Many manufacturers have built “over the counter racers” – none more so than Yamaha with the TZ range of water-cooled machines delivering genuine race winning potential.
The iconic TZ250 (and its 350 sibling) took a simple format to unprecedented success in both world championship and domestic racing. Evolving from 1960’s air-cooled TD machines, the first TZ250 prototype appeared in 1973 and became a firm favourite of legend, Jarno Saarinen. Full production began in 1973 with Dieter Braun winning the 250cc world title on a TZ 250-A.
Owing much basic architecture to Yamaha’s parallel twin road bikes, the initial TZ250 had a unitary water-cooled cylinder assembly allowing large port to areas produce race-wining horsepower for a contemporary asking price in the region of €1400. Compared to the factory OW 250cc machines, the performance difference was marginal and a “privateer” could often prevail over a factory bike.
Refinements to the chassis and gradual increments of additional power followed with later models. But Yamaha did not have it all their own way. Kawasaki’s agile KR250 and 350 machines were a considerable force and captured a slew of world titles in the mid 80’s while the basic TZ format started to age.
A radical update was required and that happened in 1991 with a production V-twin TZ250 and Tetsuya Harada winning the 1993 world championship on a factory TZ250-M featuring many production TZ parts.
A production life measured in decades, the start point for countless stellar careers and possible to maintain in a garden shed with rudimentary tools, the TZ250 can surely lay claim to be one of the most significant foundation stones of modern racing.
CMS has such a vast inventory, and we even stock a selection of TZ250 parts. Keep your vintage motorcycle running and keep it original with CMS!
issued: Thursday, April 06, 2023
updated: Tuesday, April 18, 2023
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