Yamaha WR250X Motorcycle

Staffers' Rides

Photography by Gary Putter

Ringleader: Eric Putter
Msrp (2008): $5999
Miles: 1238-2859
Average Fuel Mileage: 52 Mpg
Accessories & Modifications: DRC tail light and turn signals, YamaLink shock linkage, Dunlop tires, SME axle sliders

Since coming out of winter hibernation, my WR's unsightly and heavy rear fender and taillight have been replaced by a superlight DRC Edge-2 tail light kit ($95.95) and 601 MotoLED rear signals ($35.95) from Langston Racing (www.langstonracing.com). This aesthetic upgrade required wiring in a flasher relay to slow down the LED's spastic action, and a good bit of splicing and soldering. I could have made it a quicker job with wire nuts, but reusing the stock plugs keeps everything clean and reliable.

Since my little SuMo rarely leaves the road, I thought it best to tailor its handling to the street. Lowering the center of gravity was my goal. A longer rear suspension link from YamaLink ($145, www.motorcycleloweringlinks.com) helped drop the rear of the bike, and pulling the fork tubes up a half-inch in the triple clamps balanced out the front. Upon diving into the first tight turn, it was clear that the link's revised leverage ratio and the bike's lower center of gravity provide better handling and tracking. A side benefit to this 1-hour job was a 1-inch decrease in the WR's lofty seat height, making mounts and dismounts a little more graceful. With these great results, I'm tempted to keep toying with the bike's CG. Perhaps I'll try messing with the shock's ride-height adjuster and move the fork tubes even further upward.

In the interest of testing various tires, the stock skins were spooned off just past their half-life and replaced with a set of supermoto-specific Dunlop D208 SMs ($186.59 front/$261.81 rear) in the stock 120/70 front and 140/70 rear sizes. They're doing a fine job of corralling the fewer than 30 horsepower and 300 pounds of WR with no-slip grip, and provide quicker turn-in than the stock Bridgestones, too.

To help prep the WR for forays to Oakland Valley Raceway Park's undulating, half-mile-long kart track, a set of slick-looking axle sliders from SME ($119.95, www.supermotoengineering.com) were added front and rear. That should help protect the WR if the inevitable happens.

Maintenance needs remain nearly non-existent. Aware that the WR's high-revving motor has to survive on just 1.5 quarts of life blood, I've given the bike two oil changes in the past 1600 miles using Bel-Ray Thumper Lube ($10.28 per liter).

Not fast enough for my tastes or suspended properly for my weight and riding style, motor and suspension upgrades are on the horizon for this little chameleon. The Corbin seat that just arrived is a sight for sore cheeks, and should help make the WR more comfortable on longer rides. The search for a larger fuel tank to extend my back-road adventures is underway as well.

My long-term WR250X has melded into a well-rounded errand-runner, commuter, giggle-inducer and supermoto track-day scratcher, but there is still work to be done.

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