; Yamaha’s Raptor 250 finally has
competition. For years, the little
Yamaha has been the only serious
player in the 250 sport class. What
else is there? The Honda 250X is sort
of a utilitarian 228. The Can-Am has
a CV transmission and the Suzuki
has a centrifugal clutch. All of them
are great for beginners, but the
Raptor is something else. It’s lighter,
has more travel and screams out to
be ridden hard.
Now there’s another 250 quad that’s
even sportier than the Raptor 250.
Yamaha just released the 250R,
which pushes the performance envelope of the class a little higher yet.
Yamaha kept waiting for someone
else to raise the bar. When no one
stepped up to the plate, they did it to
CLASS OF THE CLASS
As sporty as the new Raptor 250R
is, it still uses the same, old-world, air-
cooled motor. Pundits have been pre-
dicting more high-performance 250
quads for years. It made sense; virtu-
ally all the manufacturers have liq-
uid-cooled 250cc motorcycles that
would make easy platforms for four-
wheelers. There are two big reasons
it hasn’t happened. First, the market
for expensive sport quads is flat. A
liquid-cooled 250 would push the
retail price up about $1000 over that
of a Raptor, and that dog won’t hunt
in this market. And second, it would
be hard to compete against the suc-
cess of the Raptor, even with a more
advanced motor. The Yamaha 250 is
universally popular with newcomers
and with serious sport riders alike.
The chassis is almost as advanced as
anything in the 450 class, but just
scaled down slightly with a little less
height, weight and length. The air-
cooled, five-speed motor still serves
the purpose perfectly. It makes excel-
lent low-end power, it’s reliable and
it’s easy to hop-up. If the machine
came with more power, it would
encroach on the current crop of 450s,
which for the most part, aren’t selling
as well as the 250s.
The biggest difference between the standard Raptor 250 and the R is suspension.
The R’s reservoir shocks are aftermarket
quality and push the price up $500.
Britney Bloodworth usually races a 450, but like most experienced
riders, enjoyed the 250R for its pure fun factor.