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Yamaha PW80 Dirt Bike Specs & Review: Beginner Bike

The Yamaha PW80 has always been a top choice when purchasing a powerful yet non-intimidating kids dirt bike. Introduced in 1991, this two-wheeler has dominated the youth sub-segment with its rugged charm and straightforward features. Given the bike’s appeal to the young crowd, it would be interesting to know what else it offers – which you will find in this guide.

Produced from 1991 to 2006, the Yamaha PW80 is considered the ideal learner’s bike. It features an aggressive, two-tone styling, a robust chassis, and a monocross rear swingarm. This two-wheeler perfectly caters to beginners and more experienced young riders.

Convenient take-offs, clutch-less shifting, and a thrilling riding experience are just some of the perks this mini motorcycle can boast of. More importantly, it is a safe and fun pocket bike that is sure to get your first-time rider hooked on exploring the great outdoors.

Contemplating getting the Yamaha PW80 for your youngster? Let this article help you decide on whether to get this trusty two-wheeler.

Motocross Bike Rear Wheel Kicking Up Dirt

The Perfect Learner’s Bike

This description aptly sums up the competencies of the Yamaha PW80. With its clutch-less shifting, lightweight chassis, and robust power mill, it fits the bill of an exemplary beginner-friendly bike.

The PW80 is a great introductory platform for first-timers to learn about shifting, control, and motorcycle upkeep. It also provides a method for fearless, self-paced learning to ride and have fun with a pocket bike.

Released in 1991, the inception of the Yamaha PW80 is often confused with the PW50’s, which initially came out in 1983. Although a mainstay of Yamaha’s youth sub-segment, the PW80 only enjoyed a 16-year production run versus the lengthier stint of its smaller-displacement predecessor.

But it is not only the bike’s launch date causing bewilderment among consumers and enthusiasts. As it turns out, some online resources report the motorcycle’s production ran until 2012, while others declare 2006 as its outgoing year.

Confusion aside, everyone who has bought or experienced riding the 79-cc Yamaha can agree that the PW80 is an excellent entry-level dirt bike. Its bulletproof engineering gives both parents and young riders a sense of safety and security, having the ability to practice driving with reduced risks.

Best of all, its semi-auto transmission and overall design provide an excellent setup for kids to learn and get closer to mastering the ropes of off-roading.

Yamaha PW80 Specs & Features (2003 PW80R Model)


An air-cooled, 2-stroke power mill with a forward-inclined single-cylinder arrangement brings the PW80 to life. The Yamaha PW80 carburetor – a Mikuni VM15SC – handles air-fuel mixture. Bore-stroke ratio is 47 x 45.6 mm (1.850 x 1.795 inches), while compression ratio is 6.6:1.

Piston displacement is 79 cm3 (4.821 in3). Overall, this engine configuration lends to a Yamaha PW80 top speed rating of 40 mph (64 km/h) and a torque output of 6.3 Nm @ 5,000 RPM – not too shabby for an 80-class pocket bike.

Fuel & Lubrication

Fuel tank capacity is 4.9 L (1.29 US gal, inclusive of 1-liter reserve) of regular gasoline in South Africa and unleaded gasoline in Canada, Europe, New Zealand, and Australia. Choice of fuel should have a minimum PON 86/RON 91 rating, containing at most 5% MTBE, 10% ethanol, or 5% methanol.

Lubrication-wise, the PW80 utilizes the Yamaha Autolube – an oil injection system that controls the amount of oil going into the engine depending on throttle load, eradicating the need to premix while reducing excessive oil usage spark plug fouling.

Engine oil required for this system is 0.65 L (0.69 US quarts, periodic oil change) or 0.75 L (0.79 US quarts, total amount) of SAE 10W-30 Yamalube 4 or its equivalent with SJ+ API certification meeting JASO T903 MA standards.


Power travels to the ground via a 3-speed constant-mesh semi-automatic transmission and a wet-type, automatic centrifugal clutch assembly. Helical gears and a Daido DID 420M O-ring chain (view on Amazon) with 83 links + joint, coupled with a ball-bearing steering system, lend to the mini motorcycle’s superb handling and ease of operation on diverse types of terrain.

