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Review- XT250 First impressions

21 Sep 2016 10:35
MarkT
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Review- XT250 First impressions #1
Ran the Mormon Wells Trail last weekend with a local meetup group.

Main reason I got this bike is many of the local trails require a minimum range of 100+ miles and I'm not a fan of carrying extra gasoline on the bike.

It's also a Yamaha that has it's roots back in the Enduros of the 70's and 80's... a bit heavier... "linkage" rear suspension... but it's basically an updated version of the original in most ways. And at 60 to 80 mpg with a 2.6 gallon tank, the range is excellent! Seat height is important to me and the XT is perfect there too... not too tall for my short legs.

Power
It's a little strange not having a kick starter! Started instantly hot or cold at 1400 feet all the way up to 6800 feet. Engine ran flawlessly. Very smooth power delivery and whisper quiet! I can't even hear the engine at speeds over 25 mph with my face shield up.

I put a TTO tach on it before the trip because it was "missing" at higher rpm. What was happening was it was hitting the 8500 rpm limiter! :Ugh The engine runs so smooth and the revs build so quickly in the lower gears I didn't even realize I was revving it that high!

Surprising amount of torque down low and pulls strong to redline. Compared to "modern" 40+ HP bikes most people would say it's underpowered. In my opinion, it's just right... very comparable in power to a vintage Enduro... likely has a little more than any of the vintage bikes I own.

One other thing that really took some getting used to is the compression braking. The bike has disc brakes front and rear but to be honest I don't know that you need them! It really slows down when you back off the throttle compared to my two strokes. I found that I rarely used the brakes on this ride.

Suspension
I had read a lot of reviews about the suspension being too soft for "spirited" trail riding. So even before I bought it I expected to have to do a little work. I didn't expect it to be as soft as it was! Out on the trail at speed I bottomed out HARD several times on things that didn't look THAT bad! It felt like the suspension was set up for a 120 lb kid who never does anything more challenging than jump it off the curb it front of his house! :haha

With my weight and the speeds we were traveling, it just wasn't good. To be fair, the group I was with all had modern water cooled KTM's, Honda's, Kawasaki's etc and the pace was pretty fast. 50+ MPH a lot of the way. On the slower sections the XT suspension worked OK.

The stock rear spring is a 6.8 kg/mm... Race Tech recommends a 10.7 for my weight! That's a huge difference! I'm changing out the spring and going to revalve the rear shock myself using the shim Restackor program I bought when I was building my "super DT50". If that doesn't work I will probably install a Race Tech Gold Valve.

The stock fork springs are a wimpy 0.36 kg/mm. I can't compare the rear spring rates to my other bikes due to the linkage but the front forks are conventional just like the old bikes. For comparison the RT180 has a 0.52 to 0.78 kg/mm progressive spring and it's a lot lighter bike! Plus the RT180 has a lot more preload on the spring than the XT. The XT has about an inch more travel than the RT180 so the XT could get away with a slightly softer spring, but not THAT soft! Good news is the RT180 springs drop right in to the XT250 forks so I'm going to give them a shot along with 20 wt oil (stock is 15 wt). If that doesn't work I might try the Race Tech emulators on the front.

Odd and ends

Build quality is very high. I am impressed with the fit and finish.

One odd thing is the right side rear view mirror is the exact same part number as the one for the late 1970's DT's and my 80's DT50's. It has a left hand thread so it swings back out of the way if it hits a tree branch or something. My bike came with a right hand thread mirror on the right side. The threads looked a little "funny" so I took a LH thread mirror from one of my other bikes and managed to install it... good thing I did... a pine tree reached out and grabbed the mirror on this trip which could have resulted in a broken mirror or a crash had it not swiveled out of the way!

The TW301 and TW302 tires seem to be high quality. I'm not sure what they are rated but seems to be about 50/50 street/dirt. I don't plan on doing much street riding and they were a little squirrely some places on the trail so I think I'm going to swap them for some DOT rated 20/80 street/dirt knobbies I took off my DT175.

Bottom line is the XT250 is a great bike that carries much of "the spirit" of the original Yamaha Enduros.

1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250
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21 Sep 2016 10:47
MarkT
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Review- XT250 First impressions #2
Some pics:

Restored railroad tie cabin at the trailhead/visitor center.



XT near the summit at the Mormon wells campground




1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250

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22 Sep 2016 10:48
Bigdog302
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Review- XT250 First impressions #3
that is a really cool bike there! I am one of the closet 4 stroke freaks here on this forum and I have a appreciation for them.

2 1968 DT1s,1970 RT1M,1970 DT1C,1971 RT1B,1971 Honda Z50K2,1974 DT100A 1974DT250A,1974 Honda MT250,2 1975 DT400Bs,1975 Honda CR250M1,1978 DT175E,1979 Honda CR250R.
Dave
Jesus is Lord!
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22 Sep 2016 14:59
Blackhat250
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Review- XT250 First impressions #4
In the Uk, that is called the Serrow. also in 225cc variant . B)

If you aint mixin gas " you aint haulin Ass
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22 Sep 2016 18:23
TerryM
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Review- XT250 First impressions #5
I have a bike that is probably your bike's older brother - an XT225 from 2002. Rode it at EnduroFest 2014 in Ouray and EnduroRide 2015 in Eureka Springs. It won't keep up with a DT250 or DVM's modified CT, but it plowed its way through the Trail From (And To) Hell outside Telluride. My biggest complaint about the bike is the narrow seat - it splits my fat butt when I sit on it for very long. Old DT seats are wider, even if the suspension has a lot less travel, making them more comfy.

