Click on these links for a "hot lap" of the TZ350 and 250 Website:
We have decided to open a new section for the owners of frames to suit Yamaha TD, TR, TA or TZ motors only that have not been able to be identified. Maybe someone else will recognise the frame and we can solve the mystery.
Click Here for the "Mystery Frames" section.
Aftermarket TZ,TD,TR and TA frames.
There have been a multitude of frames made by specialist frame makers to suit old Yamaha roadracers over the years. These were generally made to offer either:
An improvement in handling over the stock items.
A reduction in weight over the stock frames.
Elimination of the risk of frame failure, especially in the F/G model series.
and probably most importantly:
4. A psychological edge over the competition.
Some time ago one of our members ( thanks Michel ) suggested we set up a page like this to collect photos and information on all of these exotic frames. Well here it is, finally !
Once again we call for any photos or information you might have to add to this page, it seems there are a lot of these frames out there and a lot of people interested in them as well. We'd really like to replace the shots of bikes with fairings fitted with ones where you can clearly see the frame, so if you have any photos of "bare" bikes or frames please send them in!
Click on the different brand names to read a little about them:
|Lew Batty||Austin Hockley||PEM|
|C & J|
|Cheney||Keers||Seeley / Yamsel|
|J.J Cobas||Jim Lee||Shepherd|
|DKG||PAGE 2 of Aftermarket Frames ↓||Sparton|
|Fred Hardy||Offenstadt / Fior||Yamaco|
Dutch frame builder Nikko Bakker built TZ frames right from the early seventies to early nineties, instantly recognisable by their beautifully bent rails and layout. 250/350/500/750 1974 - '90.
Picture: A Nikko Bakker framed TZ350 currently under restoration by Bob Keller in Brasil.
Englishman Lew Batty teamed up with fellow countryman Eric Stanbra to produce their first frame in about 1975 fitted with a TR3 powerplant. Lew rode this to some success before building a second frame to suit a TZ350 engine. The twin shock frames were made from Reynolds T45 tubing and featured a very tall steering head, converted Vauxhall and Hillman brake discs, Lockheed master cylinders and calipers and shortened "Roadholder" forks.
Beo / CAT
Made in Switzerland by sidecar racer Rudi Kurth who began building frames for TZ triple conversion racers around 1973. The frames were of a semi-monocoque design and the one pictured was a 500cc experimental racer (we think) used in practice for the Yugoslavian GP of 1975 but we are unsure if it was actually raced. ( Coeno van Houten and Michel du Maine.)
A very early Kurth made frame, this one is from 1973.
Italian company Bimota manufactured frames for TZs in limited numbers right through the mid to late seventies with their most significant success being Jon Ekerold's 1980 350cc World Championship. They made frames to suit TZ250/350/500/750s from around 1975 until we think 1982. The frames have always been recognisable by the upper rail running in a straight line from the steering head to the swingarm pivot, providing maximum rigidity. Another feature of a lot of Bimota frames was helium gas pressure charging, to have the effect of further weight reduction and also add rigidity.
Picture: An early Bimota framed TZ. This one appears to be circa: 1975/76.
This machine is apparently the exact machine Jon Ekerold rode to victory in the 1980 350cc Championship. It was for sale in Italy in 2003.
C & J.
C & J makes frames for dirt oval racing and have done for 30 years or more. They made 4 special TZ frames for Erv Kanemoto in the mid to late 70`s They were ridden by Gary Nixon Freddie Spencer and Gary Fisher as well as countless other units to suit Yamaha 2 stroke twin cylinder motors. (Rusty Bigley).
Picture: Norm R's C&J TZ750 rolling chassis.
Renowned American dirt-track frame builder Doug Schwerma built his Champion frames to house Yamaha roadracer engines right throughout the late sixties and seventies. Their most famous one was perhaps that which was ridden by Kenny Roberts in 1975, made from 4130 steel tubing and fitted with a TZ750A motor! In actual fact 6 of the TZ750 dirt-trackers were built by Doug for Roberts, Steve Baker, Skip Aksland, Don Vesco, Rick Hocking and Randy Cleek. The four cylinder 750s were banned soon after and despite campaigning by thousands of enthusiasts for their return early in 1976 they were gone forever from competition.
