Bad markets make for great innovations. In the late 1960’s, the motorcycle market was in a bit of a slump. This forced the innovative companies to dig in and find where there is a market. Yamaha realized that although street bike sales were down, there was still a largely untapped and thriving off-road market available in the United States. Most off-roaders would modify their standard motorbikes to be off road capable, and as we well know, they were called scramblers. This is the perfect storm that brought us the Yamaha Trail 250.
The DT series was produced from 1968 to 1985, with minimal changes. The 1974 DT250 was not a huge departure from the original. The power was produced from a single cylinder 246cc two stroke engine, which produced just under 19 horsepower. It could be pushed to a top speed of 85mph. The bike was a huge success due to its out of the box off road capabilities. It had drum brakes in front and back, and although just two years later the DT got a mono rear shock, the 1974 was equipped with upgraded for the model year dual rear shocks. At today’s standards, there’s nothing exceptional about the Yamaha DT250, but in the late 60’s and through the 70’s it was a game changer for the U.S. off-road market.
This DT is an eye-catching example in that it has not been restored. Since it has not been restored, it’s not perfect, but I think I like my vintage enduro’s with a little patina. The owner has done a little work to clean it up, and according to the description has replaced some parts. The seller states that the upper part of the tank had the cream paint added to cover some paint fade. The bike has 1,649 miles on it, almost brand-new tires, and apparently starts right up with a couple of kicks.
Find this 1974 Yamaha DT250 for $3,295 in Phoenix, Arizona here on Craigslist.