Posts by tag: 1989

Cagiva January 16, 2017 posted by

Some Assembly Required: 1989 Cagiva 500GP V589 for Sale

We don’t normally post project or incomplete bikes here on RSBFS, but this one seemed too good to pass up: one of Cagiva’s inspired but ultimately doomed series of 500cc GP machines, the V589. Battling against the established giants, Cagiva originally experimented with an inline-four configuration but eventually followed Suzuki’s successful formula with a square four, before switching to a V4 in 1986. They may have struggled to win races, but if bonus points had been awarded for looks, the Cagivas might have stood a better chance, since they’re considered by some to be the prettiest racebikes of all time.

Even if you don’t agree, the specifications are certainly stunning: in an effort to keep up with the more established players, Cagiva experimented with some really wild technology, considering these were racing in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Extensive use of carbon fiber, traction-control, and electronic suspension were all tried to give Cagiva a competitive edge, although consistent success eluded them and they withdrew from competition at the end of 1994.

Earlier machines like this one had clear stylistic links to the Ducati 916 and Cagiva Mito which should be no surprise, as the V589 was designed by Massimo Tamburini. Some versions included a carbon fiber swingarm, although this one has the aluminum version. Much of this V589’s bodywork is missing, but that’s no surprise as those bits are pretty expandable on a race bike. Fortunately, it has the all-important frame, although it sounds like that will require some changes to re-orient the shock, as it was modified at some point to try an alternative configuration.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Cagiva 500GP V589 for Sale

This is a genuine 1989 Original Factory Works Cagiva V4 500 Grand Prix race bike, as ridden by Randy Mamola etc. It is sold as an incomplete project and is for restoration.

The engine has been rebuilt recently and is fresh but I would still check it as it’s stood for a little while. The factory records confirms the original build date of 23/06/89. The frame is chassis 4, it has a special fuel tank which was used to test the ignition in the tank area and also modified to try a top mount shock rather than the original horizontal fitting. The swing arm and shock are the original horizontal type so the frame would need reverting to take the horizontal mounts. There is a linkage arm, the shock is a special Öhlins 500GP unit made for Cagiva. The dash includes temp gauge, Magnetti Marelli ignition, rectifier, battery, PV controller. There is a radiator, coil packs, PV motor, magnesium wheels with front discs, sprocket, cables for throttle and pv, the complete triple clamp magnesium assembly, footrest hangers, rear master cylinder, cast water pipes, upper front fairing, belly pan with air box sections. There are exhausts and silencers but will need modifying to fit as they are later year. Some small parts also. So it is a very good basis. All the parts are original Cagiva GP but as the bikes changed constantly from race to race some parts are from varied dates and may need work to fit. Please study the photos to see what is included, everything is shown.

The main missing parts are fork legs (Marzocchi or Öhlins were used at various times) carburettors, brake calipers (Brembo or AP were used) seat unit, mid-fairing section, tacho, bars with levers and throttle, wiring, some other small parts.

I can put the buyer in touch with a collector who has other Cagiva parts to finish the bike.

The price for this one-of-a-kind bit of racing history? Just $55,000 but, considering the missing parts and what they will cost to track down or create, this is definitely an “experts only” proposition, but those of us with reasonable means can still look at the possibilities and dream…

-tad

Some Assembly Required: 1989 Cagiva 500GP V589 for Sale
Honda November 30, 2016 posted by

Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

1989-honda-vfr400r-r-side-front

Looking very much like their very desirable VFR750R, the Honda VFR400R shares similar engine configuration, style, and that distinctive “PRO ARM” single-sided swingarm. The sophisticated V4 featured straight-cut gears in place of a chain or belt and drove twin overhead cams. Early VFR400s used a 180° crank, but the NC30 shared it’s 360° “big bang” configuration with the VFR750, giving the bike a distinctive growl to go with the cultured whine of the gear-driven cams.

1989-honda-vfr400r-r-side

A big-bang engine groups its combustion events close together, in stead of spreading them out evenly. In theory, this gives improved traction, as the tire has a chance to recover grip in between pulses, although that may not be a huge advantage in a bike with just 59hp and 30ft-lbs of torque… Power was modest, but had just 350lbs dry to push, and was spread across a very wide, forgiving powerband.

