Ready to traverse a long and lonesome highway on the steel horse dubbed the “WR”. Wayne Gerdes - CleanMPG - July 29, 2010 The 2010 Yamaha WR250X - Showroom stock other than the addition of a Giant Loop tank bag. What began as a long term review of possibly the premiere 250 dual sport in North America turned into something quite different and by far a lot more interesting. Let's spell out the results up front. In the 250cc segment, we have ridden the XT, CRF, and the KLX. With those rides behind us, the current best quarter liter Dual Purpose available is the 2010 WR250X. The fuel efficient on-road based WR250X has a crisp yet fun handling nature to tackle the surface streets of your daily commute while offering the ability to head off-road (albeit easy terrain) when the need arises. If you need to hop a curb, traverse a grassy median, or head down light trail to explore, the WR250X is ready to take you there with a simple turn of the bars and a twist of the throttle. This is the first quarter liter I would have no qualms riding from the depths of Death Valley to the top of Pike's Peak as its FI engine adjusts automatically vs. a carbureted bike running out of steam after a minimal 5,000' elevation change. At the end of the day, the smile on your face will remind others of what you thought of your ride on the best in class "WR". While not perfect -- no bike is -- for a larger rider, the WR250X offers class leading performance and the most relaxed seating position of any competitor. What that means for you is an all-day riding capability without feeling cramped. Features and Highlights As written within the 2010 Yamaha WR250X Review Has Begun piece, the 250 cc motocross bike derived WR250X deserves the accolades above thanks in part to its modern yet comfortable 10.6” of suspension front and rear, rare for the class fuel injected engine which allows a surprisingly potent midrange on up to its 10,000 RPM red line, a top speed north of 80 mph and an ergonomic layout that rivals and in some cases exceeds some of the world’s best Adventure bikes. A reasonably low total cost of ownership is guaranteed thanks in part to a maintenance schedule calling for the first valve adjustment at an amazing for a bike, 26,000 miles! In addition, there are currently no Quarter-liter bikes that have the electrical accessory capacity of the WR250X given its stator puts out 350W which is more than enough to power a set of Gerbing's gear (including the jacket liner, pants liner, gloves and boot soles), the lights, FI, GPS and a Smartphone charger. The final piece of the puzzle comes about by the WR’s ability to hit triple digits… Not the speed kind but the Fuel Economy kind. 100 mpg when ridden to its limits gives its rider the peace of mind that he or she is treading lightly on the environment while enjoying the outdoors in a manner few automobile drivers will ever experience. Think of a 4WD convertible with the ability to go anywhere and do anything. Now you have a good idea of what the WR is capable of! (2) complete tanks - 433 miles on 4.218 gallons of fuel. All said, the 2010 Yamaha WR250X is greater than the sum of its parts and will bring many miles of smiles to its owner. The enjoyable ride will occur no matter if you are tackling the harshest inner city environs or wide open spaces on an exploration with an as yet to be determined destination. Minor Detriments With a long legged stature, some shorter riders may find its ride height and reach a bit beyond their body size. Like all bike customization, there are lowering solutions of up to 5” for this. The OEM Odometer as equipped is almost dead on but the speedometer reads as much as 10% low of actual (verified via GPS) at top speed off the showroom floor. Again, there are customizations that can cure the WR250X of one or the other but not both unfortunately. In its OEM non-modded state, the top speed with rider in an upright position was found to be 82 mph. While plenty fast enough for any road in America, what I have not taken into account in the past is headwinds or grades which can bring the quarter liter to its knees while you are asking everything from it and falling below the 70 mph mark. Again, there are cures but not without expending some serious cash. This is not an oversight but simply a limitation of what the most potent .25L can provide in its OEM stock form. Place yourself on a lesser capable quarter-liter and the wakeup call arrives far sooner. As in the first time you hit the Interstate with a head wind or hit a grade to ascend. Due to the low inertia single cylinder engine incorporated into the WR250X, the throttle’s tip-in from Injectors on to off to on again can be abrupt. While taller gearing can remove some of the hit, an hour or two in the saddle reduces this to a non-event. For the first ride however, it is different than most bikes we have ridden and something to be wary of. There is no tach in the modern digital instrument display. I am not sure why it is missing but it is surely missed. Due to the high compression high tech engine, Premium fuel is required. Finally we have the seat. Like all Dual Purpose bikes with a history beginning on the Motocross track, the WR250’s seat is good for about 75-miles after which your rear will be requesting a serious respite as the day comes to a close. The WR is no different than any quarter-liter through single liter bike dual purpose. This is something the manufacturers really need to put behind them… No pun intended After 100 + years of motorcycling history, all manufacturers should see their customers riding long distance in comfort, not distress. The Challenge Ahead Yamaha sent us this bike for a thorough review and unfortunately it is now time to take it back to Yamaha HQ near LA. In doing so, we