In a time when most of its ATVs are being manufactured in Japan, Yamaha’s Georgia-based facility came up with the first US-made, high-quality four-wheeler that graced the company’s production lines for over half a decade. This trivial information is what makes the Yamaha BearTracker 250’s origins unique and interesting, especially for a quad that has lived up to consumers’ expectations.
What makes the BearTracker an impressive piece of equipment is its multifunctional and lightweight features. Not only is this Yammie an ideal quad for trail-riding, but it can also perform backbreaking tasks like a mule, such as snow-ploughing or hauling bales of hay. The latter is what makes the BearTracker a sought-after ATV among hunters and other hardworking folks, like farmers and ranchers.
Powered by a four-stroke, single-cylinder 230-cc engine, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 offers a no-frills, straightforward approach to its operations, which provides emphasis to the principle of function-over-form. Its decent low-end torque makes the quad a reliable workhorse. Apart from that, its auto-manual clutch configuration and five-speed transmission, inclusive of reverse gear make this vehicle a convenient and easy ride.
First introduced in 1999, the BearTracker 250 had a satisfactory run which lasted a good five years. As the first locally manufactured ATV, the quad is one of Yamaha’s numerous innovative success stories, much like the company’s Moto 4 series and the Raptor 660, to name a few. Though the BearTracker is neither a ground-breaking speedster like the Raptor nor a game-changer like the YFM200, the off-roader’s durable exterior, versatility, and overall performance makes it stand out along with its Yammie siblings.
Despite the misconceptions of being a replica of other ATVs in that period, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 boasts an effective and competent 4×2 driveline. Furthermore, even if this four-wheeler does not offer any ingenious features, the quad has a solid record of being a heavy-duty, tough, and dependable vehicle that continues to withstand the test of time.
Yamaha BearTracker 250 Specifications and Technical Features
The Yamaha BearTracker 250 has a single-cylinder, air-cooled, four-stroke engine with a single overhead cam, which ensures reliability and efficient performance. The engine has a bore of 71 millimetres (2.8 inches) and a stroke of 58 millimetres (2.29 inches).
Moreover, its 34-millimetre Mikuni carburettor is responsible for delivering the fuel into the engine. The BearTracker has an intake valve clearance of .006 inches, while an exhaust valve clearance of .011 inches. With an engine displacement of 229.6 cubic centimetres (14 cubic inches), this quad generates a decent compression ratio of 8.7:1.
This 4×2 quad has a five-speed constant-mesh transmission coupled with a centrifugal, wet-type clutch system, inclusive of a reverse gear. The BearTracker’s automatic-manual driveline configuration provides operators with the convenience of going on idle even while in gear. The gear ratios and total reduction for each gear of the Yamaha BearTracker 250 are as follows:
Meanwhile, gear reduction values for the BearTracker 250 are as follows:
|Final Reduction||4.18 (46/11)|
The Yamaha BearTracker 250 has a fuel tank capacity of 12 litres (3.17 US gal) and a reserve tank of 1.6 litres (0.42 US gal). The recommended type of unleaded gasoline should have a pump octane number (PON) no lower than 86 or a research octane number (RON) that should be lower than 91.
Using unleaded gasoline would not just help reduce spark plug issues, but also prevent extensive mechanical problems, such as engine malfunctions. Moreover, the use of gasohol is permissible only if the fuel contains no more than 10% ethanol.
A Yamalube 4 with a 10W30 viscosity is the recommended engine oil for the BearTracker 250. However, you can alter the viscosity grade to SAE 5W30 or 20W40, depending on the ambient temperature.
This classic quad uses a wet sump lubrication system. Moreover, the ATV has a total oil capacity of 1.8 litres (1.9 US quarts). For a periodic oil change, the BearTracker requires 1.5 litres (1.6 US quarts), while an oil filter change requires 1.6 litres (1.7 US quarts).
This all-terrain vehicle has an electric starter switch and an ancillary mechanical recoil starter. For its power source, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 utilizes a direct current capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) system and uses a 12-volt, YB14A-A2 battery with 14 Ah capacity.
