They say there’s a little kid in all of us, and I’m pretty sure this saying applies to more than just pregnant women. Dropping your grown-up posture from time to time and indulging your younger side just may be the best way to stave the ghastly effects of growing old. One such way of doing so-and the method that Dirt Rider recommends most often-is to get your hands on a solid playbike and ride it until the wheels fall off. Last year, one of the easiest bikes to grow young on was Yamaha’s TT-R90, a machine that bridged the gap between the teeny-tiny TT-R50 and the larger blue playbikes. Yet for 2008, the TT-R90 is no more. Going back to the drawing board, Yamaha’s engineers transformed the somewhat-dated 90 into the all-new TT-R110E, a rolling bundle of youth that keeps riders of all sizes in kid heaven.On the outside, the current Yamaha sports a more YZ-inspired look via some radical new plastic and cooler graphics, though the biggest changes lie unseen in the bike’s motor, which is clearly based off of the previous TT-R90 platform. Along with upping the air-cooled motor’s size by 20cc by way of a bigger . at-head piston, the TT-R110E boasts a redesigned cylinder, larger bore and stroke, updated valve timing and a 9.3 compression ratio. Getting this power to the ground is an all-new four-speed transmission with a roller-type (as opposed to cam type) clutch structure. A number of engine components wereadopted from the TT-R90, including the two-valve cylinder head, familiar electric start and freshly jetted Mikuni carburetor. Yamaha also chose to keep the steel pipe exhaust system, though a screentype spark arrestor now trumps the still-quiet note and eliminates the protruding stinger that graced the 90.A modified frame, improved steering bearing and reinforced rear swingarm led the way in accommodating the existing Yamaha chassis to the new playbike’s motor. With a larger cockpit and a combined extra 20mm of front and rear suspension travel, the TT-R110E can handle a bigger rider, too. The most significant handling change to the TT-R110E is the new die-cast aluminum triple clamp, which replaces the cheesy steel plate that came on last year’s Yamaha 90. In the stopping department, the drum-style brakes remain standard; nevertheless, better feel is achieved through new lining material.But enough of the tech jargon-we’ve already spent a considerable amount of time in the dirt aboard the TT-R110E. In a nutshell, this machine is the perfect next step beyond the TT-R90. Providing sufficient power without being too snappy, the torquey motor pulls strong from the bottom of the revs and makes a seamless transition into a sturdy upper-mid, meaning that the bike can be rolled through corners without unnecessary shifting or excessive throttle action. For a smaller pilot, the bike will easily pull a second or third gear all the way around a track, which means less worry for Junior as he learns the riding ropes. The gear spacing is pretty tall and has gaps for larger riders; adding some teeth to the rear sprocket would help. Also making things easier for the little guys are the sidestand, electric start and on/off key ignition, although the battery will drain if you leave the key on. (Luckily, though, the kickstarter still works like a charm.) Overall, the exhaust note on the TT-R is extremely pleasant, resembling a low, quiet rumble more than a long blast of noise.
As for the revised chassis, the new triple clamp makes all the difference in the world when it comes to stability. The machine now has a planted and consistent feel, and the larger rider area and relatively low weight carries well into turns and off of jumps. The suspension is still fairly soft for bigger riders, especially the shock, but this is only to allow for suitable settling with the “proper” size rider aboard. If you’re in the market for a good, up-to-date playbike for anyone in your family, the TT-R110E is as solid an option as we’ve come across this year. And at $1849, the price isn’t on the moon for a bike of this quality. But if your wife asks you why you’ve been mowing lawns whenever you get home from the office, just tell her that your inner child is saving up for a bike. I’m sure she’ll understand.Specifications
Weight (ready to ride, no gas): 155 lb
Seat height: 26.2 in.
Ground clearance: 6.8 in.
Seat-to-footpeg distance: 16.4 in.What’s New!
Revised 110cc motor and tranny
Roomier chassis with beefier gussets
More suspension travel
Aluminum top clampWhat’s Hot!
Bigger motor pulls like a champ
Larger chassis accommodates a wider range of pilots
Electric start still rules
Equipped with a spark arrestor
Looks like a YZ!What’s Not!
Stock bar is still somewhat flimsy
Battery goes dead if key is left on
Expectedly soft setup for bigger ridersOpinions
After enduring a knee injury from a minibike racing accident, I had completely written off mini playbikes. That was until I had a chance to ride the TT-R110 at the Yamaha Fun Day. I had so much fun riding this tiny machine, my previous injury didn’t even cross my mind. I felt completely comfortable on the little bike. The TT-R felt really stable up front and had plenty of leg room to keep my feet on the pegs and transition for corners without bashing my knees on the bar. The gear ratio seemed to be almost perfect for the two tracks we rode on, and power was always there when I needed it to pull me through a taller gear. The only thing I didn’t like about the TT-R110 was getting off of it.
-Joe McKimmy/5’10″/160 lb/Vet IntermediateI really liked this 110 because it was so easy to ride. I’m still crashing a lot, so it was awesome to just push a button to start instead of kickstarting like I usually do. It was also really easy to shift and the ride was super smooth. The suspension was perfect for me. I only got it up to third gear today on this track, but it was really fast. It looks cool, too!
-Tate Allan/Age 10/4’11″/86 lb/Beginner
(Check out Mini Rider Magazine to see more about what the kids think!)