Yamaha WR250R Long-Ranger
Adventure Motorcycle (ADVMoto)|January-February 2020
Smaller bikes—in the West they’re something of a sacrilege. But in most parts of the world, a 250cc is considered “big.” I personally haven’t owned anything under 650cc in so many years that I’d become accustomed to manhandling big adventure bikes. I’d also forgotten just how practical smaller dual-sports can be. But… a recent extended trip to northern Thailand forced a re-think. While there I had so much fun on 250cc and smaller dual-sports that there was no way I could return without indulging.
Paul H Smith

Asking around about the “ideal” 250 dual-sport, one bike kept coming up: the Yamaha WR250R. It turned out to be as close to a do-anything bike as one could ask for. Sure, there are always compromises, but with the WRR that list seemed mighty short. That said, it’s a rare bike that can’t be improved with aftermarket mods and upgrades. So shortly after returning to California I made the purchase of a slightly used WRR and set about seeing what it needed to add long distances to its capabilities.

The all-stock WRR is clearly more intended as a highway-accessible off-road machine. The bias is off-road, so the instrumentation, seat, lighting, etc., all point in that direction. To create a smaller, lighter and nimbler “adventure bike” from this hugely competent off-roader, requires a few well-placed bucks. But I also wanted to strengthen the off-road aspect of the bike and opted for a complete second set of Warp9 wheels equipped with Bridgestone’s Battlecross E50 knobbies along with the amazing low PSI TUbliss system for fooling around in the Southwest’s deserts.

Just to be clear, the primary reason for this build was to convert an off-road biased bike to be better suited for distances. This includes reasonable rider comfort and carrying a medium amount of gear. Safety also comes into play with the improved LED lighting system, not only when night riding is necessary, but also so that others can better see you on the road.

The mods and upgrades could be ranked from most to least important, but I’m extremely pleased with how this bike turned out and although some of the add-ons may not be necessities, they’ll all contribute to the bike’s longevity and durability, especially considering the bashing many well-used adventure/DS bikes endure. Nothing was done for purely cosmetic reasons.

As well-loved and engineered as the WRR is, I have to say I was not at all pleased with the stock set-up. The first ride was an almost WTF moment. The off-the-showroom-floor tuning gave the bike a choked-off, laggy, and I must say a somewhat dangerous feel.

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