The 1981 Yamaha TZ250 more than just an evolution of their 250 GP machine, it was a complete reworking that shared almost no parts with the older bike. It included an entirely new engine designed around features from the proven TZ500 that were intended to increase both power and reliability.
Keep in mind: the TZ250 is no production-based entry-level racer, and running one is not for the faint of heart or mechanically inept. “Improved durability” is a relative term: the TZ250 will still need rebuilds every few hundred miles, making it a very expensive hobby or a labor of love, depending on your level of mechanical aptitude… But the feeling you’ll get from riding a genuine race bike, combined with the emotional and historical link with famous riders who got their start on a TZ makes the cost and effort worthwhile.
Racing motorcycles embody such an interesting duality to me, the contrast between the simplistic, almost primitive bodywork wrapped around beautiful mechanical bits. The sand-cast cases look very exotic if you know what you’re looking at, and that dry clutch adds another touch of race-tech bling. And those dull grey wheels? Magnesium.
The completely new 180° water-cooled two-stroke parallel-twin featured a shorter stroke than the earlier machine, reducing piston-speed and improving durability. Carburetors were generally Mikuni, although this bike features a set of period-correct Lectrons in their place.
From the original eBay listing: 1981 Yamaha TZ250H for Sale
This TZ250 is a very good and complete survivor and is in a fantastic condition for a 34 year old race bike with corresponding frame and engine/motor numbers. The bike was in storage since 1990 and was started once a month and driven around the block by previous owner to circulate fluids. The bike has a new aftermarket fairing and the seat is a “New old stock (very old)” seat. Tank (original) and front mudguard (original) are in white primer ready for paint. The fairing and seat are in white gel coat finish. Tank has a few imperfections, but will take very little work to get it perfect. The tank does not leak! This bike is fitted with a set of very rare lightweight Magnesium race wheels. The original full fairing and seat are included in the sale. The screen on the bike fits the original fairing, but is not a perfect fit for the new Airtech fairing and will have to be replaced by buyer for a better fit.
The frame was chemically stripped of all old paint and re-painted, see pictures. The wheels were also chemically stripped and now are in un-painted magnesium finish.
The bike is fitted with a set of racing LECTRON carburetors. The LECTRON manual is included with the sale.
Bidding is very active and is currently north of $6,800, with just 24 hours left on the auction. It could use some graphics to decorate those bare fairings. With so many cool parts on it, not the least of which those magnesium wheels and the Lectron carbs, this needs to be decked out in some vintage racing Yamaha racing colors, with maybe some period sponsor logos, then flogged mercilessly on track…