Greetings loyal fans!
Today I'd like to share a few first impressions of my new bike. I realize some people are actually doing research on purchasing their own bike and really value feedback from other owners. Just to save you some time let me get right to it: In summation I am very pleased with it, and I would recommend it to anyone who does the kind of riding I do*.
Now for the details my really hard core fans want. I'll bullet a few key points to keep it short and sweet:
- Power: it has good power. I was really concerned about this since I was trading down from a WR400 which had gobs of snort. I wouldn't accuse the WR250R of having snort, but it does have good power in the upper RPM range. Low down grunt is not there. Believe me, I check often and I stall the bike each time I do. Some of that is poor clutch management on my part but I am getting better at it. I think next year I will put a larger sprocket on the rear to gear it down just a tad. I think that will help on the trails, which is where I prefer to ride.
- Electric start: I think I know what Chris Matthews was feeling when he said he "gets a tingle up his leg". My right leg is sooo happy! Especially with all the extra stalls I have been having. No more kicking!
- Ergonomics: I think I look like a giant on the bike, but it doesn't feel too small. It handles very well. I much prefer riding it over the WR400. I do think I might add some slightly taller bars in the future, but that is because I am a tall guy, 6'2" and that makes stand-up riding more comfortable on any bike. Controls are smooth. The speedo was way off, but I put speedo-healer on to remedy that. The computer does have some trip adjustment controls, but I haven't taken the time to figure them out. The manual isn't very helpful here.
- Traction: Stock tires are mostly lame off road. They do OK in the dry, but they gum up fast if there is any mud. I made a spectacular fool of myself in front of Shane Watts. I was flying down the trail and hit a rut which wouldn't have been a big deal except it was pretty muddy. The bike fell over like a dead horse and I quickly got off in Superman style over the handle bars. I got muddy like a pig in a new wallow, and a huge bruise on my thigh where my leg caught the handlebar on my dismount. Grasshopper just laughed as he rode by. I was so embarrassed. I blame the tires. Kenda TrackMaster 760s have already arrived and will be mounted this weekend.
- Suspension: A little soft. I've bottomed it a few times. I need to figure out how to stiffen the shocks a bit. Also the ground clearance is lower than what I am used to, but I've put a heavy duty skid plate on to protect the under side.
- Wheelies: I was pretty sure I could not really do a wheelie on this bike. It just didn't seem to have the power or gearing for it on my first couple of rides. But that was before Shane Watts taught me how to wheelie. Turns out the WR250R can wheelie just fine. In fact I can pop over a 24-inch log without stopping. You'll read more about that in a later post about my DirtWise Academy experience.
I will mention that I've also been impressed with some of the design features of the bike. Yamaha clearly put a lot of thought in to designing this bike. Good job Yamaha team!
*If you ride enduro events, or just strictly off-road then this is not a good choice for you. There are much better machines for the hard-core off-road racer, or the rider who will just never need a license plate. This bike is the perfect balance of dual-sport and price.
Over Memorial Day weekend I had the opportunity to ride in the desert near Mattawa, Washington. There is a small-ish ORV area just north of town. I putted around the place exploring the trails. It was a good time. Lots of sand. Dual sport tires are not the best way to go there, but I managed okay.
You may notice 2 things about my video:
- Video quality good! This is because I've upgraded to HD. This was my first ride with my new camera, a Drift Innovation HD170 Stealth. I'll post more details in another blog entry.
- Camera angle bad! I know, I know. This was my first outing and I hadn't tested the camera mount. I quickly fixed the issue and you'll see some really awesome videos in the near future. I've got some great footage from BlackDog 2011 and DirtyFace 2011. Highlights to come!
I'll be getting some off road riding instructions from Shane Watts
himself at the DIrtWise Riding Academy this weekend. Actually Grasshopper will be there, too. I wasn't sure if he would make it. He procrastinated registering for the class, and ended up on the wait list. Fortunately he was at the top because some poor dude broke their thumb and couldn't attend at the last minute. Now Grasshopper is going. Yay!