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04 Oct 2016 21:37
MarkT
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Review- XT250 First impressions #6
Update- Last weekend I took the XT on what some say are two of the most challenging trails in the area... Wheeler Pass and Rocky Gap road.

Rear suspension did great with the 10.7 kg/mm rear spring recommended by Race Tech and my "home brew" shock re-valving. Hit some pretty big stuff and never bottomed hard... yet the wipe marks on the shock shaft showed I was using all the travel. :likey

On the front I found a couple of posts where people recommended the Progressive Springs 11-1128 set for the front. Looked good on paper with a rate of .54/.80 and I found a pair cheap on ebay. Not so good in real life. The first couple of inches of travel were fine... after that the springs got so stiff that I doubt I even used up half the travel even on the biggest bumps! It was still better than the stock overly soft springs though.

*I do not recommend the Progressive 11-1128 springs on the XT250!*

I almost doubled the rear spring rate so thought the Race Tech recommendations for a slightly stronger spring on the front might be too soft... after trying the Progressive springs I'm thinking Race Tech might know what they are talking about.

Race Tech recommends about a 0.43 kg/mm fork spring for me (straight rate). Which is lighter than either the RT180 or Progressive springs. (I might try the RT180 springs but it's a nice bike so I don't want to start robbing parts from it) So I'm searching for front springs... might have to get Cannon Racecraft to wind me a custom set but that's $$. I also think I'm going to order the Race Tech emulators for the forks.

When I'm done I hope to have far less than $500 in the suspension (including my mistakes! Ha!) If I can get the front to work as good as the back I think I'll be happy.

More to come.

1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250
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07 Nov 2016 18:56
MarkT
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Review- XT250 First impressions #7
I'm sure this isn't the most popular thread on here but I thought I'd document as it might help someone in 30 years or so! :haha

The XT ran flawlessly all four days of the Endrofest! The most surprising thing to me was being able to keep up easily at highway speeds when we were traveling between trails.

Suspension was AWESOME! I ended up installing the RaceTech emulators in the forks and cutting 9.5 coils off the stock fork springs, re manufacturing the ends, and installing longer spacers. This got me very close to the 0.43 spring rate RaceTech recommends for my weight/skill.

Note: that's about the maximum number of coils that can be cut off without coil bind problems at full compression. Also note that I only am running a couple of mm of preload... if you want/need to run more preload you have to cut off less coils to be safe... I'm a big fan of low preload - higher spring rate so what I did worked perfect for me. Sag is perfect.

The only issue I had was at the end of the last day the shifter started acting up... Dan noticed the external linkage was very stiff... a quick squirt of WD40 and problem solved. When I got home I took the "remote shifter" pivot bolt out (Mike- Yamaha locktited the bolt from the factory but thanks for the tip on it coming loose on some of your XT's!) There was some dirt in the pivot and almost no grease.... cleaned it up and lubed with waterproof grease. If shifts better/easier now than it did when brand new! Thanks for the help guys!

As best I can tell my mileage was better than 70mpg over the 4 days. Cost me less than $15 in gas for four days of riding! Checked the valve clearances (due) and they were the same as before the trip... right in spec. I'm now right at 600 miles and when I changed the oil there was a less metal in the filter than when I did it at 50 miles and at 200 miles. Idle speed is also higher and needs to be adjusted down a couple hundred rpm which is also expected at 600 miles or so. I think it's breaking in!

A lot of people told me that a new XT250 would be a mistake for trail riding. I knew and expected to fix up the super-soft stock suspension. After riding it on some great trails I think the "naysayers" were wrong... the new XT250 is an awesome machine! Very forgiving powerband... Very torquey from idle to high rpm. On the more technical hills this allows me to concentrate on the line I pick without worrying about keeping the engine in the powerband...

It's a keeper! :Buds

1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250
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03 Jun 2017 07:23
SlowPoke
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Review- XT250 First impressions #8
Hey Mark,
I just came across this thread and thought I would revive it. How is the XT doing these days?
Bruce

2018 Suzuki Vstrom 1000XT
2014 Yamaha Bolt
2009 Yamaha XT250
1977 Yamaha DT250
Hammond Organ
Fender Bass

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03 Jun 2017 09:11
MarkT
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Review- XT250 First impressions #9
Hi Bruce, it's a great bike. Still very happy with it.

Even though it's decades newer, it's not that different from a good vintage Enduro in terms of riding it. Biggest difference is the fuel mileage and the wide torque band makes it easier to ride than the "small bore" two strokes I love.

(Electric start is nice too when I get into a difficult situation and stall the engine! :Ugh )

My only regret is not being able to get out and ride it more than I have!

P.S. I'll keep an eye out for your TY175 flywheel... and I'm still looking for a TY175 ignition cover so let me know if you come across one.

1963 YG1-T, 1965 MG1-T, Allstate 250, 1970 CT1b, 1971 R5, 1973 AT3MX, 1974 TS400L, 1975 RD350, 1976 DT175C, 1976 Husqvarna 250CR, 1981 DT175G, 1988 DT50, 1990 "Super" DT50, 1991 RT180, 2017 XT250

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03 Jun 2017 12:45
SlowPoke
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Review- XT250 First impressions #10
Hey Mark,
I sent you a PM.

2018 Suzuki Vstrom 1000XT
2014 Yamaha Bolt
2009 Yamaha XT250
1977 Yamaha DT250
Hammond Organ
Fender Bass

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