy, I'll check out the WR first.
Kawatwo -Forgot to mention love the stats  August 19, 2010 09:25 PM
Just noticed you have the performance stats for this comparo. Is that going to become a more common thing on other tests/comparos? That is just icing on the cake to a great site that I check every day.
Kawatwo -KLX owner  August 19, 2010 09:17 PM
Also agree the XT250 would have been more of a direct comparison and I almost bought one. The WR is in a class of it's own and not as pretty as the XT or the KLX (IMHO). I bought the Kawi over the others becaues it has a tach and is gorgeous to look at. As a very amateur dirt rider it has all the power I need off road. At 5"7' with a one inch lowering link i can just get both feet on the ground but the bike is so light it doesn't matter too much. Only things I don't like are the way too long warmup time (really rough on winter mornings) and the stupid one position choke (all on or all off). The seat could be a little cushier and the gas tank a little bigger but for a dual sport it's expected and I might remedy both of those eventually. Definitely the best bang for the buck. And did I mention the KLX is so pretty to look at?
Dani -Agree - where is the XT?  August 19, 2010 06:00 PM
I agree with Desmolicious - the XT is a much better match in terms of price and purpose to the rest of these bikes. It has a 31.9" seat, a price closer to the Honda, a 2.6 gallon tank and looks and craftsmanship better than the Honda/Suzuki. The WR is in a league of its own which is better compared to the high end European brands
Desmolicious -No XT250?  August 19, 2010 05:53 PM
Shame you couldn't include this bike. Cheaper than the Honda, seems to have more to offer, nicer finish. It arguably would have been a better choice for this test than the WR as its price is much more inline with the other bikes. We knew going into this test that the WR would win. But replace that with the XT and who knows?
Surferdude -WR Sprocket change?  August 19, 2010 08:14 AM
Interesting review. I know a lot of the hardcore sportbike crowd is bored with this type of review, but it makes for much more enjoyable reading than your typical supersport review which ends in "These bike are so great and close in performance all you need to do is choose the color you like and enjoy". I recommended the WR250R to a friend as a first bike (He's tall and rides mountain bikes) on the basis of it's specs and reviews. After he got the bike he let me ride it and I thought it was kinda difficult to ride if you are a beginner because of the gearing and ride height. Maybe a change in sprockets would make it easier to ride slow and give it more snap in the loose stuff. I guess the point is, this bike is much more enjoyable for experienced riders than the other 250cc choices and if you are new to motorcycling it may not be as fun as the Honda or Kawi.
R2 -Nice Review  August 19, 2010 05:59 AM
I am very grateful to Moto USA for testing these bikes side by side. I own a 2008 WR250R and have used it everywhere from Moab to MN north woods. I have owned many bikes Ninjas, VFRs, Speedtriples, and never had more fun than I do with the WR. One thing to note, I am 5'7 on a good day and do not feel that the WR is to big for me. I grew up riding motocross bikes on which I could never put two feet down. I have to one foot the WR as well, but I never feel out of control or pushed around by the size of this bike. Thanks for the continued great reading!