A handful of roadracing frames were also made and raced in America by Tom Cleghorn amongst others.
Tragically Doug Schwerma took his own life in the early seventies, much to the disbelief of so many in American roadracing and flat-track circles.
A Champion framed TR3 engined flat-tracker.
The Champion-framed TZ was designed to allow racers to use the same engine for road race and dirt track events, swapping the engines between different frames. It's been said that Champion sold around 25 frame kits per week, the dirt-track scene was that strong in those days. The frame dimensions for the TZ were mostly identical to the then popular XS650 item except for the engine cradle, which had to accomodate the TZ700's huge expansion chambers and the swingarm, which had to be lengthened by an inch to try and keep the front wheel on the ground.
The Champion framed TZ750 flat-tracker ridden by Kenny Roberts in 1975 at San Jose. They had fitted roadracing "wets" and re-positioned the engine slightly over Doug Schwerma's original design in an effort to gain traction, which was a real problem with a motor producing this level of horsepower.
Made in England for the TD2/3 and TR2/3 around 1972. (Chatterton) (Michel du Maine)
Eric Cheney in England was commissioned by World Championship contender Phil Read in 1970 to construct a lightweight frame from Reynolds 531 tubing. This new chassis turned out to be 2.25kg lighter than the stock TD2 item, retaining almost identical geometry to the original item. Only about 5 or 6 of the frames were ever built with Phil's being nickel plated, probably more of a case of helping to "psyche out" the opposition than anything!
Phil Read holds the Cheney frame that helped him to win the 1971 World 250cc Championship.
Frenchman Alain Chevallier built a number of quite successful chassis around the TZ250/350 engine as early as 1980 with riders of the caliber of Eric Saul, Jean Francois Balde and Didier de Radigues with the latter almost winning the 1982 World Championship. ( Phillipe Roche )
(Kobas?) These rare aluminium frames were made in Spain in approximately 1979 to suit the TZ250 and 350F. (Michel du Maine)
Cowles frames were an English made unit specifically designed for the TR3 in 1972. (Michel du Maine)
Tom Cleghorn and friends built what they called the CRDC
frame for Yamahas of sheet
aluminum about 1971. It was apparently held together with 300 rivets! (Tom Bright)
Built in Japan using a TZ250 K/L power valve engine, apparently only two where built by the Daishin company. Ivor (the guy who provided the photo and info on the Daishin for us) would like to find out more info on this bike if possible. Email: IIskelton@aol.com
The DKG TZ frames were built
by Dave Garoutte of Mill Valley, California in the late 1970's. Not many of
these frames were built. Frame is made of 4130 seamless tubing and weighs under
37 lbs. The price in late 1970's was US
$1600.00 for the frame and swing arm only. There are no numbers on these frames and they use a DKG tank with an aircraft filler cap.
( Info supplied by Nick Parkyn ) Photo supplied by Rick Degan
Dave has his own website set up with a special "museum" section in which he details his TZ frames. Check it out: http://dkg-cnc.com/museum.html
He says that: "The kit consisted of frame, swingarm, pivot axle, rear axle, gas tank with QR aircraft filler ,tapered roller swingarm pivot and steering head bearings. The bike I raced weighed about 225 lbs without gas."
DRS stood for "Derby racing Service".
Does anyone have any information on DRS frames? We have nothing on them, only this photo.
This frame was made in 1981 by Michel Ducombs, a teacher at the IUT Institute University Technical, initially for himself, but soon after it was given to Patrick Igoa to use in the French and European championships (Patrick achieved pole position on the bike in the 1982 French GP).
Another English TD3 / TR3 frame maker around 1972 (Michel du Maine)
Egli TZ frames were made in
Switzerland in the mid seventies to suit TZ250s, 350s and 750s. Special wheels,
forks, brackets, fuel tanks, seats, fenders and other items were also made and
sold separately if required. (Michel du Maine)
Pictured is the EY2 chassis kit 1 designed for the 1976/77 TZ250/350. (Beatrice Egli)
Martijn Stehouwer and his team at EMOT Racing in the Netherlands have recently (2005) begun producing frames to suit early 125cc Yamahas which are based on their already successful 50cc frames.