On the other hand, the AC magneto generator system supplies the quad’s electrical components juice to operate. As for the spark plug, the BearTracker requires an NGK DR7EA with a gap of 0.6 to 0.7 mm (0.024 to 0.028 inches).
The Yamaha BearTracker 250 has a MacPherson strut front suspension and a swingarm monocross rear suspension, for a smoother ride. The front suspension provides an ample 4.9 inches (125 millimetres) of wheel travel, while a 5.3-inch (135 millimetres) rear suspension for the rear suspension, ensuring better handling.
The braking systems of the Yamaha BearTracker 250 consist of a dual-disc front brake and a sealed drum rear brake. The former is operated with the use of the right-hand lever, while the latter is controlled either with the left-hand lever or the right-foot pedal. Additionally, the BearTracker has a parking brake which is activated by squeezing the left hand (rear brake) lever and securing it in place with the lock plate.
A stock BearTracker 250 comes with a pair of KT701 Dunlop or M905 Cheng Shin AT 22 x 7-10 front tyres and KT705 Dunlop or M906 Cheng Shin x 10-10 rear tyres. The recommended air pressure for the front tyres are 20 kPa (0.20 kgf/cm2, 2.9 psi) and 25 kPa (0.25 kgf/cm2, 3.6 psi) for the rear.
Moreover, the recommended minimum air pressure for either pair should be 17 kPa (0.17 kgf/cm2, 2.5 psi) for the front and 22 kPa (0.22 kgf/cm2, 3.2 psi) for the rear tyres. On the other hand, the maximum air pressure should be 250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm2, 36 psi) and 250 kPa (2.5 kgf/cm2, 36 psi) for the front and rear tyres respectively.
This utility vehicle is 1,938 millimetres (76.3 inches) in length, 1,003.3 millimetres (39.5 inches) in width, and 1,117.6 millimetres (44 inches) in width. Also, the BearTracker has a 1,168.4-millimetre (46 inches) wheelbase and a ground clearance of 149.9 millimetres (5.9 inches).
With an engine displacement of .52 cubic centimetres, this classic quad has a dry weight of 200 kilograms (441 lbs) and a curb weight of 212 kilograms (467 lbs). Moreover, with a turning radius of 9.5 feet, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 offers nothing more than a smooth and manoeuvrable ride.
This purpose-built workhorse has a towing capacity of 330.2 kilograms (728 lbs) and a tongue hitch limit of 15 kilograms (33 lbs). Additionally, its front tube rack can hold up to 30 kilograms (66 lbs) and the rear rack is a good 45 kilograms (99 lbs). The BearTracker 250 is fitted with a storage box that can carry up to 2 kilograms (4.4 lbs).
The Yamaha BearTracker 250 sports a frame, steel tube chassis and boasts a durable plastic body material. The frame has a caster angle of 4° and a 20-millimetre (0.78 inches) trail. A stock BearTracker comes with standard front and rear fenders and bumpers, handlebars, hand grips, footpegs, and a front bash plate. Also, this four-wheeler comes with dual halogen headlights and indicator lights for the neutral and reverse gears.
What Are the Different Models of the Yamaha BearTracker 250?
First launched in 1999, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 enjoyed a five-year production run before it finally bowed down in 2004. The different models of the Yamaha BearTracker 250 are as follows:
|1999 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XL|
|2000 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XM|
|2001 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XN|
|2002 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XP|
|2003 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XR|
|2004 — Yamaha BearTracker 250||YFM250XS|
The Yamaha Beartracker 250 sports a rugged aesthetic that exudes the confident aura of a 4×4. Despite having a two-wheel drivetrain, this quad is a serious heavy lifter, an attribute that most BearTracker owners value a lot. Because of this feature, this Yammie deserves all the credit for being a tough and effective quad.
As the first all-terrain vehicle produced inside Yamaha’s US-based manufacturing facility in Newnan, Georgia, the BearTracker 250 is highly lauded for its quality and cost-effectiveness. The main reason why this quad has maintained a low-cost production is that its parts can be interchanged with other quads, specifically the 4×2 and 4×4 Yamaha Moto 4 200 and 225 models.
For that reason, several ATV enthusiasts find the BearTracker an ideal platform to rebuild and customize these already reliable four-wheelers. Others, on the other hand, see the quad as an excellent starter quad, given its user-friendly controls and excellent manoeuvrability and handling.