1989-honda-vfr400r-fairing

These bikes didn’t sell well when new, which wasn’t really shocking: a period literbike could be had for similar cash and that huge increase in power could cover for a lot of sins on the road and on track. But that was hardly the point, and Honda only needed to produce a limited number to qualify them for racing. Originally intended for the Japanese market, a few made their way to the UK and mainland Europe as “parallel imports,” these used to be very a very affordable way to pick up sophisticated Honda tech, but prices for these have been rapidly increasing of late, now that the RC30 is well out of reach for many collectors. Bidding on this example is north of $9,000 at this time, with the Reserve Not Met.

1989-honda-vfr400r-clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale

The VFR400R(NC30) is known for its handling, turning quicker than most other 400s on the market. You don’t have to ride the NC30 to know that it is right. Everything about it just looks right. The scaled-down version of the RC30 is perfect in it proportions and in its detail. The reduction in size makes it neater still.

The engine gives the impression of that of a larger machine. Peak torque is at 12,000rpm, but it doesn’t drop off, giving a long, flexible spread of peak power. It will hold any top gear cruise speed up to 100mph, will pull wide open in top from 2,000rpm and runs without a hiccup to 15,000rpm.Asked whether the quality of engineering is worth owning, the answer would be yes. The build quality is nearly as good as the RC30.

This bike is in excellent un-restored condition with very low miles. I approach all my bikes with the idea of preservation over restoration. When purchasing a bike what I look for is low miles and all original, this bike fits those traits very nicely. Please examine the pictures very closely. You can see it has not been restored but it is an excellent original condition. There is some minor chips and patina showing that it is a 27 year old bike. The bike was recently cleaned from top to bottom. Everything was cleaned, all fluids changed, brakes bled and then put back together ready to ride. Here’s a list of a few things that were done.

Wheels powder coated, forks rebuilt, new rotors and pads front and rear plus brakes bled, new tires Bridgestone T30’s. All the plastics were cleaned and polished and the small cracks were welded on the back side so they won’t crack any more than they already are. All the gauges and cockpit pieces were cleaned and polished. Brand new chain and sprockets

1989-honda-vfr400r-r-side-tail

The seller also includes this helpful startup video of the bike being offered, and the original listing includes plenty of additional photos if what we’ve included here doesn’t satisfy your NC30 lust. Aside from a few minor cosmetic imperfections mentioned by the seller, this is a very nice motorcycle and 6,000 miles is barely broken-in for a Honda, so this one is ready to display or ride, whichever strikes your fancy.

-tad

1989-honda-vfr400r-l-side

Little Brother: 1989 Honda VFR400R for Sale
Yamaha October 14, 2016 posted by

Fresh Off the Boat: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-l-frontToday’s Yamaha TZR250 has a couple interesting things going for it. In addition to the unusual, reversed-cylinder configuration of this Japanese market 3MA, it’s also available in this interesting black/grey/red color scheme: almost all the 3MAs we’ve featured on this site have been white with red speed-block graphics.

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-r-rear

Earlier TZR250s from 1986-1988 used a conventional liquid-cooled parallel-twin engine. The 3MA version available between 1989-1990 had the cylinders spun around 180° with the carburetors on the front of the engine, and the exhausts facing the rear of the bike, tucked up under the seat and exiting through the tail, Desmosedici-style. This helped significantly with packaging issues common to two-strokes: those bulky expansion chambers need to go somewhere, and most other manufacturers needed to introduce “gull-arm” curved swingarms to allow the exhausts to tuck in close for maximum cornering clearance.

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-l-rear

As with the other 250cc two-strokes of the era, the engine was backed by a six-speed gearbox and the frame was lightweight aluminum, Yamaha’s “Deltabox” design here. Power was restricted by government mandate to 45hp and weight was in line with the class as well, at just over 300lbs wet.

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-r-side

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

The bike is just imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. Overall clean bike. Very good running condition sharp response of the 2-stroke engine is still well. Can shift all gears very smooth. Brakes are work fine. Electricals are all working, aside from right side direction indicator. Has Yamaha genuine fairings. But has hairline cracks and chips and scratches on fairings. Fuel tank has some dents. Used motorcycle with wear more than 25 years old, so look carefully all pictures and video.

