Yamaha TTR230 Review: Everything You Need To Know

Wondering if the Yamaha TTR230 is the right dirt bike for you? Just want to learn more about it? This review will cover all of the practical info you need to decide if this is the best dirt bike to start on or transition to.

Who Is The Yamaha TTR230 For?

The TTR 230 is built for a variety of riders, but it’s best for teens and adults that are new to dirt biking. It’s not a race bike but it is capable of doing technical trail riding if you are a skilled rider.

The simple suspension makes it dangerous on a motocross track, but if you want to learn how to safely ride a dirt bike with a clutch, then this trail bike might be for you. Keep reading to make the best decision possible. 

Is the TTR230 fast?

Compared to a race bike, such as the YZ250, the TTR230 is not a fast dirt bike. But that’s not what it’s designed to be. It’s a trail bike that’s easy to ride and will help turn you into a better rider on the trails.

Even a stock Yamaha TTR230 is a capable trail bike in the hands of a good rider.

Engine

Horsepower is not the strength of the TTR230. It’s not going to win any drag races, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a good dirt bike. 

What it’s good at is making smooth, predictable power. 

It doesn’t have quite as much off-idle torque as the CRF230, but the power curve is very forgiving so that you don’t get into trouble easily.

As a beginner, this is exactly what you want, as opposed to an enduro or MX bike that feels like it’s going to rip your arms off when you get tired. 

Power upgrades

There are definitely some mods that you can do to your TTR230 to give you that extra ‘oomph’ to get over logs. But nothing that will turn it into a fire-breathing monster that eats up 450s on hill climbs. 

With some exhaust, jetting, and simple engine mods, you can still whoop up on guys with brand new enduro bikes on single-track trails. That, my friend, is what makes the TTR230 so fun to ride in the woods. 

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TTR230 Jetting

The TTR230 is like any other dirt bike. The carburetor jetting is important for it to start and run well, as well as making the most power. Any power mods will require some jet tuning, and it may need some if the bike is brand new, depending on your climate.

The stock TTR230 runs slightly lean from the factory, especially if you uncork it. Most riders find that a 38 pilot and 130 main jet runs well in most climates.

Suspension

You’re not going to get the latest in technology when it comes to the suspension on a TTR230. What you will get is a plush and comfortable ride for trail riding and riding around the yard at slow to moderate speeds.

Forks

No adjustability externally on these forks, but there are some things you can do to tune it.

Heavier springs or fork oil weight is fairly simple to do and will allow you to ride a little more aggressively, or if you simply weigh over 150 lbs.

Shock

Same with the rear shock, but it’s harder to tune it internally. All you get is the externally pre-load, which you should do for proper balance and handling.

The valving can’t be changed easily, and there’s no compression or rebound clickers to adjust. Riding fast on technical terrain will be less comfortable because the stock shock and fork will get bucked around.

Handling

The TTR 230 is heavy compared to a 250cc motocross bike. Weight is important when it comes to handling. However, the TTR handles well at lower speeds because of its lower center of gravity – the bike is smaller and lower compared to a larger full-size dirt bike.

Weaving in and out of trees in the woods is where this trail bike shines. Its shorter wheelbase makes it quicker and easier to turn.

Want to make a fool out of your buddies on $10k bikes? Learn how to ride in the tight woods on a 230cc trail bike.

Size

The TTR230 is technically a full-size dirt bike because it has 21/18” wheels, but it’s smaller than a typical MX and enduro bike. The seat height is only 34”, which is 3-5” shorter than most full-size bikes.

Besides the smooth power, this is the second biggest factor to why this is a great beginner bike for teens and adults. Being able to touch the ground with your foot will boost your confidence because you can prevent a lot of tip-overs.

It may not have as much ground clearance, but that doesn’t matter unless you’re hitting huge logs and rocks or riding through deep ruts.

Weight – The TTR feels lighter than it is

At 256lbs wet with fluids, the Yamaha 230 is on the porky side, but that’s normal for this trail bike class. You’ll notice it when you have to pick it up off the ground.

But when riding it handles like a lightweight bike because the center of gravity is lower.

TTR230 Specs

The TTR 230 hasn’t changed much over the years, according to Yamaha.

Engine223cc air-cooled 4 stroke
Transmission6-speed manual clutch
Weight (wet)256lbs
Seat Height34.0”
Horsepower18HP
Top Speed60mph
Price (MSRP)$4,449 USD

TTR230 Model Year Changes

It has not changed since it was first made in 2005. Plastic/graphics are the only updates each year. This means that you should buy the cleanest one you can find if you’re buying a used bike.

