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Un-mothballed – 1988 Yamaha TZR250

Without being over-spec’ed or blingy, Yamaha’s entry into the 249cc learner-sports class was right-sized, nicely put together, and handled straight out of the box.  This one has been on display and recently returned to the land of the living.

1988 Yamaha TZR250 for sale on eBay


Like the RD350 whose success it was trying to copy, the TZR250 used a parallel twin engine, the twin Mikuni carburetors ( with bores not much much bigger than your thumb ) making 50 hp.  The alloy DeltaBox frame is as close to overdone as anything got on the TZR, but chassis rigidity pays double in predictable handling.  The forks were not adjustable and the monoshock for preload only, but reviewers said they got it right.  Front brake was a single 320mm disk, but with a four piston caliper.  Front and rear tires were 17 inchers.

In surprising condition for its age, this TZR has run just 5,700 miles.  No comment about whether this is a gray market import, but there is the KMH speedometer.  The previous owner’s cosmetic restoration is mentioned in the video  and here are some of the comments from the eBay auction:


New Battery & amp; Battery Tender Hookup – which can also be used to run Electric gear

New front and rear brake fluids flushed and replaced with Honda Pro DOT 4

Carbs were Digitally Synchronized

OEM Air filter checked –  is as if new

Perfect Mechanical and Cosmetic condition and needs nothing

Replaced the fork oil with 15W

New transmission oil

Oil Injection Tank filled up

Coolant flushed and replaced

New set of tires have 300 miles on them in 4 rides this last year

Yamaha went on to a reversed cylinder twin ( carbs in front, exhausts in back ) in 1989 and finally joined the crowd with a V-twin in 1991.  But the original can often be the best.  A bit pricey for a 250, the TZR languished for their last couple of years here.  This early and seemingly correct example will go far, but probably not outdoors…




  • 9.9 out of 10 is pretty aggressive rating! I can see rash and scratches on the handbar controls just from a quick flip through the pics. Maybe on a 9/10 this would be acceptable but this is claiming perfect! Can’t be sure but front fender looks quite light color and turn signals are wrong color. It take exception with the rating on the TZR but otherwise in very nice condition!

  • As an owner and restorer of these bikes, and having built 10/10 examples, I think the seller’s 9.9/10 rating is off the mark for his 1988 model, and by more than a little bit. 9.9/10 bikes don’t have corroded chain adjusters and rear axle nuts. They don’t have the wrong mirrors and front signals. They don’t have incorrect upper and lower fairing hardware. They don’t have scratched windscreens. They don’t have the wrong colored wheels. They don’t have aftermarket pipes. They don’t have worn switchgear and marred swingarms. 9.9/10 bikes have flawless paintwork and they have fresh motors. 9.9/10 bikes leave no doubt with just a quick glance that they are outstanding and accurate examples and appear just as they left the Yamaha factory. As a 10/10 builder and restorer my ranking on this bike is an 8. It’s a nice bike, but it’s not a great bike. There are some very good things and some obviously bad things. It can be a great bike, but it needs work to get there, including a fresh motor. Maybe I grade harshly, or maybe I just know what a correct 10/10 1988 TZR250 1KT looks like. It doesn’t look like this.

  • This bike is not an 88 it’s Japanese market bike the red speed light is the dead give away. That is a Japanese market thing from the 80’s. It was some law indicating you was at 88 kph some kind of speed law that was gone by 89.

    Now in Japan this would have been no newer than a 87 year. The 88 year in Japan had some updates updated cylinders to hard plated style with exhaust sub port added and power valves to match. Different aluminium colored center cases with larger 8 pedal reed blocks vs 6 petals.

    Wider rims 2.75 front with a 3.50 rear allowing radials. Larger front axle and fork lowers to accommodate. Different swingarm and linkage setup changing shock to fork type attachment vs eyelet style. Also a different color scheme as well and a slightly different electronic system in the cdi.
    Was not sold outside of Japan has model designation of 2xt.

    I know because i have bought all of those parts to update a 87 model with. There was many of the 86/87 models sold in Japan and not as many of the 88.

    All euro or Canadian models won’t have the Japanese mirrors oem or the integrated rear turn signals and tail light. It would have the turn signals down and off to the sides and different mirrors.

    One of my favorite 250’s to ride even compared to my newer one’s.

  • I think in this case you both are totally correct. I don’t think any of us are getting it twisted, this is a very nice Japanese import but the seller is definitely misrepresenting the bike at a 9.9/10.

    Totally missed the white wheels as this is how I build mine given they look great that way!

  • Just a refresh for anyone. A 1kt is A JDM. 2ma prefix are UK bikes. 2me are Canada. 2xt was the 88 that Joe mentions. I have a nice 1kt with “adult mods”. These bikes are most enjoyable. I sneak in a session on most track days that I that I ride with my Gixxer. I would think it makes 7500? That’s solid money. Wahoo!

  • eBay shows sold for 7,250.00


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