Maybe, just maybe your Yamaha dealer will have some of these by Christmas. They sure hope so, because they’ll sell like hotcakes. Yamaha is looking to take a share of the larger displacement playbike market with a new bike, the TT-R 230. Replacing the cantankerous TT-R225, the new bike is a hit in all the right places, mainly the weight department which is noticeable from the second you take it off the side stand.The TT-R we rode was a pre-production model that Yamaha let us get some time on, just to get a feel for how improved it is. Typically bikes like this don’t shift too well, the brakes aren’t tight and they tend to vibrate a bit as they are hand built to check and finalize fitment before final production. The bike did some of that so we aren’t evaluating it for the final specifications just yet, but we will when we get a production bike in a few weeks.What we did notice was that the bike fired right up, even on a cold morning—not typical of the often lean-running TT-Rs—and it had a nice peppy exhaust note without being loud. The seat height is perfect for anyone over 5’7″, especially girls who are scrunched on TT-R 125s, yet don’t want the girth of a larger bike. The six-speed tranny has a low first gear good for learning or going through tough stuff and then jumps into a taller second gear. The 230 has the power to pull it with a very broad, torquey blend that prefers to be short shifted, but will still rev out, unlike the unwilling TT-R225. It is like a super sized TT-R 125—spunky and fun like its little brother nicely sized for the larger rider.The suspension was also quite good, considering the package. It will handle everything the trail will throw at it if you keep the pace within reason. Get carried away and you can bottom both ends (especially the front) easily with a heavier or aggressive rider aboard. But riding around a smooth Vet-style track with smooth landings and minimal chop was loads of fun. Handling is very predictable and it is quite nimble considering the bike it replaced. It feels 40 pounds lighter!Adding to the list of improvements is the heavily redesigned look that brings the TT-R into the 2000s. It makes the blue bike a fresh new option in playbike land.Sure we’re going to have to get a CRF230 and have a playbike battle; watch the pages of Dirt Rider for that.