Another YZ250FX switch to a 250RR.

I'd always ridden Yamaha WR's (just for fun), and in 2015 I decided to pick up a Yamaha YZ250FX. That bike was so much fun to ride, and it loved going fast, so I figured I might as well enter a race. Long story short, I did better than I thought I would and was hooked. My background is primarily road racing, so now I'm 'trying' to race both series (every race) this year.

 

Over the last few years the riding I do has become much more technical. The bigger, the rockier, and the steeper, the better it is. The FX has always done well there, and to be fair, I never really noticed many short comings (besides maybe needing a 'tiny' bit more jam right off the bottom). But one thing that drives me crazy in 2-3 hour long races, is the engine braking. If it's tight technical back and forth trails the 4 stroke is always slowing down the second you're not on the throttle (if the clutch isn't pulled). That's not something that ever bothered me riding leisurely. But in a race it drove me nuts. I'd try and maintain throttle more in those situations, but with the FX on/off throttle transition, it would load and unload the front unless you're steady on the clutch. So aside from slowing down (which sucks in a race), it's also wasting extra energy (I'm getting older and fatter, so it's harder to stay in shape).

 

Anyway, last week we were out on a family trip camping at one of the areas that has a race (but not that weekend) and I was riding with my brother in law. He's an ex downhill MTB guy, so he's not slow on anything with 2 wheels, so when we ride together it's at a good pace. My wife had her Beta Xtrainer out there, and I just installed a Rekluse in it for her. So I hopped on her bike to just play around and have some fun as I headed out with the brother in law. Her bike has a lowering link, dropped forks, and the low seat, so I was not really expecting to have 'too' much fun in the trails. Long story short; when I stopped at the next fork, the b-in-law goes, "Wow... You're ripping on that thing. I'm pretty sure you're faster on that than your bike". I thought he was full of it. I always run a HR GPS watch when I ride, so I turned the tracking part on for the loop back. I compared the time to when I was on my own bike, and it was just under 30 seconds quicker on the XT (WTF???). What took me 10 minutes and 16 seconds on the FX, took me 9 minutes and 50 seconds on the XT. This is all fairly tight rooted single track where quite a few areas are barely bar width to get through.

 

So that brought me to, "Maybe I should try a 2 stroke". I know everyone says the 300 is the bee's knees, but like I said about my FX, just a 'tiny' bit more power would be perfect. So I figured the 250 2 stroke, should have that 'tiny' bit, and also be the lightest handling bike in the process. The dealership that sponsors me in Road Racing, also helps me out in the dirt stuff (especially since I'm racing it too now), and they deal Yamaha and Beta. So I shot a text to the sales Manager asking about the 250RR Race Edition they had. He came back with a number that I really could not say no to... I actually swore when I read it, because I knew my inquiry just turned into buying a new dirtbike...

 

So on to the first ride and impressions,

 

It's lighter for sure. To be honest I expected it to feel a bit more lighter, but I guess I'll hold judgement for when I'm in the super ultra gnarly stuff when I have to push and pull the bike around. My wife's Xtrainer feels laughably light, but the RR is not there. I was a bit bummed the 250RR is closer to the 250FX handling than it is the Xtrainer. But, like I said.. It's been 1 ride. It definitely took some getting used to to make sure to keep weight over the front in fast corners. I needed a body English correction because I would lose the front from not enough weight on it. I think I've 'adjusted' now though. I do still have to check sag though, so maybe the rear is riding just a bit low.

 

Is it prettier? I don't know... I've literally never bought anything but a Yamaha before, so I'm naturally quite biased toward the blue bikes. It is a great looking bike though. Maybe once I get all my own graphics, and number plates on it, it'll be better. I plan on much more blue to go with the Race Edition blue (and all my blue gear).

 

Power.... It has more than the FX in certain places, but less in others. I haven't completely finished playing with the jetting or the power valve, so we'll see where that goes. But I do know that if you wind that thing out in the single track, it's a F'n rocket. Staying on the pipe for an extended period in the tight stuff, is for manly man with more talent than I have. All in all, I think for a lazy rider, the 300 would be the ticket, but this 250 is no slouch.

 

Transmission.. The clutch drags more than I'd like (I'll try bleeding it), and the 2-3 gap is a bit wide. You have to wind out 2nd a bit to get into the meat of 3rd. This is coming from someone who is used to the 3-4 wide gap of the FX though. I imagine once I pick up the pace, I'll like the taller 3rd gear better. I imagine the 300 carries this gap a bit more nicely.