How Much Is a Yamaha BearTracker 250?
As an iconic quad known for its simplicity and extreme functionality, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 has maintained its suggested list price since it was first released in 1999. The fact that it remained unchanged two decades after its release is a testament to this rec-utility quad’s impressive quality despite its spartan design.
The price of a BearTracker 250 has remained the same ever since it was first launched in 1999. More than two decades onwards, the cost of a unit anywhere between $3,200 and $3,500. The online ATV price guide www.atv.com rates a 2004 Yamaha BearTracker 250 as $3,299 per unit.
The table below shows the suggested list price, as well as the average and low retail value of the Yamaha BearTracker 250. The details provided below are based on www.nadaguides.com.
|Year and Model||Suggested List Value||Low / Average Values|
|1999 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XL)||$3,499||$610 / $800|
|2000 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XM)||$3,499||$620 / $815|
|2001 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XN)||$3,499||$640 / $840|
|2002 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XP)||$3,499||$640 / $840|
|2003 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XR)||$3,299||$660 / $870|
|2004 — Yamaha BearTracker 250 (YFM250XS)||$3,299||$695 / $915|
When it comes to pre-owned Yamaha BearTracker 250, any modifications and upgrades installed on the ATV may dictate the overall cost of a variant. The mileage and the current condition of the quad also plays a huge role in determining its cost.
How to Determine the Year of a Yamaha BearTracker 250?
The only way you can determine what year your BearTracker was manufactured is through its vehicle identification number (VIN). The VIN is a 17-digit alphanumeric combination and is used to identify your vehicle similar to how fingerprints are used to distinguish a certain individual.
Decoding the VIN requires special software, so deciphering each character would prove difficult. However, you can easily identify the year simply by taking the 10th figure in the combination. This number or alphabet represents the year of the quad.
The list below provides the code that represents the year of manufacture:
- X — 1999
- Y — 2000
- 1 — 2001
- 2 — 2002
- 3 — 2003
- 4 — 2004
- Locating the VIN on a Yamaha BearTracker 250
The VIN of a Yamaha BearTracker 250 is stamped on the left frame of the quad below the shift lever. You might need a brush to clean that spot so you can get a clear view of each character.
Remember that the VIN is beneficial especially if you are purchasing a pre-owned ATV. Simply knowing the year would be beneficial in determining the real cost of the model. Also, it may help prevent the possibility of purchasing a stolen quad.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Owning a Yamaha BearTracker 250?
As the first, US-made quad, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 is no doubt a reliable quad that has withstood the test of time. Despite its spartan exterior, the ATV’s rugged aesthetic appealed to ATV enthusiasts who fell in love with its versatility, durability, and ergonomics.
Moreover, the ATV’s five-year production run is a solid testament to its value, as well as one of Yamaha’s best-selling machines, among other things. However, the BearTracker has some misgivings which have raised the concerns of some owners. The advantages and disadvantages of having a Yamaha BearTracker 250 are as follows:
Highly Capable Drivetrain
Despite having a two-wheel drivetrain, the Yamaha BearTracker 250 is perceived as an effective and powerful workhorse. The BearTracker can tow and carry a considerable amount of weight, making it an ideal four-wheeler for both recreational and utility purposes. With that said, the quad can carry out the same tasks as any 4×4 quad could perform with surprising efficiency. Being one of Yamaha’s firsts, the BearTracker is a product of quality and innovation.
Impressive Entry-Level Quad
The BearTracker is a beginner-friendly vehicle, even to those who have yet to experience riding an all-terrain vehicle. The simplicity of the quad’s features, from its easy-to-use electric start, manual-automatic transmission, down to its no-frills design, make this aspect possible. In other words, riding this all-terrain mule does not require a steep learning curve at all.
Great for Modding and Rebuilding
The Yamaha BearTracker 250 makes a great learning platform for those who want to try rebuilding or modding ATVs for the first time. With a frame that can take in other Yamaha engines, particularly those from the YFM200, 225, and 250 models, and a durable exterior, the possibilities are endless for this amazing four-wheeler. Moreover, the availability of cheap, aftermarket parts would make this personal endeavour hassle-free, if not enjoyable.
