Pommie took the keys to our WR250R back in November and kept the bike for a few months. He used the E50s and then fitted the A41X hoops for us. He also rode it 120km return to work most days... Update: Tony 'Pommie' Wilding
Having a dirt bike to play with for a while has been a bit of fun, however, due to a bit of an injury, I haven’t been able to make the most of my time with the BikeReview WR250R… Still, I had a ball on the bike. For an entry-level machine it sure is a good all-rounder. It does a lot right and is tough, simple, comfortable and generally easy to live with.
It’d been a while since I’d slung a leg over a tall dirt bike, probably our KTM EXC-F, my DR-Z test or one of the Adventure launches, so it was a bit of a change to be up so high and on tip-toes. But once on the move in the bush I was grateful for the extra ground clearance of course, especially when riding over logs and larger rocks. With the full knobby E50 Battlecross tyres, the WR has plenty of grip and traction and is a brilliant off-road tool. You can read Jeff’s full review and watch his video on those F.I.M DOT approved tyres shortly…
Even though it is mild and LAMS approved, with enough rpm the 250 has enough power to get you up and over most hills and through gnarly trails, however, it is a tall final gearing set for the slower, tighter sections and if it was mine and I was a keen trail rider, I’d be gearing it down by going up to a 48 or so on the back, so at least a full three teeth. The front sprocket is only a 13T, so it has to be done at the back. This would shorten the wheelbase as well, so keep that in mind…
On the plus side to that, on the freeway the gearing is good and the bike has no problem cruising along at 110km/h on my route commuting back and forth to work and top speed is much faster than that. But you don’t buy a bike like this to go freeway riding and it is certainly more at home in the bush or on dirt roads. In saying that, these do make a great adventure touring bike. They are vibey though on the open highway and the E50s are wasted on tarmac. The 60/40 A41X will be better.
There are many, many things I like about the WR and only a couple that I’m not as keen on. Firstly, I really don’t like the aftermarket fairing and with a huge empty space – the only good thing would be to mount a GPS in there, otherwise it’s just extra bulk and weight as far as I can see. The only other negative is the brakes. In the bush they are reasonable but on the road they are weak, particularly with a full tank of fuel and some luggage on… but this is not a road bike really, so it’s only a small gripe.
On the good side, I love the long range Safari fuel tank. Yes it is a bit bulky compared to a normal WR250R, but not having to worry about fuel range is great and not once did I think it got in the way, even on tighter single track trails. Speaking of tight single track work, this is where the bike shines, the lightweight of the bike and progressive easy power make manoeuvring through the tighter stuff a breeze. There is a slight snatch when you initially apply the throttle, but once in the bush and on the gas you really don’t notice. My background is trials riding and I found the WR good at low speeds.
The guys at Bridgestone Moto sent us a set of Battlax Adventurecross AX41 tyres to test next. I put them on myself and took a little skin off the old knuckles but the worst thing was I dropped a tyre lever on my mate Graham’s foot… Sorry Graham!
The new Bridgestone’s are a proper adventure tyre, so we can still go off road, hopefully better than the Trailwings the bike came with, while benefitting on the tarmac… So far they dramatically reduce vibration on the highway and have made my 60km commute a much more pleasurable experience and transformed the cornering abilities of the bike on the road, along with my confidence when leaning the bike over. It will be interesting to see what Jeff’s impressions are when he gets the tyres off road onto a bit of dirt and does a proper test… Until then, I’ll keep on clocking up the kilometres on the WR…
Pommie's Score! | Staff Bikes: Update, Long Term WR250R Tenere