I have some sad news for dual sport and light weight adventure riders; Yamaha has announced that the WR250R is being discontinued in both Europe and the USA.
Now there have been rumours for a couple of years that the WR250R was going to be cancelled and it’s finally happened.
Yamaha kind of subtly did it too. They didn’t announce it, but just stuck these two small paragraphs at the end of their 2021 model press conference. It states…
“With deep consideration of evolving global market trends and regulations that limit production volumes on certain models, the following Yamaha models will be discontinued after model year 2020: YZF-R6, VMAX, WR250R and SMAX.
“Yamaha understands the iconic history of these models. Regarding the future, Yamaha is continuously looking at new ideas and concepts to support and expand the market, as well as enhance our customers’ experiences.”
So, if you want a new WR250R, you are going to have to try and snap one up now or grab a second hand model.
Now, I was initially pretty shocked that the WR250R is being cancelled. In adventure bike circles, I’ve always thought it was a pretty popular (if slightly overpriced) bike. Evidently not popular enough! Thinking about it though, I don’t think I’ve ever really seen one out on the trails or road, whereas I’ve seen plenty of its competition around, CRF250L and KLX250S.
In my last video I talked about the Honda CRF300L being released in Thailand and it seems extremely likely Kawasaki are going to soon announce their KLX300S. Without the WR250R, Honda and Kawasaki are going to have free reign of this class.
So why was it cancelled? As I mentioned before, sales just mustn’t have been high enough. And I think with the new Euro 5 laws coming into effect soon; it probably isn’t worth it for Yamaha to make the WR250R complaint either.
Looking through Yamaha’s line-up, I can’t find a road bike motor that they could just slot in either. So if they were to try and make the 250R Euro 5 compliant, they may have to do a massive redesign of the engine, or make a completely new engine and I don’t think either of these are going to happen.
Yamaha hasn’t announced a replacement and reading more from their press release, it appears they are going to concentrate on the adventure market. Interestingly, Yamaha are continuing to sell the old school XT250 (gross) and the hilarious TW200, but I can’t see them lasting much longer either.
My bet? After the screaming success of the new Tenere 700, Yamaha are going to use the YZF-R3 motor and make a Tenere 300. So if you want a reliable, small dual sport, if you’re a Yamaha fan, you are going to have to go elsewhere.