The bike’s wide-split transmission is geared towards top-end speed and a 4.8-hp @ 5,500 RPM power output but may need to be adjusted to improve acceleration.

For reference, here are the stock gear ratios of the Yamaha PW80:

Primary Reduction Ratio (Gear)3.143 (66/21)
Transmission Gear Ratio – I3.250 (39/12)
Transmission Gear Ratio – II1.812 (29/16)
Transmission Gear Ratio – III1.294 (22/17)
Secondary Reduction Ratio (Chain Drive)2.133 (15/32T)


An electronic CDI (Capacitor Discharge Ignition; model: Mitsubishi F4T80571) and ratchet-type kick-starter system power up the two-wheeler. Ignition timing is 20.6° BTDC @ 4,000 RPM. The PW80 is neither fitted with a battery nor any form of lighting but has a flywheel magneto serving as its charging system.

To add, it requires an NGK BP6HS / Nippon Denso W20FP (Australia, New Zealand) or NGK BPR6HS / Nippon Denso W20FPR-U (Canada, rest of the markets) spark plug. These plugs all have a gap of 0.6 – 0.7 mm (0.024 – 0.028 inches).

Tires & Brakes

Tube-type 2.50-14 (4PR) front and 3.00-12 (4PR) rear tires mount on steel spoke wheels. Both tires have a 2-mm (0.08 -inch) rim run-out limit and a respective wheel size of 1.40×14 and 1.60×12.

Recommended cold-tire pressure for both knobbies is 100 kPa (1.0 kgf/cm2, 15 psi). Check the manual for the recommended pressure when seating beads, inflating, or airing down your tires.

As for brakes, the PW80 utilizes a hydraulically-operated disc at the front and a leading-trail drum brake at the back. The front has a diameter of 95 mm (3.74 inches), with the rear measuring 110 mm (4.33 inches). The single front disc and rear drums, coupled with grippy factory tires, complete the minibike’s tire-and-wheel assembly.


For its suspension system, the bike has front telescopic forks and a monocross swingarm – each offering a respective wheel travel of 110 mm (4.33 inches) and 95 mm (3.74 inches). Plus, its 41.5-inch wheelbase and 7.3-inch ground clearance (unloaded) make for tight steering angles and provide ample clearance when traversing technical trails and bumpy roads.

These suspension units pair with coil-spring, oil damper shocks at the front, and oil-damped gas shocks at the rear. Despite the setup, the PW80’s suspension system is considered conservative and has a proclivity to bottom out if used for jumps or subjected to hard riding.

Dimensions & Capacities

Vehicle measurements remained unchanged across all models and markets. For the ’03 iteration of the PW80, overall dimensions are 1,540 x 640 x 880 mm (60.6 x 25.2 x 34.6 inches – L x W x H).

Seat height is 635 mm (25 inches) and works for kids between the ages of 7 and 11 not exceeding 4’7″ in height.

Curb weight (including oil and fuel) is at 61 Kg (134.5 lbs.), while dry weight is 57 Kg (126 lbs.). As for payload capacity, this 79-cc motorbike can accommodate any passenger not exceeding 40 Kg (88 lbs.).


The build quality of the PW80 Yamaha is rock-solid, with its high-tensile, backbone-type steel frame (26° caster angle, 62 mm trail) that is robust yet lightweight. Mated to this tubular steel frame are plastic body panels in white and blue. Earlier Yamaha PW80 models had more color options – red/white, purple/white, and even pink/white.

The body-matching saddle seat is comfortably long, making all-afternoon rides more enjoyable. High-clearance front fenders (view on Amazon) provide the rider much-needed protection from mud and water but can do better in doing the same for the radiator.

Yamaha PW80 Price

Based on Nada Guides’ collected data, the original Yamaha PW80 MSRP ranged from $999 (incoming year) to $1,549 (1997 model). The peak value of the minibike went down to $1,299 in its final year.

Conversely, resale values fall between $215 and $1,830. Of all secondhand versions, pre-2001 models appear to keep their value best, while post-2000 PW80s are from $215 to $645.

