Classic Motorcycle Mechanics


It’s a 200cc two-stroke single with just a little twist of Ducati, sayeth our Scoop!


Steve Cooper with our buyer’s guide!

Once in a blue moon a bike comes on the radar that is so left field and unorthodox that you simply have to look deeper – and here’s a perfect example.

Yamaha’s SDR200 is a JDM, or Japanese Domestic Market machine, and one of those bikes that looks like it’s fast even when it’s parked up. Irrespecti­ve of colour, any SDR200 is pure eye candy and something that’s extremely hard to simply pass by without a second glance. The machine’s skeletal appearance belies an extremely wellthough­t- out and engineered machine. If it looks oddly familiar, but you’re positive you’ve never seen one, that’s in no small part due to Yamaha’s artifice; the look borrows from several other period

machines in key details, yet manages to come up with an identity all of its own.

Those three-spoke wheels were common to raft off contempora­ry Yamahas, the most obvious of which would be the legendary TZR125/250S. Likewise the brakes, which are from any number of contempora­ry machines. The fuel tank could have been robbed from any numerous Iwata-built race-replicas, yet is actually unique to the SDR; ditto the tail piece. If the central alloy fuel tank looks annoyingly familiar, have a gander at the SRX600 four-stroke single, which runs something remarkably analogous; the instrument cluster also has SRX similariti­es. That the bike is a stroker is obvious due in no small part to the deliciousl­y serpentine exhaust system with the 180-degree ‘about turn’ header pipe. The engine is said to be taken direct from a DT200R trail bike, but the piston (a 2TV part) is unique to the SDR200, whereas the pistons rings are normal (3ET) DR200R sourced. The key distinguis­hing feature of the bike has to be that stunning and oh so atypical Japanese lattice frame, which looks like it’s been borrowed from a shrunken Ducati. Often overlooked at first glance is the bike’s swing arm, which follows the same design ethos. Both are allegedly made from high-end chrome-molybdenum steel, which probably accounts for the precision, leach-like handling properties owners rave so much about… and possibly the reason why it’s referred to by loving owners as ‘The Whippet’!

Performanc­e-wise, the SDR200 punches well above its minimal weight with a quoted power output of some 35 horses at the crank, which equates to some 175bhp/litre power output. This impressive yield is in no small part due to the combinatio­n of a 35m flat slide carb hurling fuel and air through the various ports allied to a computer-controlled variable port height system, otherwise known as the Yamaha Power Valve System, or YPVS. Keeping everything chilled and safe is a liquid-cooled barrel and head, which is moderated by a radiator that looks remarkably akin to something sourced from Yamaha’s dirt bike range. If you hadn’t sussed it already, the SDR200 is a parts bin special with just certain key items such as the chassis and tank unique to the machine.

If you’re heavily built or overly tall then the SDR200 probably isn’t for you as the bike was purposely invented for the average Japanese rider. However, if you fit you’re in for a rare treat. The power of the SDR200 builds fast enough for most petrol heads, peaking at nine grand, and you’ll want to be near that figure in order to make the most of the torque, which tops out one thousand revs earlier. The bike is focussed without being overly demanding and rewards precise rider input. Corner speed is paramount, but the trellis chassis is more than enough to keep the bike in line. If you’re after a lazy ride then look elsewhere, but if you fancy motorcycli­ng’s equivalent to a double shot of best espresso coffee with a chaser of best synthetic 2T then this is the bike for you.

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 ??  ?? Flexible enough and fun up to 9000rpm...
Flexible enough and fun up to 9000rpm...
 ??  ?? 'Lithe' isn't a slim enough word...
'Lithe' isn't a slim enough word...
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