They are a high quality, very small, sleek unit definitely suited to the smaller classes and are being produced in limited numbers by order only for around 700 Euros each.
Visit EMOT Racing's website or contact Martijn for more details if interested.
Swedish built, the ESW frame was produced as a direct replacement for the
bike pictured is not fully original, with the frame being modified by ESW to run
a 16 inch front end, so in this picture it is fitted with RD500 front end.
The Cylinders are also Swedish made, called Chimoto and were produced by a Swedish roadracer named Liebst.
Revolutionary frame specialist Tony Foale made TZ frames, some with a single, large diameter tubular "backbone" in Spain to suit the 250/350 in the mid to late seventies. Tony went on to write at least two industry standard chassis design books, the latest, "Motorcycle Handling and Chassis Design: The Art and Science" is reviewed in the "Reviews" section of this website. (Michel du Maine)
Fred McLean and Peter Pinion made their first TZ frame in Addington, New Zealand around 1976 utilising 10-10 gauge cold drawn seamless tube steel with very few bends and radical bracing in line with their experiences building racing car chassis. The frame had no bottom frame rails and utilised just the top front engine mount and had a trick combined rear engine mount - swingarm pivot.
They claimed their complete TZ350 weighed 13kg less than a stock TZ350 of the time and apparently Marco Lucchinelli asked them three times to ride it when he visited New Zealand and wanted to take one back to Europe with him. It's said that just 6 or 7 were ever made.
( Evan Wilson )
Jacky Germain. (German Jack?)
Jacky Germain was mechanic to both Patrick Pons and Christain Sarron throughout his career and actually made a few TZ frames himself in the late seventies. (J Plouvel)
Picture supplied by Eric Goudou
Made in small numbers by a metal workshop in Murcia, Spain
Today Jazen makes racing exhausts for two-strokes.
Fred was related to Barry Sheene and based in High Wycombe, Bucks , UK. He produced a handful of frames in the 70s to suit TZs. No further info is available.
Harris frames were made for TZs from approximately 1974 to the early eighties.
Frames were made 250, 350, 500 and 750s and many were painted red as in this photo.
(Michel du Maine)
Chittenden built Hejira Frames from about 1977 (we think), mostly for single
cylinder motocross engines, but a few TZs were built too, others had Rotax
engines fitted, the bikes came with Astralight wheels and were more expensive
than Spondon or Harris.
The last Hejiras were 4 stroke "sound of singles" bikes.
Austin Hockley was modifying Spondon frames for 125cc racers such as GYT kitted AS series roadbikes and TA125s with success in the early seventies. The frames were used by Granby Yamaha in their watercooled 125cc top end conversion racers amongst others.
The England based visionary Norman Hossack used his F1 and Indy Car experience from working at Maclaren to develop this chassis kit for TZ/RD(RZ) 250 & 350 engines in 1983. The tandem twin Rotax/Armstrong unit would also fit. Perhaps being a little late for the peak in aftermarket frame production resulted in only three being built, one for a TZ (now believed scrapped), one static demonstrator and this one (the prototype pictured) built for a FII RD350LC engine. This bike is still running in the UK with the Classic Racing Motorcycle Club and building quite a reputation for itself. (Mick Burge)
Jamathi frames were made in Holland in the late sixties and early seventies. They were moped based and essentially held 125cc twin cylinder engines when used as a race chassis. The frames were used in a number of specials such as the Meurs Yam 125 and Motorpaleis Yam 125. They also built four frames to take the TD2-B engine for use in the Dutch Championship in the late sixties / early seventies. (Michel du Maine and Coeno van Houten)
Picture: 1970 model on left, 1969 on right.
Ross wrote: "This is a brochure of a JCM frame kit that
available in the late '70's early '80's...it was originally marketed by Maitland
Racing in the UK. JCM stoof for James Camier Motorcycles. Unfortunately the 'J'
in JCM passed away shortly after the arrangement was begun and the frames
reverted to DCM...Dave Camier Motorcycles. Dave was an accomplished racer in his
own right and his homebase was Bethersden in Kent and he is still there today.