set up the WR250X as a Continent Crossing bike with light yet inexpensive modding to match the ride comfort and capability of other ultra expensive Adventure Touring bikes but at a fraction of the cost. And while we are at it, why not try and hold onto its 100 mpg capability from sea to shining sea? 100 mpg on a bike rated at 71 mpg? What is so hard about that? The 2010 Yamaha WR250X is rated at 71 mpg “unadjusted” city. What does unadjusted mean? While we have laid out the details how CAFÉ is based on pre-1985 city and highway Fuel Economy and Emissions test cycle(s) in the past, unadjusted FE ratings can be understood a lot easier if we consider it in terms of a car we all know. Namely, the 50 mpgUS rated 2010 Prius. The 2010 Prius is rated at 51 mpg city and 48 mpgUS highway after “adjustments” including offsets to account for the new 08 EPA cold, hot w/ A/C and high speed testing regimens. Per CAFÉ, the Prius is rated at an astounding 71.95 mpg unadjusted city and 69.64 mpgUS unadjusted Highway. It should be clear as to what unadjusted Fuel Economy means in relative terms… And to the matter at hand, does anyone know of a third generation 2010 Prius that has breached 100 mpg while crossing the country? While we have been beyond 100 mpg for short periods in the 2010 Prius, the stretch goal for the WR will be to match that feat while crossing the Continent! Only the 2000 – 2006 Honda Insight w/ a stick has reached that level while driving with prevailing winds West to East and that car is the Thoroughbred amongst all hyper efficient automobiles we have had the opportunity to own and drive over the years. Now you know how the MPG ratings of bikes stack up against what we are familiar with and what is actually reported is really “out there”! The 2010 Yamaha WR250X Adventure Touring Bike - Light Modifications Like any vehicle, there are items that we feel the need to change. Why? To make it our own with a personal touch or to make it fit our needs through any number of add-ons or subtractions. In the case of a car, it could be new mats, new wheels, a steering wheel cover, gear shift knob, wood-inlays inserted around the interior or even a DVD infotainment system for the kids… In the case of the 2010 Yamaha WR250X, it is all about fitting the bike to our needs and adding some utility for that long and lonely stretch of highway some call home. Riding Gear - The Gold Standard in riding apparel happens to come from Aerostich. In this case, the Darien Jacket and Pants. From the CleanMPG Review and subsequent rides since, it has proven itself ready to cross counties, states, continents and even the world. Alpinestars SP8 Glove – An all-leather, full protection gauntlet glove for a reasonable price. Early impressions are that they offer great protection while still being comfortable for the middle temperature ranges from 55 to 75 degrees F. Arai XD-3 Helmet – One of if not the best Dualsport helmets available period! With its incorporated peak blocking the afternoon sun and HQ design protecting ones head in a worst case scenario, few if any can match the XD-3 for both its dual purpose form and function. A long distance rider without a long distance hydration system is asking for trouble. Thanks to the efforts of a company called CamelBak, a 70 ounce HiViz rear pack was picked up and with it, a simple yet effective on the road drink solution is now part of the arsenal. In addition, the HiViz CamelBak with its easy to see color and reflective elements is a must have for anyone taking a long slab ride with night riding included. The Scala Rider G4 is an advanced communication system from a company named Cardo Systems. While providing rider to rider communication gear (something we will unfortunately not have the opportunity to test out ), the system offers Bluetooth Cell Phone to interior of the helmet connectivity while on the bike and heading down the road. In addition, the small headset incorporates an FM receiver used to hopefully pick up the latest weather information from local stations. There are a number of other features that the Scala Rider incorporates including the fact it is now SW upgradeable and can be used with an i-Phone or MP3 and synch up to a GPS Navigation unit for turn by turn announcements that can be heard from within one's helmet. While not on the initial segment, the Gerbing’s heated gear will be on the second segment as we climb over the Rockies and the Sierra Nevada’s – When the road or trail ahead includes colder temperatures, Gerbing’s gear has saved many a rider from the elements over the years. While the fit is certainly right, I have not had them “lit up” and have no early impressions as of yet. The Canari Gel Liner bicycle riding shorts not only help soften the blow to those special areas but also introduce additional comfort and support for the hips and upper thighs. And to wrap up the rider wear, some IMS Ultimate Motorcycle riding shorts. The Synthetic Chamois lined crotch and Breathable Sublimated thigh panels add comfort and support hopefully making the longest days in the saddle bearable. Bike add-on’s – Low cost additions that make your everyday routine commute exactly that, a routine non-event for lack of a better phrase. The Giant Loop Great Basin rear soft luggage will be left behind for the first shorter stretch from Boston to Chicago. It will however be a vital part of the second segment from Chicago to LA as it can be packed with over a weeks’ worth of gear and camping equipment while keeping everything out of the elements. The Fandango Tank bag will be with the WR at all times as it carries the quick access items I need when stopping for a fill up, grabbing a snack or simply pulling over to make a call. With the OEM 2.0 gallon tank leading to a max range in the 