The idea of reinventing the wheel does not quite apply to the Yamaha Raptor 250. Unlike most manufacturer attempts, however, the significant components of this 4×4 were all borrowed – a Yamaha Trixter engine, Raptor 700 aesthetic, and YFZ450 handling and performance. And it all gelled together perfectly! This is not to say that ATV companies should stop innovating and creating models from the ground up. But heck, it worked exceptionally well for the Raptor!
The Yamaha Raptor 250 goes down in history as the lightest sport all-terrain vehicle ever built. The quad features a dual-valve 4-stroke engine, best-in-class suspension, and attractive styling. It is unrivaled in its category and has outperformed same and higher displacement vehicles since 2008.
Uncompromising, this dual-sport bike boasts of ample power and ease of operation and bridges the gap for smaller riders who are not yet ready for a larger-class 4×4. It is truly a machine that is the epitome of the saying, “Great things come in small packages.” Intrigued? Keep reading – this guide will let you in on how the Yamaha Raptor 250 lives up to this statement.
Not What You Think
Do not be misguided. The Yamaha Raptor 250 is not a revamped Blaster with a four-stroke engine. This nimble quad is an all-new ATV built from the ground up, partially intended to replace the Blaster when EPA regulations put tighter reins on two-strokes.
Produced from 2008 to 2013, the Raptor 250 was one of those few machines that piqued the interest of and catered to nouveau riders and aggro-enthusiasts alike. The versatility and simple mechanism of this vehicle made it a fantastic learning platform for beginner adventurers and an evolving MX bike for the more experienced racer.
One other thing that is so special about this four-wheeler is that it filled the void of what was missing in the ATV market. You can say it was Yamaha’s response to the absence of a true sport machine that can be enjoyed by both women and newer/younger/smaller sport riders. It was lightweight, handled well, and equipped with a championship-winning power mill.
Styling-wise, Yamaha did exceptionally well with this quad. On the outside, the 4×4 had a very racy, daring look that perfectly sits with its big-bore sibling, the Raptor 700, and the iconic YFZ450.
Yamaha Raptor 250 Models
The Raptor 250 had five different trims and 11 different models through the course of its six-year production run, namely:
|2008 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RSP2X (Special Edition II – 2WD)|
|2008 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RSPX (Special Edition – 2WD)|
|2008 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RXL (2WD)|
|2009 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RYL (2WD)|
|2010 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RZW|
|2011 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RAW|
|2011 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RSPA|
|2012 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RBW (Custom Graphics)|
|2012 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RBL|
|2013 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RDL (Team Yamaha)|
|2013 Yamaha Raptor 250||YFM25RDW (Custom Graphics)|
Models came in two color schemes – blue and gray/red. The Custom Graphics trim had a pure-black finish, while the 2008 Special Edition scheme was black/orange (reminds me of KTM motorcycles). The 2013 Team Yamaha YFM25RDL was in blue/white.
Yamaha Raptor 250 Price
The Raptor’s base model price could go anywhere from $3,899 to $5,099, depending on model and trim. Accessories, such as a GYTR aluminum engine or suspension skid plates, front and rear grab bars, Cycra ATV Stealth Complete Racer Pack, hour meter, and tachometer, will increase the base model MSRP. Average retail ranges from $1,470 to $2,595. Build project costs would be an entirely different story.
You can find most units for resale on Craigslist. They are typically 2008 Yamaha Raptor 250s worth between $2,000 and $4,200 – with sellers located in the Northeast, Northwest, and Far West regions in the U.S. Raptors for auction are very scarce.
Special-Edition units that are near-stock and in excellent working condition are even rarer and normally acquired by racing outfits. They are modded for use on motocross tracks and actual races. You would be lucky if you get the opportunity to purchase a secondhand.
Yamaha Raptor 250 Specs & Features
- Engine: A forward-inclined four-stroke, air-cooled, single-cylinder SOHC engine powers up the machine. Bore-stroke ratio is 74 x 58 mm (2.91 × 2.28 inches). It has an engine displacement of 249 cm3, a compression ratio of 9.50:1, and a wet-sump lubrication system. A 29-mm Mikuni BSR carburetor and a wet-type air filtration system handle the quad’s air-fuel mixture. The estimated maximum power output of a Raptor 250 is 14.9 kW (20.28 PS). 2.38 US gal/9 liters (with a 0.26-US gal/1-liter reserve) of unleaded gasoline with a PON 87+/RON 91+ is enough to fill the vehicle’s tank.
