Trail riding on endless miles of flowing tracks deep in the mountains with the sun warm on your back takes some beating. MCM travels to southern Spain to tackle its terrain aboard
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Yamaha’s small-boreWR250R trail bikes… Soaking in a hot-tub, surrounded by mountains and sipping a ice-cold beer, I’d just covered 120 kilometres of pure off-road riding in the sun, with another two days exploring to look forward to. Forget the windy wet UK: this is how to enjoy trail riding at its best.
After getting kitted out in the appropriate off-road clobber, four of us hit the trails around 10am. This area of Southern Spain near Malaga has mile upon mile of varied terrain, from vertiginous snaking mountain tracks, boulder-strewn riverbeds and stream crossings to winding forest trails, rocky climbs and bamboo lined single track. This variation is important, as it’s no fun to ride mile after mile of flat dusty tracks. Leading the way were affable Torotrail guides Lyndon and Baz.
Both extremely experienced riders themselves, they know the area very well and never need to stop and look at a map, something that keeps the riding smooth and hassle-free. Catering as they do for all levels of rider, one of the things that makes the job worthwhile for them is teaching newbies how to get to grips on dirt. “You’ll be amazed at how much they end up doing by the end of the holiday,” says Baz. “Their big sweaty grins when they get to the top of a gravelly hill they never thought they could ride says it all.”
In short, there’s pretty much everything here for every level of rider, and routes are tailored depending on what you fancy doing. Routes can also be easily changed throughout the day and there are always ‘hard’ and ’easy’ options available on the same part of the track so nobody gets left out.
The bikes have also been picked with this versatility in mind. “The reason we chose the new Yamaha WR250Rs was the fact they are well built, Low capacity trail bikes that can handle pretty much everything we ride and are suitable for beginners and experienced riders alike,” explains Lyndon. And he’s right. The dual-purpose 250Rs are modern, technology-driven four-strokes with Easy going power delivery and decent grunt to keep you scrambling over the rough stuff. They boast a newly designed engine with flawless fuel injection and minimal service maintenance, with an alloy frame and swingarm to boot.
Kitted out with Michelin AC10 road legal enduro tyres, sturdy bashplates and wraparound handguards, these little 250s are built to withstand the odd er, get-off, no matter how spectacular! The Yams are also very user friendly: just hop aboard, turn the key in the ignition and off you go.
There’s no choke to muck around with or fuel to switch on as the EFI sorts it all out for you. And if you do happen to tip off, all you need to do to get going again is switch the bike off and on again with the key (so that the EFI can reset itself ). Riding along the trails, the chassis is forgiving and reassuring, and the suspension copes well with most of the going. When you do have to go back onto the blacktop, the Yam’s dual-sport nature is proved, both in its stability at speed and its smooth six-speed gearbox.
No matter how experienced riders are, everybody can benefit from a little tuition and I chose to try out mastering my extreme descent technique. When you start riding
more technical terrain, you need to be able to control a bike downhill slower than walking pace without locking wheels or skidding. Yes, you can sometimes freewheel but if the descent is too steep you can’t do it. Trials riders are experts at this and the secret lies at the top of the hill. “Get your speed down to the same steady pace you wish to go down at before you go over the edge and it will be a lot easier,” explains Baz.
Also, even down loose, shaley descents there’s often far more grip available than your eye (and mind) lets you believe. Once I’d practiced locking the front wheel and then releasing it halfway down a loose, steep hill, I could feel the grip levels and found it much easier to slow the bike down when I needed to without skidding or locking up. Easy when you know how…
Give it a go
After three days trail riding, we’d covered a decent amount of kilometres, but always found the time to stop and have great lunches either by the sea or in quaint whitewashed villages. And that’s what trail riding’s all about. You’re not on a mission to go flat-out everywhere: just ride along at a steady pace, enjoy the spectacular scenery on offer and chill out with plenty of breaks and a well-deserved cool beer at the end of it all. Throw a few mates into the mix and you’ve got the perfect trail riding recipe. Just don’t fall off first…
Price: £4799 + OTR
Engine: 250cc, liquid cooled, fuel-injected, six-speed DOHC, four-valve, electric-start single cylinder
Power (claimed): 30bhp@10,000rpm
Torque (claimed): 17lb.ft@8000rpm
Bore x stroke: 77.0 x 53.6mm
Wheels/tyres: Front: 80/100-21M/C 51P, Rear: 120/80-18M/C 62P
Suspension: Front: 46mmKayaba forks, Rear: SOQI fully adjustable shock, both 270mm travel.
Brakes: Front: Single 250 disc. Rear:230mm single disc.
Seat height: 930mm
Fuel capacity: 7.6L
Weight: 134kg (claimed wet)