Well crap, got the ultimate kitchen pass on Mother's Day to run from KC down to south Tulsa for a Raines Yamaha Demo day! I start off by saying "well crap" because I had in my mind the 250FX was gonna be my next scoot! I just sold an 07' 400XCW, prior to that I had an 11'YZ250F set up for woods! Background, I'm a 43 yr old Vet A enduro rider, race a few select events each spring and fall and play ride anywhere between KC and San Diego when I can. The 400 was butter smooth and was revalved to handle most everything decent. I am in good shape, so bike weight really isn't a big issued for me, i'm 205lbs, and always set my suspension up for me. YZ had Smart Perfomance, good stuff.
I get to the event, meet Jason Raines and talk about the bikes etc. Jason is very helpful and knowledgeable about all these bikes and can with certainty advise what works and why with each machine!
This area had close to a 2mile woods loop set up, tight turns, some quick straights and well rutted corners. Being Mother's Day there weren't many riders so I was able to make multiple laps at a time on each bike, then swap and go right back out to compare.
I started off on the 250X smoker. Nice bike, starts so easy its silly. Nice power, felt like my 07' 250xcw smoker but with more boost everywhere! The controls were set goofy and I wasn't comfortable thus I didn't spend much time on it. Great bike but I drove 4hrs for some e-start thumpers!
Jason told me his favorite bike was the WR but to ride the 450FX first then switch to the WR.
I took my time just feeling out the FX, putting around and blipping the throttle, whew, there is some beef here! Controls were nice, clutch pull is simple and smooth, front brake is strong and progressive, rear brake is smooth and strong. Shifting was very nice, i have had notchy shifting on previous YZ's, not here, and i liked it. I didn't hear any funky engine noises or sounds from the high intake. After a couple of easy laps, i snapped it to attention and ripped it, wow, i never got the throttle around to the stop, there just wasn't room. This bike is very powerful and responsive, you want the front wheel up, no problem! I was shocked and impressed with hook up and plushness coming from the suspension with this much power being put down. The centralized weight it very nice, not sure what the scales say but it feels very light and turned easily and predictably, no standing up mid turn and held a rut very well. I rode up on the pegs when i could and really like being out over the front pulling 3rd gear hard in a little open flow section. This bike accelerates like nothing i have experienced, it took some time to adapt to how fast i was going so i could time my braking points, and i did come in hot to a few corners having the rear end hopping off the ground! Overall, very flickable and powerfull, would love to play with the tuner and tame some low rpm power and slow the transition into mid and upper.
Having spent a while playing on the 450FX, now i jumped right on the WR450. The bike feels the same ergonomically, only a slightly more weight is noticeable, mainly in the front end, weird that the light could add anything but it felt light there was just more to turn when steering from the bars. The WR was stock with mapping and only had the throttle stop removed and pea shooter taken out. Revved freely and quickly, just not the same boost that the FX has, please don't take that statement as a negative, this bike hauls and puts down buttery smooth and robust power! I would call it all day power! I think the FX demands your attention and could wear you down if not ridden smoothly. The WR put every ounce of power to the ground, turned quickly and went where pointed, whether on the pegs or sitting down. I could imagine high mountain single track for days or fast Baja or SoCal open stuff equally. Very planted to the ground and hid its weight well also, biggest difference again, is slightly more steering effort and that is just a feeling of more weight on the front end. I had an 07'WR450 back in 11-12', it was tough and stable with Smart Performance suspension, but it felt heavy all the time! Amazing to me how the bikes hide their weight. Jason shared with me that the GYTR ECU could make the WR run just like the FX, dang, that would be impressive but really not necassary but a nice option!
I did notice noise from the airbox restrictor, it took a few laps to get passed it but quickly just faded from my mind. Suspension felt plush and planted to the point on both bikes i just wasn't even paying attention to it, that's an amazing feat for stock components. Overall, solid bike, nice quick revving smooth power and plush feel, well done!!
Lastly the 250FX, having been playing on big bores for over an hour, my first lap out had me wondering where the power was! I had to mentally make the switch and remind myself to pin it and keep busy on the shifter! Once that takes over, you can get this bike rolling nicely. Immediately you can feel how light the bike is compared to the big brothers. It feels like a 125 smoker! 1st gear is for real granny low, will likely be few places where this is needed, i ran 2nd-4th. I probably should have ridden this bike first because it just felt like a lot of work twisting the grip and shifting so much to keep me on pace, to me, there is no being lazy on this bike, gotta be aggressive to get it in its element. It turned well and was very responsive and liked being revved. Seemed louder than the 450 but mainly due to being at higher rpm's. Really had me wondering if I want a bike that i have to ride that hard to be happy at my pace. Overall, shifted smooth, revved like crazy and turned without thinking, suspension again was great front and rear!
Decisions, decisions, later this year, i will be buying a new blue bike, my wife even said go ride all of them so you will know which one you want...hell, i want each of them! Side note, myself and another guy of equal speed took the Wr and 450FX out together, 2 laps each then switch, we both were faster on the WR but both felt the FX was the most fun.
So not looking for a race bike, looking for a fun bike to play ride on anywhere in the country and compete on, a handful of times in rocky rough enduro terrain. Anyone who hasn't ridden these bikes, they are all solid, well built and well suspended, look forward to owning one soon but just not 100% which one. I am going to post this in each of the forums so feedback from riders of each bike can add input. Thanks for reading my long winded babble.
Happy trails, Jason