- Lubrication: The Raptor’s oil capacity at draining is 1.32 US quarts/1.25 liters. At oil filter change, the capacity is 1.43 US quarts/1.35 liters. You can use SAE 5W-30, 10W-30, or 20W-40 Yamalube 4 4-stroke oil or equivalent that meets JASO T903 MA standard and an API grade of at least SJ (and no anti-friction modifiers or additives).
- Drivetrain: A five-speed constant-mesh sealed O-ring chain drive sans reverse and a wet, multi-plate automatic clutch system (with a manual override) power the wheels. The primary spur gear reduction ratio is 76/22 (3.455). The first gear ratio is 37/13 (2.846), and the fifth gear is 28/29 (0.966). A 9.5-feet turning radius allows for stability when making sharp turns.
- Ignition: The Raptor 250 uses a DC-CDI ignition and an electric start system. It has an AC-magneto charging system that powers up electronic accessories. It requires a 12V, 6 Ah, 130-CCA (Cold Cranking Amps) YTZ7S battery with assembled dimensions of 114 x 70 x 105 mm – L x W x H with a 15-Amp main fuse and an NGKDR7EA with a 0.6–0.7 mm gap.
- Tires: Dunlop KT201 AT20 × 7-10 front tires and Dunlop KT205A AT19 × 10-9 rear tires go on aluminum panel wheels. Front and rear tire pressure should be 4.0 psi/27.5 kPa (0.275 kgf/cm²). Do not go beyond the range of 24.5 kPa (0.245 kgf/cm2, 3.5 psi) and 4.4 psi/30.5 kPa (0.305 kgf/cm²) when airing tires. The maximum pressure when seating the tire beads is 36 psi/250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm²). A TireJect Off-Road Tire Sealant (view on Amazon) comes in handy in protecting your knobbies against puncture.
- Brakes: Progressive right-hand-operated dual hydraulic disc brakes and a right-foot-operated single hydraulic disc brake give the Yamaha Raptor 250 its stopping power. These brakes do not require a lot of pressure to use. They are also more than adequate to halt the machine and do not need steel-braided lines.
- Suspension: Enclosed in the vehicle’s steel frame is a double-wishbone front suspension with five-way preload-adjustable shocks. It also has a swingarm link rear suspension with nitrogen-charged rear shocks and an eccentric chain adjuster. Wheel travel is 190 mm (7.5 inches) up at the front and 200 mm (7.9 inches) at the rear. The long wheel-travel suspension is perfect for rider weight within the 100 to the 160-lb range but may feel limited for heavier riders.
- Dimensions: The Yamaha 250 Raptor’s overall dimensions are 64 x 42.1 x 40.9 inches (1,625 x 1,070 x 1,040 mm – L x W x H). The minimum ground clearance is 3.9 inches (100 mm), while the vehicle wheelbase is 43.7 inches (1,110 mm). The curb weight is 150 Kg/331 lbs. The seat height is 28.7 inches/730 mm.
- Exterior: The Raptor 250 has a steel tube frame (with a 6° caster angle and 23-mm trail) and plastic body material. Aggressive styling and superb ergonomics make the Raptor 250 stand out. The machine also comes standard with hand grips, 45-mm footpegs, and front and rear fenders. Dual 30-watt Krypton headlights mounted on the front fenders, a 3.9-watt tail/brake light, and 1.7-watt indicator lights all use multi-reflector lenses to provide superior light distribution.
Raptor 250 Pros and Cons
Yamaha got a lot of things right with the Yamaha Raptor 250. But the Japanese manufacturer still has room for improvement in making the sport quad close to perfect. Here are lists of gains and what to expect from this famous wheeler:
- The quad idles quietly and features a highly responsive, light thumb throttle.
- Its three-chamber muffler boosts low- and mid-range performance.
- Power output is not intimidating but still fun for riders of all skill levels.
- One can appreciate the Yamaha Raptor 250’s agility and predictability on the track or trail, which becomes more impressive the tighter the terrain gets.
- Its non-restrictive five-speed manual transmission allows riders to utilize the machine to its full potential.
- The lack of a reverse gear makes for a lighter vehicle.
- Its air-cooling system, coupled with an oil cooler, keeps the four-wheeler cool even when dragged around tight, technical trails.
- Ceramic-composite cylinder liner supports wear reduction and excellent heat dissipation.
