2006 Yamaha TT-R50E - Motorcyclist Magazine Online

The traditional colors of Christmas have been red and green. From a dirt-biking family's perspective, green is what flies out of the wallet and red is the color of the little bike that sits under the tree, right? Imagine the option of throwing blue into the picture. Yamaha would sure like you to, and it has a plan in action to make that easy. It begins with the basic formula for an entry-level bike: small, simple to ride, nearly indestructible, cool-looking, two wheels and a motor. Then it throws in a whopper: electric starting! So add to the list the easiest possible starting, all at an MSRP ($1149) lower than the Honda's. Hope there is a good stock when Santa places his order.So how does the smallest of the TT-R family work? Well, pushing the button is about the best thing that can happen for the learning experience, at least in the beginning. It makes starting the bike as painless as it can get. When the TT-R50 is cold, it takes just a bit of choke, operated through a handlebar lever, and, voil, it's ready to ride. The transmission goes easily into gear in its up-up-up three-speed, auto-clutch shifting pattern. First gear is plenty low and won't intimidate even a first-timer. The power is very smooth, though it actually offers a lot of torque for feeling this seamless. The bike resists stalling, and the auto-clutch action is just about perfect for engaging and disengaging. The bike revs out pretty well and can stay in a single gear for a long time. Yamaha may have been relying on the torque, as the gear spacing seemed pretty wide, most noticeable with adults on the bike. But even larger tyros could get away with just riding in second gear the whole time. Beginner riders preferred second gear, as first was too low and required revving out the motor too much. Third gets the Yamie going plenty fast; we guess around 35 mph if you pin it for a while.The chassis feels tight and definitely doesn't have a cheap feel to it as knock-off bikes do. Don't fool yourself and think you can get a quality bike at the auto-parts store or a stereo shop. If you want something that is going to last, see a real motorcycle dealer. The TT-R feels as if it is sprung a bit stiffer than Honda's CRF50F, and the suspension does a better job of damping bumps-a good thing because the second maneuver children learn, after starting the bike, is how to jump it. The kids report the Yamie handles just great; we believe it as none of them wanted to get off it. For adults, it is super-cramped, but what else would you expect? The brakes worked just fine, and if learning slowly is a key feature, there is a throttle limiter to control just how much gas your kid can give the bike. After a few weeks of adult-level abuse, our stock test bike is holding up fine. Even after jumping it and beating it up on backyard tracks, nothing has come loose or broken; it should last a long time for kids, a real gas-and-go machine.Yamaha also brought out some fully modified GYT-R TT-Rs for us to take some laps on. Hopped up with handlebar kits and top triple clamps, the riding position can grow with the young ones or fit kids at heart. There is also a taller seat with cushy, if not totally mushy foam. In the engine department was a full motor kit bumping the displacement up to 88cc with a carb, cam, cylinder, head and all the gaskets you need, as Yamaha has found this is the best size for power increase and durability with a reported doubling of the output. It ran really well without being too racy. The GYT-R TT-R has a big boost in torque, allowing it to pull gears easily without hesitation even with heavy adults on the machine. It revs up to a little faster speed but not so much as to get uncontrollable; plus, it revs out further and freer with the help of a pipe. In the strengthening department are a footpeg bracket, footpegs and an aluminum brake pedal. There were a lot of cosmetic items on the bikes-from engine covers to graphics kits-to make them look even faster. And for kids who are going to jump the baby Yamie, or for heavier guys, come stiffer springs for the suspension. They make a noticeable difference, but they are not magic. The damping quality of the stock shock and fork need more than just springs to truly work on motocross-type obstacles.Yamaha has a real winner on its hands largely because of the electric starter on a perfect kid bike. Although my dad used the old saying, "You can ride it when you can start it," as so many other fathers did, this Yamaha will surely get kids riding quicker because starting is no longer a chore, taking one of the struggles out of the learning process. Maybe times will change and dads will now have to say, "I'll give you the key when your homework is done."OpinionsYou wouldn't think putting an electric starter on a kid's bike would be such a big deal. But it is. Anyone who's taught a youngster sees the frustration just starting the bike can evoke, even though the chore is a valuable lesson. It does get old and tedious having to start the bike again and again after stalls and tip-overs. Plus, even seasoned riders seem to prefer pushing a button to kicking, so the TT-R50 having an electric starter is a no-brainer and makes it a winner from the first push on the button.-Jimmy Lewis5'10"/175 lb/37 y.o./Minibike legend (in his own mind)It didn't make that noise like my Kawasaki KDX50 does over jumps. I fell a few times, but my dad fixed it , and it was better. I want one of these. -Dylan Bloomer3'11"/55 lb/6 y.o./NoviceIt is fatter than my KTM in the middle and felt longer, too. It's better as a trailbike because I didn't like going over jumps. I liked shifting it because my KTM doesn't have gears. I was scared about shifting, but I had fun doing it. This bike is a better bike for my little brother Jake. Having a brake for my foot is better because I don't know which brake I pull with two levers on the bar on my KTM. I liked starting it myself as that means I can ride whenever I want, but my dad says he will take away the key. -Evan Allen4'2"/50 lb/8 y.o./NoviceWhat's New* Everything-even though it looks just like a blue Honda, it's all Yamaha.What's Hot* Electric-starting kiddie bike. Dad doesn't have to kick it every time.* Cool styling that mimics the YZ line.* Should run forever; pass it down from generation to generation.* There is plenty of hop-up stuff already, and there will only be more. This bike can grow with the rider or be modded to fit an adult.What's Not* Yamaha's helping to grow a generation of riders who won't know how to start a motorcycle the "old" way.* Stock handlebar is welded on; there is no adjustment.* You can easily spend more than the MSRP on mods.SpecificationsMSRP: $1149Claimed dry weight: 119 lbActual weight (ready to ride, no gas): 129 lbSeat height: 21.8 in.Fuel capacity: 0.8 gal.