1980 Yamaha XS250


Trusty workhorse


The new Motad exhaust that was on it split apart from the bracket after a tiny scrape on a speedbump.

Strangely high oil consumption with no smoke.

General Comments:

It does 90mph downhill/tailwind!

This 27 year old bike has obviously been rebuilt not very long ago because its condition before I got my hands on it was lovely.

I have thrashed it and dropped it once at about 10mph on patch of oil or something, but basically I'm only writing this because everything I have read about the bike is really negative and I think it's done well.

It has just completed a journey from Scotland to Frankfurt in Germany and back again. It has been 100 percent reliable and a very steady performer for a small bike.

Much slagging off of the high rev power band has been done, saying it must be thrashed to get any decent power, which is true. But of course you have to thrash it, it's a fourstroke 250!

It's the worst tool for long distance touring, but I had to use it and I was glad of that high rev powerband, because that's where you want it to rev on the motorway at top speed, and it really helped to keep it there when it did get fast. Many miles could be covered without changing down, unless an extended climb was encountered.

It handles like crap, but of course with those thin tires and soft suspension, there is room for improvement.

It does 90mph downhill/tailwind!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2007

10th Apr 2009, 07:12

I am very much a fan of this bike - I have two - one bought a few years ago with 3000m (genuine with FSH to back it up) and positively in showroom condition, needless to say I paid a premium and have never regretted it. The other I bought for a few quid off a well known auction site for spares.

Have done a further 7000 miles on it but had to swap the old double rotors for an electronic system to avoid constant retiming. It's not a rocket, compensation for the weak braking comes with experience, but it is a genuine retro look that modern bikes are attempting to achieve.

I also own a K3 GSF600s and a 1998 NTV650, so am able to compare.

1976 Yamaha XS250


Rubbish. A jelly mould on wheels


Big end failure at 22,000 miles.

Would NOT start again if the engine was even slightly warm, unless bumped down hill for 50 yards or more.

General Comments:

What a load of rubbish this bike turned out to be.

It handled like a sack of potatoes with the acceleration of a snail, the fuel consumption of a V12, the reliability of a chocolate tea pot and the top speed of a kiddies tricycle.

0 to 60 needed a 45 degree down hill slope and a gale of wind behind, and don't bother to use the engine, otherwise it wouldn't get there.

I'm sorry to say that this was THE most disappointing machine that I have ever ridden. The lights were OK, as were the brakes, not that they were ever used much as it just didn't reach any speed high enough to need to use them. Nothing, except the big end, wore out, but then again there was no stress on any of the component parts as acceleration was abysmal.

In the 7,000 miles that I drove this machine I never had to tighten the chain as there was not enough power to stretch it. I did not need to replace any tyres for the same reason. If I ever did get it up to a reasonable speed the ride was akin to sitting on a jelly mould at the funfair. I had checked the frame for cracks and lose nuts and bolts on more than one occasion, but found nothing so I concluded that the frame must have been made from a new rubber impregnated steel and that was an end to it.

Even though the oil was changed every 1,000 miles, the big end on the left cylinder failed at a paltry 3,000rpm in 3rd gear after only 22,000 miles. I just couldn't be bothered to repair it, so I gave the machine away to some enthusiastic kids who just wanted some wheels for a school project, so I told them it was the whole machine or no deal. They took it and I heard no more.

I have ridden other Yam's since then (RD 250, RD-LC 350, 500 singles) and have not experienced anything even remotely that bad. I think I might have been just unlucky with this machine, but I would not buy another XS250 for fear it might happen again.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 19th February, 2007

24th Jun 2008, 06:42


So, it would appear from your exceptional report that, the boys at Yamaha created a series of increasingly ghastly machines that are XS!

Do you think that they may have been inspired by a desire to create a base line. A datum. A bottom. An absolute zero from which every bike subsequent to it, or even preceding it, could not under-perform, even if they tried.. hard?

My only other question is; do you think that the XS series improved with engine size, or just demonstrated 'true evil' across the CC spectrum?

22nd May 2012, 18:35

Sometimes I wish I lived in Britain, just for the humour. Well, maybe not live, a layover between flights perhaps.