Originally Posted by inroads
Is there any real difference between a F and a R? Besides electric start,street legal and F.I.
IOW, aren't the engines and chassis/suspension similar?
Not at all, something that lots of Yamaha salesmen in Yamaha dealerships still don't know due to the similar names (and because they haven't scrutinized the bikes, themselves).
It's along the lines of what other posters have written:
The WR-250F from 2002 is, basically, a 2002 YZ-250F (motocross bike) with lights, an 18" rear wheel, and a 3.2 gallon fuel tank.
This bike is MUCH better off-road because it has tighter gear ratios, is considerably lighter, has a bit more power across the board, and the suspension (particularly the rear) is quite a bit better.
I put it like this (because I've tried it):
A WR-250F with dual-purpose tires (the same ones that come on a WR-250R, in fact) still feels mucho better off-road than a WR-250R does even with the very best knobby tires mounted to it.
The better an off-road rider you are, the more this will feel to you.
For street use, the gearing is short, and the bike doesn't have a high top speed unless you literally rev it at redline down the road.
You can change the sprockets to gear it taller, but you hurt it's off-road gearing.
You can compromise, but it's still a compromise, especially if you ride in the woods.
The WR-250R was designed, I believe, as a street bike that can withstand lots and lots of street milage, meet all of the EPA regulations, and be ridden off-road in a reasonable manner.
The WR-250R is a MUCH better bike for street milage due to the engine being very smooth-running with very low vibration (which gives you the impression that it can withstand lots of highway and street usage for mile after mile), and because the gear ratios from the tranny and sprockets is pretty tall, allowing the bike to zip down the road with high-speed traffic you get these days.
Off -road, the bike feels like the typical dual-purpose bike that comes with second-rate suspension and is a bit overweight.
You can ride it practically anywhere, but the feel of the bike leaves much to be desired if you want a true dirt bike.
If you don't know any better, you may have nothing to complain about, and if you're expecting a pure dirt bike, you'll probably be in for a let-down.
It's just fine for recreational trail riding, and is what it's really intended for, just like any other Yamaha dual-purpose bike from day 1.
So, it really depends on you.
My advice with the WR-250R (and any bike you ride off-road):
Up the service intervals shown in the Owner's Manual when riding off-road.
Going 3,000 miles between oil changes and 6 months between servicing the air filter on a bike ridden in the dirt ain't good.