YAMAHA SDR200 - THE WHIPPET IS BIKE OF THE WEEK
FAST AS A GREYHOUND, SMALL AS A WHIPPET
Well what is this lovely little thing you ask? Could it be the baby brother of the Ducati Monster with that stylish trellis frame?
Nope, those in the know will recognise this cool machine as that rare and special beast, the Yamaha SDR200 – around a good while before the Ducati Monster appeared.
This slick motorcycle was originally born in Japan and only sold on the Japanese Domestic Market, so, although they can occasionally be found in Europe or the US, they're few and far between, just rare Grey Market imports of which a scant number travelled over to the UK in around 1986/7.
When Yamaha engineers began to develop this machine, they quickly clocked that a DT frame wouldn't work on the proposed slimline Whippetty sport machine, so they developed the signature chrome-plated trellis frame as the bike's exo-skeleton. Coupled with its minimalist bodywork, this contributes so much to its original good looks.
Under the magnifying glass
So let's take a look at this rare little beast a bit more closely. Unique though it is in appearance, this is mainly due to its high-end molybdenum steel trellis frame and sleek streamlined tank. The rest of its parts are derived from, or inspired by other bikes.
On close inspection, its three-spoke wheels are sported by other Yamahas, as are the brakes. The instrument cluster is similar to that on the SRX600 4 stroke and the engine is like the one on the DT200R Trail bike just with a unique SDR200 piston but normal DR200R piston rings. The SDR has a two-stroke single-cylinder liquid-cooled engine with Yamaha YPVS (Yamaha Power Valve System) technology and a 195cc Engine giving 35 horsepower through a 6-speed transmission.
So with all that available power, combined with its unique light lattice frame and slim tank giving it a featherweight weigh-in of only 105kg (dry), its weight to power ratio means the SDR can get to a cracking claimed top speed of 100mph. Its speed, combined with its sylphlike 9.5-litre fuel tank, earned it the nickname of ''The Whippet' back in the day - tiny, but fast as a greyhound.
As for riding one - it's small and svelte, but a delight when the two-stroke power kicks in and it rockets forward with its smooth as silk, six-speed gearbox. The brakes could maybe be a little tougher but they are from a bygone age and brake technology has come a long way since the 1980s so it's not really fair to criticise it for this, it's just a product of its time.
This unique machine, small but perfectly formed, is thought to be possibly where Ducati took its inspiration from when designing the Ducati Monster in 1992 and we all know what a success story that turned out to be. Perhaps Yamaha missed a trick not making more and releasing them onto the mass market – who can say – would just be great to own one!!
Have you owned or ridden a Yamaha SDR 200? Let us know what you thought in firstname.lastname@example.org.
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