Year – Trim – Model NumberList PriceRetail/Trade-In Value
1991 Yamaha PW80B Y-Zinger$999$325 – $1,150
1992 Yamaha PW80D Y-Zinger$1,099$325 – $1,150
1993 Yamaha PW80E Y-Zinger$1,199$325 – $1,150
1994 Yamaha PW80F Y-Zinger$1,349$325 – $1,150
1995 Yamaha PW80G Y-Zinger$1,449$230 – $1,285
1996 Yamaha PW80H Y-Zinger$1,449$285 – $1,250
1997 Yamaha PW80J Y-Zinger$1,549$295 – $1,315
1998 Yamaha PW80K1$1,249$355 – $1,475
1999 Yamaha PW80L1$1,249$570 – $1,695
2000 Yamaha PW80M1$1,249$420 – $1,830
2001 Yamaha PW80N1$1,349$215 – $550
2002 Yamaha PW80P$1,349$215 – $550
2003 Yamaha PW80R$1,249$215 – $550
2004 Yamaha PW80S$1,249$287 – $574
2005 Yamaha PW80T$1,249$287 – $574
2006 Yamaha PW80V$1,299$287 – $645

Against its competitors in the market, the Yamaha PW80 looks to be competitively priced. For instance, the same-class Suzuki JR80 sells for $400 – $900, the Yamaha TT-R90 for $400 – $1300, and the Honda XR80 for $1000 – $1200.

The larger-displacement Kawasaki KLX110 sells for $400 – $1400. There is not much difference between auction listings and resale pricing of pre-loved Y-Zingers found in trader sites. But interestingly, units released in Australia seem to have been sold for up to $400 more than their list price in North America.

Yamaha PW 80: Pros and Cons

Like other youth bikes, the brawny Yamaha PW80 offers a mix of praiseworthy attributes and downsides. Surely, what it lacks can be easily compensated through aftermarket upgrades. However, you have your budget, your inner mechanic, and your child’s age to account for. Here are some things to consider:


  • Aggressive, race-ready aesthetics
  • Easy-to-handle top speed and top-end performance
  • Reliable, punchy engine and a smooth, 3-speed semi-auto gearbox
  • Monocross rear suspension lending to predictable handling – perfect for beginners
  • Yamaha Autolube oil injection system eliminating the need to premix
  • Hand-operated levers make for efficient braking
  • In-tank saddle seat providing riding comfort and aiding in easy cruising control
  • High-clearance fenders provide ample mud and splash protection
  • Huge aftermarket support, easy-to-procure Yamaha PW80 parts, and reasonably priced servicing


  • The absence of a built-in storage
  • Could have done better with two (2) brake levers – one on each side of the handgrips
  • Not ideal for jumps due to some flimsy front-end components
  • No rear disc brakes nor electric starting system
  • No headlight, lighting coil, or instrument console
  • Increased maintenance due to its chain-and-sprocket setup needing attention and proper upkeep
  • Limited color options for the last model years of the minibike

About Yamaha

Yamaha Motor Company Ltd. is a world-renowned powerhouse and pioneer in several automotive fields. Founded in 1887, the maker of the Yamaha PW80 began as a manufacturer of pianos and other musical instruments.

It wasn’t until after WWII that the company entered the automotive industry by initially producing motorcycles, and not until 1955 that it decided to part ways with its parent company.

The Japanese firm started focusing on creating and developing motorized vehicles like the Yamaha PW80 and has not looked back since. Because of its unrelenting passion and strive for excellence, Yamaha has made itself known as the world’s unrivaled water vehicle manufacturer and a force to be reckoned with in the ATV and motorcycling industries.

Conclusion – Yamaha PW80 Dirt Bike Review

What makes the Yamaha PW80 the perfect beginner’s bike is its ability to balance difficulty with ease. The semi-automatic transmission, the disc-drum brake system combo, the clutch-less shifting (among other things) – all these elements contribute to a novice’s riding adeptness and speed-to-competency.

The PW80 does have its fair share of flaws. But in truth, they seem close to negligible next to the minibike’s high points.

The Yamaha PW80 is an unquestionably priceless childhood memento and a worthwhile buy. If anything, its most significant downside is that your kid will grow up and inevitably leave this two-wheeler behind.