Yamaha XT 225 Problems: 5 Known Issues (Explained)

The XT 225 is a dual-sport, enduro-style bike and one of Yamaha’s longest-running models, having been in production from 1986 to 2007.

Known for its versatility, the XT 225 is suitable for hitting the trails, navigating city streets, and anything in between.

However, like every other bike, the XT 225 has been put through the wringer by some owners, and vice versa. In this article, we’ll review a few issues owners have encountered over the years and what they did about it.

Let’s crack into the most common problems experienced on the Yamaha XT 225:

1. Hard Starting Problems

This is perhaps the most reported issue with the Yamaha XT 225, and it’s an annoying one.

Some owners have reported instances of their bikes refusing to run when the bike is cold, even after multiple start-up attempts.

Possible Causes

Here are some of the potential reasons for a difficult start on the XT 225:

a. Use of Carburetor

Multiple sources have suggested that this issue is likely because the motor on the XT 225 is carburated instead of electronically fuel injected.

Carburetted models are infamous for being hard to start, especially in cold weather or after a long period of non-use.

This explains why most owners encounter this problem either when starting their bikes on cold mornings or after parking the bike for long.

If your XT 225 has issues starting, you need not fret, particularly if it’s cold out; this is normal on a bike with a carburetor.

The same applies if you’ve left your bike unused for an extended period of time— you’re probably going to have some trouble starting it. It’s normal, and the bike will usually start after a few good attempts.

Some starting problems may indicate that something is wrong with your bike. For example, if the bike battery is defective, lacks a charge from sitting, or the terminals are loose or corroded from sitting in moisture, the bike may not start up promptly.

A good battery should have around 12.5 volts, pushing around 9.5 to 10.5 volts under load for about 30 seconds.

Anything below this indicates a low battery.

b. Long Period of Disuse

Also, your bike not starting may result from clogged components in the carburetor.

A sitting bike isn’t a happy bike.

If one or more of the previous owners had a bike resting in a garage before it got to you, they weren’t starting it periodically to keep the fluids running through the fuel lines.

As fuel evaporates, it can leave some sludge deposits behind on the bottom of the tank.

If you’ve parked your bike for months, some of the fuel in it has likely evaporated, leaving behind varnish and gunk.

Over time, these materials will clog up carburetor parts, such as the pilot jets.

In such a situation, the bike’s performance will suffer, and it may not start.

c. Defective Fuel Pump

A broken fuel pump may also be at fault.

The fuel pump supplies gasoline the engine needs to initiate the combustion/ignition process.

With the fuel pump failing to supply gas, the engine won’t run.

d. Faulty Spark Plugs

Additionally, bad spark plugs can cause your bike’s engine not to turn over.

The spark plug produces the spark that starts the ignition process. Should the spark plug be fouled (or faulty in some way), the ignition process will be affected.

So, no matter how much you crank the starter, nothing will happen if the sparkplugs are bad.

Other causes include:

  • faulty ignition coils
  • air intake leaks
  • bad throttle position sensor (TPS)
  • faulty or gunked-up electrical components

Possible Solutions

Here are a few potential solutions to a Yamaha XT 225 starting problems:

I. Inspect Electrical Components:

This includes the electrical components such as the bike’s battery, rectifier/regulator, stator, starter motor, and relay.

Also, check the earth connections and the battery terminals.

You’d be surprised how many riders rack their brain on the big stuff only to find out the terminals on their batteries came loose from vibration, and all she needed was a few 90-degree turns on the battery terminal to tighten it back down.

Look out for any signs of corrosion or weakness and fix them accordingly.

II. Inspect Fuel-System Components:

If you’ve left your bike parked for long, this one’s for you.

Check the fuel lines, fuel pumps, and fuel filters for any dirt, rust, or material buildups.

Remove components and clean them properly.

III. Inspect Carburetor:

Disassemble the bike’s carburetor and examine parts for dirt.

Strip the carburetor and clean the components with a carb-cleaner.

Afterward, put everything back together and re-install.

2. Erratic Engine Performance

Some XT 225 owners have complained that the engine acts erratically while riding.

One issue associated with this is “engine surging.” Surging is when the RPMs increase and decrease, even though the rider keeps a steady throttle.

The resulting fluctuation in speed will cause the bike to lurch/jerk under speed.

Another widespread engine problem on the XT 225 is “engine bogging.” Engine bogging is common on many motorcycles and is not limited to the XT 225.

Engine bogging refers to a situation where the bike hesitates under acceleration. In such cases, the rider twists the throttle, but the bike hesitates before speeding up.

Because of the similarity of symptoms, it’s easy to confuse a bog for a stall or a stutter.

Both engine bogging and engine surging can be problematic for riders. For example, it can be annoying to switch gears, and worse, a reluctance to accelerate due to bogging can put you in a sketchy situation.

Likewise, surging can make for a very uncomfortable ride, as the bike may jerk/lurch while riding.

Improper Air-fuel Mixture:

Per reports, both problems are mostly the result of an improper air-fuel mixture in the engine.

Improper air-fuel mixtures come in two forms:

Lean Mixture:

If a bike gets too much air and not enough fuel, the motor will run “lean.”

A lean mixture is an air-fuel ratio that lacks fuel.

This will inevitably cause it to bog or hesitate when the rider tries to accelerate.

Rich Mixture:

If the bike gets too much fuel and not enough air, the engine will run “rich.”

A rich mixture is an air-fuel ratio too rich in fuel.

