1980 Yamaha XS250


You'll probably wish you'd bought the 400 or the 650, but it'll grow on you


Starter motor/solenoid/coil (wish I knew which!)

Carby leaks fuel. Needs overhaul.

Smoke from left exhaust, which indicates cylinder wear, but it is 26 years old, so you have to expect a bit of wear & tear. The 8,500kms on the clock surely means 108,500kms, which is pretty good for such a small engine. Let's see if your modern 250's can stay alive as long.

Goes through oil & plugs pretty quick (see above).

General Comments:

This one is the last year before Yamaha squared off the styling, inclined the engine & went all 80's, ruining the bikes old-school 70's charm and no doubt improving the handling & performance no end.

Who cares if it's slow & handles like a bag of potatoes? If I want a fast, sweet handling bike, I'll buy a modern machine. Let me enjoy some good old fashioned simple riding on a bike that I can service myself. Parts are getting harder to find, but that's no surprise.

Like a lot of Japanese bikes of this era, it makes a good Cafe Racer project or just a learner machine. The lack of power compared to other bikes in its class, old or new, only matters if you care about that sort of thing. You can have fun working the gears hard, trying to keep up with traffic, rather than just sitting on a bigger machine with heaps of torque feeling bored. Plus a 250 is greener, cheaper, and you'll probably live longer!

Buy this if you want a small 70's styled bike that you can enjoy tinkering with. If you find a good one like I did, it may even live on past its 30th birthday without needing a total rebuild.

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th May, 2008