Speedometer looks like a Yamaha genuine part and shows 18,900 km = about 11,800 miles, but actual mileage is unknown.

Will needs new tires and fork seals too.

Again, this bike is sold without title.

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-gauges

The seller also helpfully includes a link to a video of the bike being started, along with a link to plenty of additional photos. Obviously, the usual issues apply here regarding that lack of a title. But if you live in a state where getting paperwork for a bike like this isn’t impossible, that just means you’ll pay less for the privilege: in spite of the handling and performance on par with its contemporaries, 3MA TZRs currently cost far less than an equivalent NSR or RGV. Parts will prove to be more difficult to obtain, but you probably won’t be finding parts for any of these 25-year-old, Japanese-market two-stroke sport bikes your local dealer…

-tad

1989-yamaha-tzr250-black-r-rear-naked

Honda September 8, 2016 posted by

De-Restricted Import: 1989 Honda NSR250R MC18 R5K for Sale

1989 Honda NSR250 R Side Front

Many of the coveted bikes in the quarter-liter two-stroke race-replica class were never officially sold outside Japan. They were certainly seen in countries where “parallel-imports” or “grey-market” bikes were commonly sold, but 250cc sportbikes were intended primarily to meet the needs and requirements of that market. And that means buzzy little animals like this Honda NSR250R MC18 were restricted to a mere 45hp when sold new in Japan, and de-restricting them can require knowledge, specialized parts, or both. In the case of the later MC28 that used Honda’s trick Smartcard technology, de-restricting the bike was a major headache, since the digital card held the bike’s ignition map and can’t easily be updated without an official HRC race card, although apparently work-arounds do exist…

1989 Honda NSR250 L Side

Honda’s MC18 NSR250R was powered by a 90° liquid-cooled 249cc v-twin backed up with a six-speed cassette gearbox and featured a more basic, easily-hackable version of Honda’s PGM-II ignition system which, in this case, has already been modified to release somewhere in the neighborhood of 55-60hp, depending on who you ask. The MC18 unfortunately lacks the later model’s asymmetrical “gull-arm” swingarm that allowed the bulging expansion chambers on the right side to tuck up close for maximum cornering clearance, but it is still an iconic machine.

1989 Honda NSR250 R Side Rear

This example looks to be in excellent condition, with plenty of new parts as described in the listing. If you check out the seller’s website, they do claim to do thorough inspections and even restorations of the bikes they sell, so it’s not like you’re showing up at the docks to pick up a bike that’s possibly been thrashed by a teenager then left outside to corrode for the past twenty years. Their prices are higher than some I’ve seen on eBay recently, but they seem to have quality bikes for sale, and it helps to know there’s someone in the continental US you can yell at if things go wrong…

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Honda NSR250R for Sale

MC18 R5K model from Moto2 Imports. Popular blue and white color scheme with just 8,900 miles. This bike has been fully mechanically restored with brand new tires, chain, spark plugs, re-built jets/needles, refurbished front forks & new fork seals. The fuel system has been flushed and cleaned and the whole bike has been treated for rust and corrosion removal. The engine has been professionally de-restricted and is now producing full power. All lights, indicators, and switches are in proper working order. Cosmetically, the bike is in excellent condition (see pics) and the plastics are all factory OEM. You will not be disappointed. Moto2 Imports is the country’s number one importer of foreign sportbikes, specializing in two-strokes. Check out our website for more information and inventory!

1989 Honda NSR250 L Side Front

The seller also claims that the bike has a valid Washington State title with a VIN matching the frame number, which should hopefully give some peace of mind to bidders. And the fact that it has been professionally de-restricted is a big plus, since those extra ponies will be helpful at moving the potential extra mass of its new American rider… Among the Big Four, Hondas seem to be the most desirable, with commensurately higher prices to match. Bidding is very active on this one and already up to $5,000 with the Reserve Not Met, with The Buy It Now set at $6,599 which seems to be right on the money currently for a US-titled NSR250 in good condition.

