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Vintage Newbie

1st vintage trials bike Yamaha TY175 or Suzuki RL250

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Hello,

I am a 59 year old that has ridden motorcycles for years. I had a 1986 Honda TLR200 Reflex and a 1997 Gas Gas Contact 200.

I would like to get into riding very easy trials type riding in the woods around my house, not competing.

Used trials bikes in my area of Northern Indiana are hard to find and I would like to start tinkering around in the woods asap as this COVID-19 stay at home order is driving me nuts. 

There are two within 90 minutes of my home.  One is a 1975 Yamaha TY175 ($1,400) and the other is a 1974 Suzuki RL250 ($1,000).  Both seem to be in the same shape. 

My question is which one do you think would be the better bike for me?  From the specs the Yamaha seems to be 21 lbs. lighter, but the Suzuki is more powerful.  I sold the 1986 Honda TLR200 because it was a 4 stroke and not powerful enough.  I sold the Gas Gas because I didn't want to stand up all the time.

Any input would be extremely helpful. 

Thank you.

Vintage Newbie 

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Personally, I think the TY is a better pure trials machine (light and nimble), but a little under powered. If your just having a play and nothing too tight etc, I'd go for the RL

It also does to a point depend on your physical size and weight etc. Back when I was riding a TY175 I was 69kg and would have struggled with the RL, now either would do me fine..

Both look like nice tidy machines, good luck and have fun

.

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Buy them both !  Then you can work out which you like best. Keep them both or sell one if you don't like it,as said they are both well made and reliable bikes. I had an early RL and loved the way the engine would pull right down to nothing,as my TY250 does now.I always find the 175 a bit revvy,but people do very well on them.  I was sort of joking when I said buy them both,but actually it would be a nice way to work out whats best for you.

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You see a lot of TY 175/250s at trials meetings here in England, competing at Novice and Clubman level against modern bikes and sometimes winning.  I had a silver engined Beamish 250 for a few years .  This was a Suzuki RL 250 motor, (the same motor as in your picture) in a chrome plated Beamish frame, which was apparently a big improvement on the Suzuki RL 250, but it was still a poor trials bike.  OK as a green laner though.  Reliable, and robust, with electronic ignition too.   I'd go with the Suzuki.  The Beamish owners club is also a good place for Suzuki RL owners too.

http://beamishownersclub.com/

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Yams were generally perceived as being  the better bet back in the day. Beamish had lovely build quality but never quite made the cut. Strange gearing I seem to recall. Yams can be upgraded & spares plentiful. Beamish slightly more leftfield. (IMHO  ?

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Got to bear in mind this is a U.S. Suzuki not a Beamish, from recent reading the original Suzuki RL ( U.S. market also known as an ‘Exacta’ ) had a much ‘revier’ engine and more relaxed steering hence the Beamish mods when launched in the U.K.

 

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On 4/28/2020 at 11:51 AM, Vintage Newbie said:

Thank you for all your help.

Hello VN,

Some great advice stated above - particularly the suggestion of buying both!  I find vintage trials all the more fun when you can introduce a buddy to the sport and what better way to do so than having an extra bike to at the ready?!  

That said, of the two possibilities I'd recommend the TY for yourself.  IMO the TY is beautiful aesthetically.  As you mentioned, it is lighter and a better handler from my own experience.  My own RL felt kinda snappy and unpredictable.  I eventually had some porting work done to smooth things out which, from recollection, didn't really... though my wallet felt a bit lighter in the end.  My biggest issue living with the RL was the way that it turned (or didin't) when in the tight stuff .  The front would regularly push and... this may sound strange, but the bike felt really long... as if the wheelbase was significantly longer than it needed to be.  Possibly psychological but it didn't seem as precise as what I was used to (Bultaco M80 and a Ossa MAR).  The final turnoff for me was that my frame cracked on the left side subframe tube, just above the pivot plate.  Seems it's a common issue with the RLs and the one you're considering is no different.  Looks like there was some repair work performed to address the issue, from what I can see in the photo.  Check it out closely when you pay the owner a visit.  I've attached a couple of photos "borrowed" from an auction site listing showing a repair that was performed to this area.

Hope this helps a bit. Good luck with your pursuit, have fun and stay well -

Christian

 

 

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Hello VN,

So what did you finally decide?  Did you buy one of these?... Both?... Neither?  Curious to know!

I almost pulled the trigger on a very original Fantic 309 in nice condition for only $650.00 a couple hours away but had a change of heart when a good friend jokingly threatened to shoot me if I brought home another unloved trials bike (he's a dedicated MXer and doesn't get the trials bug)... and reminded me that we can't be the saviors of every neglected bike we see.  And I have to agree.  Just the ones I really like! ?

C.

 

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I decided on the Yamaha, but it was kind of in rough shape and I didn't think it was worth the $1,500 asking price.  It is still for sale, but he is not budging on the price.

Am I wrong in thinking a 1974 TY175 in running, but rough shape, is not worth $1,500?  I am not going to ride competitive anyway so I thought about just getting a cheap small 110cc dirt bike to play with in my yard.

What do you think?

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There is usually a price premium for competition eligibility.

From what I see advertised in the US, that TY at $US1500 is fairly expensive even accounting for it being eligible for "old bike" class in trials competition.

The best value trials and dirt bikes are the ones that have depreciated in value due to age but not old enough to be eligible for bike age class competition. If you aren't a nostalgic type rider there is no good reason to buy a 1970s bike.

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Other reasons to go for older bikes would be reliability and parts availability - you can get anything for a TY175, and if it's mechanically sound it'll keep going much longer on minimal maintenance than newer competition-oriented machines because they were built to be useable as transport back in the day.

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Great points, Feetup and Turbo.  What VN should really be after is the best tool for the job.  As he stated in his original post,he'd like a bike for some very easy trials-type riding in the woods around his home - not competing.  Though a trials bike is best suited for that type of riding, any offroad bike properly set up can accomplish his goal.  My 1996 CR250 can motor along surprisingly well on single track trails, but I wouldn't say it's a joy to do.  By comparison, a trials specific bike as you know is fantastic at a walking pace and can torque it's way over/through anything from a dead stop... and is far less taxing physically because of it's design.  Because of that, I can ride all day long and wear a smile throughout.

That said, I'd avoid the backyard playbike idea and get yourself a proper trials bike IF you want to learn to ride trials or explore trials-type riding.  You'll go much further in developing your riding skills and be able to do so much more with it because of the machine's capabilities - including but not limited to riding in your backyard. During your search, think about Feetup's advice on locating the best value.  His point here is right on. And as Turbo added, have reliability and parts availability firmly in mind as well.  You won't be enjoying your new toy very long if you can't keep it running!

Good luck!

C.

 

Edited by vintagenut

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