 

Suspension.. Pretty firm (Race Edition) and if it doesn't soften up, I'll have to open them up. It would pogo in areas the Yamaha stayed nice and level. It felt stiff, but I did notice all the shock travel was being used. So maybe I'm just fat and need some springs.

 

Quality.. Hmmmm. Well I've already broken part of that black plastic mudflap thing doing a pivot turn (so it was probably too long for those anyway), and the grippy inside of my Gaerne SG12's peeled the graphics right off the airbox cover. So I've already got peeling (and missing) graphics after just one ride. So I'm kind of bummed about that, because I actually got a full set of spare plastics for the bike, to preserve the Race Edition plastics (for resale), but the pins weren't the right ones for the airbox covers (just my luck)... Also, I've been working on the wife's XT, so it's not a surprise the Yamaha edges out the Beta here.

 

But if it mechanically holds together, those things won't be as big of deal. I remember seeing multiple times on here, how people live with these little downsides of the Beta because of how well the bike rides, and I'd think to myself "Eff that.. I'd be pissed". But get this.... I went to that same loop that I was 30 seconds faster on the XT on. I did it on the 250RR and I was 70 seconds faster!! I actually couldn't believe it, and had to do it again to be sure. I actually thought I was going to be slower because I wasn't at max comfort on the bike yet, and it didn't even feel fast. When I looked at the watch I was floored. 71 seconds (63 seconds the 2nd time) is F'n HUGE. The 10:16 loop on the FX took me 9:05 on the RR.... I'm still blown away at the difference. My average km/hr (Damn Canadians) was 3-4km/hr faster. If I kept that up over a race (I know it's not apples to apples), that would be 12-18 minutes faster by the end.. That's pretty nuts. I do hope the suspension gets softer though, because I could see that tiring me out more quickly.

 

So to sum it up. Differences and downfalls aside, the 250RR is definitely a quicker race bike. It looks like this guy is racing a Beta 2 smoke from now on...

 

I'd post a pic, but it's a stock 2016 Beta 250RR RE. It'll look just like all the ones on Google.

 

 

 

Edited by Goatse

As Goatse would say, pics or it didn't happen ;)

Ditch the stock tires, they suck imo and probably why you're losing the front, that and set the sag.  The forks will soften up some after 10 hours, but if they're not to your liking at that point Steve at Plus One Performance valved mine and they're awesome, plush yet can take big hits, whoops, jumps.

Also pull the black license plate/tailight piece and get an Li battery.  The battery will save 3 - 4 lbs up high.  I remove all the lights, odo, horn and run the race harness with just a simple start and kill button. 

You might want to try a 50t rear sprocket, seems to be the sweet spot.

And congrats on the new Beta!

As Goatse would say, pics or it didn't happen


I haven't put on the wheel stripes yet.
20170802_081137.jpg

Out riding with the kids,
20170802_124217.jpg

F'n boots,
20170802_165247.jpg

F'n 2 strokes,
20170802_165319.jpg

Alright in all serious.. Congrats on pulling the trigger.  As you may have noticed in my multiple posts about the 250RR it does take some adjusting from the FX.  Requires you to be a little more active on the bike.  You are right in saying it wants you over the front end to get that nice bite into corners.  Bump up the rear to a 51T.. That made a difference in the 2nd / 3rd gap.  Get a softer seat, trust me the stocker will destroy you on a long nasty ride when you start getting tired.  I went with Guts medium Tall with their ribbed cover (huge difference).  Im actually surprised to hear you say the FX has more power in certain areas.  My observation was quite the opposite.  For me the 250RR destroys the FX everywhere in power.  Especially in grunt.  I tried the PV everywhere.  At flush its a beast with serious linear wheelie power.  I thought i liked this until i started getting tired and i found it was too much.  I have settled on 2 turns in for a nice balance of smoothness and pop.  Definitely set the sag.  Im 180lbs in no gear and the sag was really down there when i first road it.. I had to adjust it twice after break in.  The result was cranking down the preload a fair amount to get it to sit right.  Im at around 30mm static, 105mm race now.  Get rid of those DOT michelin tires.  Fatty front, m5b rear if you really want to destroy things.  Also, my graphics started peeling right away as well.  A little razor blade job getting the lower sections off did the trick and they no longer peel.  To the naked eye you can't tell they were cut too. Here is a pic to show how i cut them.  Its were your boots obviously rub when pinching the bike.  Clutch drag was a problem for me as well.  Bleeding didn't do anything for me.  Time did.  After about 10 hours it didn't drag in gear anymore.  However, compared to the FX, the engagement point is noticeably closer to the bars.  I ended up installing the rekluse core EXP with the midwest clutch lever.  This is a badass setup.  But again stock, it does get better.   

