Ever since the emergence of four-wheelers started to gain traction, Yamaha saw the need to come up with its quad. This demand resulted in the birth of the Yamaha Moto 4—and this was the Japanese firm’s first four-wheel all-terrain vehicle. Released in 1985, this quad was the first in a series of variants in Yamaha’s Moto 4 production line.
Fitted with a four-stroke, 196-cc engine, the Moto 4 200 was regarded as a work utility vehicle, especially in Japan. This ATV became the perfect vehicular platform among hunters, farmers, ranchers, and the likes. This four-wheeler was succeeded by its upgraded versions—the 225, 250, and the 350.
Though outdated, this ATV remains a household name among enthusiasts because of its easy-to-operate, entry-level design. Among these features are the push-button start switch and automatic transmission. Furthermore, a reverse gear provides additional convenience, while a snorkel air intake ensures increased airflow and better fuel-air intake.
Apart from these, the Yamaha Moto 4 has become an ideal all-terrain vehicle for kids who want to have their first quad, thanks to its beginner-friendly features. Considering the stability offered by four-wheeled platforms like the Moto 4, this all-terrain quad gave riders a safer, more thrilling ride. For that matter, Yamaha had delivered one of the first utility vehicles that did not just live up to consumers’ expectations but also provided a highly effective, purpose-built quad for all occasions.
Are There Different Models of the Yamaha Moto 4?
After its induction in 1984, the Yamaha Moto 4 had variants shortly after, and each version is distinguished through its engine displacements. The Moto 4 225- and 250-cc models (223 and 230-cubic centimetres, respectively) were released in 1986. Moreover, in 1987, Yamaha launched the much bigger 329-cc, Yamaha Moto 4 350, which also became the predecessor for Yamaha’s other ATVs, such as the Warrior, Raptor, and Big Bear.
Apart from large displacements, all three versions shared the same four-wheel-drive capability, unlike the Moto 4 200, which had a two-wheel driveline. The corresponding designations for each Yamaha Moto 4 variant are as follows:
- YFM200 — Yamaha Moto 4 200
- YFM225 — Yamaha Moto 4 225
- YFM250 — Yamaha Moto 4 250
- YFM350 — Yamaha Moto 4 350
In addition, the following are the different models of the YFM200 that Yamaha released from the years 1985 to 1989:
|Year / ATV Name||Model|
|1985 / Yamaha Moto 4 200||YMF200N|
|1986 / Yamaha Moto 4 200||YMF200DXS|
|1987 / Yamaha Moto 4 200||YMF200DXT|
|1988 / Yamaha Moto 4 200||YMF200DXU|
|1989 / Yamaha Moto 4 200||YMF200DXW|
What Is the Current Cost of a Yamaha Moto 4?
According to www.nadaguides.com, the trade-in value of a pre-owned 1985 YFM200N could fetch around $1,285. Meanwhile, a second-hand Moto 4 that’s in inferior shape could range anywhere between $265 and $970.
On the other hand, the price of a 1986 YMF200DXS ranges between $1,135 and $1,705. Though you could get one for only $265 or $575, there’s a huge chance the quad to be near mint. As for the 1987 YMF200DXT, its suggested list value is $2,199, while the low and average retail values are $530 and $695, respectively. Additionally, a 1988 YMF200DXU has a price range that goes anywhere from $325 to $1,890 and 1989 YMF200DXW from $350 to $2,010.
Even though these four-wheelers are not in production anymore, stumbling across a Yamaha Moto 4 would not be a problem since these vehicles are found in circulation on online auctions or trade-in websites. Furthermore, considering that it had been decades since the Moto 4 was first released, it is unlikely to find a Moto 4 200 in mint condition. Therefore, you won’t have any difficulty finding a quad with a cheap selling price. Of course, the same concept does not apply to YFM200 models that are still in excellent condition. In addition, the aftermarket parts or mods would affect the value of a unit, especially if it is a quality component.
Specifications and Technical Features of the Yamaha Moto 4
The YFM200 sports a 200-cc, air-cooled, four-stroke engine with a single overhead cam configuration. This Moto 4 also has a bore-to-stroke ratio of 67 millimetres (2.63 inches) and 55.7 millimetres (2.19 inches). This Moto 4 is equipped with a VM22SH Mikuni carburettor (present in both 200N and 200DXS models) and has an 8.5:1 compression rate.
The intake and exhaust have valve clearances of 0.05 to 0.09 millimetres (0.002 to 0.004 inches). Meanwhile, the YFM200 has a standard compression pressure of 9 kg/cm2 or 128 PSI. The minimum and maximum compression pressure are 8 kg/cm2 (114 PSI) and 10 kg/cm2 (142 PSI).