- The vehicle’s tire-and-wheel assembly provides plenty of grip and offers superb handling, no matter the road condition.
- Reduce unsprung weight makes for excellent suspension performance, acceleration, deceleration, and handling – thanks to the Raptor’s aluminum wheels.
- Special features like a no-tools air filter access, eccentric chain adjustment, A-arms/swingarm grease fittings, and easy-to-detach bodywork make for easy repair and quad maintenance.
- It features the YFZ and Raptor 700’s flip-type, handlebar-mounted parking brake – the best and easiest-to-use parking brake, according to testers.
- The manual clutch system may be troublesome for some riders, especially for newbies.
- Handling the beast in ruts and technical terrain requires skill due to the absence of a reverse.
- Straightaways and quarter-mile runs are among the machine’s weaknesses.
- The suspension tends to bottom out with heavier riders on the bike (weight range between 170 to 190 lbs).
- Factory front and rear grab bars seem flimsy and need to be reinforced or replaced with aftermarket ones.
Head-to-Head with the 300EX
Since the Raptor 250 will naturally smoke its 250-class counterparts in stock form, it has become customary for riders to compare the machine with higher-displacement vehicles. And among all its competition, the consumer’s favorite machine to compare it with is the Honda TRX 300EX.
Both the Raptor 250 and 300EX feature ergonomics that appeal to younger or smaller riders. They are both eligible choices for the Youth Production class in GNCC and WPSA racing. However, since its inception, the 300EX has the upper hand in this area since it has dominated the said racing scene.
There is a $1,100-difference in list price between the Honda 300EX and 2008 Yamaha Raptor 250. This is a huge consideration (and good news) for you if you happen to be a serious buyer. Since both are great race machines, you will need to decide if you would like to go for a stock 300EX or a Raptor 250 with $1100 worth of accessories.
The 300EX features a four-valve head that is more efficient at flowing intake and exhaust gasses. This translates to more power output compared to the Raptor’s two-valve head design. On the downside, the 300EX’s weight takes away from its power output. Putting a GYTR billet aluminum adapter plate on the Raptor also helps close the gap in engine performance and improve the Yamaha Raptor 250 top speed.
A stock Honda 300EX will always have more grunt than a Raptor 250, even with GYTR modifications. This characteristic gives the 300EX advantage over the Raptor when clearing doubles on the motocross track. But once both vehicles have worked their way beyond the low-end power, the Raptor gains back the advantage, as the latter can build RPMs faster than its counterpart, whether upgraded or in stock condition.
The Raptor 250’s firmer suspension, especially the front shocks, is much better than the 300EX. The impressive suspension system allows riders to charge whoops as hard as racers do on 450 machines. It also keeps the aggressive driver on all fours and driving while exiting turns. The 300EX’s front shocks are inferior to the Raptor’s.
The Raptor weighs 59.5 pounds less than the 300EX, so adding protective skid plates and a high-performance exhaust will not hurt the nimbleness of the 4×4. Despite additional accessories, the Raptor will still perform better on whoops and turns compared to the 300EX.
About Yamaha Motor Company Limited
Yamaha is a Japanese firm founded in 1887 in Shizouka that began as a piano and reed organ manufacturer. Eventually, the company ventured into motorcycle production after World War II and parted ways with its parent company to become Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. From the ’60s to spawning the ATV industry in the ’80s to producing the Yamaha Raptor 250 in 2007, the rest is history.
Yamaha continues to excite and inspire its consumers with its off-road vehicles, personal watercraft, speed boats, and outboard motors.
Conclusion – Yamaha Raptor 250
Even after seven years from its final production run, the Yamaha Raptor 250 continues to be one of the most formidable 250-cc quads in the market. This is mainly due to Yamaha restraining itself from reinventing the wheel when it is not broken. The 250-cc Raptor is the perfect example of simply improving further what already works, a great demonstration of the statement, “Less is more.”
By following this principle, Yamaha produced a sporty four-wheeler that charmed veterans and in-training riders alike. Of course, this does not stop enthusiasts from customizing the vehicle according to their skill and desires. Whether stock or upgraded, this beast performs beyond people’s expectations. The beauty of riding a Raptor is that you do not need to modify your quad to have a blast!
Kris is an avid off-roader and outdoor enthusiast who loves to brave the elements and take on challenging terrain. He also enjoys sharing his passion and knowledge with others so that they, too, can appreciate the ride.