You are probably wondering if there will be video of the training. I'm not sure yet. But you can be sure I'll write about it.
I hope everyone has a great time with family and friends this Independence Day weekend. Be safe!
I know you've all been waiting for pictures of the new WR250R...so it is!
This was from the day I purchased it. Look at that smile! But hey, I don't just have pictures of the bike I purchased, I also have pictures of the one that got away:
The 2009 Husquvarna TE310. It was pretty sweet.
But the Husky needed more mods than I was prepared to do just to make it Dual Sport worthy, and it was a little more exotic than I wanted, e.g. after market parts are hard to come by. And it was more than a few $$$ more pricey than the Yammy. Oh, and someone bought it before I could.
But that is ok, as I am very happy with the 2008 Yamaha WR250R! And I've already begun making it Dual Sport worthy. Starting with a fender eliminator; that big, ugly stock fender had to go. I've got full details coming in a later post. With pics again, I promise!
The 2011 Blackdog
ride is coming soon. 20th anniversary even, which is a pretty big deal. Say "hi" if you see me there sporting the new WRR. If there are any muddy hills to climb, you might find me stuck about half way up. You see, I'm not changing out the stock tires just yet.
They definitely have a road bias, but a still little tready. I'm not sure how much mud flinging they are capable of, but if you do find me stuck on a muddy hill I'd appreciate a hand up. I won't be worn out from kick starting an overheated, flooded trail pig like my WR400F was, but I my thumb might be tired of pushing the easy button over and over! Ah, I can't wait!
Just to give you a little teaser here is the list of mods so far:
Fender Eliminator from Ride Engineering
Skid Plate from ThumperTalk
Hand guards from Cycra
Front rotor protector from Acerbis
New mirrors from Dual Star
Check back soon for full details! Until then, keep the rubber side down.
Better late than never, right? As you know I did not make it to RatDog
last year. But my good friend Grasshopper did make it and provided me some sweet highlight material. I had to wait until I upgraded my video card because editing and rendering video was like watching your fingernails grow long enough so that you can grab them with a vice-grip and pull them off. Slow and painful!
Now I have said new video card, and it is a pure pleasure. Almost like my new ride, the WRR!
Ok, back to business. What you'll see first in the video is the remarkable terrain that Tom finds for us to ride. It is truly beautiful. Second you'll see an epic hill climb that takes a couple of tries because A) it is unexpected and B) there is traffic in the way! And finally, pay close attention for the funniest dismount I've seen. Ah, my face hurts from laughing!
After much hand wringing and number crunching I finally pulled the trigger on a new 2008 Yamaha WR250R.
Yes, it is new, had less than 1 mile on it. And what a sweet thang it is! Electric start! Fuel injection! Quiet! So smooth!
Ok, ok, my old bike was a good bike, but it was older technology for sure. The best description I've come up with is that my old WRF was like riding a monster truck: full of power and noise. The WRR is more like a Lexus: smooth and refined.
I haven't had the WRR off-road yet, but I've read many other happy owners comments that it shines off-road, so I am confident I won't be disappointed. And of course this bike is street legal. But it comes with a big ol' ugly rear fender/brake light contraption that will have to go. Why? It is heavy and the way I ride it will break off on the trail. Soon I'll post before and after pics of the fender and its replacement.
You might wonder how I came to this decision. It was the numbers really. Husky was $1800 more just to start, plus it would really need about $1500 in after market gear to satisfy my needs. Things like a larger gas tank (I need range, man!). Then someone went and purchased the Husky out from under my nose.
I had been looking at a 2009 WRR, then I found this 2008 WRR nearby and $500 less than the 2k9 so I pulled the trigger. I'm very happy.
Stay tuned for some pics. And if you don't have your ride lined up yet, better hurry! Summer is almost here....
