Time travel Yamaha XT 250 and WR 250 F
A good 20 years of Enduro development lie between the two half-powerful 250s from Yamaha – a small eternity. Here are the experiences from two very different worlds.
This is a little story about small motorcycles that takes a long stretch to tell. Far, because the Yamaha XT 250 turns the calendar back 240 months. 20 years mean another world. Anyone who rides a motorcycle for so long knows that. And anyone who started riding in the late 1970s or early 1980s tends to glorify the past. Logical, because back then both he and the little XT were still young and fresh, while the passage of time has thrown a lot of patina on the little machine and wrinkles on the biker’s face. The paint on the frame is peeling here and there, the muffler is visibly decorated with rust, and the dull foam on the seat doesn’t match the adventurous spirit with which you still kick the XT Kickstarter today.
That was the man’s test – for all XT 500 owners, the 250 always started after the third step, provided the driver opened the fuel valve and closed the air valve on the carburetor. Not only because of the good starting properties, connoisseurs and girls preferred the little one to the big and famous sister, but of course it was also cheaper and equipped with cantilever suspension, so technically far superior!
Well, at least, the small single-cylinder still babbles amazingly full-bodied when standing, makes the XT vibrate slightly and puts a smile on your face. Yes, that’s exactly how it sounded when you left for Corsica, with a tent, sleeping bag and sleeping mat on the back, a few hundred marks in your wallet and lots of adventure in mind. Today, all it takes is a grip on the hand lever of the front brake to redefine adventure. It brakes from 100 to 50 km / h, then the half-hub brake runs out of air. Forward-looking locomotion is the motto with which one should approach curves and traffic lights, especially downhill.
To get closer to the WR 250 F, you also have to back up. If not in terms of time, then at least in terms of location, because the gaze is directed towards America, where the largest motocross scene in the world vibrates. What cross machines are thrown on the market in the USA must be high-tech. There is battle there, in the dealer’s showroom, on the cross-track and in the stadium. That’s why Yamaha builds an almost ridiculously complex engine in the small YZ 250 F, with five titanium valves in the head, two camshafts, ultra-short stroke and Formula 1 pistons, where a few cubic centimeters more displacement would also do.
But the sports regulations want it that way, you split up into classes and give yourself the full edge in each. In addition, the 250 four-stroke engines compete against the 125 two-stroke engines, those light, more than 35 hp small rockets that were previously considered unbeatable. And now you want to prove that four-stroke engines are better. What does this have to do with the WR 250 F? Well, it’s the enduro offshoot of the YZ. The YZ needs road approval for enduro use. To do this, Yamaha is converting the YZ to the WR 250 F with lights, indicators, speedometer and a quieter exhaust. The lively, almost 38 HP strong engine in the YZ 250 is in a great chassis, with perfect suspension elements, great brakes and handling that is second to none.
The small racing engine is started with a miniature electric starter – kicking it would mean wasting time – and immediately falls into a stable idle state with a surprisingly clear announcement. In fact, the two Yamaha do not sound that different when standing, yes, even in city traffic the WR and XT still intone good-natured single-cylinder sound, as if they wanted to indicate the really far-fetched degree of kinship. The first faster passage after the town sign makes it clear what high-tech brings. The WR turns and turns and turns, storms away like mad, while the poor XT rattles behind sadly. The only wild thing about it is the swaying tachometer needle. She oscillates angrily between the 6000 and 9000 mark, angry because the engine is not working. The 17 HP of the old two-valve engine struggle bravely, but ebbs away at a good 110 km / h in the fight against rolling resistance and wind pressure.
The WR is moving forward furiously. The crankshaft rotates like crazy in the slim housing, the exhaust system roars. Fine vibrations disturb at most minimally, wide power range enthusiastically. Hardly any engine offers such a range, the racer pushes from 2000 rpm to 12400 rpm – with one cylinder. Incredible! Nothing like being put to the test – a full 32 HP despite the quiet silencer, a great performance table between nine-five and twelve-four. This is how you win! You can feel it, it penetrates your marrow and bone, where is the next cross piste?
Let off air, put on cross gear, put on your glasses and enter the fast world of off-road artists. Pop into the berm, bend bumps, accelerate and jump ?? Yes ?? to fly ?? a great feeling! Free as a bird in the air, correct the rear wheel a little with gas, land perfectly and continue at full speed ?? Brake the curve, the fork bounces and dampens sensationally, pull forwards, load the stop on the outside of the curve. Well, the little one doesn’t really want to drift, it’s really going forwards. Third gear is it. Always has power, digs from every corner, pushes past the thick stews as if it were nothing. WR 250 means state of the art for off-road competition bikes.
The XT watches bored. Too much hectic for the old Muli, cross piste means cleaning a lot, starving to death on long slopes, even breaking through after small hops. Corsica, that would be it now. Cornering paradise, sea, sun, beach, bays that can only be reached with an enduro. Climb over ledges, away from the road. Metzler trail tires that cling to the ground like suction cups, stud by stud. And if it gets too violent, just give a lot of buzz, the bench is low enough. A small stretch of sand is easily mastered with the wide handlebar and then ?? Yes ?? lying – a great feeling! Loll around on the beach in swimming trunks, let the sun shine on your skin, the sound of the waves, fragrant pine trees cast a little shade. The XT is still crackling in the exhaust, smelling of burnt oil, the chain is sandy – it doesn’t matter.
A day at the sea that has not been enjoyed in a long time. Stress? Past! Hectic You’d have to turn around. The only thing to watch out for is the risk of sunburn, and even that is forgotten. Thoughts get wide, spanning 20 years of motorcycling. Did everything really have to be so extreme? From 150 millimeters of spring travel 300, from half-hub drums, double-piston floating calipers, from 17 HP 32? Do you need upside-down titanium valve gel battery technology to build an enduro? Are the USA crossers really the right base for Europe‘s enduro riders??
No! That can not be. The XT has to live on! Until Yamaha comes up with a real everyday adventure enduro again. A companion for all roads and slopes, at home on alpine passes and gravel roads, a loyal mule for the city who always runs, even without much care. A bike that is not reduced to one purpose and that fulfills it perfectly. Where’s the multifunctional motorcycle that can do everything almost perfectly! Nicely designed, well equipped and just as robust as the cozy XT. Do titanium valves last 20 years? Do enduro riders want to spin 12400 rpm every day? The WR 250 is just a crosser, just converted for the sport enduro freaks that they pass the technical acceptance before the event. In its narrow range of use, it can do more than most pilots.
D.he XT is actually not good at anything. That made her so versatile. And so very lovable that she still gets a loaf of grace in many garages. Today the BMW F 650 GS is driven.
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Time travel Yamaha XT 250 and WR 250 F
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