Should this happen, the motorcycle’s throttle response will become slow and cause the engine to hesitate.

While bogging can occur when the engine runs rich or running lean, surging mostly occurs when the engine runs lean.

Here are some things that can cause the engine to run either rich or lean:

– Clogged filters:

The filters on your bike are germane to the bike’s optimal performance.

The air filter prevents dust/dirt particles from entering the engine, while the fuel filter ensures the fuel doesn’t contain any debris.

Over time, dirt can build up in both components to the point where they don’t effectively supply air and fuel.

If the air filter is clogged, the engine won’t get enough air and will start running on a rich mixture, while a blocked fuel filter will prevent the engine from getting enough fuel and cause it to run lean.

On the other end of the spectrum, a hole in the air filter will bring in more air than normal, and this can cause a lean mix as well.

– Bad fuel-system components:

The fuel-system components supply the engine with… you guessed it, fuel.

Faulty fuel components or components that are clogged-up with gunk, rust, or sediment can cripple the engine’s fuel flow.

This means the engine won’t get enough gasoline, and your ratio goes lean.

– Cracked intake manifolds/vacuum lines:

This will cause the engine to suck in too much air at the expense of fuel.

Eventually, the mixture will lean out because of the presence of excess oxygen.

– Dirty carburetors:

Sometimes, dirt and sediments can enter the carburetor and block the main jet or pilot jet, restricting fuel flow.

Should this be the case, you’ll need to clean the carburetor to rid it of any dirt or silt.

Sometimes spraying carburetor cleaner may do the job.

Severe cases may require disassembling the carburetor and cleaning it piece by piece.

Cleaning the carbs out is part of routine maintenance on any carbureted bike, but especially on a bike that plays in the dirt.

3. Stock Spokes Are Weak

In the motorcycling world, wheels come in two types: wire-spoked and cast alloy.

Spoke wheels are more tolerant of abusive terrain than cast alloy types. Hence, it is no surprise that the engineers behind the off-road-ready XT 225 favored spoked wheels.

However, some owners have complained that the OEM spokes on the XT 225 models are weak.

Weak spokes become loose in time, and in worse case scenarios, they break.

If a spoke breaks, the wheel might start to wobble, which will affect ride quality.

The best fix for this is to replace the stock wheel spokes with stronger variants.

Some say buying oversized stainless wheel spokes is a good way to get out in front of this issue.

4. Cracks in Diaphragm

More than a few riders have experienced the rubber boot/diaphragm on their XT 225 cracking over time.

Typically, this leads to engine wheezing and poor engine performance.

One way to check if the diaphragm is cracked is to spray WD-40 liquid around the area. If the bike starts revving higher, there’s a good chance you’ve got a crack.

Depending on how severe the crack is, you may only need to use a sealant to solve the issue.

In a worst-case scenario, you may have to replace the entire component.

5. Oil Filter Mix-Up

Since the glory days of  XT225, Yamaha’s manufactured a variant – the XT 250 – and we’ve encountered a pretty notable issue deriving from the similarity between these bikes.

More than a few XT 225 owners have complained about mechanics confusing the part numbers between the two models’ oil filters or mistakenly assuming that the two bikes’ oil-filters are interchangeable.

A few different XT 225 owners we’ve stumbled on told a story about buying their bike used and coming home to realize their XT225 had been fitted with the filter intended for the 250.

Installing the XT 250’s filter on an XT 225 has caused some engines to blow.

The 225 and 250 oil filters appear to be interchangeable physically; one fits neatly on the bike the other is intended for, but they are far from interchangeable on a functional level.

Ill-informed mechanics throw a 250 filter on the XT 225 and call it good, but they don’t work the same way, and this can cause some problems.

Whether you’re in the market for a Yamaha XT 225 or you’re an owner of one, it’s important to be aware of this mix-up,  and when dealing with mechanics, make sure you’re a stickler about the oil-filter part numbers associated with your bike.

General Pros and Cons of the Yamaha XT 225

Pros of Yamaha XT 225

The Yamaha XT 225 is a delightful bike, both on the trail and the road.

However, the trail is where this model shines. Because of the XT 225’s low weight, riders find it easy to maneuver it, even in tight, steep trail terrain.

Moreover, it comes with a heavy-duty skid plate that helps protect the bike’s components.

The XT 225 doesn’t perform badly on the highway either; you can safely cruise at 65-75 mph on this bike. It also has a 60/55 halogen headlight that provides outstanding visibility at night.

The headlight’s beam illuminates far in front of the bike and about 20 feet to either side of the road.

Cons of Yamaha XT 225

Here are some of the issues with the XT 225:

  1. Hard Starting Problems
  2. Diaphragm May Crack
  3. Rough Engine Performance
  4. Stock Spokes Are Weak

What Do the Reviews Say?

“The XT 225 was designed for ultimate versatility at a great price. A reliable 4-stroke revs out predictable power, and the wide-ratio 6-speed transmission with manual clutch and class-leading low seat height gives you performance and ease of use, regardless of where your adventure takes to use.”

[Source: Totalmotorcycle.com]

What’s The Resale Value On the Yamaha XT 225?

Year Mileage Price($)
2005 2,600 1,500
2006 5,000 3,000
2001 3,772 2,200
2007 1,645 2,300
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ⓘ  The information in this article is based on data from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recall reports, consumer complaints submitted to the NHTSA, reliability ratings from J.D. Power, auto review and rating sites such as Edmunds, specialist forums, etc. We analyzed this data to provide insights into the best and worst years for these vehicle models.