Yamaha TT500 With A One-Of-A-Kind Chain Tensioner And $3500 Asking Price

I like Yamaha TT500s because they are the epitome of what a run-what-you-brung dirt bike should be. It is not uncommon to see them in pickup truck beds and on trailers headed to the California desert 40 years after they were first purchased off the showroom floor. These beasts just keep on running and running and running. Even a Running When Parked TT500 shouldn’t be too tough to get purring again. But I’ve got a problem with this one.

Somewhere in the bike’s past a hydraulic chain tensioner was fabricated right there on the swingarm. It is an accessory that just isn’t needed. A milk crate and a few wrenches is all you need to adjust the chain tension on a TT and even with the stump-pulling power of the TT’s engine, you shouldn’t have to snug it up all that often. If the device can be removed (and the extra links taken out of the chain), that would be the way to go. If it can’t be removed, you need to factor in the cost of replacing that trick White Brothers aluminum swingarm.

And speaking of factoring costs, the $3500 asking price is high even for these value-holding dirt bikes. Kelley Blue Book says a 1977 TT in good “running” condition purchased from a motorcycle shop is worth $3615. You gotta knock off $1000 for a Running When Parked that has a one-of-a-kind modification. If you don’t like that mod, knock off $1500.

The custom chain tensioner answers a question nobody asked. The beauty of a TT500 is its simplicity. This add-on complicates things.


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