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The Whippet: 1986 Yamaha SDR200 for Sale

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side Front

There’s an interesting ongoing discussion in the comments section on this site regarding exactly what qualifies as a “rare sport bike.” Bikes seem to fall into three general categories: exotics like Bimota or limited-edition Ducatis. Bikes that weren’t rare when new, but have become rare simply because good examples have become scarce through attrition, like the early GSX-R models.

But my favorite are the quirky, unusual bikes that are rarely seen outside of their home markets, or failed to find an audience when new. This Yamaha SDR200 definitely falls into that third category.

1986 Yamaha SDR200 L Rear

It’s not glamorous, or especially powerful. There are no bits of carbon bodywork, or titanium fasteners, or magnesium engine cases. It does feature a delicate, gorgeous trellis frame and swingarm combo that looks more “Maserati Birdcage” than “Ducati Monster.”

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side

With its three-quarters scale proportions, this bike would probably not be the best choice for many “American-sized” riders. But if you’re petite, or don’t care that you look a bit ridiculous as a big man on a little bike, this might be a perfect, unusual ride. It certainly isn’t tame: with 34bhp on tap from the two-stroke single that featured Yamaha’s YPVS power-valve system, 6 gears to play with, and only 230 pounds [dry] to push, this thing should be an absolute laugh-riot. With those skinny tires, at or near its 100mph top speed, I’m sure people you’ve passed would be convinced they’d just been blown off by a jet-powered bicycle!

1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Side Engine

From the original eBay listing: 1986 Yamaha SDR200 for Sale

This bike has 13,700km on the clock (8200 miles) but has about 500 miles on the complete restoration. I had this bike taken down to the bare frame (see pics), everything was gone through. I doubt you will ever find one like this again, it was a fun project and somewhat taxing at times finding parts but they do exist, there is a large cult following in Japan and a company that specifically specializes in SDR200s. This bike is currently registered and plated here in California good until February of 2015.

I will try to recall the best I can the mechanical here. The motor was taken apart and installed a new piston ring set and piston, base gasket, head gasket, fork seals, clutch basket, alternator gasket, oil pump gasket, water pump gasket, water pump seal, needle and seat for the carburetor, float bowl o-ring, airbox to carb boot, new triple clamp bearings, new wheel bearings, new steering bearings, new swing arm and linkage bearings, new air filter, new battery with trickle charger, and new chain. These items were replaced not because they had to be, but I wanted it new.

1986 Yamaha SDR200 Rear

It’s pretty easy to see why this thing earned the nickname “Whippet”, and tt strangely reminds me of the Sachs MadAss: there’s something playful about it. The design is fully-realized and mature, even if the bike’s raison d’être is hooliganism.

The seller is asking $6,200 which seems like a whole lot of cash for a quirky little two-stroke with no racing history, regardless of how much money he’s sunk into the restoration. On the other hand, if you are a fan of these, I’d imagine you won’t see another one this nice in the US anytime soon, and the price is fully one-tenth the price of a Ducati Panigale Superleggera, which makes it seem a bit like a bargain…


1986 Yamaha SDR200 R Front


  • Wicked!! I like it. For the rarity in the U.S. alone, it might be worth the price.

  • A little history… This bike shares its engine with the DT200R, and the WR200. Both of those bikes were sold in Canada! The DT200R is also a hoot on the street, as it is a dual-purpose. I have one of those. From what I can see, these engines go forever. If you look at pictures from Europe and the Middle East, you’ll see odometers with over 40,000 km.m’s. Not bad for a small single two stroke. You can also rebuild it very economically.
    In my opinion, this is a gorgeous bike, that’ll surprise it’s owner with its handling and speed.

  • From what I see the Bidding is up to $6200.00, and reserve is not met yet. This is NOT a quirky little two stroke!!! This is a well researched product put out by the two stroke masters, YAMAHA! (I do see what you were saying though!) If a person bought this bike it probably would be one of the easiest bikes to maintain and service in the years to come. All of the parts on the bike are well proven, readily available, and were offered on other Yamaha’s. ie.- brake calipers, fork tubes, piston, etc. BTW- This is also the engine used in the Blaster, I believe. They just didn’t use a power valve. You’re right, though, a better purchase than a Ducati.

    • I love writing about stuff like this. I am a big fan of Ducati, but you can only write so many things about the same old models we tend to post up on the site. Honestly, this was the first I’d ever heard of the little SDR200, and I’m glad I stumbled over it: that frame really is a work of art. It’s a small bike with big-bike style. Very mature-looking.

  • Aaaggghhh! Saw the title and now this is stuck in my head!

    whip it
    Into shape
    Shape it up
    Get straight
    Go forward
    Move ahead
    Try to detect it
    It’s not too late
    To whip it
    Whip it good

    • What’s especially funny to me about your Devo reference is that I used “Girl You Want” in a post recently over on CSBFS…

  • DEVO-ted

  • There’s a breed of dogs called Whippets too. They’re are as cool as the SDR above. Ha-ha.

  • Don’t forget the 4 wheeled whippets

  • Put some slicks on that wicked little thing and find a nice tight section of flowing roads and blow the big-bore wankers into the weeds!!

  • Damn, that dude wants ALL the money!

  • I LOVE the “quirky, unusual bikes that are rarely seen outside of their home markets, or failed to find an audience when new”!!! its like 50% of the reason i go to this site. thank you for sharing this cool Yamaha 🙂

  • Yamaha has had a long history of producing different, niche, or “quirky” bikes. Kudo’s to them!

  • I don’t know where you get your hp figures from… a stock yamaha blaster (same engine) has 18-20 hp. I find it hard to believe this bike has approximately double the power a blaster engine produces.

    • I’d probably agree with you. But I bet is has over 30! If you put a single ring piston, pipe, and maybe some porting you’d get 40 h.p.! A stock 250 2 stroke dirt bike got 45 h.p. easy. This is not the “same” engine, as I mentioned, there was no power valves on the Blaster, and I believe it was air cooled as well. That means a lower state of tune.

  • A “modern” two stroke dirt bike has 45 + hp, this bike is nearing 30 years old

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