1987 Yamaha T80 Townmate
Fuel tap leaked. Replaced with a manually operated one. Had to plug a vacuum hose, as it is now redundant due to manual fuel tap.
Vacuum hose split, causing rough running. Replaced with a piece of aquarium hose.
Airbox and hose had poor fitting, and therefore had an induction leak, causing rough running. Used the circumference of an old plastic milk bottle top to plug the gap, and some silicone to give a better seal. Now the engine runs better.
Overhauled and cleaned carburettor, and installed iridium spark plug for cleaner running and hopefully, better fuel economy.
I had a T80 in 2001 for nearly two years, and longed for another as they are fantastic machines. Fed up with using my GS500E for the 3 miles to work, and suffering a bad back due to manoeuvring a heavy bike in and out of the garden, not to mention soaring petrol prices, I decided enough was enough, and browsed eBay for a T80. Knowing they are getting hard to find, so when one came up, I put a bid in and, to my amazement, won it for £108. I went to collect the T80 and loaded into my mum's car (too tight to run a car), albeit in a partially dissembled state.
With the T80 in my garage, the work began. I was lucky with this one, because nothing was seized (swing arm and stand pivot bolts removed with ease, but on most T80s they seize in) and everything was working good. The bodywork and frame had no rust, and a tin of anti-rust paint was used to make the bike look presentable.
Engine casings were painted, as were other metal parts such as number plate holder, swing arm, brake pedal, foot rests etc.
I overhauled the engine as a precautionary measure, but nothing was wrong with it.
The front indicator brackets were reinforced, as they are prone to breaking off.
After all checks and adjustments were made, I took the T80 for its MOT, and she passed first time with only two minor advisories.
I now use the T80 daily for work, and she's a gem to ride, easy to wheel in and out of the garden in the mornings, and a splendid shaft drive needing no maintenance (I am sick of chains). She starts first kick and runs smooth. Recently, the engine smoked a bit on start up, but since I've removed and rebolted down the head, it hasn't smoked since. Maybe, the gasket needed to settle, I hope. I have more fun on the T80 than I did on the GS500.
The T80 is quite comfortable and the riding position is good. The handling is surprisingly good, and I can throw it into corners with confidence thanks to the low centre of gravity. I don't feel as if the bike wants to slide out from beneath me. In fact, the T80 handles better than the Honda CG125 that I had.
The brakes are okay, but for last second stopping, will not inspire confidence in that respect.
Electrics are reasonable for six volts, but indicators can be a worry on bright sunny days, so hand signals as a backup are a good idea to be safe.
The five liter fuel tank is a godsend, as opposed to the Honda C90's puny 3.5 liter one.
The four speed gear box is smooth and useful, but first gear is a bit too low, so sometimes I pull away in second.
I often get 121 mpg, and when I took it to Chichester from Portsmouth and back, I got 128 mpg. Since then, I've fitted an iridium plug, hoping to get better economy, and also cleaned out the carburettor.
Generally speaking, the T80 is solid and reliable, and will last many years if looked after. The reason they rust, is because people just ride them and don't bother to look after them.
In my opinion, and many will either agree or disagree, I believe the T80 is a better bet than the C90, and I have the right to say that as I've had both. The T80 feels much more robust, has a smoother 4 speed gearbox, shaft drive and a bigger fuel tank, plus the T80 looks better as well, in the sense it has more of a classic look about it.
For those of you that often wonder, the T80 is still made in some countries, but not for the European market, probably because of Euro emissions regulations.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 21st May, 2011
18th Oct 2011, 06:30
I have just bought a Yamaha Townmate 80, and found the indicators, horn and brake light are not working.
It has been in storage for a couple of months.
Do you think this is a battery problem?
Starts first time, but those components are not working, even though the engine is running. Any advice gratefully received.
20th Oct 2011, 17:06
Even with a flat battery, the indicators should begin to work off the generator. Check the battery for charge, then check connectors etc.
29th Nov 2011, 16:53
Deffo the battery.
T80 are only 6 volt.
Try charging with a bike specific charger 1st.
If no good, pop a new battery on, they are quite cheap.
2nd Feb 2012, 17:24
This is a a very fair review - I've had three identical T80s since 1989.
The electrics are lamentable - quite why they didn't switch to 12v I've never understood - but the shaft drive and general reliability is worth a lot.
Narrower at the back than most scooters, it slipped into gaps in crowded motorcycle bays.
Rusting on indicator mounts is correct. Look after it, and it will be a classic bike one day.
14th Dec 2012, 10:13
There is a Townmate Forum http://yamahatownmatet80.forumotion.co.uk/
Worth joining if you own a Townmate.
9th Oct 2013, 10:06
I agree, the T80 is a superb little bike for its age. I have had two, & use it every day. I change the oil (standard 10/40 car oil) every 1500 miles & have a look at the rear drive about every two years. It's lubricated with grease (Castrol Spheerol); a semi liquid grease. It can dry out with age, allowing the bevel gears to dry out & wear. It needs checking; don't just leave it & forget.