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Bikesales TTR250 Australian review
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Yamaha TTR250

Is Yamaha's TTR250 hiding a mean streak under that unpretentious outside?

 

Imagine your hootin’ down a long and open stretch of track, at near to the fastest pace you’re comfortable with. You’re 450F is skipping over the choppy terrain and you’re easing its mammoth amount of power on and off to keep things in check, ever alert for any nasty surprises. Then, someone blows past you on a TTR250. The TTR seems to be bucking about like a demented rodeo bull (albeit a very small one), but its rider just keeps the power on and rides off. How would that make you feel? How is this even possible?

Herein lays a secret that many dare not speak. Something so foreboding and paradigm-shifting that it would rock the trailriding fraternity to its very core, lest it ever be released. Today we will open the Pandora’s Box that holds the truths that have, until now, only been whispered in dark corners by folks of questionable mental capacity. We will reveal to you something so unpalatable to some that the rebuttal could well endanger us, but no longer can it remain hidden. Turn away now if this unnerves you for the next sentence is not for the weak-hearted.

The $7299 TTR250 can be ridden as fast in some places as a 450F.

Just writing those words have caused an eerie hush to befall my otherwise bustling suburb. And if we’ve upset you, well you just better get happy in the pants you got angry in, because it’s going to get worse.

AS YEARS GO BY
We fall in love with bikes all the time here. When we play the game of ‘Which bike would you buy if money was no object?’ it goes on for hours and hours and the list gets longer and more ridiculous. The latest addition to our mechanical love life is Yamaha’s venerable TTR250. Released in 1995, the TTR has become a favourite among those looking for a more ‘civilised’ and comfortable ride. It is in every sense of the word a ‘trailbike’. It’s not in any way a racebike.

It’s proven to be a reliable and dependable machine that’s both given plenty of riders their introduction to the sport and perhaps in equal numbers, everything some riders will ever need in a bike.

Yamaha’s website has an interesting if not a little optimistic blurb on the TTR. It says: “The TTR250 is fully at home with some expression of aggression. But oddly enough, the very character traits that make a TTR250 a formidable single-track warrior for advanced riders make it user-friendly for riders right down to novice ranking.”

Now I laughed at that until I thought back on what we did on the bike and aside from the term “single-track warrior” I’d have to agree. In fact I’m seriously surprised by what we were able to actually do on this bike and I reckon most of you will be too.

RELAX, GO TO IT
To look at, the TTR250 is nothing short of unassuming. Next to a new WR450F, the air-cooled traily looks dumpy and docile. It’s not in any way appealing to riders who spend all their time on 450F fire breathers. It wasn’t all that enticing to me when we took it out on a photo shoot.

Someone blasted away on a CRF450X and another roared off on a WR450F, leaving me to quietly put my way out the driveway and off to the trails. Some amount of disappointment that I wasn’t on one of the ‘cool’ bikes was alleviated by the fact that the TTR is essentially a couch with wheels. It’s so comfortable on that big, soft seat and the quiet exhaust and lack of vibration add to make it quite a serene ride. I was relaxed on the road. I still felt relaxed when we got to the trails. Normally I would fire up a little on the transit section and get psyched about wrestling the latest enduro missile over the next few hours. But, instead of having AC/DC in my head, I had Supertramp.

We entered the bush via a track that we’ve used for many years and therefore know like the back of our front fenders. It’s an open track that you can hit at a good pace as long as you’re mindful of some ruts that sit at 45 degrees towards the end. As a result of conditioning (ie years of riding that track flat out), I took off on the TTR and immediately looked to match the speed of the two 450s. To my surprise the TTR made it to the other end first.

Next trial was to tackle a short but fast, rocky downhill section that the enduro bikes should glide over at pace. The TTR didn’t so much glide as bobble, but it didn’t slow me down at all. I noticed the rear jumped up a few times and logged it in the memory banks for when we hit the jumps, but the front was stable and it was allowing me to have all the fun I wanted.

COULD THIS BE HAPPENING?
Over the next hour the TTR kept pace with the 450s in almost every situation. It was out-accelerated everywhere and in the sand section it couldn’t blast through like the champs. To stay in front up hills it needed a small head-start but once the revs were up, it was no easy haul in.

Once I had the momentum up the TTR was capable of maintaining a serious trail pace and again was doing it while continuing to provide the most comfortable of rides. I was blown away by how fast you can ride a TTR without any worrying moments. I was blown away by how much fun it was doing it too.

Keeping things in perspective, I did have a couple of moments. That rear that jumped up on the rocky downhill did so big time over a jump and we did an impressive but unplanned endo that thankfully ended before we reached the fast approaching ruts. I also very nearly lost the front after locking the brakes racing the CRF into a tight right hander, that I came into at enduro bike pace; not trailbike pace. It has to be said though that to trip the TTR up, I had to ride it well above its perceived capabilities.

THE VERDICT
We are thoroughly impressed with the TTR250. We already new it was a brilliant road/trail bike, but we had no idea it was so competent when given a blast in the bush. It’s not an equal for the enduro bikes in any way mind you and we’re not suggesting you should dump your WR-F for the TTR. But there’s a fair augment that it’s a more versatile bike than the WR-F. It’s designed to be as many things for as many people as possible and it does that job astoundingly well.   
CYBER TTR250
Want more from your TTR? There are plenty of people out there fiddlin’ and sharing their experiences. As with any bike straight off the showroom, the TTR’s set-up is a variable entity. We rode a standard machine, but you don’t have to. The TTR has been around long enough to have attracted all manner of mods, but for a good place to check out plenty of info on the little Yammie you should of course talk to your dealer, but also check out www.ttr250.com.

The website has plenty of great tips that cover both new and second-hand TTRs and contains links to other sites and threads that cover the history, love of, and mods for the TTR250 from all parts of the globe.    

Something you may find interesting is that some very fast Australian enduro racers actually swap the fork on their WR-Fs for TTR pins.


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smile Hey and ttr250.com even gets a mention.smile



-- Edited by Kaos on Friday 25th of August 2017 03:09:38 AM

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Good find Kaos - and what a great review!   https://www.bikesales.com.au/editorial/details/yamaha-ttr250-16154/

Makes me feel a bit guilty that my www.ttr250.com pages are now looking very dated disbelief

I still use FrontPage coz I am not great with IT and it's a simple system even if the result is a bit bland wink

Brian



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Simple like the TTR. If it aint broke......

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"whispered in dark corners by folks of questionable mental capacity" LOL! I would have called this forum a beacon of light rather than a dark corner, and I wonder if a certain Mr G Ballard would appreciate that description from his countrymen??
Nice conclusion, and something you can believe as there's no "financial influence" on the tester to rave about the bike to maintain the flow of test bikes from the manufacturer. Well found Kaos, and thanks for posting it up..

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