This was a bike I should have liked, but didn't! I should have liked it because trail-bikes are where I began in motorcycles. And even though it'd been many years since I'd owned a trailie, I will always have a soft-spot for trailbikes. (And I'm talking about the bike, not a patch of mud to go ride them in!). So I should have liked this. Maybe the fact that it was all on tarred-road and through traffic was the problem. I'm sure if I'd been riding out along a fire-trail somewhere I would have loved it!
This was another open-day ride-session. For Yamahas in general, not just the TT250. (The Zeal 250 - which I have mentioned in the "More" section - was another one I rode that day). That meant that I was riding it in company with a bunch of other Yamaha models - which were all road-bikes. So not an ideal situation to test an enduro-style 250!
One of the things I don't like about trail-bikes is the seat; they are usually very narrow and not terribly well padded. Sensitive old bums get a bit sore on these sort of things!
When we set off on the group ride, I was soon left behind. That's probably not unusual, but this time it was the bike that was slow, not the rider! The motor didn't really impress. I once owned an SR250, which was a road-bike based very heavily on an XT250, so I was familiar with the characteristics of a single-cylinder 4-stroke power-plant. The donk in the old SR was slow, but quite smooth. This, however, was very harsh. It didn't want to rev. Sure, as I watched things like the R6 disappear off into the distance, it would feel slow; but it felt slow and harsh.
Not only did it not go well, it also didn't stop well! A very big squeeze was required on the lever to produce what seemed like even normal amounts of braking. This was surprising because brakes are something that you do need when riding off-road! And unlike the old trail-bikes I used to own, this had a disk-brake.
As I mentioned, I had trail-bikes for a long time, and while their on-road performance was often lacking, I don't recall them being this unpleasant to ride!
The further I rode though (with the rest of the group long out of sight) it started to feel a bit better. It actually handled reasonably well (for a trailie on the road!) and I started to feel confident of poking it in and out of the traffic and cornering at speeds that were above the "Go slow it's got knobbies on!" warning my brain kept dictating I should ride at.
The most impressive part of the ride came right at the end. As I came back to the dealer's, I purposely avoided the driveway and rode it straight at the gutter. It of course went up and over it almost like it wasn't there. Ah yes, that's better!
As I said, if I'd been riding it out in the bush on a fire-trail, I'm sure I would have loved it. But around town nothing seemed to work as well as it should have; which was disappointing, because as I said at the start, this is a bike I should have liked!
Perhaps the amazing thing about the TT250 is that it is still with us, in basically similar form to the one I rode back in 2003. (It's actually called the TTR-250, by the way). It still has an air-cooled, carburettored, 250cc 4-stroke engine. Even the looks are very similar.
In its day, it was a serious enduro machine; and actually won a few titles. It has long since been surpassed as a compeition machine, but Yamaha have kept it on as a trail-bike. (They list it under that category on their web-site).
Fill the 10-litre tank up and it still only weighs 131kg. So it's light.
I wasn't so impressed with it on the road, but I've heard that these things can be pretty handy in the bush. Anything that used to successfuly compete in enduro competitions a few years ago can't be a bad thing as a trail-bike. So it'd be well worth considering for that. And at $7,299 (+ORC) it's pretty reasonable value too.
It seems the old Yamaha trailie (once an Enduro weapon) continues unchanged.
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