Once i got use to the bike and had everything set up to what i like, the FX faded away in memory.  No way i would swap back to it for my 250RR now.  The FX is a great bike, but i like the Beta better.  

 

I used to compete in the Canadian Cross Country series but don't recognize that spot, might it be Porcupine Hills?

Ditch the stock tires, they suck imo and probably why you're losing the front, that and set the sag.  The forks will soften up some after 10 hours, but if they're not to your liking at that point Steve at Plus One Performance valved mine and they're awesome, plush yet can take big hits, whoops, jumps.
Also pull the black license plate/tailight piece and get an Li battery.  The battery will save 3 - 4 lbs up high.  I remove all the lights, odo, horn and run the race harness with just a simple start and kill button. 
You might want to try a 50t rear sprocket, seems to be the sweet spot.
And congrats on the new Beta!


I looked into that harness. It's kind of spendy, but I imagine I'll still get one.

I looked at pulling the rear mud guard, but it looks like with it removed it'd allow a ton of mud up into the Airbox/battery location.

The tires seemed 'ok' on roots, and losing the front was definitely a weight transfer thing. It wasn't happening under just regular steering it was in the fast flowing stuff when you're going side to side and get it to hug into a berm. As soon as I'd transfer the weight over, I could feel the bike wasn't ready and it was definitely a 'too soon junior' moment.

1st and 2nd feel decently low, so I'll hold up on gearing changes for now. I also wouldn't like to lose the top end of 3rd. But that might also be me being used to the 3-4 gap on the FX. If there's no big 3-4 gap on the RR, then I guess it's no biggie.

IMG_1501779646.005587.jpg

Frivolous, but necessary :)

Alright in all serious.. Congrats on pulling the trigger.  As you may have noticed in my multiple posts about the 250RR it does take some adjusting from the FX.  Requires you to be a little more active on the bike.  You are right in saying it wants you over the front end to get that nice bite into corners.  Bump up the rear to a 51T.. That made a difference in the 2nd / 3rd gap.  Get a softer seat, trust me the stocker will destroy you on a long nasty ride when you start getting tired.  I went with Guts medium Tall with their ribbed cover (huge difference).  Im actually surprised to hear you say the FX has more power in certain areas.  My observation was quite the opposite.  For me the 250RR destroys the FX everywhere in power.  Especially in grunt.  I tried the PV everywhere.  At flush its a beast with serious linear wheelie power.  I thought i liked this until i started getting tired and i found it was too much.  I have settled on 2 turns in for a nice balance of smoothness and pop.  Definitely set the sag.  Im 180lbs in no gear and the sag was really down there when i first road it.. I had to adjust it twice after break in.  The result was cranking down the preload a fair amount to get it to sit right.  Im at around 30mm static, 105mm race now.  Get rid of those DOT michelin tires.  Fatty front, m5b rear if you really want to destroy things.  Also, my graphics started peeling right away as well.  A little razor blade job getting the lower sections off did the trick and they no longer peel.  To the naked eye you can't tell they were cut too. Here is a pic to show how i cut them.  Its were your boots obviously rub when pinching the bike.  Clutch drag was a problem for me as well.  Bleeding didn't do anything for me.  Time did.  After about 10 hours it didn't drag in gear anymore.  However, compared to the FX, the engagement point is noticeably closer to the bars.  I ended up installing the rekluse core EXP with the midwest clutch lever.  This is a badass setup.  But again stock, it does get better.   

Once i got use to the bike and had everything set up to what i like, the FX faded away in memory.  No way i would swap back to it for my 250RR now.  The FX is a great bike, but i like the Beta better.  

 

 

I don't mind the seat. I like being forced to stand. I hate sitting.

 

2 turns out is where I've liked it best so far. Flush felt to frantic and not as luggable.

 

I used to compete in the Canadian Cross Country series but don't recognize that spot, might it be Porcupine Hills?

 

Much further North. This is the Vega area. When I take the kids, we do Vega, but when I'm not with them, my favorite area to ride is McLean Creek.

 

The Porcupine Hills race this year was F'n Gnarly (due to weather conditions). Easily the most tired I've been on a motorcycle.

 

4 minutes ago, Goatse said:

 


I looked into that harness. It's kind of spendy, but I imagine I'll still get one.

