In 1973 Dieter Braun became 250cc class World Champion aboard a Yamaha OW17 – a diminutive water-cooled 2-stroke. The recipe was a huge success and the OW17 was campaigned until 1990. Yamaha used the “race on Sunday, sell a racebike on Monday to be raced next Sunday” mantra and released the TZ250 to the racing public.
The privateer got a far more reliable machine than the preceding TD/TR models, with similar 51bhp, uprated chassis and cycle parts and a turn-key race weapon. Revisions were made over the life of the model, including a sand-cast housing specially developed for racing with the two cylinders no longer cast in a block, but standing individually for 1981, reed valve injection, backwards-rotating crankshaft, etc. From the mid-1980s onwards, a succession of more radical changes would see the TZ fundamentally altered.
For 1991, the engine of the TZ 250 was thoroughly revised, adapted from the factory racing YZR250, now boasting 76bhp. Production finally ceased in 2004.
The 1981 Yamaha TZ250 offered here hails from a Southern California collector. Having used it minimally, the bike stood on static display for several years, until it was very recently fully mechanically restored. The bike was stripped to the frame and rebuilt engine and cycle parts were refinished, complete with Alfano chronometric system. Now, in race-ready condition, the bike is primed for the next Dieter Braun wannabe.