Yamaha TT-R230 Review | Bike Reviews
Yamaha has been producing the TT-R range for nearly 30 years and the TT-R230 is still one of the best beginner bikes around.
ADB has tested multiple examples of the Yamaha TT-R230 over the years, with the first version running until 1999. As you’d expect, there have been a few changes over the years, such as the switch from a five-speed transmission to a six-speeder, the brakes have been upgraded to include a front disc, the rear suspension’s been improved and the plastics have changed.
In the engine department, there’s a carby rather than fuel injection and it’s still air-cooled. Most people probably think the bike is overdue for a major revamp but, for beginners with limited mechanical knowledge, the more basic the better.
This bike still has a place in the market and it is widely acknowledged for its reliability and durability. It’s a great bike to punt around the farm, great for beginners and fine for intermediate riders. Being a new rider, I don’t know a whole lot about bike mechanics so having a low-tech bike is great.
The only downside for me was that it is not registerable. I was bummed that I couldn’t take it for a ride in my local state forest, Jellore. After being on the market for so many years it is interesting that Yamaha have not made the TT-R available in registered trim while Kawasaki has done it by offering two versions of the KLX230.
The electric start on the TT-R230 is a great addition. It’s primary purpose might be as a trailbike but it also makes a great ag bike where the button can come in mighty handy.
It was the perfect height for me, with a seat of 870mm it is suitable for a wide range of riders whereas the KLX-230R is up at 925mm. The bike is light enough, at 114kg, 1kg less than the KLX230R. Having the height and weight at the lower end of the scale made it easy to manoeuvre and I felt very comfortable on it. The ground clearance is a decent 295mm so I was able to go over larger rocks and logs with no difficulties. The bike has a simple and clean look. It is the usual Yamaha blue, white and black and is quite compact.
The SOHC engine supplies smooth and predictable power for all terrain. It has plenty of torque off the mark, with a short first gear thanks to the six-speed transmission. First did feel very short when going up hills and I would often need to change to second or third.
But for mustering cattle it was handy as I could move very slowly and not stall.
I did feel like I had to change gears a lot more than I am used to. As a beginner, this can be annoying but it’s also great practice and I got used to it after a while. It was smooth and easy to shift and the cable-operated clutch was easy to disengage.
Some smaller bikes, such as a 140, you would grow out of quickly, but the TT-R230 has enough power for you to be able to keep it for a long time and continue to learn and improve without needing to upgrade.
The KYB suspension is pretty basic but it feels like you are in control over rough terrain. I think there is a good balance as you don’t want it too hard or too soft, and you still need to be able to feel where you are riding to maintain control.
When going over larger rocks, the suspension provided a soft and smooth landing, making it comfortable. The Pirelli MT320 tyres probably help. I rode on dirt roads, on grass, over rocks, through puddles and even in a hail storm and the MT320s were very grippy. The bike has full-sized 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels which was engineered to keep upsprung weight down. The turning circle is great and I was able to turn around in some pretty tight spaces.
The front disc might be small but it was very effective, the bike coming to a smooth but quick stop. The rear drum could probably be updated as it is weaker and didn’t like being drowned. It worked okay, although the pedal felt a tad higher than I am used to, so I didn’t tend to use it as much as I normally would.
Other than that, the TT-R230’s ergos felt good and everything seemed like it was placed correctly. The sidestand was easy to use, and the levers were easy to pull in. The bike felt light and well balanced, it was powerful, easy to start and it was a perfect size for me. It has a gear for every occasion and the brakes were smooth. The fuelling was good and the suspension wasn’t too soft. I really enjoyed riding this bike and would recommend it for any beginner riders due to its reliability and learner-friendly features. It’s certainly good value at $6199 rideaway.
No ADR approval for Aus
Yamaha marketing co-ordinator Chris Dobie explains why: “The TT-R230 is intended as off-road only – ideal for farm/private property use, it’s the final step in the Yamaha fun bike range. When a rider reaches licence age, they may want to consider the XT250 or WR250R as registered alternatives.
“The XT250 is recognised as a cult classic in the road/trail segment. As it caters for the same market as a road-registered TT-R230, there is no need for Yamaha to get ADR compliance for the TT-R, which is an expensive exercise. A headlight is fitted to broaden its appeal, but to get ADR approval we’d need a taillight, indicators, mirrors, reflectors, speedo, chainguards etc.”
With a headlight already fitted, it’s a pretty simple exercise to get recreational registration and this is a reasonably popular exercise with the TT-R in Victoria and Tasmania.
Yamaha TT-R230 Specs
Type SOHC, two-valve
Bore & STROKE 70 x 58mm
Compression ratio 9.5:1
Fuel metering TK Y26P carburettor
Tank capacity 8.0L
Transmission Six-speed, constant-mesh
Clutch Wet multiplate, cable-operated
Seat height 870mm
Ground clearance 295mm
Weight 114kg wet
FRONT KYB conventional fork, 240mm travel
REAR KYB gas-oil monoshock, 220mm travel
Front Nissin twin-piston, 220mm wave
Rear Single-leading shoe drum
Handlebar Yamaha non-tapered steel
Front tyre Pirelli MT320 80/100-21
Rear tyre Pirelli MT320, 100/100-18
Price & Contacts
Price $6199 rideaway
Phone (02) 9857 0011
Warranty 12 months unlimited parts and labour