Designed as something of a poor-man’s Ducati 916, with a trellis frame clearly intended to evoke that more exotic bike, the Yamaha TRX850 is a rare and odd duck in the US. It’s far from beautiful, but possesses a chunky charisma, and although it was never imported to North America, these aren’t particularly rare overseas. With the internet as your resource, parts should be pretty cheap and easy to obtain.
Built between model years 1995 and 1999 and powered by the same big, thudding 849cc engine that motivated the weird, jack-of-all-trades TDM, Yamaha’s unusual parallel twin utilized their signature five-valve head, with three inlet and two exhaust. The three smaller inlet valves allow for better breathing than would a two larger items, and this configuration featured on many Yamahas of the period. The engine also incorporated a “big-bang” 270° crankshaft that helped give the bike a character distinct from more common 360° designs. A five-speed gearbox may have been a bit lacking in ratios, but the torquey twin made that sixth gear superfluous.
From the original eBay listing: 2000 Yamaha TRX850 for Sale
This is a beautiful motorcycle in great mechanical shape. It has a NYS inspection sticker, the tires / brakes are 80% new battery less then a year old, very minor imperfections on fork tubes but very clean other wise. It has after market pipes / jet kit, trellis frame and matching red belly fairing. The crank is factory set at 270 degrees so it fires like a v-twin for gobs of torque!
I’m selling this motorcycle for a good friend. I’m a retired Ducati dealer and love to help get these rare models in the hands of folks that appreciate them. The TRX was never imported to the USA. This bike came from France and my friend bought it with a Michigan title. The speedometer is in kilometers but has been geared for MPH so were guessing at the real mileage. This bike may be the only one in US captivity.
Always a bit of a poor cousin to more exotic twins like Ducati’s 916, this parts-bin special was more than the sum of its parts, with a big midrange, very good handling, reliability, and character. Unfortunately, pricing in Europe was high compared to its more exotic competition, so it never sold well and was discontinued after just a few years.
Bidding is almost criminally low, considering the condition and capability of the bike being offered here. This is definitely a cult-bike in the making, although here in the US you might be looking at a cult of just one…