The TT230 came from the TTR225, which isn’t much different from that other than the body/plastics.

Common TTR230 Issues

Yamaha has been making this trail bike platform for decades, so there’s no major issues that you need to be concerned about. As long as you know it’s a beginner bike that’s not made to jump, it will be a solid bike. 

You may need to tune the jetting if you want the most power with good throttle response and easy starting. 

If reliability is a concern, then get the OEM manual, read it, and do the simple maintenance. Change the oil when it’s dirty or low, clean the air filter when it’s dirty, have the chain properly adjusted, and keep the bearings greased. 

TTR230 vs CRF230

The ultimate 230cc trail bike battle is between the Yamaha and Honda. The CRF230 is more well known because it came from the popular XR200.

The CRF230F has a little more low-end torque than the TTR230, while the TTR230 has slightly more mid-to-top horsepower in stock form. The Honda 230 has better aftermarket availability, but used models are generally priced higher than the Yamaha.

TTR230 vs TTR250

Both are 4 stroke trail bikes, but there are some major differences between these two dirt bikes. The TTR230 basically a slightly smaller version of the TTR250. It has a 2-valve engine with about 9 inches of suspension travel, while the TTR250 has a DOHC 4-valve engine with about 11 inches of suspension travel.

The TTR250 is an older model, but it’s a better choice if the TTR230 is too small for you to fit comfortably. The 250 is close to 20lbs heavier than the 230.

Bottom Line: Is The TTR230 A Good Dirt Bike?

The TTR230 is a fantastic dirt bike if you’re a newbie or casual trailer rider. 

It’s a terrible bike if you want to race motocross or want the best technology available.

Keep reading if you need more specific details on whether it’s the right bike you’re looking for or not.

What’s Good?

  • Lower seat height than MX/Enduro bikes
  • Smooth & predictable power
  • Electric start
  • Extremely reliable
  • Great handling at lower speeds and in the woods

What’s Bad?

  • Heavy to pick up off the ground
  • No kick-start for back-up
  • Suspension is soft for aggressive riding
  • Unstable at high speeds
  • It’s a little small if you’re a tall beginner rider

The TTR230 Is For:

  • Teens transitioning to a full-size dirt bike
  • Girls moving up from a smaller dirt bike bike
  • Adults that want a beginner bike that’s easy to ride
  • Riders that want a ‘sleeper bike’ in the woods

The TTR230 Is NOT For Riders That Want:

  • To do big jumps
  • The latest technology
  • The best suspension

How To Shorten A TTR230

Transitioning to a full-size dirt bike but need it as short as possible? The TTR230 is a common beginner bike for females, and it can be lowered relatively easily.

The easiest ways to make your TTR 230 seat height lower are shaving the seat foam and adding a lowering link. 

A lowering linkage changes the rear shock geometry, but it’s not very noticeable if you’re a new rider. It helps to lower the forks as well. 

Lowering The Forks

You can lower the front-ene by raising the forks in the triple clamps. This will lower the overall seat height of your TTR230. It’s good practice to write down the original setting before changing anything. 

A spacer can be added internally to the forks to lower them as well.  

Lowering The Shock

Adjusting the shock for less preload will lower the seat height. This is easy to do, but will affect suspension performance. If you’re a beginner, this won’t negatively affect your riding.

A spacer can be added internally to the shock as well, but it’s only a job for someone skilled at rebuilding a shock. 

Can you make a TTR230 Street Legal?

It depends on what state you’re in and what the regulations are. Some states allow off-road motorcycles to be registered to be legal to ride on the road with some required parts. 

The typical parts needed to make your TTR230 street legal are:

  • Headlight (DOT)
  • Tail & brake light
  • Mirror
  • Horn
  • Tires that are DOT-approved
  • Turn signals (may or may not be required)
  • Muffler (sound limit may be necessary)

Please refer to your state or countries laws if you want to get your off-road dirt bike plated. 

How to ride your TTR230 with confidence

Are you new to dirt biking or just struggling to stay in control on your bike? Riding a dirt bike isn’t hard, but riding off-road and on trails with confidence is not easy.

So, what does it take? It starts with learning proper riding techniques. If you don’t know how to stay properly balanced going over changing terrain, you’re going to get worn out and/or lose control sooner than later.

Want to take control and start building your confidence today? Click here for free riding techniques to become a better rider.

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Kelley Fager

I help riders learn to safely ride off-road with confidence by teaching basic techniques so that you don't go too fast too soon and get hurt from crashing. Learn To Ride With Control Here

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