He also adapted the frames for Japanese single cylinder four stroke engines as well, such as the SR500 Yamaha and the 500 Hondas.
His later frames featured rising rate suspension as well."
Johnson were yet another English frame maker, building a chassis to suit the Yamaha 125cc two stroke engine in approximately 1972. (Michel du Maine)
Juchem frames were made in Germany from about 1979 until the mid to late eighties. Mostly 250/350 units were made and all were beautifully crafted from aluminium. (Michel du Maine)
Junghans / Wendler
From behind the Iron
Curtain (East - Germany) came the Junghans 125 and 250cc frames around 1976 to
1980. Most of their 200 or so frames were built for MZ riding privateers though
still a lot of TA125 and TZ250 units were made. Junghans teamed up with a
fellow racer named Frank Wendler to produce frames in the seventies, these were
marked "J-W". Later on, in the early eighties Junghans teamed up with his son to
continue work, these frames were marked "J-J". Late in the eighties Junghans
worked alone and Wendler went off to produce a few of his own frames as well for
a short while.
GDR (East German) riders were not allowed to have capitalist Yamaha engines so they were well hidden behind fairings an not listed as Yamaha in race entries.
(Michel du Maine and Martijn Stehouwer)
Interesting feature of all Junghans frames is the bridge design made from small diameter tubing with the engine hanging underneath. The rear of the engine was mounted on the swingarm axle (with rubber) and the front hanging on long rubber bushed mounts attached to the frame. Most of the frames were built for vibrating 250 MZ 1 cylinder units.... that's why they needed so much rubber!
This Junhans-Wendler frame hosted a watercooled twin-cylinder Yamaha motor. (Coeno van Houten)
The Keers 125cc frame came from the Netherlands around 1970 - 73 (Michel du Maine)
(Cobas?) No information is available on these frames at present. The one pictured competed in the European championship in 1982 with Carlos Cardús rider and has it's first victory in GP some time later with Sito Pons riding.
(Thanks to Edy for the photo and information.)
Englishman Jim Lee made frames for a few TZs and in fact sponsored Mick Grant for a while, hence the JL on his helmet in a lot of photos!
One particular JL framed Tr2-B is featured in this write-up by Ben Waters:
1970 and 1971 Mick raced the bike extensively all over the country and in the
IOM. During the 1971 season Mick went on to win 16 consecutive races on the
Yamaha! At the 1971 Junior TT, Mick finished 7th. At the Post TT at Mallory
Park, Mick did even better and beat the works-Yamaha’s to finish second on the
With the success achieved with Jim Lee, Mick was to be given bikes by Padgett’s for the 1972 season. In early 1972 Mick sold the bike on behalf of Jim Lee to Mike Trimby. Mike used the bike throughout the 1972 season. Mike raced the bike with much success, winning at least 20 of the club & national restricted events he entered that year. The engine was prepared by Francis Beart up to the MGP in which Mike finished 14th and was the only Yamaha he ever worked on.
For the 1973 season the Jim Lee Yamaha was sold to Gareth Jones who raced the bike with the BEMSEE and Southern 67 club.
In 1978 Mick Grant located and bought the bike, bringing it home to Yorkshire. As Jim was very sentimental about this machine, Mick gave it him in addition to a set of his ex-Kawasaki leathers & helmet. Jim rode the bike in that year’s Isle of Man TT parade.
by Southern Rhodesian Colin Lyster, and built in the UK, (London) by Grand Prix
Lyster built only two or three Yamaha frames, two for Manx Nortons and AJS 7Rs, and possibly a few others.
Lance Weil used Lyster frames for a few bikes.
( Thanks go to Terry Hill and Richard Tracy)
England again! This time a specialist 125cc item made around 1972 (Michel du Maine)
Ron Williams began making Maxton frames in1970 for the TD1C and continued to make them until approx 1982. He made numerous frames for the 125 AS1 and AS3, TZ250 and 350, TZ700 and 750 and also a pair to suit the rare Scitsu Yamaha racer. (Michel du Maine & Mary Williams)
Pictured is an ex-Eddie Roberts Maxton 350. (Jeff Brown).
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