1996 Yamaha TRX850

So I was working hard to reduce the amount of bikes in the garage…………….. and then I accidentally buy a TRX850. I was toying with the idea of buying a rather expensive bike, like a KTM Superduke 1290 or a BMW S1000R but I thought having over £7000 sat there in a bike that I never seem to have enough time to ride would be a waste. Sooo I decided that a cheaper do-er up-er would be a better buy, it would give me a project to work on and a bike to ride when I didn’t want to ride the Hayabusa. So I started to look round for a bike that would be a nice project but wouldn’t break the bank. To be honest my list of bikes was very, very short. The list was:

  1. Yamaha TRX850

Err that’s it, a very short list (can only one item be classed as a list?) So I found a TRX that was a good price and in generally nice nick,  well not completely ruined and I put a bid on it.
To my surprise I won the Auction and the bike was mine. So what is it like I hear you ask, well it is a 45000 mile TRX850 in red.

After a quick look over this is the list of things that need sorting, I am sure there will be other stuff but this is what I am aware of at the moment.

  1. Dodgy Alarm – It seems to have a very dodgy alarm, and regular readers will know how much I really don’t like alarms, so that is coming off!!! – After a little investigation I found out that the bike has two alarms, a cheap Chinese one and a Spyball one.
  2. Scott-Oiler – I’m not a fan of these and it really doesn’t suit the bike for what I am intending to use it for so this will be coming off too.
  3. Heated Grips – I’m also not a fan of heated grips, especially when they aren’t fitted well, these rotate round on the bars, so they will be coming off too.
  4. Rear seat latch doesn’t work – When I got the bike it had a bungee net on the rear, which I thought was a bit odd, it seems it was keeping the rear seat on as the seat latch isn’t working
  5. All the Locks – All the locks seems to be ill, the key for the fuel tank which is different to the ignition key is bent (badly) and the ignition lock is held on partially with cable ties. Also the ignition lock, like a lot of old bikes will only work if you pull the key towards you when you turn it
  6. Top Yoke – I looks like someone at some point decided to try and steal this bike as the top yoke around the ignition key bears the scars of a large lump hammer!!! So that’ll need replacing, maybe this explains the ignition lock held on with zip ties!!
  7. Repair the fairing – The tip of the fairing on the right is missing, there is a crack on the front, the surround to the indicator is bashed in and one of the mounts for the headlight is broken.
  8. Crash Bungs – The crash bungs on the bike have seen better days. I will be buying some Delrin (Black nylon) and will try making some of my own crash bungs to replace them.
  9. Horrible Anodised Footpegs – These will be removed, melted down and dropped in to an active volcano. The original ones have a bonded rubber top, though I might just go for generic metal footpegs.
  10. The Rear Brake Pedal – This appears to have been broken in half across the section your foot presses on, and has been welded back on, not a bad job and it is not something you spot straight away, but I will change it one day.
  11. The Right-hand Silencer – At some point this bike has gone down on its right-hand side, at a reasonably slow speed. This damaged several things on the Right-hand side, including the crash bung, the oil pump cover, the foot peg (I assume), the reart brake pedal and the rear silencer. The damage to the silencer is mostly to the riveted on band of stainless steel. I think I can repair 95% of the damage by just replacing this band and the rivets.
  12. Scabby Rear Rack – This doesn’t suit the bike and will be coming off. I will blast it and paint it and put it up for sale.
  13. Front Braided Brake Hose – These are the older none covered type, the type that can hacksaw through plastic and aluminium, the ends look a little rough too. I will either be looking at getting them covered or I will replace them.
  14. Brake and Clutch Levers – These currently don’t match the clutch being standard and the brake being a very beaten up Pazzo shorty lever. I will probably just change these for cheap Chinese anodised levers, they look good and work well.
  15. There is a small dent in the tank – Might not be much I can do about this. There is a cheap tool that you can buy that uses a hot glue gun, I have heard reasonable reports about one, so might give it a try.
  16. The Oil pump cover is scuffed – I might ultimately replace this, but more likely I will tidy it up and paint it.
  17. Horrible Anodised Brake Master Cylinder Reservoir – See my comments above about red anodising… this thing will be replaced with a much better all plastic item.
  18. The Bum Stop – The TRX has a moulded foam pad to the back of the riders seat. There is a mythical unworn one somewhere, but I have yet to see it on a real bike (I have seen pictures, honest) Surprisingly the bum stop on my TRX is buggered, to be honest, it is nearly warn through. I have an idea for this though. I have an interest in Cosplay, I am always amazed what can be done with foam and paint. So from the You Tube videos I have been watching I think I might be able to do something with foam floor mats and special rubber paint called Plasti-Dip (Which I happen to have some of)…. watch this space.
  19. Mis-matched Bolts – Some of the bolts around the rear sets seem to be odd sizes and types, I will try and replace them all with more suitable bolts.
  20. Rear Brake Hose – This hose looks like the original rubber hose, this will get replaced with a braided hose, mainly for looks but also as the other one must be past its sell by date.
  21. How Dirty It Is – While the outside of the bike appears reasonably clean, at least to my standards, underneath it is a different story. Under the tank there is enough dirt to plant potatoes, under the seat is a little better but still grubby. It looks like it has been sprayed in light oil (Is this the Scott-Oiler again?) maybe the previous owner sprayed some sort of protective spray over the bike and it has built up under the seat and tank (That would explain the condition of the bike, very good for an old high(ish) mileage Yamaha)

That sums up the faults, not a huge list and all reasonably easy to fix. There are a few things I will be looking at doing to improve the bike after repairing the issues.

  1. Oil Pressure Light – Weirdly, and almost impossible to believe but Yamaha did not fit an oil pressure light or even an oil level light on the TRX. Yamaha for some reason didn’t fit oil pressure lights to many bikes in the 90’s, for example the light on the FZR1000 was only oil level. The irony of it all is that Yamaha’s of that time did use some oil so you could argue that of all the bikes they needed an oil pressure light most of all!! Anyway it is quite easy to retrofit an oil pressure light. There is a banjo bolt on the engine that can be tapped into to get oil pressure reading. The problem is, that while there are banjo bolts that have a port on them to attach say an oil pressure sender, however it is difficult to get the combination of right fittings on the banjo bolt and oil pressure sender. Once the sensor side is sorted there is a handy spare light on the strip of warning lights below the speedo and rev counter so it could all be packaged neatly.
  2. Pillion Seat Cover – There are several versions of these floating around, but generally they are like hens teeth, but only slightly rarer!! I have thought about making my own, as it is something that I haven’t really tried before. I have several ideas…… watch this space, it might even happen!

About The Author


Ambitious Amateur Mechanic, with a slight (OK not slight) Suzuki bias