-tad

1989 Honda NSR250 R Side

De-Restricted Import: 1989 Honda NSR250R MC18 R5K for Sale
Yamaha September 2, 2016 posted by

Featured Listing: CA-Titled 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

Update 9.4.2016: I’ve received word that this bike is now sold. Congratulations to buyer and seller! -dc

This Featured Listing is part of a set from the sellers for a VFR400, TZR250, and an NSR250. They are available for purchase as a group or individually. The sellers are available this labor day weekend for personal inspections in Southern California. -dc

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1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA L Front

Here in the USA, the 80s and 90s saw intense competition between the Japanese Big Four in the 600cc and 750cc classes, with the bikes seeing almost yearly updates to the roadbikes and fierce rivalries on track. Oveseas, the same sort of knife-fight-in-a-phone-booth competition was happening in the quarter-liter sportbike class, with little two-strokes like this TZR250 looking for any performance advantage to edge out its rivals.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA R Rear

Earlier bikes in the class were mostly parallel-twins, although Honda, Suzuki, and Yamaha were all running v-twins by the late 90s, all in an effort to maximize the slim performance benefits available. All featured cutting-edge technology, with lightweight aluminum beam frames, top-spec brakes, power valves, “banana” swingarms designed to maximize cornering clearance, and bulging expansion chambers. Later bikes even featured some seriously cutting-edge electronics, with Honda’s PGM-III creating a three-dimensional ignition map for each cylinder, based on throttle-position, revs, and gear. The bikes all made similar power and weighed in at around 300lbs, with narrow powerbands and razor-sharp handling.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA L Tank

Before moving to a v-twin with the 3XV, Yamaha experimented with the 3MA version of their TZR250 that used a parallel-twin configuration with the cylinders reversed so the carburetors were up front and the exhausts faced to the rear. This mainly seems to have been a way to efficiently package the bike’s exhausts: two-strokes rely on bulbous expansion chambers to make competitive power, and routing them under and around the engine and past the swingarm was challenging. Aside from some slightly bulging side-panels, the reverse-cylinder 3MA solved that problem, and the stinger tips poking through the tail look very trick.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA R Fairing

The 3MA is a pretty exotic little bike and pretty rare outside Japan. Reliability is claimed to be no worse than any other 250cc two-stroke, but parts availability for this Japanese-market-only bike can be tricky. Looking for performance parts for your NSR250? Tyga’s got a whole website worth of exhausts, engine kits, rearsets, and bodywork. The 3MA? Better brush up on your Japanese and get ready for long waits as parts ship from the other side of the world.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA L Rear

From the seller: 1989 TZR250 3MA for Sale

7,614km Original owner, purchased new from EMI, CA titled & registration (currently on non-op), this TZR is basically stock except for custom ceramic coated expansion chambers with jetting to match, braided steel brake lines, rear fender eliminated, and has full tread Bridgestone Battlax BT014 tires. Oil injection intact. Rear lower corner of left side fairing damaged, not too visible, but needs repair. Has not been started in a while, but fuel system is dry, petcock recently rebuilt.

Spares & extras: Gearbox cassette, steering damper, & a few bits.

Comes with Pit Bull rear stand, fresh Yuasa battery and trickle charger, parts catalog, service manual, and more documentation. Pit Bull front stand is available.

$5900

In case you don’t feel like doing math this morning, 7,614km works out to just 4,731 miles. The price is on the high side for a 3MA, but not by very much, and the bike’s legal status and very low miles more than make up for it: I hear that it’s possible to register these in California, but it can be expensive and difficult. This one saves you the trouble, and includes some spares to boot. It’s not absolutely perfect cosmetically, but unless you’re looking for a museum piece, this looks like a great example. I don’t have the money or the space for another bike right now, but this one’s making me wish I did.

