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Deltabox Racer: 1992 Yamaha TZ250D for Sale

Racebikes are different than other bikes we feature on RSBFS. Where the goal for many collectible roadbikes is absolute originality, or at least limited, period-correct updates, the whole point of a racebike is that it’s a rough-and-tumble artifact, a bit of living history, and battle scars are okay. If the machine in question is historically significant, that goes double. But race bikes are more like living organisms than ones trapped in amber, and some have evolved over time, especially if they’re still being used in competition, like today’s Yamaha TZ250D.

Note the missing “R” in the name: this isn’t simply a TZR250 with the lights removed. While people did use the TZR250 road bike as the basis for competition machines, the TZ250 was Yamaha’s pure competition machine, available over-the-counter to racers. Both the original TZ and TZR were powered by parallel twin engines, but Yamaha eventually began experimenting with a v-twin engine to keep pace with competitors in Grand Prix raxing, and the YZR250 used what was essentially half of the YZR500’s two-stroke V4. For a number of years, Yamaha produced the two machines in parallel: the v-twin powered YZR250 seen in Grand Prix and the parallel-twin TZ250.

1991 saw the introduction of a completely new version of the popular TZ250 racing platform, incorporating the v-twin configuration from the YZR250, along with upside-down forks, a banana-swingarm to clear the expansion chamber on the right side, a wider 5.25″ rear wheel, and a set of 38mm Mikuni carburetors. The “D” model that came along in 1992 featured a significant reworking of the rear suspension that meant the rear subframe could be made extremely light, with just one job: provide a perch for the rider. The new package worked well, taking the fight to Honda, and was popular among privateers.

Of course, this being a racebike and not a warmed-over streetbike brings its own set of problems. Racebikes generally aren’t designed with durability as a top priority, and two-strokes, although mechanically simple, are pretty maintenance-intensive. It’s also the nature of racing two-strokes, especially 125s and 250s, that they need gearing or jetting changes need to be made to suit the track, temperature, and altitude, to perform at their best. The trade off is incredible light weight and handling from the spartan machine, as well as racebike engineering to drool over. Honestly, I think Yamaha’s Deltabox designs of the era are some of the most beautiful frames ever created, and I think I’d just want to ride it around with the bodywork off, although I’d prefer the original finish in place of the polished part seen here.

From the original eBay listing: 1992 Yamaha TZ250D for Sale

1992 YAMAHA TZ250D

One of a kind with a beautiful polished frame!!

  • All new bearings (swing arm, steering head, and wheels).
  • Suspension rebuilt will new oil, bushings, and seals, set up for 185 lb. rider.
  • .8 kg/mm fork springs 8.5 kg/mm shock spring
  • Rebuilt Shindy Daytona Steering Damper
  • 120 mile Rick Schell crankshaft (crank is a work of art, lightened and polished flywheels and rods)
  • 120 mile top end (pistons, rings, bearings)
  • Roland Cushway 8.0cc heads
  • 96′ cylinders and pipes with 2.5mm pipe spacers per Roland Cushway
  • New plugs and caps
  • New reeds
  • New gaskets throughout
  • Dual EGTs
  • Daytona digital water temp gauge
  • New clutch and pressure plate
  • Every bearing in cases replaced with new (trans, case, water pump, balance shaft)
  • New EBC HH brake pads
  • GP tech thumb brake
  • Custom rear sets and foot pegs
  • Vortex Clip-ons
  • New DID x-ring chain
  • EBC Prolite rotors
  • Professional Paint
  • Airtech Aerotail w/anti Draft Shield
  • New Center front stand by Battle Factory
  • Original Rear Stand
  • New Multi-Temp Chicken Hawk Tire Warmers

Shipping to arranged and paid for by the buyer. I will assist the shipping company as needed. 

This Yamaha TZ250 has no racing history of note, so interested buyers will likely focus on race preparation and spares, since I’d assume they’re planning to use it in anger, and sourcing some parts for these now obsolete two-strokes is only going to get harder. No mention is made of any spares package, so a quick email to the seller might be in order to see if there are any available. That aside, this looks like a killer track bike or race bike for someone with the skills or friends or money to keep it running, and the Buy It Now price is set at $12,500 which seems reasonable, considering the preparation that’s gone into it.

-tad

5 Comments

  • I’ll never forget the 1990 Formula USA race at Grattan (Michigan for you non midwesterners) with Rich Oliver on a TZ250 going against local hero Fritz Kling (RIP) on some crazy high-hp GSXR1100 (built by our very own Motoman’s dad!). Oliver on the little TZ beat Kling on the big bike, but not by much. Kling would gain all sorts of lengths on the TZ on anything approximating a straight. Oliver’s corner speed was noticeably higher than the big bike in anything tighter than the dogleg kink. It was back and forth the whole time.

    So in a “run what you brung” event at a tight track, nothing could beat a well-ridden TZ250. Well, maybe that’s not fair as there were no 500GP bikes at this round, which likely would have cleaned up. Still, these bikes are such a weapon, its hard to overstate how potent they can be. You’d better eat your Wheaties if you want to run this thing anywhere near its potential.

  • Thanks for the great memories Billy! I remember those battles, and I concur: The TZ250 is a formidable weapon. It didn’t hurt that Rich Oliver has some mad skills!

    -Mike

  • OK price for a decently presented 4DP1 – it would be better with at least consumable spares as this is a candidate for running rather than just collecting.

    To restore back to presentation 1992 state will cost an arm and a leg – you see those missing plastic Dash buttons? $20 each LOL.

    There is also a reason you see many later model TZ and RS race bikes with “improved billet rear sets & clip-ons” etc. Its because the original Honda and Yamaha ones are all broken and replacements where pricey even back in the day so the aftermarket flourished. Great for race day repairs but makes restoration expensive.

    This bike deserves to be kept buzzing and dive bombing the diesels at the occasional track day rather than being mothballed 🙂

  • Here’s an article on that very epic race Billy posted on:
    https://www.cyclenews.com/2014/06/article/archives-oliver-beats-goliath/

  • Thanks FlyingMerkel! Not exactly how I remember it but goes to show what 25 years and truckloads of whisky and assorted other pollutants will do to one’s memory! Maybe it’s just the romantic in me that remembers the race being a lot closer… But hey, at least I remembered who won!

    Always loved TZ250s. Seems like the purest form of a proper race bike.

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