Still In The Crate: 1988 Yamaha XV250 Route 66

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Here’s another motorcycle for the in-a-crate series here on Barn Finds. Actually, this one has been for sale in the past and is on the market yet again, here on eBay in North Hills, California, and there are no takers at the seller’s opening bid price of $3,500. Oddly enough, that starting bid price is $200 over Hagerty’s #1 Concours value for this bike.

There’s some chatter about this not being an official Yamaha crate, as in anything that they would have packaged this bike in from the factory. One of you who can read Japanese will hopefully tell us what it says on the crate in the photo above. I hope it at least says “this side up”. Yamaha made the XV250 in several different spurts, the first being this model: the Route 66. The Yamaha XV250 Route 66 is an interesting name for a 250-cc bike from Japan.

Yamaha was founded in 1887, 16 years before Ford was incorporated, which is shocking to most people. The thing is, Yamaha started out as an instrument maker, in fact it was the largest maker of pianos and organs in Japan by the early-1900s. The company didn’t begin to get serious about vehicles until a decade after WWII, in 1955. They make an incredible number of products and are the second-biggest motorcycle maker and the biggest maker of personal watercraft.

This motorcycle has 0.7 miles, and I’m guessing those were factory test miles, since, according to the seller, this one has never been fully assembled. The XV250 was an entry-level V-twin cruiser and they were reported to be nice bikes, if not a bit on the expensive side. The first version, the Route 66, was made for 1988, 1989, and 1990 for the U.S. market. A person would have to take Route 66 in sections, given the small engine in this one, but it sure would be a nice little cruiser.

The Yamaha 249-cc V-twin had 23 horsepower, which was more than enough for scootin’ around town and some short road trips. I know that there are groups of people doing cross-country trips on scooters, so a 250 V-twin would be like the space shuttle in comparison. Heck, I wouldn’t hesitate to hit Route 66 on this bike. Well, maybe not this one in the crate, who knows what it needs, I’d rather buy a working one, but that’s just me. Have any of you owned an XV250? Or better yet: have you ever done Route 66 on either a motorcycle or another type of vehicle?

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  1. GerryMember

    Carte says “Motorcycle Parts” on the top surface and the writing is definitely not factory produced is a poor interpretation of both “Katakana and Kanji symbols” as if someone not versed in writing it was copying from something else.

    Other than that it comes down to whether or not you’re willing to pay that much for the bike.

    Like 10
    • GerryMember

      Sorry edit button didn’t show it should say “Crate” not Carte

      Like 3
    • Gerg

      I read it as no starch on collar

      Like 9
      • Al


        Like 4
  2. GerryMember

    Sorry third edit.
    Though it it doesn’t look machine printed the word motorcycle parts may be correct as after looking at the other pictures it appears that may be a box for the small parts built into the crate.

    Like 2
    • Raoul-F Raoul-F

      The 250 twin developes 23hp

      Like 2
      • Scotty GilbertsonAuthor

        Thanks, Raoul-F!

        Like 3
  3. Big C

    These 250 mini “Harley” Asian bikes are hilarious. These were competition to the Honda “Rebel” 250. We used to chuckle at the “bad boys” that would roll up to the bar on these pea shooters. I always thought that, unless you were broke, 5’3 and 100lbs? Step up and buy the Sportster.

    Like 6
  4. Rosko

    Copying a Harley seems pointless. They are thick as fleas on a hounds backside where I live and just plain uninteresting to me unless they are vintage scratch built. Anywho, Yamaha and Honda made some beautiful bikes back in the 70’s and 80’s…that ran well. They should have left making Harleys to Harley.

    Like 6
    • Terrry

      Agreed, Honda and Yamaha do a poor job of making V-twins that shake, leak and break down all the time.

      Like 0
  5. K. R. V.

    Hello out there! Well I’ve ridden them all, owned a few. From the first, an Ace 100B Hodaka, to my last a 2009 Harley V-Rod Night Rod. With a Route 66 and Kawasaki 250 Eliminator, the wife and I would ride around after she got her license on a 250 Honda Rebel at the State Riding School. That she said was a joke compared to either the Route 66 or Eliminator in comfort and performance the Eliminator was even quicker than my buddy’s wife’s 883 Sportster! But a Sportster 1200 is a very nice bike.

    Like 3
  6. TheOldRanger

    If it is loud, keep it crated

    Like 5
  7. Djjerme

    I really don’t understand the point of this. So you’ve got a meh bike in a questionable crate that will just end up sitting in a corner of your garage. It’s not like you’re going to have some other gear head come by and say “oooo, whatcha got there?”

    And even if they did, what’s the point? Bikes are meant to be ridden. It’s now like some day this is going to be worth half a mill because it’s still in the crate..

    Like 4
  8. jim

    I Would rip it out on the crate gas oils chain ect and take off down the road like I stole it and put it away wet

    Like 4
  9. Chas358 Chas358

    Cool bike but my comments are about Route 66. Several years ago my son and I drove from Michigan to Arkansas in my brother’s ’55 Chevy. I had stored the car for him and when he moved to Arkansas for business he asked me to bring the car down. Parts of the trip were on Route 66. Driving the “Mother Road” in a ’55 Chevy with my son was a once in a lifetime opportunity and great fun to do.

    Like 1
  10. MGSteve

    The thought occurs to me that maybe there is a market out there for someone to build empty motorcycle crates?

    Like 6
  11. Terrry

    It literally cracks me up reading comments here talking about how a Harley is so much better than this little bike. This bike isn’t meant to compete with a Harley, not even close. It’s just a tiddler meant to go from town to town on..maybe. ..yet it vibrates less and will probably give more trouble-free miles than a Harley could even dream of.

    Like 0

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