The Yamaha YSR50: Not the Most Practical, But Definitely a Blast to Ride

According to Yamaha’s records, the YSR50 was designed to be a scaled-down micro-racer version of the YZR500, crafted to capture “the spirit of race enthusiasts in a playful way.”

“Playful” indeed describes it well, as it looks like a toy. The original English magazine advertisement (PDF) reinforced this playful image, asserting “Just about everybody could end up riding one, provided they’re small-minded enough.”

However, the YSR50 is far from a toy, and it’s definitely not for kids. This mini beast packs a two-stroke single-cylinder engine rated at 49cc, along with a return type 5-speed transmission, front disc brakes, and other features typical of professional racing motorcycles. Push it to its limits, and you can achieve a maximum output of 7 horsepower at 8,800 rotations per minute.

The YSR50 typically cruises at around 37 miles per hour, but pushing the pedal to the metal could see speeds of 40 to 50 miles per hour. While this might be a tad slow for high-speed highways, it’s more than capable of being street legal, and packs a punch on the road.

In its prime during the late ’80s and early ’90s, the YSR50 reigned supreme in the mini-bike racing scene. It was compact enough to weave through its peers while powerful enough to outpace them. If you come across a YSR50 these days, it promises sheer joy when zipping along open roads. Just remember to wear a helmet.

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