Stephen Ross takes a look at a bike designed to have fun on and to encourage new riders to hit the trails.
The Yamaha TT-R230 is a new model that was brought out last year in direct competition to Hondas CRF230 (as profiled in January's issue). Like the Honda, it runs a two valve single overhead cam four-stroke and is aimed at entry level riders or smaller framed people.
In the product lineup it sits just under the TT-R250, which is a four-valve double overhead cam, so more power but also more cost. At first glance, the TTR230 looks sleek in it's stance with the steering angle and body kit giving it the appearance of a full-on motocross bike.
With a "stressed member" type frame the engine is incorporated into the frame itself to keep the weight down. This also allows for a little more ground clearance, but if you do manage to use all that clearance up, there's a fairly solid crash bar style cover underneath the engine.
Hopping on the bike the first thing you'll notice is the low-ish seat height, at 870mm you'll be sitting 45mm lower than on a TTR-250.The controls are the standard basic controls you'd expect to find and include a push button electric start. Our test bike for the day was literally out of the box and the battery didn't quite have the charge to crank the engine over. This is when we discovered there's no kick start.
After a quick jump start the engine came to life. Not a loud roar, the noise level was actually rather low. A characteristic that would certainly appeal if your riding area requires you to not upset livestock or neighbors.
The engine power was adequate and constant in its delivery with no surprises at any stage. You won't find yourself standing on top of the podium but like they say "the brighter the light, the quicker it burns", so due to the engine not being designed to "burn that bright", I'd have to agree with Yamaha's claim that it won't need constant maintenance and attention to keep running for a very long time.
Because of the likelihood of this bike been used in the twists and turns of the trails rather than going flat out in a straight line, Yamaha have had room to play with the steering angles. In doing so this bike is really easy to handle and is quick to turn without a lot of effort.
There's a six-speed gearbox with a fairly low first gear which again suits the beginner and intermediate riders and is perfect for getting through the rough stuff.
The suspension isn't adjustable; however the factory settings on the new linkage-mounted rear shock and 36mm front fork suited the bike and had no problems dealing the fairly rough terrain we put it through.
Again, the potential for really high speeds is reflected in the justification of just a 130mm Drum brake on the rear and the standard two piston single caliper 220mm Disc brake on the front. Opting for the drum brake has also kept the cost down.
And that cost is pretty good value at $6495 when you consider the TT-R250 is priced at $9995.
This really would be a great entry level bike, it's light and easy to chuck around. It is solely for off road riding as it can't be modified for road registration without a lot of work and cost.
Many thanks to Sawyers Motorcycles for letting us get their new bike dirty.
For more information visit your local Yamaha dealer or visit www.yamaha-motor.co.nz
By Stephen Ross
Engine type: 4-stroke 2 valve single
Bore & Stroke: 70.0 x 58.0mm
Compression: 9.5 : 1
Lubrication: Wet Sump
Transmission: Six speed
Final drive: Chain
Fuel tank: 8.0 litre
Seat Height: 870mm
Dry weight: 107kg
Suspension Front: Telescopic fork; 239mm travel
Suspension Rear: Monocross; 221mm travel
Brakes Front: Disc - 220mm
Brakes Rear: Drum - 130mm
Tyres Front: 80/100 - 21
Tyres Rear: 100/100 - 18