- Decent weight-carrying capacity, making the BearTracker an ideal workhorse either for farm or ranch work.
- Quality sturdy plastic exterior
- Great ergonomics; the height of the handlebar is perfect in relation to the quad’s seat height.
- Remarkable suspension system; outstanding swing-arm monocross rear suspension design adds more vertical wheel travel, resulting in decent damping.
Unconventional Reverse Lever Design
In a period when convenience played a huge factor in ATVs, the BearTracker might have been a more practical vehicle if it weren’t for the location of its reverse lever. Situated on the left side of the quad, right below the gas tank, a rider would have to bend down, reach for the switch, and then pull it backward, while in gear. Operating the lever can be tough in certain situations, especially while in a bind.
Issues with the Carburettor
Some BearTracker owners have complained about the quad losing power only to regain it momentarily after giving it some gas. Owners instantly realized that this problem was a telltale sign of improper fuel and air mixture, which is indicative of a faulty carburettor.
ATV Veterans and enthusiasts recommend cleaning the carb and pet cock to resolve this issue. If this does not solve the problem, try to clear the fuel lines as these could get clogged up from the impurities found in the gas. Also, changing the oil with a new one might help as well.
Whenever you think there’s something wrong with your carburettor, here’s a word of advice: never replace the OEM with an aftermarket carb. This is a general rule which all ATV experts agree on. That’s because most aftermarket carburettors are defective and cost the same as the stock.
Furthermore, if the carburettor is not broken or cracked, there is no reason to replace it with a new one. However, a decent carb and jet rebuild kit would do the trick.
Though a decent recreational vehicle, the BearTracker 250 falls short because of its noisy exhaust. While this may not be an issue to most riders, others may find it quite problematic, specifically those who love to take their quads for a ride at parks and or live in residential areas. These places often have ORV regulations against vehicles with noisy tailpipes.
However, it’s not the end of the world for this Yammie. You can try out different methods that may assist in minimizing the noise. In case you are experiencing this problem, you might want to address the issue by performing the following:
- Packing insulation around the muffler.
- Placing a DB noise killer in the tailpipe of your ATV.
- Modifying the stock exhaust with an exhaust muffler silencer.
- Installing a quiet core insert or a spark arrestor.
You can look for any of the aftermarket components online or in automotive stores. There are several to choose from so be mindful of the quality and the price. As for the insulation, any heat-resistant material might do the job. While some owners who have turned to steel wool, be advised that this material could turn brittle over time. Also, the wool could turn really hot if exposed to intense heat for a long time.
- Lacks dashboard instrumentation; a fuel or temperature gauge, odometer or hour meter would have provided rider comfort.
- For a 250-cc quad, the BearTracker is a bit on the heavy side.
- Some pre-owned quads exhibit idling problems, specifically the ones with components swapped from other ATVs.
- Most pre-owned BearTrackers may experience problems with the electrical components, particularly the ignition and the stator.
About the Manufacturer
Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd. began manufacturing motorcycles under the leadership of Genichi Kawakami after it separated itself from the musical instrument maker, Yamaha Corporation, in 1955. For decades, the Japanese firm has been one of the leading innovators in the field of power engines, personal and commercial vehicles, and other cutting-edge technologies. The Yamaha BearTracker 250 is a product of the company’s unwavering devotion to making a better future for everyone.
Final Takeaway — Yamaha BearTracker 250
Regardless of what you think of the Yamaha BearTracker 250, you can’t deny that it is a solid piece of work. Despite its 4×2 driveline and lack of instrumentation, this four-wheeler still gets the job done, whether you’re riding the trail or performing some backbreaking farm chore.
Apart from that, this four-wheeler is one of the cheapest ATVs you can find out there. Whether you love rebuilding or modding quads, this reliable and versatile machine would certainly be an ideal vehicle for you. Despite its shortcomings, the BearTracker remains an iconic all-terrain quad, thanks to its durability and multifunctional capability.
In this case, perhaps the BearTracker is one of those quads that remind us of the aphorism “Never judge a book by its cover.” Guess it’s safe to say that the American spirit of quality and innovation lives inside this awesome ATV.