Hey FBB fans, happy new year!
Yeah, I know it is late, but I've been busy. I still haven't found the next ride for me, but the two bikes I've been looking hard at are the Husqvarna TE310 and the Yamaha WR250R.
They are both street legal, the Husky much more dirt friendly, but the Yamaha has a nicer price. Oh, decisions decisions! What should I do?
In the mean time I am looking to upgrade my video gear. Check out this Drift HD170 Stealth at bidbump.com
. Looks very cool. I'm going to see if I can get it cheap! There are 5 of them, why don't you join me?
Oh, I should mention that Grasshopper and I are booked for a Shane Watts DirtWise Riding Academy
this year! Woohoo!!! I am soooo excited!
I'll be back soon with some cool news.
What with all the Christmas rush, I decided it give my bike away early. I couldn't wait until January, it had to happen today!
I had thought long about how to do this fairly. I wanted it to be as random as possible. I thought about writing a computer program that performed the random selection even. It would be cool to create a screen cast of the program as it did the random calculations and made the selection, then tah dah! it would print out the winner.
But, I quickly realized it would be a very short program and it is hard to choose a random winner from a member list of one person. I technically have two members, but one person said, "I don't want the bike, I just think you're really cool and like to see you do cool stuff." Okay, that isn't an exact quote, but pretty close. Thanks, sis!
So, I alerted the winner. You might be familiar with him. He stars in most of my videos. Yes, Grasshopper was the one and only member, so without further ado, congratulations!
I know it isn't green, and doesn't match any of your gear, but it is still a pretty wicked machine that deserves respect. I'll be calling you soon to discuss logistics. :~)
Merry Christmas everyone, and I hope you have a great 2011!
Dear Secret Santa,
thank you for the subscription to Dirt Rider magazine. That is totally cool! I am sure you read my blog (who doesn't?) so I figured this is the best way to say thank you. Any other way would require me to ask every person I know if they gave me the subscription, and, well, I might do that anyway.
Ironically, the day I got my first issue I stopped by the grocery store to pick up some milk and tomatoes and walked by the magazine rack. I stopped and picked up a Dirt Bike magazine. Then I headed home and picked up the mail only to find my first issue of Dirt Rider! Wow, two magazines in one day! I usually read about two per year.
But the point is I am very appreciative of the gift. It will help me decide what bike to get next year and how to trick it out. Only 20 days left until I give away my 2000 Yamaha WR400F
. Tell your friends time is running out...
Your friend, brother, husband, uncle, nephew, son-in-law, bro-in-law or whatever I am to you,
My brother sent me this incredible video of two dual sport riders who rode the Trans America Trail...and filmed it!
This is a must watch video. It is only about 5 minutes. Wow, 5000 miles reduced to 5 minutes of video. Well, the editing is superb. Notice the fascinating landscape changes as they progress across the country. It is so inspiring. One day...nah, I rode almost 200 miles one weekend and thought I was going to die. I just don't see 5000 miles in my future.
Oh, and check out what happens at about 3:40 in the video
Two riders from New England ride the Trans America Trail from Rick Baker on Vimeo.
Hello again, friends and family. It has been a long time since I've posted. It has been a very busy few months. So busy I missed two dual sport events even! And even though I have good excuses I am still sad.
Grasshopper gave me some killer video from Rat Dog and Easton Dual Sport rides. I'll edit those and get them posted soon. I fell out of my chair laughing when I watched them. More good blooper material for sure.
I got an email from Shane Watts the other day. I haven't attended any of his academies but it is high on my list of must do events. I really hope to go next year. Even though I've been riding for 10 years now I could really use some pro training to get me to the next level. I still work too hard to get up and down hills and around corners. I know the bike could do more of the work. I know the bike should do more of the work!
I found a cool tip video from Shane Watts that I thought I would share. One of my worst skills is corner rut exits, which this video tip just so happens to deal with. It is very inspiring. Take a look: