Posts by tag: 3MA

Yamaha August 7, 2018 posted by

One-Eighty: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a Yamaha TZR250 3MA for sale, and the bike is both very rare and also a sportbike, so we’re posting this one, even though it isn’t in perfect condition. I’m a huge fan of this particular iteration of the TZR, because of course I’m a fan of the weird, slightly less-than-successful version of any bike. With competition very fierce in the 250cc sportbike class and specifications so similar, Honda, Suzuki, Yamaha, and occasionally Kawasaki were all looking for a competitive advantage. The bikes all had aluminum beam frames, liquid-cooled two-stroke twins, and power valves to boost midrange. Light weight meant incredible agility and the triple disc brakes were almost overkill for the 300lb machines.

Although two-stroke engines are very compact, routing the bulky de rigueur expansion chambers meant design compromises: the typical quarter-liter solution meant asymmetrical “banana” style swingarms that looked cool and allowed the expansion chambers to tuck in close to the centerline and maximize cornering clearance, but added weight.

Yamaha had a different idea. Why not flip the cylinders of their parallel twin around 180° so that the carburetors were at the front and the exhausts exited toward the rear? Since two-strokes lack camshafts or valvetrain, this was pretty simple to do for the 3MA version, and meant there were no worries routing the exhaust and expansion chambers around the bike’s lower half. Instead, they went straight back and out through the tail, creating a slight bulge in panels just below the seat.

The concept was sound but the bike was produced for just two years and is generally considered a failure, although its reputation for mechanical unreliability is apparently a bit of an exaggeration. It was light and handled brilliantly, but the reversed-cylinders offered no real advantage. A failed experiment, the bike was only officially sold in Japan, although the bike did find its way to parts of Europe as a parallel import.

This little TZR is a complete machine and appears to be original, but is a little scruffy around the edges, although it’s hard to tell from the pics. I’m seeing the typical corrosion and discoloration you’d expect on a Japanese bike of this era, especially one that likely spent it’s first few years in the salt air of its homeland.

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

1989 Yamaha TZR 250 3MA, no reserve
New tires, chain and sprockets, carbs rebuilt, fresh service
Very low kilometers, runs good, aftermarket exhaust chambers, bodywork is OEM
I can send running video, call me or text me 954-809-8596
My name is Mike

Hi, Mike! This isn’t my favorite color combo for this bike, but you can’t go wrong with basic black. The $5,500 opening bid is probably in the ball park, but I wonder what the reserve is. TZRs are rare, but seem to generally be less desirable than NSRs. Personally I love the look and general weirdness of the 3MA, but there was no performance advantage for the backwards cylinders, and I’ve read that parts are harder to source than for earlier parallel twins or later 3XV v-twin TZRs. Basically, it’s a cool bike, but it’s the oddity and style that appeal most, and this one is a runner, but in need of a bit of cosmetic TLC.

-tad

One-Eighty: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale
Yamaha May 1, 2017 posted by

Grey Day: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA

It’s a “when it rains it pours” type of situation with TZRs here on RSBFS. Given last week’s 3MA model posting from a California location, here comes one from the other side of the US – Florida. Ironically, the seller claims that this one came from California a few years previous. In what small circles do rare bikes run!

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for sale on eBay

As staff writer Tad has captured in a previous post of this generation TZR: “The 3MA version of the TZR250 saw the head 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.” The net effect is not more power – that is unchanged from a conventional head setup – but rather the ability to keep all the bits tidy from front to back. Do not underestimate the difficulty in fitting expansion chambers neatly inside the bodywork. The 3MA was Yamaha’s novel solution.

From the seller:
1989 Yamaha TZR250 Bought a few years ago from California. The bike dose not have a Title and is sold as is. It runs and rides. That said I have not ridden it in a few months. Its in good condition over all. Any questions or pictures just ask.

A no title two stroke is a roll of the dice in today’s world. If you are a US resident, you may or may not have a shot at registering something like this. Being that this bike is based in Florida, I would have thought that was about the best chance you had to obtain a license plate. As always, do your homework with your local DMV constabulary *before* plunking down big dollars. Otherwise, this looks like it would make a pretty sweet track day bike. You do engage in track days, don’t you??

That said, the opening ask for this one is $4,000 USD. The seller notes it has not been ridden in a few months, which means it likely has racked up few miles in the last year. That is a warning for engine seals and other goodies; smokers need to run in order to survive, and old engine seals are a quick trip to a seize and a high-side. Figure a mild refresh in your estimates to be on the safe side – until you know for sure. Only a few days left with no takers. Check it out here, and good luck!

MI

Yamaha April 26, 2017 posted by

Hat on Backwards: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

Competition between the Japanese manufacturers in the 250cc sportbike class was fierce, with each trying for some small advantage in terms of performance, given the limited displacement and government-mandated power cap. On paper, they all seem to follow a pretty standard template: a compact two-stroke twin cylinder engine, power-valves of one sort or another, and an aluminum beam frame. But each manufacturer went their own way trying to maximize performance within those fairly narrow parameters. While development eventually led to the NSR, RGV, and TZR all using v-twins, there were a few experiments along the way, and today’s TZR250 3MA represents an interesting attempt to solve the packaging issues inherent in two-stroke design.

Obviously, two-stroke engines are very compact by nature: with no overhead-valves or cams, they’re short, simple, and very light. But while the exhaust expansion chambers required for a performance two-stroke may not weigh all that much, their bulging shape takes up valuable real estate in a motorcycle. The famous “gull arm” swingarms of the period were one solution to the problem and allowed the chambers to tuck in close to the centerline of the bike to maximize cornering clearance. But the 3MA version of the TZR250 went a different route by reversing the cylinders so that the carburetors were at the front, with the exhausts exiting directly out the rear of the bike instead of curving around the sides or underneath. The bulbous expansion chambers fitted neatly into the seat, with the exhaust exiting through the tail.

The design was eventually replaced by the v-twin 3XV version introduced in 1991 after just two years, so the experiment can be considered a bit of a failure. But there’s nothing inherently wrong with the idea, and this is one of my favorite bikes of the era, at least in terms of looks and the weird factor: it’s my deep and not-so-secret shame that I haven’t ridden one yet, but here’s hoping that the stars will align and I’ll be able to find a decent California-titled example when the time is right. Scouting around the message boards, it seems that the bike’s reputation for poor reliability is exaggerated but, as these were not often seen anywhere outside of Japan, parts availability will prove difficult.

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

The parallel twin reverse cylinder version. The bike is imported from Japan. Not registered yet in the U.S. This bike is sold without title. (NO TITLE) Start engine. Original Cowl. New Aftermarket Front fork innre tubes. Dragging brakes. Need to change tires (flat tire) and a battery. Some scratches and rust, so look carefully all pictures and video. This motorcycle is 28 years ago. Sold as is.

11271km (7003mile) LOW MILE. Sold as is with NO warranty NO refunds NO return. Buyer responsible for vehicle pick-up or shipping to your location. (ITEM AT CARSON NOW)

There’s also a helpful clip of the bike starting, running, and revving. The seller’s English is a bit limited, but it looks like the bike runs from the video and just needs a little TLC: a brake rebuild, new tires, and some minor cosmetic issues. Normally nothing you’d find shocking in a 28 year old motorcycle, but make sure you’re prepared to troll eBay and use Google Translate to track down parts to keep this running. It’s certainly not pristine and it’s not the cleanest example we’ve featured on this site, but if the price is right, it won’t take all that much to get this one on the road. Obviously, the usual titling issues apply, so I doubt this bike will remain in Southern California.

-tad

Hat on Backwards: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA 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

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

unnamed

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 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
Yamaha October 27, 2015 posted by

More JDM Madness: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA R Side Rear

With many lightweight sportbikes now flirting with the edge of 25-year import rules, I expect we’ll see more and more bikes like this Yamaha TZR250 up for sale in the next couple of years. Road and track weapons designed to keep pace with Honda, Suzuki, and Kawasaki in the viciously-competitive 250cc class, the 1989-1990 TZR250 featured an interesting reversed-cylinder two-stroke parallel-twin, with the carburetors mounted on the front of the engine. This gave them easy access to cool, dense air and, more importantly, gave the exhausts a clear shot out the tail of the bike. The expansion chambers required for two-stroke performance create significant packaging challenges, and this design meant the bike didn’t need to route them under or around the engine.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA L Side

As expected, the TZR250 made bang-on the Japanese government-mandated 45hp limit, with plenty of extra available once de-restricted. With just 308lbs to haul around, including fluids, these are seriously nimble machines that require rider involvement and reward skill in a way that bigger bikes can’t hope to match.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA Carbs

These 3MA parallel-twins do have a bit of a reputation for being unreliable. But owners forums claim that’s mostly a myth, and that they’re just as reliable, or unreliable, as other two-stroke sportbikes of the period. As to why this particular design didn’t last, it’s not necessarily that the design didn’t work, it’s that the layout ultimately didn’t have enough of a benefit to continue development, and Yamaha switched to a v-twin in 1991 to keep pace with Honda and Suzuki.

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA Gauges

 

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

Up for sale is “1989 YAMAHA TZR250 3MA” rare 2stroke sports!!

The bike is imported from Japan and without title now, but I can get it with Extra charge.

Good running condition but needs carb setting from 5000rpm more up.

I’m guessing main jets or needles are too big so too rich.

Can through all gears.

Bike has new battery.

Electrics all work.

Brakes are work well.

Used motorcycle with scratches and wear as 26 ages.

Have hairline cracks and chips on cowls, so look carefully all pictures and video.

And then, feel free email me for more info on this bike!

Speedo meter is looks original but actual mile is unknown.

Doesn’t have Air Cleaners.

Will needs new tires.

Sold as is no warranty.

Thank you for looking!!

Well hey man, if you think it’s running rich, maybe fitting those missing air cleaners might be a good idea? The seller also includes the usual start up and walk around video, which is always appreciated. Also, note the tach that doesn’t even bother with numbers below 3,000rpm…

Like so many of these little two-strokes that have shown up recently, this is no display piece, but appears to be in very nice physical condition. And while I’d worry about sourcing body panels and non-consumable parts, piston kits and the like are still available for these, so keeping them running shouldn’t be impossible with a bit of patience and effort. After making sure that the factory airbox and filter are present and accounted for, obviously…

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA L Side Rear

If you happen to live somewhere a bike like this can be titled and ridden on the road, it would make a very fun addition to your stable and sure to start conversations every time you stop to top off! Which, considering the fairly dismal mileage these get, should be pretty often…

-tad

1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA R Side Unfaired

More JDM Madness: 1989 Yamaha TZR250 3MA for Sale