210 to 220 mile range, a little bit more never hurt. Especially when out west where the distance between stations at night can be a long one. Which brings us to the IMS Fuel Tank. The tank is an OEM fitment that offers up to 3.0 gallons for either the WR250 R or X. Our early prototype holds 2.8 gallons and the extra .8 gallons will surely come in handy while traversing the more desolate areas out West. A 30-ounce MSR bottle was found and strapped on in the toolkit location. For one of those "ah-oh, I am out and there is nothing ahead for 25-mile" moments. While I hope not to have to use this extra amount of fuel, it is better to be safe than sorry… The WR’s ergonomics and utility were improved with the addition of Promoto Billet/Fastway F5 platform pegs that lower the base by .75” and their almost museum piece quality aluminum rear rack for carrying the load. This is hands down the highest quality and best looking rear rack I have ever seen on a bike! While meant to improve the engine protection of the WR bikes, we had something different in mind when we searched for a skid plate. Namely, an easy to install addition that will improve the under engine aerodynamics. A plate was found that meets all the requirements and more from Richochet Skid Plates. Not only is it well made but it is one of the few WR skid plates that cover the underside almost to the swing arm pivots. Nice looking and very functional for both the on and off-road riders specific needs. A small reach extension for the taller folk was found from RoxSpeed FX and their Anti vibration 2” bar risers. The risers allow a rise and setback of up to 2” for an even more comfortable seated position. In addition, the risers also reduce vibration through the bars with hard rubber isolation for a more relaxed all-day ride. In addition, RoxSpeedFX also sells soft cell Spider grips to reduce the bikes vibes felt through the hands even further. The next item is a low cost add-on that reduces the battle with both straight line and buffeting winds that every non-screen equipped rider has experienced in the past. The Slipstreamer Spitfire Windshield reduces the buffeting, adds road debris protection and even improves aerodynamics slightly while taking just 30-minutes to install. A really nice addition came in the form of taller gearing. Yamaha's OEM gearing included a 13/42 front and rear sprocket set tuned for all out performance. I was looking for a more relaxed 50 to 70 mph RPM gearing and Yamaha provides through their OEM GYTR (Genuine Yamaha Technology Racing) accessory unit. With the addition of a 14/40 F/R sprocket set, the effective final ratio was increased 12.7% allowing for that more comfortable higher speed ride. Another benefit is that the speedometer now displays from 0 to 3 mph under actual between 30 and 80 mph vs. 5 to 8 over off the showroom floor. While I do have to take into account the odometer's newly created lack of accuracy with an 11.573% delta at each fill, the speedometer is a lot closer to actual now. And finally a homegrown addition thanks to my mom’s unique capabilities and ingenuity. While it is not the coolest looking addition (in no uncertain terms ), it certainly meets the requirements for making a 75-mile seat into a 4,000-mile one as seen in the photo above Tear down to completed Adventure Touring Project Bike… The “Iron Butt” First, we are headed to Boston to see friends. Home of the Tea Party, the Big Dig and the Red Sox Green Monster, it is a worthy destination. Since we are headed that way to, why not make it an “Iron Butt” Ride attempt! What is an “Iron Butt” Ride Attempt? There are over 50,000 members of the “Iron Butt Association or (IBA)” that are dedicated to safe, long-distance motorcycle riding. While based in the United States, there are thousands of enthusiastic members across the globe! One of their more popular slogans is, "The World Is Our Playground." They host a number of rides with the most notable being the 11-day, 11,000 + mile Iron Butt Rally. In addition, the Iron Butt Association hosts the Saddle Sore 1000 (1,000 miles in a 24-hour period ride ), the Bun Burner 1500 (1,500 miles in 36 hours), the Bun Burner Gold (1,500 miles in 24 hours), the 50cc Quest (Cross Country in 50 hours or Less), the National Parks Tour Master Traveler Award(visit 50 parks in at least 25 states), the coveted 10/10ths Challenge (10 consecutive 1,000 mile days) and the almost-impossible to get into 100K Club (100,000 miles or more in one year). The Iron Butt Association does not have a membership in the traditional sense as there are no yearly dues, formal meetings or a monthly newsletter. The IBA is a little more loose knit organization with members that earn it through completing an Iron Butt Ride or Rally. In our case, the ride from the IL/WI border to Boston is a scant 1,065 miles away… And we have less than 24-hours to get there on the WR250X Adventure Touring Bike 2010 Yamaha WR250X Adventure Touring Project - 100-mpg “East to West” Ride Route Planned to loosely follow US Route 20, the highway is the longest contiguous east–west highway in the US at over 3,365 miles. U.S. 20 is a coast-to-coast route but because the Yellowstone National Park roads do not have signage for U.S. numbered highways, a gap exists that splits the route into two sections. And US 20 runs smack dab through the middle of Yellowstone. As of today, the highway's eastern terminus is in Boston, Massachusetts, at Kenmore Square near the Atlantic coast with its western terminus located in Newport, Oregon, at the intersection of U.S. Route 101, less than a mile from the Pacific Ocean. It’s time to put up or shut up… And find out what that 2010 Yamaha WR250X is really worth while on a ride across the states and not just a ride across a state line.