With my Tenere garaged in the UK, I have opted for a more lightweight machine here in Mexico, choosing a 2008 Yamaha WR250R. It has been heavily-modified by the previous owner, most notably the engine and exhaust system: a 280cc big-bore kit from Thumper Racing has been installed, along with a FMF Q4 exhaust and Megabomb header. The engine has then been re-tuned via a Bazzaz Fuel Controller. I haven’t ridden a stock WR250R to compare it with, but this bike runs very smoothly with minimal vibration and has more torque in the lower rev ranges than I would expect from a 250.
With a Safari 14L fuel tank and rally fairing fitted, it feels and rides very much like a lightweight 660 Tenere. The riding position is very comfortable (enhanced with a Seat Concepts seat) and the fairing provides excellent wind protection without creating heavy turbulence around the helmet – an unsolvable characteristic of the 660 Tenere. The fairing also provides an ample cockpit for instruments such as a GPS. I recently rode a 400 mile / 11 hour day, mostly along highways sitting between 65-70mph – proving this bike can handle long-haul rides. With its performance in the dirt beyond doubt and a bomb-proof Yamaha engine, I expect this machine to make an excellent overlander.
Whilst already very well appointed with aftermarket parts, I will continue to upgrade and refine it over the forthcoming months. The underpinning philosophy will be to stay lightweight. It’s early days, but I have the feeling that this ‘WR280R Mini Tenere‘ could be the closest I’ve come so far to my perfect adventure bike.
To view a COMPLETE LIST OF WR250R MODIFICATIONS , click HERE.