-tad

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA R Seat

Featured Listing: CA-Titled 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale
Yamaha August 17, 2016 posted by

I Come In Pieces: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale

1989 Yamaha TZR250 R Side

If you’re looking to import a rare and unusual vehicle that was never intended for the US market into the country like today’s Yamaha TZR250, there are a few ways to go about it. Some of these desirable machines can be found in Canada, and others can be found already here in the US, imported at some point in the last 25 years by one means or another. These days, there are a number of people bringing in little smokers by the container-load, buying up bikes that are relatively ordinary in Japan and shipping them across the Pacific to two-stroke-starved US buyers. If all else fails, you can simply browse the internet and buy all the parts you’d need to build one in your own garage, one bit at a time. Which is what the seller of today’s bike appears to have done.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 L Side Rear

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Japanese Big Four were competing for sales in the hotly-contested 250 two-stroke class. Specifications were very similar on paper and performance advantages could be razor-thin, with the RGV, NSR, TZR, and the occasional KR all fighting for a slice of the pie. Early on, parallel-twins were the most common configuration, although later bikes shifted towards v-twins. Yamaha eventually followed suit with their TZR250 3XV but, for a couple of years, they experimented with an unconventional reverse-cylinder layout in their 3MA.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 R Side Front

Reverse-cylinder engines claim a number of performance advantages, although the reality is that actual gains are very minimal. The main goal in the 3MA appears to have been packaging: two-stroke exhausts require bulging expansion chambers for optimal performance, and wrapping them around engines and behind fairings and underneath swingarms can be a packaging nightmare. In the TZR 3MA’s case, the expansion chambers are tucked up neatly under the rider to exit through the tail section, avoiding cornering clearance and swingarm fouling problems, in addition to saving some weight and any ram-air benefits the bike might have seen from mounting the carbs at the front of the engine.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 L Side

The 3MA TZR’s handling was supposedly excellent, and the little twin made good power compared to its rivals. Unfortunately, the bike quickly developed a reputation for being very unreliable compared to the RGV and NSR, although I’ve read comments in various two-stroke forum threads claiming that they’re no worse than any other bike in the class. There’s really nothing here an experienced two-stroke rider wouldn’t expect, so the main concern with the 3MA is limited parts availability, although eBay and Google can likely provide most of what you need if you have a little patience.

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale

I have for sale a 1989 Yamaha TZR250 with a 3MA20 engine, wiring harness and ECU but a 00 clutch and top end. We did NOT import this bike whole but spent about 5 yrs getting parts and pieces for from all over the world to make this a complete running/racing bike. This bike was not sold in the US but can be titled here for street use or raced in Vintage Roadracing classes through a number of organizations.

She is a two stroke streetbike that was issued in Japan for street use or roadracing. She is about 95% complete, starts and runs (have even tested it around the streets of Indy). Doghouse shown in pictures is the only new piece of freshly painted bodywork on the bike ~ I have everything else to install still but have not yet since she wasn’t completely built but could be tested this way and if anything happened, the new bodywork would still be pristine. I have a Japanese title and registration for her. I have the paperwork for Indiana BMV to assign a new VIN # to her and issue a Indiana title for her. Things still needing done ~ Rear brake caliper is leaking and needs replacing (I put in a rebuild kit and it still leaks ~  it needs replacing). Windscreen is not the proper one and too small for the bike ~ got tired of dealing with the supplier I was working with. Custom painted bodywork needs to be fitted to bike but have all pieces ~ front fender and doghouse already installed ~ seat, side panels and rears need to be installed. You can keep the old bodywork on her too. Wheels freshly powder coated white. New tires just put on last year.

Currently oil tank is not connected due to trying to keep the gas tank from rusting any further by using oil/fuel mixed in the fuel tank. A dust seal on LH Fork needed. Like I said, some minor things need finishing that I just can’t do or afford right now. Just one hell of a bike. I will try to post a video of her starting and running. Contact us with any questions. This is also listed locally on Craigslist. Whenever it sells, the ads will be removed from both Ebay and Craigslist.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 L Side Front
The seller also includes a video of the bike starting and running. It’s great that this TZR is here and I’ve developed a real fascination with this particular model. These reverse-cylinder bikes were a bit of a failure in practice, but they’re very cool and, for some insane reason I’ve put the 3MA on my wish list. But importing a bike in pieces seems to absolutely be the most difficult way to go about purchasing a TZR250. The question is: since these are being regularly imported these days from Japan and elsewhere, why go through the trouble to bring one in in pieces? A noble endeavor, but that’s a pretty big hassle. Did the seller begin the project before that was commonly done? Was he avoiding import taxes on a complete machine, or planning to title it as a “kit bike”? The seller does mention that he has Japanese paperwork for the bike, so I’d imagine it be just as easy, or just as difficult to get the bike registered, depending on where you live.

