Yamaha, the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer, introduced the XT 225, an entry-level sport bike, in 1991; in 2008, the company replaced it with the XT 250. The revised dual-purpose sport bike got a new engine and transmission, along with some style changes.
The new 249cc, single-cylinder, four-stroke engine is air-cooled, with an SOHC valve configuration, a Mikuni carburetor, and a push-button electric starter. The engine is paired with a wide-ratio five-speed transmission, which replaced the six-speed the 225 had.
A telescopic fork with 8.9 inches of travel in front and a rear twin-sided swing arm with adjustable rebound damping provide the suspension. New brakes are among the upgrades the XT got; it now has effective hydraulic disc brakes in the front and the rear. Rider controls were also redesigned and now include a digital computer.
As a dual-use bike, the XT 250 is street legal, and some riders feel that its suspension and ergonomics make it better suited to pavement than to dirt trails. The increased power makes it quick at stop lights and safe enough for short jaunts on the freeway, although it is not particularly comfortable at freeway speeds. The bike also got a larger fuel tank—it holds 2.6 gallons, up from 2.3 gallons—and urban riders average about 100 miles to the gallon.
The XT’s steel frame adds to the bike’s weight—289 pounds—which is not an advantage off-road, but it most riders comment on how much fun the bike is and how versatile it is. The many years the XT has been in production testify to its popularity and success on and off the road. It’s been reliable, maneuverable, and fun for a long time.