Styled on Ed­die Law­son’s YZR500 race bike (al­beit very loosely) and en­gi­neered for laughs, Yam gag bikes are huge fun

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Alan See­ley Pic­tures: Bauer ar­chive

The reet pe­tite Yamaha YSR50 and 80, cult and cool

They call them gag bikes and Yamaha were cer­tainly in on the joke go­ing by the self-dep­re­cat­ing hu­mour of the sales lit­er­a­ture that ac­com­pa­nied the 1986 ar­rival of the YSR80 3CE and YSR50 2UE tid­dlers. “Look what we’ve been re­duced to,” was the ad­ver­tis­ing tag.the fun­ni­est thing of all is that apart from their own do­mes­tic Ja­panese mar­ket, Yamaha were pri­mar­ily aim­ing the YSRS at the big­ger-boned denizens of North Amer­ica. “Just about ev­ery­body could end up rid­ing one,” con­cluded Yamaha’s spiel, “pro­vided they’re small-minded enough.”

It isn’t re­ally the rider’s mind that needs to be small if they’re con­tem­plat­ing gag bike own­er­ship. Phys­i­cal at­tributes are rather more crit­i­cal when con­sid­er­ing tinyengined ma­chines with 12-inch pressed-steel wheels and a 25.6-inch seat height.that didn’t pre­vent them sell­ing in their droves and there were race se­ries for those sup­ple enough to fold them­selves onto the bikes.

Pow­ered by reed-valve, air-cooled two-stroke sin­gles pur­loined from the RD/DT50 and 80MX, the en­gines were sim­plic­ity them­selves.

Close-ra­tio five-speed gear­boxes

al­lowed a rider to coax ev­ery morsel out of the power out­put.the 50 was lim­ited to 37.5mph (not in Ja­pan).

The styling had marginally more so­phis­ti­ca­tion.aim­ing to cap­i­talise on the pop­u­lar­ity of works rider Ed­die Law­son, the YSR’S fair­ing was styled af­ter his YZR500 fac­tory racer.the steel frame’s lines mim­icked those of a big­ger sports­bike. Or as Yamaha put it: “The frame on our small­est high­per­for­mance street bike looks a lot like that of our high­est per­for­mance street bike.” Maybe, if the YSR was half the dis­tance closer to the viewer than, say, an FZ. Sus­pen­sion-wise there were ba­sic teles up front and a Monocross monoshock at the back. Brak­ing was a sin­gle-pis­ton slid­ing caliper and tiny disc to the fore and a drum brake aft.

More than a mere nov­elty, the YSR was seen by many as a vi­able al­ter­na­tive to a scooter.whether you think one might be a good idea now largely de­pends what the bath­room scales are telling you and how vul­ner­a­ble you might feel rid­ing along a cou­ple of feet off the floor look­ing like some­one’s wedged a Tamiya model of a YZR500 in your arse-crack.

“Whether you think one might be a good idea now largely de­pends on what the bath­room scales are telling you”

Ca­pac­ity: 49/79cc Power: 7.25/8.67bhp Top speed: 37/60mph Dry weight: 75kg (165lb)

Get­ting some lean on – and we re­fer to the ma­chine NOT the am­ple rider

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