-tad

1989 Yamaha TZR250 Fairing Panels

I Come In Pieces: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 for Sale
Yamaha August 5, 2016 posted by

Nearly New: Ultra Low-Mileage 1989 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

1989 Yamaha FZR400 L Front

Smaller versions of big bikes are often built to a price. Even if they are serious sports machines, they can often lack some of the shiniest bells and whistles of the top-of-the range bikes. But not so the Yamaha FZR400. In fact, the 400 was actually considered to be a more sporting machine than the 600cc version. The larger bike obviously made more power, but had a heavier, less rigid steel frame, compared to the 400’s aluminum part. In fact, it was pretty common to stuff the 600 into the 400 to create a lightweight, powerful back road tool. The FZR400s 399cc four-cylinder produced a claimed 64hp and weighed in at 410lbs with fluids, which is plenty of power to play with on the road. Especially the twisty ones where this bike excels.

1989 Yamaha FZR400 R Fairing

Considered a “middleweight sport bike” when new, the Yamaha FZR400 isn’t all that exotic, but it is pretty rare, especially in this kind of condition. This isn’t a bike to impress your non-riding friends and neighbors, but these have had quite the rabid following since their introduction. And unlike the other cult bikes of the era like the Hawk GT and CB1, this was a no-compromise sports machine.

1989 Yamaha FZR400 Dash

Obviously, the Buy it Now of $6,900 that the seller’s asking is slightly shocking, given what nice, higher mileage examples are going for. But, with less than 1,000 miles on the odometer, it may literally be the nicest, lowest-mileage FZR400 in the US or maybe anywhere. So if you’re a completest looking for the very best to fill a hole in your collection, perhaps that price makes sense.

1989 Yamaha FZR400 L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

Absolutely MINT 1989 Yamaha FZR400. This may be the finest one in the US. Premium motorcycle, premium price reflecting its condition and the extra swingarm. All original, no modifications. Never dropped, raced, crashed or otherwise damaged. It’s been sitting in an enclosed storage unit or my garage since I purchased it two years ago. One tiny rock chip in upper left headlight fairing. Front master cylinder sticks from lack of use. I’ve discounted the price by $200 to cover the minor repair. The carbs need cleaning.

Comes with buffed 1990 FZR400 swingarm for the perfect combination of a virtually new FZR400 with the later Deltabox swingarm.

Reason for selling? Health issues. I have 28 motorcycles and am paring down. The FZR is in Point Roberts, Washington. I can deliver the motorcycle to Blaine, Washington for pickup by you or motor freight. Clear Washington title, not just bill of sale.

1989 Yamaha FZR400 Rear Wheel

The problem is that the appeal of these is that they’re nearly perfect rider’s machines, designed to be thrashed within an inch of their lives all day, needing just oil and tire changes to keep them going. A bike like yesterday’s RG500 race bike makes a certain amount of sense even if you have no plans to ride it, since it’s value isn’t just as a functional device. It has race history, exotic components, and would look positively amazing in someone’s office. This little FZR is a great, inexpensive tool for Yamaha aficionados or back-road hooligans. But although this may be the very nicest FZR400 available on the planet, the price sort of defeats the purpose.

-tad

1989 Yamaha FZR400 Front

Nearly New: Ultra Low-Mileage 1989 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale
Yamaha August 3, 2016 posted by

Don’t Quote Me On This: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

1989 Yamaha TZR250 R Side

The TZR250 was Yamaha’s entry into the hotly-contested quarter-liter class wars that raged throughout the 80s and 90s. Early TZR250s were powered by a fairly conventional liquid-cooled parallel twin, and the last generation used a 90° v-twin like rivals from Suzuki and Honda. But in between, Yamaha experimented with an interesting solution to give the 3MA version of the bike a competitive advantage.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 Dash

All of these 250cc two strokes were very close in terms of specifications: weight, displacement, power were all nearly identical, so every little bit helped. The 3MA version of the TZR250 saw the cylinders spun around 180° from what you might expect, with the carburetors at the front where they could gulp fresh air and the exhaust exiting out the rear. This helped solve some of the packaging issues involving the bulbous expansion chambers needed for two-stroke performance, keeping them tucked up inside the bodywork instead of having to route them under or around the engine.

