New 250 Sportbike from Yamaha?

The 250cc class, once the preferred entry point for new riders, almost died off years ago except for a few hardy survivors like Kawasaki’s 250 Ninja. But now that Honda’s CBR250R has joined the quarter-liter party,  and the Ninja got a displacement bump to 300cc, suddenly everyone wants a big slice piece of the small-bore pie. Now the rumor mill is buzzing with tales of a new 250 from Yamaha, designed for the world market (above is a concept sketch). There aren’t many solid facts around about the bike pundits have dubbed the YZF250R except that it’ll be a four-stroke, priced below $5000, with optional ABS. These are all features practically guaranteed to appeal to new riders as well as veteran riders with a taste for teacup racers.