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East Coast Smoker: 1986 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale

1986 Yamaha TZR250 R Side Front

Introduced in 1986, the Yamaha TZR250 was the follow up to their RD family of sportbikes. Yamaha’s first go at a quarter-liter TZR had middling success: it wasn’t especially competitive next to more focused rivals from Kawasaki and Suzuki on track, but it was a far better roadbike. The TZR followed the standard two-fiddy two-stroke formula of the period, with a lightweight aluminum frame and fully-faired bodywork surrounding a 249cc liquid-cooled parallel twin, and midrange courtesy of Yamaha’s YPVS power valve. They claimed 50hp from the motor, which made the 282lb dry machine capable of a top speed north of 120mph.

1986 Yamaha TZR250 L Fairing

17” wheels could be found at both ends, although tire sizes fall somewhere near bicycle width in the front and front tire at the rear… The single disc brake up front was adequate and pretty standard for lightweight sportbikes of the period, although twin front discs quickly became the norm for the 250cc class. Apparently a “blue spot” caliper from an R1 or R6 will bolt directly onto the stock front forks if you feel you need a bit more stopping power, a little restomod touch, or a splash of color.

1986 Yamaha TZR250 R Side

The first TZRs were known as the 2MA or 1KT bikes, depending on the market in which they were sold. Later, the parallel twin saw its cylinders reversed in an effort to improve cornering clearance in the 3MA, before Yamaha switched to a v-twin for the final, 3XV version.

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale

86 TZR250, 9362 Kilometers.
Imported from Japan one year ago.
Super rare. Runs well.
Will ship at your expense.

Well that’s not exactly a ton of information, almost an eBay haiku, but at least the seller includes a number of nice pictures. Even with the recent influx of grey-market two-strokes, the Yamaha TZR is pretty rare, although at that $6,000 Buy It Now price seems on the high side. They’re claimed to be relatively easy to maintain which is appealing, considering parts will have to ship from overseas most likely.

Interestingly, this particular little smoker is hiding in New Jersey. See: some good things do come from Jersey! Besides me of course: I grew up there. Actually, I’ve never really understood all the hate heaped on Jersey. It’s like people fly into Newark International Airport and decide that the whole place must just be more of the same. Or they get their information from uppity New York residents… Anyway, the state may be best known for its Jersey Shore bro-culture and really good tomatoes, but it is most definitely not known for having a permissive DMV, so I’m wondering about the status of this TZR. Is it registered and titled? The listing doesn’t say. Maybe that’s why it’s being sold after only a year? Considering that these early 2MA bikes are supposed to be most at home on the road, it’d be a shame if this was for collectors and track-riders only.

-tad

1986 Yamaha TZR250 L Side

11 Comments

  • This bike killed the rg250’s and ns250r and the kr250 if you were racing 250’s you was on this bike. Technically it was released in 1985 in Japan year later elsewhere first production bike wit a twin spar frame it’s why the nsr n rgv came about the kr1.

    • I had a blue one back in the day, loved it. Had gone from 350YPVs to it and it flew straight out of the crate. Remember unscrewing the hero blobs off the foot peg to improve clearance, after that taking the hacksaw to the pegs to remove an inch then just leaving an inch to rest my foot on. It creamed the MK11 Gammas racing at the time and with tuning could still beat the Mk3 gamma.
      Wish I still had it.
      Huw

  • Interesting comments on the comparison to the RGV, and NS250R. Everything I have read said the Yamaha was the worst of the pack (except for comfort on the road), excluded the KR1(S) (no such thing as a KR250) and added the RS250. None of them ‘killed’ the other ones.

    • That’s what I’d read as well, but no personal experience riding them. Always interesting to hear different takes on these bikes! Also, there definitely was a KR250 since we just featured one recently.

    • Ah, you are so correct Tad! My bad. The KR1S is the bike that should be mentioned as it was the competition at the time but you are correct bout there being a KR250. Guess it would have fallen in same class as the RG250 and the other first gen miniGPs.

    • This has to do with the timing of introduction. When TZR250 first hit the market in Japan, we were all taken slightly off-guard. KR250 never was meant to be a racer for the road, and while we had NS250R and RG250, the first TZR was quite a bit racier bike comparatively, and from there, it exploded, all manufactures started going to the extreme. It was coming, since Suzuki introduced GSX-R400 first, and then the 750, but it finally started to trickle down to the 250 class. Soon after RGV came out, and NSR came out (and Kawasaki was planning KR-1), those were super high-strung, barely road-suitable machines, and the first TZR got left behind very quickly, that’s why the reverse cylinder TZR was introduced quite quickly to catch up. But there were people who preferred a gentler manner of original TZR (and RG) that Yamaha and Suzuki continued to sell those alongside the more extreme siblings for a couple of years. Then what would happen, was there were so many road death related to us touge riders, and a legislation kicked in to slow them down (along with modifications to the touge roads themselves as well), but it really wasn’t all that necessary, as more and more people became weary of this type of bikes and sales started to slip, and the golden era of race-replica died away in Japan. Did you know that they don’t even list GSX-R or R1/R6 in Japanese line-up now? I feel a little nostalgic about those bikes of my youth, I guess that’s why I still ride a sports bike.

  • What article is this from? I have personally ridden the rgv vj22 my own bike and the nsr mc21 again my own. My friend I ride with has one of these tzr for a long time and owns a kr1! Soon I’ll be restoring a rg250 mk3 my friend has a rvf400 used to have a hawk gt 650. Trust me that tzr is a great handling bike just as fast as my rgv nsr kr1 the kr1 is the scary ride of them all.

  • Here is a copy of one of them. Souricng is poor so providing the link:

    http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_tzr250%2085.htm

    Claims TZR to be slowest of the 250’s. It certainly WILL make a difference if you are talking street or track riding…

  • Yeah better not tell the guys on the tzr forum who race them regularly that it’s slow cause that’s not a common complaint I hear. Wouldn’t trust that website for jack.

    • The original magazine source isn’t credited at the link, but you’ll see “Trevor Franklin” mentioned at the bottom, and he’s a well-established British motorcycle journalist. That site regularly has content pulled from various reputable motorcycle magazines, so I wouldn’t necessarily dismiss the information posted out of hand. Regardless, the link Evan posted is about roadbikes, not racebikes so even if we have confidence in Trevor’s ability to evaluate a bikes he mentions, that doesn’t mean you couldn’t tune a “slow” roadgoing TZR into a very quick race bike.

  • If it wasn’t a rgv or kr1 or rd350lc the journos from Britain had a hard on for those 3 bikes outside of the 500’s smokers they didn’t like anything else.

    I’ve ridden them back to back literally jumping off one to the next it’s definitely not slow. This tzr has been proven to provide a true 45 rwhp where the rg250 mk3 only makes 32 rwhp so what 250 is the slowest one.

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