I looked at pulling the rear mud guard, but it looks like with it removed it'd allow a ton of mud up into the Airbox/battery location.

The tires seemed 'ok' on roots, and losing the front was definitely a weight transfer thing. It wasn't happening under just regular steering it was in the fast flowing stuff when you're going side to side and get it to hug into a berm. As soon as I'd transfer the weight over, I could feel the bike wasn't ready and it was definitely a 'too soon junior' moment.

1st and 2nd feel decently low, so I'll hold up on gearing changes for now. I also wouldn't like to lose the top end of 3rd. But that might also be me being used to the 3-4 gap on the FX. If there's no big 3-4 gap on the RR, then I guess it's no biggie.

 

I didn't get the harness, but i did rip off most of the stuff.  I just heat shrinked tubed the exposed ends and zip tied them off in convenient areas.  I ditched the horn, and the rear tailight / plate holder.  Also flipped the kill switch 180 degrees so the button faces me now.

The Beta 2ts reward you with amazing cornering and stability if ... you get your head over the bars, you lengthen the shock OR reduce the race sag to the 95-98mm range, you mount an appropriate front tire for your terrain.

One or two teeth up in the back closes gaps and means you'll run 3-4 instead of 2-3 more often.

Congrats on your conversion :thumbsup:

I love the Beta 250 motor.  Mine started life as a 300RR Race in '13, liked it a lot, but had extra power to manage at times where a 250 I can just hammer.  I have a few technical hills where the 300 was easier, but the 250 works, just in a different way.  Racing the 250 wins hands down for me.  Feels lighter and I can ride it on the pipe a lot more than the 300.  When I built up the conversion motor I had the head cut and squish tightened.  I jet with the Suzuki family of needles and run the PV adjuster full open, hot map, everywhere.  Pulls smooth and hard.  My only minor gripe is I wish the trans ratios were a bit tighter.  I'm running 13/50, and because of the short run steep gnarly hills here I have to drop to 1st far too much.  13/51 doesn't help enough, and then runs out 2nd too fast.  I'm going to try 13/52 with a link added in hopes of avoiding 1st and running 3rd in the more flowing trail.  Also interested in the '18 shifting mechanism parts if they smooth out the shifting a bit, as I shift more.

Besides the Zoke 48 fork, the bike has been totally bulletproof in four years of hammering rock trail and racing HS. 

 

Sounds like you're already ripping on it.  Congrats.  

Going away from a known brand to something a bit outside the norm is nerve racking, but Beta definitely has their ducks in a row. 

A couple things.  

Agree the stock seat is fine and I also stand 90% anyway.  The Beta is the best ergos bike I've ever ridden as a 5'10" average joe.  

As mentioned, the stock tires are O.K., but after putting on a Goldentyre fatty, confidence in front end stability and traction control was increased significantly, although I'm on a thumper which is inherently more stable and have the Sachs OC forks which have zero deflection. 

My brother's 250rr has RB designs head mod and Sudco C series needle and its the most linear smooth power delivery of any 2 stroke I've ridden.  He's also running the power valve spacer. 

He added the the larger clutch slave cylinder which also helped the clutch feel.  

Great bikes for sure, enjoy! 

Without a stopwatch or timer (or his brother in law) the Beta might never have been considered. Time and again what "feels" slow ends up being fast.

My bike is stripped down to just the estart, light power, and map switch, which I may just remove because I never use it anyway.  Added waterproof connectors for when I go from #plate to LED lights.  When you remove the plate holder, just fill the gap in the middle of the small cross member with silicone and/or add a piece of tape.  No problem then.  I use the airboot cover and wash the airbox every time anyway, better and easier than trying to cover the filter. 

I have no issues with the clutch pull, but some do.  Keep in mind you trade slave travel for effort at the lever with any mod that alters the hydraulic ratio, so drag is more likely then depending on the bike.  Drag sucks if you do dead engine starts.  The Clake is the exception as it uses stored energy from a spring to assist. 

Many other small mods but by far the one thing with the most significant gain was raising the rear by lengthening the shock.  Cornering confidence is vastly improved.

21 hours ago, motoxgiant said:

The Beta 2ts reward you with amazing cornering and stability if ... you get your head over the bars, you lengthen the shock OR reduce the race sag to the 95-98mm range, you mount an appropriate front tire for your terrain.

One or two teeth up in the back closes gaps and means you'll run 3-4 instead of 2-3 more often.

