Yamaha TTR-50 - The Ultimate Pit BikeGreg | October 5, 2009
A few days ago I had this need to get out of the house, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do. I spend way too much time in front of my computer, so I’ve been making a concerted effort to pull myself away from it for my own sanity. So I call my friend Ryan, A.K.A. ‘Z-Man’, and we headed over to a Kawasaki/Yamaha dealer in Punta Gorda.
I had no intention of buying anything, but I just wanted to check out this place since my local Kawi dealer closed down right after I bought my ZX-6R. We arrived to see many bikes outside - mostly smaller motocross types and some sport bikes. After Ryan made fun of me for thinking the Ninja 250 was cool, we looked at the small motocross pit bikes and I immediately had the urge to buy one. Why? Well, why not? I figure I could just put one in my truck and have fun at the local trails or bring it with me to larger Scream And Fly events for transportation and fun. At least that was just justification for buying it.
Among all the bikes they had was a brand new leftover 2007 Yamaha TTR-50E. Mind you, many of these smaller bikes will no longer be available soon, thanks to our government deciding what’s ‘best’ for us. Yeah, we really need a lot of that, don’t we? I made a quick offer on the small bike and I got it for several hundred dollars less than they were asking. The dealer prepped the Yamaha and Ryan and I loaded it into my Blazer. That’s right, the TTR-50 rolls right into the back of my truck, fully upright while clearing the roof by less than an inch. It’s perfect.
The Yamaha TTR-50 is a very small 49cc 4-stroke off-road trail/motocross bike designed for younger riders as well as adult pit bike racing. This small Yamaha strongly resembles the Honda CRF-50, which has enjoyed huge success with both pit bike racers and younger riders. According to Yamaha, fully half of all buyers for the bike will be adults, so they immediately introduced high performance GYTR parts for the TTR-50, including a big bore kit, high performance exhaust, larger handlbars and suspension upgrades.
The resemblance the TTR-50 shares with the CRF-50 is so uncanny, that I did a bit of research into where the TTR-50 was made. From what I can gather, the TTR-50 (and perhaps other models in this line) is built in China by Jianshe, a company that produces scooters, motorcycles, and ATVs. I bet that doesn’t inspire confidence in the quality of this product, does it? Well, from what I can tell the TTR-50 is very well made, though it still suffers from the sloppy mig welds that most motocross/trail bike frames have.
The little Yamaha is equipped with a 3-speed transmission with an automatic clutch, which makes it a heck of a lot more fun than centrifugal clutch models although I would much prefer a manual clutch and maybe a fourth gear. Top speed is over 30mph stock, which is plenty fast for a bike with 10-inch wheels. The TTR-50, like all TTR models includes an electric starter, and this bike lights off at the touch of a button, even when cold. The exhaust is very quiet, which is good, since I won’t have to worry about pissing of my neighbors. Total specified weight for the TTR-50 is 125 pounds.
I’ve been riding this little bike around the local streets and empty lots here and it’s a riot. The first gear is so low that it’s almost useless, except for wheelies and climbing, however third gear is plenty tall for great top speed. Since the bike has an automatic clutch, all the rider needs to do is close the throttle and shift - it’s an easy process, though not very smooth at all. The bike will lurch slightly at every upshift at lower speeds since there’s always a connection to the engine even with the clutch engaged. Downshifting is performed in the same manner - just close the throttle and kick the shifter down. It has an up-up-up shift pattern, so finding neutral is a cinch.
As a play bike, the TTR-50 is perfect - it’s light, reliable, and fast enough to be fun. It’s small enough to fit into my Blazer upright, so no worries about having to use a trailer. If I ever want to go faster, performance upgrades are easy to obtain, and I could even race it in pit bike races. I just hope the cops that live near me don’t mind much when I pass by their houses while riding it.