Mark Lindley had just turned 40, when he decided to live the dream and get away from the “rat race”. He and the family moved, lock, stock and barrel, down to the Norfolk coast and life now centres around the garage / beach / 2 stroke fumes but his biking habits of old would have to change to meet the surroundings. “I had my first TDR in 1992, what great memories” Mark recalls, “Various other bikes came & went in between but now I felt drawn back to the dark side. I am currently saving up for a stable mate for the TDR, and I feel another project coming on.”
“I began looking for a good TDR after a few of years hoofing about on my 1200 Bandit street-fighter. This big bike was great fun, but only a matter of time till I got hurt, my mate had just bought a KTM supermoto, so owning a smaller bike started to make perfect sense. After hunting about and looking at about half a dozen ‘shitters’ (how come so many old 2 strokes end up living under tarps in overgrown council house gardens?) I saw this one on auto-trader which fitted the bill. Sadly, it was at a dealer down in Northampton, so not within easy reach, thankfully, via the wonderful world of email I was sent some semi-decent pictures to ogle at. It turned out to be a Jap-Spec version with the alloy swing arm and adjustable rear shock. A few more phone calls and the deal was done, which was pretty forward of me being a true Yorkshire-man (and a bit of a ditherer when it comes to spending the hard earned.). So deal done, now to get the thing. A mate of a mate has got a trailer so that’s that sorted. Get the money out of the bank and job done. I turn up at the mate of a mate’s house to find his illustrious trailer to be made of old bed iron with no mudguards, and a ramp welded on the back at such an angle that hit the ground over the smallest ripple in the road. To top that there was no lights but at least it was free and its only 250 miles of motorway – it’ll be alright. So off we go early Saturday morning, I got hopelessly lost in Northampton, eventually finding the place to do the deal and we’re off once more leaving a trail of sparks back ‘oop noorth’. It decided to rain part of the way home, the ‘rooster tails’ off the unguarded wheels were really something to see, hopefully not by the motorway coppers.
Let the fun begin. Somehow this TDR didn’t seem as quick as my old one. Even with the ultra rare Japanese Ox-Racing full exhaust system that was fitted. I ran around on the bike for a couple of years then decided to pull it apart over the winter of 2006. Got the frame blasted and painted, did the rear suspension bushes, stripped the top end just to make sure all is ok (turned out it had already been re-bored). Cleaned / degreased / polished / painted any parts that needed it. It turned out, on further inspection that the lack of performance was mainly due to the power valves being not setup correctly, and the oil pump being set very much on the ‘safe’ side. To finish off, I finally rebuilt the TDR with stainless fasteners throughout, and some stainless suspension dog bones, laser cut by a friend of a friend. A shiny red Hagon rear shock and a pair of Bridgestone BT45s finished off the project a treat. I tried to keep as much of the original bike as possible so there is a certain ‘patina’ of age plus I know that if it was totally ‘mint’ I wouldn’t want to use it, let alone get it wet.
The bike certainly isn’t molly-coddled though and gets ridden hard when its out, including various track-days, plus the yearly homage to the Isle of Man TT, where, incidentally, the side-stand broke nearly replicating the latest Guinness advert on Peel harbour side. Luckily I managed to get the stand welded up by a local agricultural engineering company whilst on the Island; the weld will still be here at the end of the world.
As a Yorkshire Ex-Pat down here in Norfolk, the beer might be questionable, the water downright awful, and you can’t get a good pork pie for love nor money, but the lack of motorways and the country roads suit the TDR perfectly. Not surprisingly, there are quite a number of TDR owners hiding out locally.
Recent upgrades have been the R1 blue-spot, front caliper, the Braking wavy disk & EBC sintered pads that works together like a stick through the spokes, and a handful of oddball over-priced Yamaha fasteners to replace various pitted ones. Future plans includes a fork refurb’, rebuilding the wheels (stainless spokes & a pair of rims that will suit more modern rubber) and finding a pair of handle bars that I like and that don’t hit the fairing on full lock. Oh and keeping it shiny side up.
And finally – if you’re fancying a TDR250 – don’t forget the blue ones are much faster.”
York Yamaha -OE Yamaha bits (Great service & prices) tel 01904 424597
Bike Revival-Hagon shocks, cheaper than Hagon themselves tel 01273 495074
Yamaha Past Masters Racing-Get to see some TDR250s in action
Autoglym-for their lovely smelling polish.
Castrol for their lovely smelling TTS
PJ1 I’ve always used the Fast Black – great paint.
- Get some miles on it – you’ll then find out the other ‘gremlins’ lie in wait.
- If you’re thinking of buying one try and get one with the best bodywork & exhausts you can, as they aren’t available any more from Yamaha. Check the following: rear suspension linkage bushes, rear spokes, rear shock, power-valve bushes etc.
- Soak your fork gaiters in Vanish Oxy pink stuff. They come up a treat.
- Don’t try and convince yourself it’s just a quick tart-up. You’ll never be happy.
- Your bike / garage / shed are never clean enough.
- You can never have too many tools.
Specifications 1988 Yamaha TDR250
- Price: £1000
- Value now (est): £1500-2000
- Power: 49.6bhp
- Torque: 27ft-lb
- Top speed: 105mph
- Dry weight: 137kg
- Colours: Blue, Black
- Fuel: 14litres
- Rake/trail: 27deg/114mm
- Seat height: 820mm
- Wheelbase: 1385mm
- Engine: liquid-cooled 249cc (56.4x 50mm), two-stroke twin. 2 x 28mm Mikuni carbs. 6-gears. Chain final drive
- Chassis: Tubular steel dual tube cradle frame, 38mm adjustable telescopic forks, Rising-rate monoshock rear shocks with adjustable preload
- Brakes: 320mm front disc with 4-piston caliper, 210mm disc 2-piston caliper
- Tyres: 100/90 x 18 front, 120/80 x 17 rear
Yamaha TDR250 Restoration Gallery