Congrats on your conversion :thumbsup:

I did a quick and dirty sag check (alone in the garage) and I was at 105mm without gear. So I'll be lifting the rear up some for the next ride. I'll get the wife in the garage to help with a real sag measurement as well.

12 hours ago, Johnny Depp said:

Without a stopwatch or timer (or his brother in law) the Beta might never have been considered. Time and again what "feels" slow ends up being fast.

I'd been thinking about a 2 stroke for a while. But I always just figured it was the old always wondering if what you don't have is better. 2 stroke guys wonder if they would like a 4 stroke better, and vice versa. As it is (with only a few hours on the RR), I still do enjoy riding the 250FX more. But the fact of how much faster I am on the 2 stroke, means I better get used to it. I imagine once the comfort comes, I'll enjoy the bike more. With hundreds upon hundreds of hours on 4 stroke Yamahas, they just feel like home, and I don't even have to think about inputs on riding them. Stuff just happens. On this Beta I have to wait and see how the bike will react, then think about the input that I have to put into it (if that all makes sense).  This new girl (or maybe it's a boy) definitely feels closer to the Yamaha than the Huskies or KTM's I've ridden though. So I definitely think that has helped and will continue to do so in gelling with the bike.

1 hour ago, GP said:

I have no issues with the clutch pull, but some do.  Keep in mind you trade slave travel for effort at the lever with any mod that alters the hydraulic ratio, so drag is more likely then depending on the bike.  Drag sucks if you do dead engine starts.  The Clake is the exception as it uses stored energy from a spring to assist. 

Many other small mods but by far the one thing with the most significant gain was raising the rear by lengthening the shock.  Cornering confidence is vastly improved.

My finger definitely got sore by the end of the ride. But the stall resistance absolutely blows away any other bike I've ridden. I actually had to coach myself to stop pulling in the clutch so much because it wasn't necessary. I'm so used to pulling in the clutch every time I'm off the throttle on the FX, that it's a hard habit to break. I better start squeezing a tennis ball or something, because I don't know WTF I'll do in my first race on it next weekend. Lol. I'm a 1 finger clutcher too, so using 2 to reduce arm pump is another thing I've got to work on. Adding that 2nd finger throw off my timing for blipping the front wheel up over obstacles. I guess it's a good thing I'm riding for the next 3 days.

Raise the forks one line at least in the clamps. These things definitely ride front high. Maybe two lines if you get a fatty because it's a higher profile. Also surprising you haven't spoken about the jetting. I don't know what your altitude is but 1000 feet above sea level mine was rich. The NEC J Suzuki needle helped a lot I have it in the second clip from the top.

 

Also I went with bar risers and turn the handle bar clamps around to open up the cockpit. But I am 6 feet and change.

I found the NECJ while perfect in the 300, too lean in the 250. The bike is very tolerant of jetting, but the torque off the bottom was flat. For 1000' , summer temps with pump gas this seems perfect:

168 M
38 pilot
NEDW #3
as 1.5 turns

NEDW is one diameter and 1/2 clip richer than NECJ. Maybe its the head on my bike but it just got better the richer I went. I will use the H needle this fall.

I haven't ridden it enough to mess too much with jetting. But it is a tad bit rich. I've got the air screw at 3 turns out. It cleaned it up, but I might bump up the pilot one. It's getting cooler here soon though, so I might give it a few weeks and see.

As for the Suzuki needles. Are they more sensitive to jetting on these bikes like on the YZ? I know on my old YZ it made the power come on smoother, but it did make the jetting more sensitive to temperature and elevation changes. On the YZ you also had to change the pilot down a size or 2 with the Suzuki needle. Is that the case with the Beta?

So after 3 days on the bike....

I do miss the linear power of the FX, the suspension was better on the FX as well. But I was once again faster on an existing race loop. Last month during a race I did the loop in 63 minutes. At a relaxed pace (nowhere near race pace) on the RR I was once again surprised by the watch. At just a moderate and flowing pace, I did the same loop in 56 minutes. I easily had a few more minutes I could shave off. It's pretty unreal how much better this bike moves quickly.

I also got lost and split up from some buddies and a shortcut I took ended up being absolutely terrible. It landed me in a big rooty swamped out area that had a LOT of lifting, pulling, zapping, pivot turns, etc. The lighter weight sure was appreciated. It was so noticeable that I 'have' to take a scale into the garage and weigh both ends of both bikes.

Also, the power of this 250 is impressive. I got legit whiskey throttle for the first time in probably 5 years. You have to get that weight forward when you put it to the pin on this bike. Lol

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