Overall, this particular TZR250 looks like a decent enough bike on the surface, but I’m betting the seller is aiming far too high with the starting bid. Under the bodywork, things look a bit iffy: anyone care to weigh in on exactly what is going on with the right side of the engine? Bodged repair? Cobbled-together block-off plate so the bike can run premix?

And is that the cover for the YPVS power-valve system missing?!

1989 Yamaha TZR250 R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

The Yamaha TZR250 is a motorcycle manufactured and produced by the Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Yamaha between 1986 and 1996. Yamaha produced the road going two-stroke motorcycle, loosely based on the TZ250 Yamaha racing bike. Parallel-twin, reverse cylinder and finally V-twin variants were produced. It evolved as a natural replacement for the popular RD250/RD350 series of the 1980s. It has the Yamaha Power Valve System (YPVS) which raises and lowers the exhaust port depending on the rpm of the engine. The YPVS servo motor starts to open at about 6,000rpm. In standard form 50 bhp is claimed at 10,000rpm. Although mid 40s is more realistic, and will not rev much above 9,500rpm in standard trim, owing to the restrictive standard exhausts and ignition boxes.

Racing

Still raced in the Yamaha pasta masters race series with the British racing club – BMCRC. Racing engines currently claiming circa 56 bhp @ 11,000rpm. Racing fuel ratios typically 1:30. Standard exhausts are difficult to improve on in terms of power and torque, but they are very large and impede ground clearance. Jolly Moto exhausts are popular replacements as they are lighter, produce similar performance, allow better ground clearance. An F3 racing kit was produced for a few years which included ignition boxes, carbs and exh, helping increase maximum revs, power and torque.

History

Production started in June 1986. At a cost of around $6,000 new on release it was seen as an expensive bike for a 250 cc, but given that places such as Japan, Italy and Australia had 250 licensing laws in place one can imagine the stir that something that could hassle 750s on a track caused. The parallel twin 2MA variant being the UK variant and the 1KT model being the domestic Japanese variant. Variations between these two models being minimal, e.g. wording on the brake master cylinder in English or Japanese. Lighting arrangements were also different, to comply with UK type approval regulations, particularly the indicators were mounted on stalks rather than faired into the bodywork.

In 1989, the parallel twin reverse cylinder version, 3MA arrived. If you wanted a lightweight backroad weapon decorated with speedblock graphics in the late 80s and early 90s, your choice was clear: YAMAHA TZR250 3MA. In between, Yamaha’s 1989-1990 3MA version of the TZR used an unusual reversed-head configuration that had the carburetors mounted on the front of the engine, giving the exhausts a clear shot up under the seat and out the tail-section, avoiding expansion-chamber clearance issues. Backed by a six-speed gearbox and mounted in a classic Deltabox frame, the complete package made 50hp, depending on tune and weighed in at 308lbs wet.

This particular example has been well-used, with 20900 km on the clock, and does have some minor wear-and-tear, but is extremely clean with the fairings off.

What’s interesting here is that the entire end of the seller’s description “If you wanted a lightweight backroad weapon…” is actually a quote by me from this post. So it’s me quoting him quoting me. What happens when someone quotes this post for a book on the TZR250, and then I end up using that book as a resource? Will the world explode? My head certainly will. Will time and space as we know it end? One day, I hope to find out.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 L Side Engine

In any event, the only thing more mind-blowing than the fact that I’m quoting myself being quoted in this post is the $9,900 starting bid. That’s just huge money for what is a very cool [I really want one of these] but ultimately unsuccessful bike. The theory makes sense, but in practice there were other, better ways to skin this two-stroke cat and it was only made for a couple years, before Yamaha switched to a v-twin like rivals from Honda and Suzuki. Unless prices have jumped suddenly, this is crazy money for the 3MA since recent examples have sold for between $4,000 and $5,000. Later TZR250 3XV are generally more valuable, but I think the price would be unrealistic, even then.

-tad

1989 Yamaha TZR250 Rear

Don’t Quote Me On This: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale