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Youth-Oriented ATV: 1984 Yamaha Tri-Zinger YT60

A lot of us older adults did things as kids that would make parents today cringe. It’s a wonder that a lot of kids have any fun at all today – or the type of fun that involves riding gas-powered and sometimes dangerous vehicles! Some of you had three-wheelers such as this 1984 Yamaha Tri-Zinger YT60 listed here on eBay in Vernon-Rockville, Connecticut. There is a $2,950 buy-it-now price and a current bid price of $1,225 but the reserve isn’t met.

It isn’t often that we see a Yamaha ATV or three-wheeler here on Barn Finds, but this one caught my eye as I was browsing this familiar seller’s eBay page. I visited this museum a few years ago and was impressed by the gracious owner and what he has done for this area by renovating this historic building.

The 120-pound Yamaha Tri-Zinger YT60 was made in 1984 and 1985 as the company’s first youth-oriented ATV. It’s somewhat basic in not having lights and things like that, but as a Yamaha, it’s a well-designed and built two-stroke three-wheeler with shaft drive and it has a few safety features to let parents feel a little better about allowing their breakable kids to ride these things. Parents could adjust the maximum speed, and there was a tethered emergency stop switch.

This example is in beautiful condition, having been refurbished but not restored by the folks at Kaplan Cycles. They basically took it apart, cleaned and polished everything, painted the frame and wheels, put new decals on, added a NOS seat cover, a new front fender, and the list goes on. And, that’s just the cosmetic work.

They also painted the engine covers on what is a Yamaha 59-cc, air-cooled, two-stroke, reed-valve single-cylinder with oil injection and an automatic transmission sending power to both rear wheels. The seller provides an outstanding video here on YouTube showing this bike in action and it’s a gem. Would you let your child ride this “safe” Yamaha Tri-Zinger? I sure would, how else are they going to learn?

Comments

  1. Howard A Member

    Good HEAVENS, NO. Poor junior could get hurt. Oh, the horror,,( a recent visit to the ER cost, should discourage anyone) Can’t get hurt playing video games,,or so they thought. It should come as no surprise, Scotty and I are cut out of the same sheet of gasket material, and as kids, we sneered in the face of death, and rode whatever we could that had a motor. How did we ever make it? Usually, a stern father figure that would slap you upside the head if you just sat inside all day. They actually ENCOURAGED these shenanigans, built character, they said. Take a spill, you’ll learn and learn we did.
    My ex-brother-in-law, bought a yellow Tri-Zinger 60 for my ex-nephew, circa 1990ish, who was about 6 or 7 when the families were “still together”. The boy quickly learned how to “jimmy” the throttle limiter, and maybe got another 5 mph out of it. It didn’t set the world on fire, HOWEVER, set the stage, and many went on to bigger and better things from these humble beginnings. I know my ex-nephew did. Reason why this will collect cobwebs? Back then, everybody had some sort of machine, today, it’s all ATVs with P/S, A/C, GPS, and a couple other abbreviations, oddly enough, a direct descendant of these little buggers. Cool find, if you dare.

    Like 3
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      The older gent is riding it pretty slowly in the YouTube video, so maybe it could be semi-safe if it wasn’t ridden like a hooligan? Although, if I would have had one as a teenager…

      Like 1
  2. Robin Cook

    Sorry folks, but those things were recalled and crushed for a reason. Yes, I’ve driven them extensively, but often discouraged others I cared for from using them. Risk factor off the charts!

    • steve

      I have to agree and disagree. The whole concept on the 3-wheelers was a stable “motorcycle” with low ground pressure that could be used for farming, ranching etc. You could carry a load (tools, feed, whatever) and get over some rough terrain where going by foot or horseback would have been your only other choice. USED like that, they were not unsafe at all. Surely safer than throwing fence posts and a shovel on a dirt bike. HOWEVER, when you get going too fast and try jumps and high speed turns? Ooops…They bite HARD. An adult, while using it as a tool, was in little danger. Now..Giving THIS THING to a child? It’s how soon and how violent the roll over crash is going to be. There is no legitimate “industrial” use for these. They are GOING to be ridden in totally unsafe ways. Grandson with the 4 wheel version of this had tried to drive it UP a tree in the first three minutes. That was while still “restricted” and him having a lot of time on a pretty powerful electric wheeler. Even as a “seasoned” rider trailing his grandmother’s machine at a sedate pace, he managed to ride off the edge of an irrigation ditch and ended up under it in the muddy water. On the up-side, after pulling the spark plug and cranking out the water, it started right up and he rode it home. Tough little cracker (both the kid and the machine)

      Like 1
  3. Howie

    $3,000 for a 60cc, pass. The seller has many motorcycles and other 3 and 4 wheel ATV’s listed.

    Like 5
  4. Headturner

    I took one of these in trade for some labor back in the mid-80’s. Wife rode the crap out of it around our property and was sad when I sold it. Never thought it would be collectable!

    Like 1
  5. steve

    Grandson had the 4-zinger which was this with 2 front wheels and fenders installed. The front plastics actually were just dropped over the one piece rear plastics.Now..60cc? Yeah..His dad and I pulled the exhaust restrictor (basically a washer) out of the head pipe…Umm..we are both way over 6ft/200+ with dad having raced motocross. We both were wide-eyed and grinning when we tried it out. Nearly impossible to steer under acceleration. Sure..put your kid on a 3-wheeled professional CHAINSAW…
    Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. If it had a transmission instead of just an automatic clutch, it would be deadly.

    Like 1
  6. Comet

    A good little rig to ride between rounds of Jarts.

    Like 5
    • PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

      Comet – LMAO!

      Like 1
    • Scotty Gilbertson Staff

      Ha!

  7. David Harold

    WOW. All this whining about how “dangerous” 3-wheelers were. I received a new 1984 Kawasaki ATC 110 for my 11th birthday. My 7yr old neighbor had a Tri-Zinger 60CC and his 12yr old sister had a Honda 125S. Our Dads ended up buying 250CC ATCs so they could ride with us kids. Not one of us got any broken bones or stitches from crashing these 3-wheelers. We rode them until the mid-90s and moved on to dirt bikes. Anyone who thinks 3-wheelers are dangerous never rode one, or never had the skills to ride one without having a bad crash.

    Like 1
  8. Scotty Gilbertson Staff

    Auction update: this one made it to $1,825 and didn’t meet the seller’s reserve so it has been relisted.

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