The recommended lubricants for the Yamaha Moto 4 depends on the ambient temperature. If the temperature is 40° F and above, the required engine oil should be SAE 20W/40. On the other hand, if the outdoor temperature is below 40° F, use an SAE 10W/30 engine oil instead. Both motor oils should have an SE or SF classification.
As for the final drive gear oil, an SAE 80 API GL-4 hypoid gear oil is acceptable. Additionally, either an SAE 10W/30 motor oil or Yamaha chain and cable lube is recommended if you plan on lubricating the cables and pivot joints for a Moto 4.
The Yamaha Moto 4 200 has a five-speed centrifugal automatic clutch transmission, with the inclusion of a reverse gear. Power is delivered to the final drive by a drive chain that is attached to the rear sprocket, which enables this 2WD ATV to produce a maximum power of 11.5kW (15.6PS) or 7,500 RPM.
This four-wheel classic has a push-button start switch, which offers convenience and style to any rider. In addition, the YFM200 is equipped with a capacitor discharge ignition (CDI) magneto-electric starter system. Apart from this option, the quad also comes with a pull-start recoil starter as a backup.
All YFM200 models use a 1985-1989 12-volt battery. In addition, the Moto 4 uses an NGK D7EA or ND X22ES-U spark plug with a gap of 0.6 to 0.7 mm (0.024 to 0.028 inches).
Suspension and Brakes
The Yamaha Moto 4 sports an independent swing axle front suspension with dual front shock absorbers and a swing arm rear suspension. Additionally, all YFM200 models feature single-leading shoe drum front brakes and rear mechanical disc brakes. The former is operated using a right-hand lever, while the latter with the foot pedal.
The YFM200N model is fitted with 25 x 12-9 front tyres and 22 x 11-8 rear tyres. The recommended tyre air pressure for these tyre variants is 0.15 kg/cm2 (2.2 PSI). Meanwhile, the maximum and minimum air pressure are 0.7 kg/cm2 (10 PSI) and 0.12 kg/cm2 (1.8 PSI), respectively.
On the other hand, the YFM200DXS is mounted with a pair of KT982 Dunlop 22 x 8-10 front tyres, while a pair of KT988 Dunlop 22 x 10-8 rear tyres. The front tyres of the YFM200N, when installed, should have a 0 to 5 millimetre (0 to 0.2 inches) toe-in, while 0 to 10 millimetres (0-0.4 inches) for the YFM200DXS model.
The Yamaha Moto 4 YFM200 has an overall engine displacement of 11.9 cubic inches (195 cubic centimetres) and can take up to 9.5 litres (2.5 US gal) of fuel. This quad also comes with a reserve fuel tank that has a capacity of 1.9 litres (0.5 US gal). Moreover, the engine oil refill capacity for an oil change is 1,500 cc or 1.5 litres (1.6 US quarts). An engine overhaul, on the other hand, would require 1,800 cc or 1.8 litres (1.9 US quarts).
The YFM200 has a length, width, and height of 68.9 inches, 41.1 inches, and 40 inches, respectively. It has a ground clearance of 4.7 inches, while its wheelbase measures around 44.3 inches. In addition, the seat height measures up to 28.5 inches. The curb weight of the Yamaha Moto 4—with full fuel and engine oil tank—is 403 lbs (183 kg).
The exterior of the Yamaha Moto 4 is made from a steel frame and a durable plastic body. Apart from the front and rear fenders, the stock YFM200 has a bumper chassis. Additionally, this quad also comes with a front headlight mounted atop the centre of the handlebars, and taillights. There are also indicator lights for the neutral (green light) and reverse (red light) gear positions.
Furthermore, the Moto 4 200 has an easy-to-operate H-L-R lever situated on top of the left fender, just below the left handlebar. The quad also has a snorkel air intake which increases better airflow, as well as front and rear tube racks for carrying cargo.
What Is the Top Speed of the Yamaha Moto 4?
Initially, a recreational all-terrain vehicle, the Yamaha Moto 4 has some deep impressive torque, which makes it a reliable utility quad as well, thanks to its four-stroke 196-cc engine. Because of this, the YFM200 can travel a decent 33 to 37 MPH, which is not that, considering that this was Yamaha’s first-ever four-wheel machine. With the proper aftermarket mods, however, it’s possible to crank the notch up for this ATV, speed-wise. On the other hand, the Moto 4 200’s larger displacement siblings—the 225, 250, and 350-cc versions—have speeds that could reach 45 to 50 MPH, as long as the machines are in excellent condition.
Putting the Yamaha Moto 4 in Reverse
Convenience is a key feature in any quad, and that’s something that the innovators in Yamaha took note of when they produced the Yamaha Moto 4 200. Some first-time owners are unsure how to put their quad in reverse simply because they are unable to get hold of the user manual. If you find yourself in the same position, here’s how you do it:
- Shift the quad into first gear.
- Step on the rear brake before shifting gears. Make sure you press the lever operation button when shifting gears.
- Pull the H-L-R lever back. You should be in reverse after pulling the lever. To be sure, you can check the reverse light indicator at the centre of the handlebars.
There are some instances when the YFM200 would not go in reverse immediately, which is indicative of a mechanical issue with the quad. In cases like these, you may have to do some adjustments to the shifter. Lubricating the shifter assembly, as well as the brakes, may also help resolve this issue.
What Are the Pros and Cons of Owning a Yamaha Moto 4?
As Yamaha’s debut quad, the YFM200 lived up to its expectations in terms of multifunctionality, among other things. However, being Yamaha’s first-ever four-wheeler, there’s no doubt that there was a lot of room for improvement. For that matter, the advantages and disadvantages of owning a Yamaha Moto 4 are as follows:
Though the YFM200 was not built to race, the machine had a lot of torque which made it an ideal vehicle for hard-working folks like farmers, ranchers, and even hunters. With its four-stroke, 196-cc engine, the Yamaha Moto 4 is a no-nonsense utility quad that could perform like a hardworking mule any time of the day, while doubling as a recreational, all-terrain four-wheeler that owners would enjoy.
The Yamaha Moto 4 is an excellent beginner quad, especially for teenagers who want to try their hands on quads with a larger displacement. With its fairly decent speed and automatic clutch transmission, the YFM200 is safe to ride on, making it the perfect four-wheel, entry-level platform.
In addition, its lightweight and reverse gear features are additional conveniences that young riders would surely appreciate. Apart from that, this quad is not just a reliable vehicle along the trail, but they are also less pricey if you decide on rebuilding one and purchasing aftermarket parts. In short, the Yamaha Moto 4 200-cc variant provides the best of both worlds for you and your kids.
Great for ATV Hobbyists
If there’s one thing quad hobbyists are good at, it’s rebuilding old quads and turning them into reliable, purpose-built machines. With that said, one of the best ATVs to own and rebuild is the Yamaha Moto 4. Not only do pre-owned YFM200 come in cheap, but they are also pretty easy to rebuild. This is primarily because the Moto 4 has an engine design that’s easy to work on. Moreover, Yamaha parts are affordable and easy to find, so ATV enthusiasts have nothing to worry about.
Outdated, Prototype Quad
As Yamaha’s first-ever four-wheeled ATV, the Yamaha Moto 4 is certainly an old model. Thus, as compared to the later quads that came after it, the YFM200 would no doubt be dwarfed in terms of performance and reliability, among other features.
What’s more, price-wise, there’s a small difference if you are to choose between a used 350-cc 1988 Yamaha Moto 4 and a 1988 Yamaha Warrior 350. The latter costs somewhere between $2,000 to $2,250. As compared to the Moto 4 YFM 350, which costs roughly $2,600 (its current trade-in price), you will get tons of benefits from the Warrior, especially when it comes to performance. In addition, even if the 1988 YFM200 Moto 4, which currently costs $1,770, comes in cheaper than the Warrior, an additional $500 would get you a bone stock ATV that performs way better.
Additional Pros and Cons
- Front and rear carrier racks provide additional carrying capacity
- Snorkel air intake offers increased air intake for a better fuel-air mixture
- Electric start is an added convenience for users, especially for beginners
- Comes with a reverse gear, which is easy to operate
- Easy to operate H-L-R steering lever offers a smoother driving experience
- No suspension in the first 1985 model
- Nearly all YFM200 models do not have any floorboards
- When shifting in reverse, there are instances when owners have to shake/rock the quad to get the lever back.
- Being an older ATV model, the YFM200 does not have a skid plate or front and rear bumper, which offers a protective covering on the front, rear, and bottom.
Ways to Determine the VIN of a Yamaha Moto 4
Considering that the Yamaha Moto 4 is an old, classic quad, you are more likely to purchase a pre-owned YFM200 instead of a brand new unit. There are instances in which the previous owner is unaware or has forgotten the year the ATV was manufactured. In cases like these, you will be wise to look for the vehicle identification number or VIN.
The VIN is the 17-digit combination composed of alphanumeric characters that are used to identify a vehicle’s manufacturer, make or model, year of manufacture, and other pertinent information or details. This multiple-digit code acts like a vehicle’s fingerprint because not one vehicle has the same VIN.
If you have a Moto 4 and are unsure of its VIN, you can locate the multi-digit code stamped on the frame next to the YMF200’s left footpeg, if you are sitting on the vehicle. However, this is not always the case in some units. In case the VIN is absent on the said location, you can try any of the following:
- Anywhere between the A-arm and engine of the ATV
- Along the neck of the quad’s frame
- On the left footpeg
After you have spotted the VIN, use a steel brush to clean off the area so you can get a clearer look at the 17-digit combination. Afterwards, you can either write down the numbers on a pen and paper or save them on your phone so you can have a personal record of your Moto 4’s VIN.
- Determining the Year of a Yamaha Moto 4
While you need a VIN decoder to determine what the 17-combination alphanumeric figures represent, decrypting your Moto 4’s VIN will be no easy feat. However, some tips that will help determine the year your YFM200 was manufactured, and they are as follows:
- The second figure in the VIN combination should be the letter ‘Y’ because this stands for the name of the manufacturer, which is ‘Yamaha.’
- The tenth figure represents the year of manufacture. The table below is a list of the code designation for determining the vehicle’s year of manufacture:
Though the YFM200 was released in 1984, it is considered the 1985 model. Based on the table above, if you have the ‘85 model, you should see an F in the 10th position of the VIN.
To avoid confusing similar-looking alphabets and numbers, the VIN does not include the following letters: I, O, Q, U, and Z. Moreover, the VIN reverted to using the alphabet for the years 2010 onwards.
What to Consider in Purchasing a Pre-Owned ‘85 to ‘89 Yamaha Moto 4
If there’s one thing you need to expect when you are buying a Moto 4, it’s that most quads are either modded or upgraded. Regardless of the alterations installed or mounted on the vehicle, the overall condition of the ATV would serve as your primary basis in determining its value.
Consider checking the engine and see if it is running properly. Even though the YFM200’s engine is a tough and capable machine, it pays to keep an open ear for any unusual sounds, such as pings or any knocking noises. Also, be mindful of any leaks, if any, on the valves or any compression issues which would point to a piston problem. However, if the engine does not display any of these issues, chances are you are looking at a well-maintained ATV.
Moreover, a dirty carburettor is one of the main issues that you would most likely encounter in a used quad. For that matter, it pays to have a good look at the Moto 4’s VS22/VS22SH Mikuni component and determine if it’s in good working condition.
When dealing with old quads, such as the YFM200, determine if the electronic components are working properly. That’s because these parts are the first to give out, especially in a pre-loved Yamaha Moto 4. In that case, have a look at the quad’s push-button starter system to determine if it is operational. Check if the CDI, battery, and spark plug require changing or repair.
- Suspension, Brakes, and Axles
Regardless of how many hours the previous owner had ridden the ATV, it is important to examine the quad’s suspension and braking systems. Any existing issues can help you determine what needs to be fixed or refurbished.
With that said, check the dual A-arms for any bends or dents. The same can be said of the axles. Make sure that the axle spline is either well-greased or rust-free and rotates smoothly. More importantly, see to it that the front and rear brakes are operational, as well as their corresponding pedal and lever. Any concerns should be addressed immediately to avoid any complications and accidents in the future.
In some instances, there are ATVs in which the previous owner has not bothered checking or changing the quad’s engine oil. Unchanged oil could result in the buildup of gunk and other unwanted deposits that could be detrimental to the engine. There are possibilities in which tiny components have fallen off from their assembly, disintegrated, and got sucked into the oil sump, which could cause further extensive damage. These incidents are common among used ATVs, specifically the classic Yamaha Moto 4. Remember to check the oil of a used quad before purchasing it.
About the Manufacturer
Currently spearheaded by Mr Yoshihiro Hidaka, Yamaha Motors Co., Ltd. is one of the largest motorcycle producers throughout the world. Founded on 1 July 1955, the Shizuoka-based firm has evolved since it first produced its motorcycle, the YA-1, in 1957. Presently, the company manufactures different types of engines, namely: powerboats, marine engines, tractors, snowmobiles, and all-terrain vehicles, among others. The Yamaha Moto 4, particularly YFM200, is one of the products that is proof of the company’s unrelenting pursuit for innovative approaches and furthering its ideals towards being one of the best manufacturers.
Final Takeaway — Yamaha Moto 4
Being the “grandfather” of all Yamaha quads (if you will) the Yamaha Moto 4 deserves all the credit it gets for being a true-blue classic. Though initially built as a farm, hunting, or ranch workhorse, the YFM200 has certainly stood the test of time. In the hands of a skilled and creative mechanic, a 1985 Moto 4 could turn into a recreational heavy-duty buggy or a lightweight multi-role utility vehicle. Or even a starter quad for anyone who wanted to try their hands on customizing. The possibilities are endless for this trusty machine. So, if you are dying to own one, there’s no stopping you from doing so.