Tanshanomi's Snap Judgments

Yamaha XT250

Mon, March 15th, 2010

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2008–10 Yamaha XT250
Even by the yardstick of small dual-sport bikes, the XT is docile at best, underpowered at worst. At higher revs, it seems starved for air and somewhat buzzy. Street use definitely calls for a sixth gear and fuel injection.
Light weight makes this bike extremely flickable, but the trade-off is nervousness at higher speeds and in crosswinds. The suspension is thankfully more suited to road riding than dirt, without much of the fore-aft hobby-horsing that larger, heavier dual-sport bikes with super-long-travel suspension can sometimes exhibit on-road. Brakes are above average (perhaps due to how little weight they work against), although the front fork dives disconcertingly under braking and I don't know how fade-free they would be in repeated, hard use.
The XT250 bodywork and graphics don't try too hard to look like an off-road racer, which is to Yamaha's credit. The narrow tank and seat reinforce the feeling of litheness which is this bike's best characteristic.
The only way anything on this bike is going to break is if you dump it on the ground, and thanks to durable plastic parts, you might not even do much damage then.
The thin seat and lack of power make long highway rides or overnight tours no fun at all, but the ease of maneuverability and tall viewpoint makes this bike perfect for around-town work. Keeping up with speeding rush hour traffic might be a bit nerve-racking.
It's nothing special, but it does have a sense of style that makes me smile every time I see one.
I would probably pick a smaller dual-sport bike like this over heavier, more powerful open-class options. Who wants to take a dual-sport out on the Interstate, anyhow?