Ed’s chosen motorcycle is Yamaha’s technical marvel, the WR250R. Featuring 250cc of single cylinder fourstroke-powerhouse, an aluminium beam frame, fuel injection, mighty 350W of electrical output for heated clothing and charging gadgets, sturdy steel subframe, a modest 90mile range as standard, an even more modest 29hp engine and a tiny chasis weighing in around the 130kg wet weight.
This bike was first produced in 2008, sold well in the US and Australia and is available in both dirtbike (R) or supermoto (X) guises. Sadly discontinued in the UK owing to the staggering OTR price of over £5000 for a 250, Ed snapped this up for half the price in 2009 from a Polish guy in North London. Convinced by the growing number of followers on motorcycling forums such as ADVrider.com that this could be the perfect platform for an overlander, and following on from Chris Bone’s successful MotocrossAfrica trip in 2007 on a small cc dirtbike, Ed proceeded to read up as much knowledge as possible with the view to using it on a trip of this nature.
The range was increased from 100 to 200miles using a Safari 14Ltr tank from Alex at CoreRacing. This takes capacity from 7Ltrs to 14Ltrs. A chinese, rubberised fuel bladder was rolled-up and tied to the luggage to give a further 100miles from its 7Ltrs, as and when required.
A genuine Yamaha rear rack was added to allow the bike to carry the luggage but with no traditional panniers being used, no cumbersome racks were needed. Footpegs were changed for wider ‘ebay’ chinese versions and Rox ‘anti-vibration’ bar raisers with aluminium magura bars implemented to give a more relaxing riding position than standard. In the final version of the bike, the original bars were re-used along with RFX solid 30mm risers because they performed better in order to minimise the vibrations.
Rallye fairing and mapboard – purchased fairing but with DIY brackets.
Heidenau K60 tyres were added to replace the adequate (and much maligned on the internet) Bridgestone Trailwings. These were bought from Oponeo, a company in Poland that were the cheapest I could find and arrived in a couple of days. The aim was to replicate some of the successes of the previous Brighton2Capetown trip and to be able to achieve at least 10,000miles from a set.
A flatlands racing skidplate, scotoiler for better chain life, Sandman’s casesaver kit (to allow me to run a larger front sprocket and mitigate damage to the engine casing if the chain fails) and two DIN electrical sockets to allow me to run MP3 player, radios, chargers and heated vests. An Acewell digital dash was also considered because the WR has a Kph speedo and no rev-counter or voltmeter. It was duly added to the rallye mapboard but left off the final version due to complexity and the lack of mounting options without the mapboard in place.
Preventative action was also needed for the fuelpump. Yamaha never did a full recall instead preferring to allow dealers to replace them adhoc as well as behind the scenes changing the motor in the pump for future bikes. Affected models were those 2008 bikes in the 1st quarter of that year and not all bikes suffer from the failure. To be safe Ed replaced his, perfectly good pump, with a new replacement from the USA (in the UK they are £300+VAT).
Luggage consisted of Giantloop Coyote, in black, Wolfman Expedition tankbag, Ortlieb roll-bag (red) and a Kriega R15 rucksack with 3Ltr hydration bladder.
However, things did not go to plan and a number of revisions were made as can be found here
Below are some of the modifications and versions of Ed’s overlanding platform. The final image being the one that was selected and used on the journey: