The big battle. The major clash.
The final showdown. Call it what you will,
the annual 250 three-wheeler shootout is one event
that ATV riders won't want to miss. Honda, Kawasaki,
and Yamaha laid their best on the line for this
high-stakes main event that guarantees slam-bang
action, revved-out motors and earth-shattering jumps.
And that's just getting them out of the back of
the pickup! This year's edition features the Yamaha
Tri-Z, the Kawasaki Tecate, and Honda's ever-popular
250R - the meanest, fastest, baddest three-wheelers
So what would anyone even want
with a fire-breathin', kick-in-the-pants, white-knucklin'
ATV? It's fairly easy to answer that question. A
person would purchase any one of these three ATVs
to use it for either a)
an organized racing event. b)
as a high-performance recreational bike. or c)
a combination of both. And that's exactly the basis
of this shootout. Is one bike best for racing and
not so hot for recreational rid-ers, or would another
bike flounder on the race track. but be the best
on the trails?
With the introduction of their water-cooled machines
several years ago,
Honda and Kawasaki were first to put major efforts
into a showroom racer Last year Yamaha introduced
its first edition of the Tri-Z, a unique machine
with an under-the-seat gas tank. Honda has also
been coming up with new innovations and has consistently
been at or near the top of past shootout battles.
The Kawasaki Tecate is famous for its mongo top-end
motor and is always a contender.
Simply stated, Honda took a well-deserved vacation
in the new-innovations department for '86 and released
a machine with no major changes from the '85. Kawasaki
and Yamaha, on the other hand, hit the drafting
board hard and added sparkling new changes which
have improved both over the previous models.
The totally redesigned Tecate features a Kawasaki
Integrated Power-valve System
(KIPS), which was designed to provide a wider powerband
and increased compression. Electronic-advance CDI,
revised porting, and new jetting for the R-bottom
slide carburetor were also added to give the Green
Meanie even more beans.
A new frame houses the centerport KIPS motor and
features a Fresh Air Intake System. Twin frame-mounted
radiators re-place the fork-mounted system of old,
resulting in a lower center of gravity and im-proved
steering. A box-section aluminum swingarm, new Uni-Trak
linkages, 41mm forks, more front and rear suspension
travel, and lower-profile rear tires complete the
list of major changes.
The Yamaha gang was out to make the Tri-Z's sophomore
year a successful one by adding a six-speed tranny
(over last year's five), beefier 39mm forks with
a travel increase of 0.8 inch over last year, and
0.3 inch of increased rear travel. New low-profile
rear meats. an oil bath for the CD ignition and
hot new Team Yamaha colors of red and white round
Out the new Tri-Z.
The word for the '86 Honda is "refinement"
rather than "redesign." Updates on this
year's machine include handlebars (different bend),
swingarm (redesigned), chain adjustment mechanism
(easier to operate), and a slightly taller seat.
All three machines are powered by water-cooled two-stroke
motors, with the Tecate sporting 249cc and the Tri-Z
and Honda close behind at 246cc. The 250R and Tecate
head the carburetor list at 34mm. with the Tri-Z
bringing up the rear with a 32mm. All three machines
are powered by electronic ignition systems. Yamaha
and Honda both have six-speed trannies, while the
Kawasaki is the oddball in this department with
a five-speed. Of course, all three have manual transmissions,
a must for racing bikes.