After a production run of over a decade, Yamaha has announced it will no longer offer its 250cc dual-sport model, the WR250R, in both Europe and the USA with the company also announcing the supersport YZF-R6 will no longer be offered in road-legal guise.
The future of the WR250R has been debated for a couple of years now, with the rumour mill going into overdrive in 2018 when it was announced Yamaha Japan was selling a “final edition” of the WR250R in the Japanese market, however, the bike hung around.
Now the long history of the little Yamaha that could have finally come to an end in some of the biggest markets globally, with both Europe and the USA culling the WR250R from their lineups.
Unusually, Yamaha actually announced the demise of the WR250R (as well as some of its well-known road models) in its 2021 model press conference.
“With deep consideration of evolving global market trends and regulations that limit production volumes on certain models, the following Yamaha models will be discontinued after model year 2020: YZF-R6, VMAX, WR250R and SMAX.
“Yamaha understands the iconic history of these models. Regarding the future, Yamaha is continuously looking at new ideas and concepts to support and expand the market, as well as enhance our customers’ experiences.”
While it could be said that the WR250R was getting quite long in the tooth, not receiving anything in terms of the regular updates that the rest of the WR-badged machinery has received over the past decade, it did fill an important role within the Yamaha lineup as its entry-level go-anywhere machine. This role became even more critical with the demise of the XT660R in 2015.
The YZF-R6 is a different story with the bike receiving a heavy update including new aero and a retuned Euro 4 engine in recent years. However, it seems Yamaha has seen the writing on the wall with sales in the supersport segment faltering in recent years alongside, we assume, the end of feasible development on the current YZF-R6 powerplant in terms of passing the increasingly stringent European emissions standards.
The YZF-R6 will live on to fulfil its role in on the track as a non-homologation model which should mean track day fanboys will still be able to let rip on the Yamaha supersport for a few years yet.
However, neither Yamaha Australia nor Yamaha New Zealand has announced whether the announcement for Europe and the USA has any effect on the models future in Australasia, so there is a glimmer of hope for fans in NZ.
However, we're not going to hold our breath on this one. With the size of the Kiwi market being a small fish in a very big ocean, we're likely to see the local models follow the same road as the European and US WR250R and YZF-R6.