1980 Yamaha XS250 from Australia


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

1980 Yamaha XS250 from United Kingdom


Trusty workhorse


The new Motad exhaust that was on it split apart from the bracket after a tiny scrape on a speedbump.

Strangely high oil consumption with no smoke.

General Comments:

It does 90mph downhill/tailwind!

This 27 year old bike has obviously been rebuilt not very long ago because its condition before I got my hands on it was lovely.

I have thrashed it and dropped it once at about 10mph on patch of oil or something, but basically I'm only writing this because everything I have read about the bike is really negative and I think it's done well.

It has just completed a journey from Scotland to Frankfurt in Germany and back again. It has been 100 percent reliable and a very steady performer for a small bike.

Much slagging off of the high rev power band has been done, saying it must be thrashed to get any decent power, which is true. But of course you have to thrash it, it's a fourstroke 250!

It's the worst tool for long distance touring, but I had to use it and I was glad of that high rev powerband, because that's where you want it to rev on the motorway at top speed, and it really helped to keep it there when it did get fast. Many miles could be covered without changing down, unless an extended climb was encountered.

It handles like crap, but of course with those thin tires and soft suspension, there is room for improvement.

It does 90mph downhill/tailwind!

Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2007

10th Apr 2009, 07:12

I am very much a fan of this bike - I have two - one bought a few years ago with 3000m (genuine with FSH to back it up) and positively in showroom condition, needless to say I paid a premium and have never regretted it. The other I bought for a few quid off a well known auction site for spares.

Have done a further 7000 miles on it but had to swap the old double rotors for an electronic system to avoid constant retiming. It's not a rocket, compensation for the weak braking comes with experience, but it is a genuine retro look that modern bikes are attempting to achieve.

I also own a K3 GSF600s and a 1998 NTV650, so am able to compare.