Updated: September 20, 2001

Home Page3-Wheelers4-WheelersMagazinesRide InfoCrash & BurnLinksDumb Stuff About Me

3&4 Wheel Action - 1986 250cc Shootout

You can't keep a good bike down! Honda, Kawasaki, and Yamaha treated us to their best ever efforts in '86 with top-of-the-line three-wheelers.

Our Great White North connection, racer Gerald Audette from Saskatchewan, puts the 250R through the sand bowl paces. Rave reviews about the handling and feel of the Honda were heard from all of the riders who threw a leg over it.

Smooth-sailin' air time on the Tri-Z was helped by an increase in suspension travel over last year's edition.

Handling on the Tecate was described as "racer tight." In orther words, the Kawasaki preferred either a full-on slide or a straight-line shot, with nothing in between.

Our crack crew of 3&4 Wheel Action testers burned in a good couple days of riding, taking turns on each machine in varying terrain. While toweling off at the end of the final session, each rider gave input on the motor, gearing, transmission, comfort, cornering ability, jumps, suspension, and an overall rating as either a recreational or racing machine.

The undisputed king of horsepower; the Kawasaki Tecate, held its crown for '86 and benefited from the numerous engine improvements that were made. We noticed both a significant boost in the midrange over last year's model and in Kawie's always-explosive top end. The bottom end of the Tecate still suffers and tends to bog. There was no indication of stalling when climbing nasty hills. Most of the test crew found a problem with power-shifting the Tecate. Full-power shifts were out of the question.

All agreed that the Yamaha had the mellowest motor of the three, and that the power output was smooth and tractable and one of the easiest powerbands to control. The gearbox was better than the other two and would shift anytime, under any amount of power.

As for the Honda, though we agreed it wasn't the fastest, many felt that the motor was the best overall. Described as being hard-hitting in all segments of the power-band, the Honda's motor was controllable and powerful. We also felt that the 250R had the best gear ratios.

Basically, riders of all sizes felt comfortable on the Tecate. We got several snivels regarding excessive engine vibration, wide gas tank, and a front brake lever which is hard to reach. The rear fenders still seem to get in the way in some riding situations, and they rub when cornering. Testers did notice the extra room afforded by the longer wheelbase on the Tri-Z. The Yamaha was not plagued by any engine vibration, and the extra-tall safety seat resulted in a very comfortable ride.
Honda's comfort rating was described as plush, but one of the larger riders felt that for those over six foot one-inch, it might be a bit cramped.