Created to be ridded by both father and son, today’s interest bike relies on its 223cc air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke, 2 valves engine to provide sufficient power for all the tough situations that might be encountered out on the trails and still be enough docile for teenagers to “make their hands” on.
With 11.6 inches of ground clearance and long travel suspension, TT-R230’s chassis is truly able of backing the engine up when needed, making it one-of-a-kind in that concern. Also, the push button electric starter makes life easier on it without worrying engineers that much about weight as this is not a competition bike.
First introduced in 2005, the Yamaha TT-R230 was there to substitute the old TT-R225, a bike that had long craved for improvement. It was practically a renewed TT-R225, but Yamaha decided that the change to the name would individualize the new machine and start a new chapter in trail riding.
What set it off was the reinvented chassis that made it compact, easier and implicit more user-friendly. It was Yamaha’s new idea for this market section and results soon came as there have also been design changes such as the flat seat/tank junction which allowed the rider to sit closer to the tank and so be more in control.
The engine was and still is an electrically-started 223cc air-cooled, SOHC, 4-stroke perfectly tuned for delivering great power and torque all across the powerband. Mated to a 6-speed gearbox, there was nothing bad to be said about the new TT-R and we found ourselves in the same situation today.
Yamaha hasn’t planned significant improvements for the TT-R230 apart from decal changes inspired on YZ racing models.
THE best and only alternative for the Blue and White thumper features Red instead of Blue and it is damn threatening. Introducing the 2009 Honda CRF230F!
These two are like twins. With a 223cc air-cooled, single-cylinder, four-stroke, SOHC; two-valve engine and six-speed tranny, the Honda has similar performance and expectations to the Yamaha. Also electrically started, compact and featuring long-travel suspension to cover up the 11.7 inches ground clearance there are all the chances for you to get into a dilemma related to these two. My advice is to buy with your heart as no choice is best or worse. Looking at the prices won’t do any good as the Honda comes with the same base MSRP as the Yamaha.
Motorcycle manufacturers have the talent of making a bike look great even though initially it isn’t expected to be a trend setter. This is also the case as our bike as it isn’t destined to the track, but it still manages to look aggressive and get its share of admirers. How does it achieve that? It takes its bigger racing siblings example and looks sleek and angry as much as its chassis allows it. Remember that it had to have a low seat and that implies design sacrifices.
It so comes with competition-style flat seat/tank junction and aggressive plastics, making it not only ergonomically great, but also visually attractive. You can’t get any better than that unless you add the Team Yamaha Blue/White coloring.
Yamaha makes no concessions in what concerns the TT-R230 and it feels from the first time you through a leg over it. To begin with, the seat is only 34.2 inches from the ground and yet they manage to achieve an 11.6 inches ground clearance. The center of gravity is also very low, providing confidence to a beginning rider as the bike stands for easy slow speed maneuvering.
Not quite the top of the line, but neither an entry-level bike, the biggest TT-R handles like old two-stroke Yamaha trail bikes even though the engine is a highly reliable 223cc air-cooled SOHC four-stroke with two valves. Can it get simpler than that? The light and precise handling is only matched by the carbureted engine’s more than decent performance considering the 256 lbs mass of the bike only.
Built with ergonomics in mind, the bike feels comfortable and reassuring especially knowing that you can always prevent a fall by simply sacrificing your boot’s luster. With full-sized wheels (21-inch front and 18-inch rear), long travel suspension and apparently an insignificant, but damn important skidplate under the engine, you really can’t doubt TT-R’s off-road abilities. Through the mud, over steep hills and on top of slippery rocks, the small TT-R230 unveils its WR-F DNA and that’s always a good thing.
The engine might seem like it is on it for decades, but it stands as the excitement source at all times. Responsive and very well tuned, that blacked-out single cylinder delivers great low- and midrange power while the lack of consistency from the top of the rev range is complemented by the existence of a sixth gear. This is how Yamaha makes it possible for us to push the thing up to 70 mph without making excessive use of the fairly small engine. It sounds really torquey, but doesn’t vibrate that hard so it definitely won’t scare anyone.
With 9.5 inches of ground clearance up front and 8.7 at the rear, any ride on the trails is smooth and the TT-R really makes you feel like part of the scenario if riding it docile. The other way around, you’ll be just a passer-by. It still doesn’t get a rear disc brake, but the CRF230F doesn’t either and they don’t actually need it to be quite honest. Relying on a 220 mm front disc and a 130mm rear drum, you are provided with enough stopping power to put an end to any of those “help me Lord!” kind of situations. I’m not saying that the Yamaha TT-R230 will get you there, but it is good to know you can always harness it.
Overall, the bike leaves no doubts of it being good both for beginning and more experienced riders and it sure meets the purpose of its creation beautifully.
Yamaha sells the 2009 Yamaha TT-R230 ever since October 2008 for an MSRP of $3,699 and succeeds remaining strong on the market even though competition is definitely a thing worthy to be taken in consideration.
For those of you looking for a cheap, torquey and beautiful trail machine, the Yamaha TT-R230 is indeed one of the few names that can be seriously taken in consideration as it is cheap to maintain and lasts a lifetime.
Engine and Transmission
Type: air-cooled SOHC 4-stroke, 2 valves
Bore x Stroke: 70.0mm x 58.0mm
Compression Ratio: 9.5:1
Transmission: Constant-mesh 6-speed; multiplate wet clutch
Final Drive: Chain
Chassis and Dimensions
Suspension/Front: Telescopic fork; 9.5-in travel
Suspension/Rear: Single shock; 8.7-in travel
Brakes/Front: 194mm single disc
Brakes/Rear: 130mm drum
Tires/Front: 80/100-21 NHS
Tires/Rear: 100/100-18 NHS
Length: 81.3 in
Width: 31.5 in
Height: 46.5 in
Seat Height: 34.2 in
Wheelbase: 54.5 in
Ground Clearance: 11.6 in
Fuel Capacity: 2.1 gal
Wet Weight: 256 lb