With the departure of Mick Andrews from  the Yamaha trials program development was something
of a hit miss affair. The TY 250 and 350 of the 1980’s was a great workhorse and in the right hands
can still be fairly competitive, but up against a modern bike it shows it’s age.

It then seems that some sort of “gay” movement arrived in the Yamaha Development Team with
the introduction of the “Pinkey” with it’s less than macho color schemes! Not that I was riding trials
at that time but how do you hold your head up when asked “What do you ride?”
“I ride a ……..!”

So in 1991 Yamaha announce the TYZ, a 250 watercooled engine, alloy Delta frame, all the era’s
latest in suspension, perfect handling but with a color scheme and price tag that left a lot to be
desired. These machines were for Japan, Europe and Canada only and in the UK they retailed
at 3971.00 GBP, which at the time would have been around $6000.00, a crazy price for a trials bike
and for that money you could have had TWO of any of the other manufacturers machines.

The color scheme could hardly be described as a “classic” with white mudguards (fine) alloy frame,
(sounds good to me), annodised purple rims (fantastic! but I’m biased) PINK fork legs (Yuk!), PINK
chainguard (Yahrooch!) and a midish Blue tank cover (It doesn’t match anything!)

Although these machines enjoyed a lot of success in Nigel Birkett’s hands and are still rated by
many that have them as a “great bike” they never saw much response in the USA and I believe
there are only 3 here, all of which were imported from Canada.

I saw this one on E-Bay (where else?) and it struck me as an interesting proposition for a
rebuild project. Usual e-bay blather, strong runner, etc, etc, but it did have quite a few spares
in unused condition.

It arrives from California and of course the strong runner description is completely ficticious and
hasn’t run anywhere in years. Decision, complete strip, polish forks, yokes, frame, swinging arm
handlebars and exhaust system. Repaint chainguard and tank/seat unit, new fenders, tires and
get the motor running again. A little rechroming of footrests, maybe new sprockets and chain,
need a new chain tensioner roller and that should do it.

A lesson here from the memoirs of Shade Tree ” When working on a machine you are unfamiliar
with, and parts will be away for a while, it is a GOOD idea to take some photos as what is crystal
clear today will be a dim memory in 3 weeks time!”

Time to look at the motor, and on removal of the flywheel cover there is evidence of substantial
water as the inside is brown and I dread to think what is behind the flywheel. Other parts are
ordered from Nigel Birkett and while these are ‘ing expensive they are nothing compared to the
cost of the flywheel puller which apparently is encrusted in diamonds and can be used as a
pendant for m’lady when not in workshop use…. 225.00 GBP!!!

There has to be a cheaper way especially as this engine is the same one that is fitted to the
current 2 stroke Scorpa. Eventually buy a universal puller from Bob at BJ Racing for about $40
and off comes the nasty flywheel. A lot of cleaning to remove the rust but the stator looks
beyond help so another phone call to Nigel in the UK and we try the new stator with a back up
plan of just the coil.

True to form the Phillips screw heads prove difficult and one comes out using the double impact
technique. Take a square bladed Phillips screwdriver and attach a set of vise grips about 4 inches
from the tip. One sharp knock from the hammer on the end of the driver, then undo using
a swift turn to the vise grip. The other one shears off in situ!….. no matter we have a company
in Phoenix who specialize in this sort of thing and will usually do it while you wait. A sort of
reverse welding that melts the broken bolt but leaves the thread in the hole completely

The new Michelins are here from Cycle gear (hooray for MSF) but now I’m not happy with the
wheels as someone has scratched them doing whatever, either fixing flats with screwdrivers,
or some other unknown practice, no way they ever got this way from riding. Out with the flap
wheels and in no time I have the edges bright shiney alloy contrasting against the purple, dam
they look really sharp!

Back tire is tubeless so no point in struggling take it to the tire shop correctly half mounted
and one squirt from the gun and it’s on.

Some new decals from my man and the yellow/white/black retro look for the tank shroud and
now it looks better than NEW!… as if by chance a NEW sprocket comes on e-bay and I get it
for the starting price. New chain in gold from Cycle Gear and the back end is complete with
new tailpipe from the spares collection.

Another one of these came up on E-bay (USA) and was purchased by none other than my
No1 customer in Placerville CO. No doubt that one will be in the shop for refurbishment when
I finish the 320 SWM I still haven’t got round to yet.

Tony Down

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  • 12/1/2007 3:15 PM Outlaw Dave wrote:
    Hi Tony – Enjoying reading about your exploits – I was in Scotland in 92 and saw the new TYZ Prototype being ridden by a Japanese rider. – Mick had fitted one of my Outlaw X Bar pads to the factory bike which he thought was hilarious. I worked for Yamaha Canada from 73-84 and so am quite familiar with the bikes -I met Mick in 74 and we kept in touch for a number of years. Anyway the story about the TYZ was that it was (whenever I asked the Japs) maybe next year!! and of course when it did arrive in Scotland Mick was assured that the production bike would be “Slimmer” and the swing arm much narrower. – At this time having left Yamaha ( Gold clock intact)I was selling Trials stuff plus Yamaha Trials bikes, for a dealer in Calgary AB – We therefore ordered 5 of the new TYZ’s.- Imagine my surprise when I opened the first crate to find the bike exactly like the Proto – big and wide, plus it made this strange sucking sound when you twisted the throttle !!
    The worst was yet to come, as the bike would stall, without any warning ( much to the delight of the other riders)
    Fed up with this I called Mick who said
    ” Oh I know Dave everyone hates ’em over here” – We did improve the motor by retarding the timing, but after about three months I became a Beta/GasGas dealer ( Now just Beta/Sherco) – I still have TYZ Sprockets in stock if you need any CHEAP. Best Regards Dave
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4 thoughts on “THE BUILDING OF TYZ”

  1. excellent post, very informative. I wonder why the other specialists of this sector don’t notice this. You must continue your writing. I am sure, you’ve a great readers’ base already!

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