Crawling out of the metalwork
Seeley’s two TDRS see the light of day after a long, hard year confined to their steel prisons
For a bike so widely ignored in the UK on its launch, the Yamaha TDR250 has garnered a devoted, possibly rabid following, even as it enters its fourth decade. I’m as guilty as anyone for ignoring Yamaha’s proto-supermoto then belatedly becoming a devotee. In the late 1980s I was far more interested in big four-strokes, having left little two-strokes far behind me in my riding youth, which in 1988 was all of five years previous. Time runs longer when you’re young.
Still, there’s nothing like the fervour of a lost soul returning to the body of the church and having bought my first TDR late in 2013 – the blue one you see here – I would in short order have a second one which readers of longer standing will know as Project Lightweight TDR. That’ll be the one with carbon bodywork and cast wheels.
When I bought the blue one for £1600, I really thought I’d paid too much but hoped it would soon grow into its price. That it did and more. Within a couple of years, lesser examples were changing hands at twice the price. By then the TDR had been an eager companion on many a commute and ride-out – often just for the hell of it. The biggest test came in 2015 when we did a 2000-mile round trip to Porto and back on the Jack Lilley Two-stroke Challenge. On this the little Yam performed faultlessly. One of the other voyagers remarked on how light the TDR was and this comment was the genesis for Project Lightweight TDR, the object being to see just how far we could reasonably go in paring down a bike. Rather than mess with a stocker, we started with a wreck.
To my shame and the detriment of both bikes, neither turned a wheel in 2017. I was way too pre-occupied with other bikes, projects and events. So the blue one sweated out the hottest summer for years in a metal shed while Project Lightweight TDR languished in the battered shipping container that passes for the PS lock-up.
Time to liberate both from their confines and return them to where they belong – the road. Because no one in their right mind would contemplate taking a TDR off-road despite the bike’s trailie styling. Having first pumped up the blue one’s tyres so it could be pulled from the tiny steel shed, I was reminded of
HAVING FIRST PUMPED UP On THE the left BLUE old rod and crankpin – scrap. On the ONE’S TYRES SO IT right, the fresh stuff COULD BE PULLED FROM THE TINY STEEL SHED, I WAS REMINDED OF FURTHER SHAMEFUL DOINGS RELATING TO THIS BIKE
further shameful doings relating to this bike. In the final push to finish Project Lightweight TDR, I’d nicked the blue bike’s indicators, their bracket and the pillion grab handles. Worse, one of these misappropriated indicators had been bust while Lightweight TDR was in the shipping container.
As far as the blue one goes, the engine paint and some of the plating have suffered from condensation damage and the whole bike was covered in greasy dust. Lightweight TDR has been under a cover so, indicator apart, emerged relatively unscathed. That bike needs some final fettling that wasn’t addressed after its first shakedown ride so I’ll got through it front to back.
I’ll get the blue one back on the road first as it’s been off of it the longest. Whereas before I was two indicators short, having broken one I now need three if staying stock. Pattern ones tend to sag and break quickly and originals cost a fortune. The standard units, OE or pattern, are huge and ugly too. The best solution seems to buy one original for the blue bike and get a quality aftermarket set of another design for Lightweight TDR. Makes sense as the blue bike is close to stock and the other is nowhere near to factory spec.
Prices of used TDR parts have risen to ridiculous levels as asking prices for the bikes themselves have rocketed. Grab handles change hands for upwards of £50 a pair, even in knackered condition. My neat solution to that is to fill the gap left on the blue one when I nicked its grab rails for Lightweight TDR is to fit an original accessory luggage rack. This was a long-coveted item that turned up on ebay in Germany a year or so back. Unfortunately its original yellow has faded and there is rust on the bosses where the paint has departed but it is the real deal and although its carrying capacity is somewhat limited it will look good on the bike once refinished.
Before getting down to cosmetic niceties, however, both bikes demand thorough recommissioning and in the case of the blue one, a very deep clean. Next time you see them, one or both will be doing what TDRS do best – upsetting the peace and providing at least as much fun as any of the old fourstroke barges I thought were so great in the late 1980s.
Po-faced cretin grovelling in a mess entirely of his own making
At least there aren’t birds or mice nesting in it
That’s yer actual mould. Not corrosion: MOULD
Oh, it’s all smiles now is it? Lightweight with his lightweight TDR
Looks like a barn find, except he hadn’t lost it and it wasn’t in a barn. Worse than that, in a metal shed
Here’s his much-prized rack from Germany. Wow
Amazing what a bit of gunge in a bottle can do