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TR & TZ Collection | Trevor Taylors Yamaha Story

Trevor Taylor is a man driven by passion – a passion for classic Yamaha race bikes. Trevor is the custodian of an incredible collection of TR and TZ model racers spanning over 30 years and illustrating all the key technological changes during that period.

For most of my life i’ve ridden raced and followed the technical evolution and development of the yamaha racing bikes well the bugs started in 1973 with my first race bike which was a converted road bike into a replica td1 race bike i progressed on then the next machine was actually a real pucker race bike the tr2 that’s when i really started to get interested in

The machines so then i thought well why not make a collection of every single production racer so i started to do that and then unfortunately my garage wasn’t big enough to house that many bikes so what i decided was i wanted to collect one of every significant production change and that’s what i’ve ended up with that’s my collection why yamaha because they’re

Available was probably one of the big things and then i continued on to stick with the yamahas because not only were they available but i found that there’s a lot of interchangeability what it meant you could do you could take parts from one bike onto another so it made that the collecting of bikes and especially keeping them running much much easier because

You could use parts from other other machines which allowed me to modify the bikes and get an older bike and and what have you and continue on it’s a personal collection that ultimately i’m a custodian of some significant new zealand bikes and some technology here that eventually will be sold to other people hopefully like-minded but just take an interest and

Just love the yamaha story here we have 1969 gr2 350 air cooled this is yamaha’s really first 350cc production racer available to people the significance of this machine is the adoption of the frame from the factory bikes and the large drum brakes on the front four leading shoe and rear along with its 250cc brother this really started to set the scene as a bike

Available to the average rider that would be very competitive so my first racing career was really from 1973 to 78 when i came to a bit of a crossroad really i had to either buy a new tz or get engaged i chose to get engaged and that was the end of my first race career philip island well it’s a fantastic place just to be able to ride on a world-class grand prix

Circuit hard on the side of the tyre accelerating and then turn three is just mind-blowing hard and fourth or fifth gear around there twenty years later i caught the bug again i was after every production racer that yamaha made so this next machine is a 1972 tr3 350 yamaha also built this in a 250 version called the td3 it was air cooled still major changes

Here were the adoption of crank cases from road bikes very much like the previous ones but they were usable on a 250 or a 350. a few of the carryovers were also that the big drum brake was was there but what was also significant was the move to electronic ignition they had factory fitted electronic ignition so and a six-speed gearbox so all of these things create

More speed more reliability this also formed a platform of the next big significant change for yamaha which was going from air cooled to water cooled the tr-3 that was that was significant it was the last of the 350 air court but it was also the foundation for what was to become the tz yamaha water called that and then that started the whole line of water called

Yamahas previously the air cooled bikes they suffered from especially in long races the fact that the charge heated up and they lost power they didn’t actually have the durability whereas water cooling maintains a constant temperature for the intake charge and the horsepower remain pretty stable so that gave much more durable power delivery and for longer so

The next model change was in fact the lowboy or the f model which became my favorite bike and still is okay so this is a 1979 tz 350f the last of the 350s the significant thing about this bike is an aluminium swinging arm and the continuation of monoshock previously we had two shock absorbers at the back of the bike controlling the swing arm then yamaha once

Again coming from the motorcross world had a monoshock which connected the swing arm to the set up under the tank this gave much greater range of movement and more controllability around the back end of the bike so that was a major step forward i was very fortunate to get a hold of a tz 750 and this really significant thing about that bike was it was the first

Four-cylinder two-stroke but also it used reed valves okay so what’s a reed valve it was actually adopted by yamaha for the motocross fraternity where they wanted a bigger spread of power what it does it uses little valves inside here to stop the mixture going back out through the carburetor and it makes the engine less peaky so in other words you get a broader

Spread of power this bike without it would have been very difficult to ride for the average person yamaha were very concerned about that so that’s why they adopted this reed valve technology to smoothen the power output tz 750 is probably from a production of porno he’s got a great representation it’s called the beast by some people because at the time 90 or 100

Horsepower was unheard of for a person to the average person to have to ride this bike the first time i wrote it i was absolutely amazed how smooth it was it was just but it got faster and faster and became quite frightening it was actually built for daytona and it dominated daytona so much so and what they had the formula 750 class in the end they they almost

Banned the bike and it they killed the class because it was so successful it’s a real nostalgic motorcycle and one with one of the favorites of my collection so this next bike is probably my pride private joy it’s a 1981 tz500 it’s only one in new zealand significant change here was the adoption of what they call power valves ypvs yamaha power valve system this

Was very similar to the reed valves it allowed the power to smoothly deliver that lower revs so that was used on the 250s and this machine actually uses similar cylinders the next machine i got that i wrote it regularly was tz250n from 1985. this was yamaha’s last steel frame bike but it was its first crankcase reed engine remember we saw reed valves go back

Into the back of the cylinder on the tz-750 on these ones the reeds actually go into the crank cases feeding the mixture directly into the crank case the advantage there was you now had more port area available through the cylinder there’s a significant advantage or technology change here you’ll also notice how small these crankcases are from the old f model which

Had a lot of road based stuff they completely redesigned the engine to be much smaller they actually made the crankshaft run backwards using a balance shaft and cross shaft to reduce the thrust loads and wear on the pistons once again a big technology change around this model right from the very early time i started racing was just the the one-on-one it was it

Was you against the machine but also it was i was very mechanical and i liked to work on the machine so it was it was the effort you put in to make the machine go or be reliable was was as much as the writing so that’s really what kept me attracted to it and also build up the collection was one understand the technology but also hands-on and i really enjoy that

Now we’ve got a 1986 tz250s significant change going on here aluminium beam frame big move there and also adopted from motocross rising rate suspension so no more monoshock sitting underneath the tank this has a shock absorber sitting vertically so technology once again transferring from motorcross into the racing bikes same engine crankcase reads and all that

But now we start moving into the beam frame era this is a 1989 tz250w the significance about this bike is it’s got a rear exhaust system to get the efficiency out of the tuned exhaust plus also it has got fully adjustable rebound and compression damping on the forks as well as a continuation of the suspension which was fully adjustable so now riders not only

Could they tune the engine they can play around with suspension which was a new game in town it wasn’t just about horsepower it was about how you set your bike up and this was fully tunable i’ve ridden this bike really really nice to ride but quite a revelation from the previous bikes because of the movement of the weight forward steeper steering angle you’re

Actually sitting right over the front of the spot quite different to ride from from the early ones but incredibly stable and really nice bike to ride finally we got a 1991 tz250b now we’ve gone the numbering’s gone back again the significance of this spike it’s a v-twin whereas previous they’ve all been parallel twins so they can retain the delta box suspension

Rising rate the other significant change or technical change on this bike was upside down forks this is the first of the tz production races that are upside down forks once again fully tunable so this is the really the last big technology could change for the tz250 racer they built this for some years later but they really didn’t change the technology much they

Just improved on on engine management because this bike here they had crank case reads but they also had power valves but everything was electronically controlled now so that’s where the improvements came in the electronic control of the engine as opposed to previously it was mechanical changes this here is i guess the culmination of a long lifeline of tz race

Production race bikes i guess is there anyone else crazy enough to have this many yamas you’ve seen nine here i’ve actually got 22 odd and i’ve got about 25 race bikes and 50 motorbikes in total i’ve got two lovely daughters but i’ve got 20 sons that’s how i feel about these bikes you

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TR & TZ Collection | Trevor Taylor's Yamaha Story By Yamaha Motor Australia