Entry-level Yamaha R25 Concept First Look

November 20, 2013
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Yamaha saved a big surprise for its Tokyo Motor Show display, as the Tuning Fork brand debuts the R25. A 249cc Parallel Twin powers the new mount, which is designated by Yamaha as an “Experimental Vehicle” but appears slated for the ever-growing entry-level sportbike class.


The only technical details released for the R25 are the aforementioned engine configuration and displacement, which will be liquid-cooled. The pictures show suspension is a conventional fork and rear shock. The frame appears to be steel-tubing, with braking a single-disc front with non-radial calipers. The Tokyo concept may be pulling off a racebike look, but the components package screams production ready.

Valentino Rossi pitches Yamahas 250cc sportbike concept model dubbed the R25.
Valentino Rossi pitches Yamaha’s 250cc sportbike concept model dubbed the R25.

The R25 apes the lines of Yamaha’s M1 MotoGP mount. Look, ma, no headlight or mirrors! And no passenger seat either. The R25 also sports a purdy Akrapovic exhaust as well. The MotoGP/race bike branding is cemented by the bike’s pitchman, a fellow by the name of Valentino Rossi. 

What precious little press material Yamaha offers on the R25 includes this sentence: “’It’s an all new street motorcycle injected with Yamaha Motor Racing’s pedigree,” says test rider and MotoGP racer Valentino Rossi as he grins after feeling the potential of the R25 on his the test run.

An accompanying promotional video (embedded below) includes another grinning Rossi, saying: “This bike really packs a punch.” But The Doctor delivers the tagline in such perfect Vale-ese that it will leave the popolo giallo de Rossi euphoric.

The R25 does sport some sharp lines to be sure, which will make it a worthy competitor in the growing entry-level sportbike class. Currently, Yamaha’s entry-level sportbike is the FZ6R. But Yamaha has long produced a small-displacement R-series sportbike for international markets in the YZF-R125. Meeting the tiered licensing requirements in the European Union, the R125 is powered by a liquid-cooled Single.


If the R25 does make it to production, and eventually the US market, all of the Big Four will have 250-300cc sportbikes. Kawasaki’s Ninja 300 debuted in 2013, the Parallel Twin-powered model replacing the Ninja 250 that dominated the segment unchallenged for years in the US. Honda’s single-cylinder CBR250R took on the little Ninja in 2010, and Big Red will presumably bring its stroked out CBR300 to the States as a 2014 model. Suzuki also introduced the GW250 in 2013, a naked standard with comparable performance from its 249cc Parallel Twin.

Expect more news from Yamaha on its new 250cc sportbike platform.