Featured image for "The History of Yamaha Motorcycles" blog post. Black Yamaha motorbike.

The History of Yamaha* Motorcycles

The history of Yamaha* motorcycles  will be the topic of discussion for our most recent entry in our blog. 

Yamaha Motor Corporation* was established in 1955. The first motorcycle produced by the business was called the YA1*, and it was modeled after a German DKW* from the 1930s.

A 125cc two-stroke, single-cylinder motor provided the bike’s motive force.
Afterwards, a twin 250cc was released that was modeled after the Adler*, a German bike.

This hardy motorbike, which was given the designation YD1, was a hit in Japan’s already-crowded motorcycle industry, and it established the groundwork for a lengthy twin two-stroke line to come in the future.

Early on, Yamaha* dominated the Japanese motorcycle racing arena, and in 1958, the company launched its first foray into the American motorcycle racing circuit.

The team first entered the Grand Prix in Catalina with a twin 250cc motor machine. Authorized distribution for the twin YD2 250cc and the even more exhilarating YDS1 sports edition of the motorcycle was set up in the United States in 1960.

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Yamaha’s* twin-cylinder motorbikes have always been known for their impressive performance, but it wasn’t until the 1962 YDS2* that their prowess was really appreciated.

The company’s reputation as a contender in the car world received a boost in 1961 when it participated in races all over the globe. The American motorist Don Vesco was victorious in the US 250cc Grand Prix after Yamaha spent two years developing, refining, and racing the vehicle.

After that, factory motorist Fumio Ito was victorious in the Grand Prix in Belgium. Yamaha* overtook Honda* as the most dominant manufacturer in the motorcycle industry in 1964, when a rider from Great Britain named Phil Read clinched the first of two back-to-back 250cc world championships for Yamaha*.

Engineers at Yamaha* decided to use water-cooled motors with four cylinders so that the company could enhance its power output without sacrificing reliability.

In 1967, Bill Ivy of the United Kingdom triumphed to take home the 125cc world title. The already outstanding CV of Phil Read was bolstered in 1968 with the addition of victories in the 125cc and 250cc categories.

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AMSOIL Shock Therapy® Suspension Fluid #10 Medium

The ensuing year, Bill Ivy set a record by being the first rider in his class to complete one lap of the Isle of Man TT track at a speed of one hundred miles per hour while using a Yamaha* V-four engine with two crankshafts.

Around the middle of the 1960s, Yamaha* started producing track motorcycles with fewer features in an effort to cater to freelance privateer racers and other enthusiasts of the sport.

The 250cc displacement TD* twin engines were replaced by 350cc displacement TR* twin engines. Both the TZS* 250cc and 350cc were released in 1973, and both were capable of respectable speeds.

As a result of the new Grand Prix rules that limited the amount of gear ratios and cylinders, Yamaha* was victorious in the three 350cc and four 250cc world championships in the 1970s.

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The first factory two-stroke motorbike to win a 500cc Grand Prix was a Yamaha*, and it was a four-stroke. In 1975, Giacomo Agostini won the premier class riding a two-stroke inline-four machine.

After developing his talents on dirt tracks, Kenny Roberts was able to win the 500cc world championship and establish himself as a legend in the sport.
The following year, he made history by being the first American to do this, and the two years that followed, he won two more championships for Yamaha*.

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AMSOIL 10W-40 Synthetic Dirt Bike Oil

Over the course of this time frame, Yamaha’s* ever-expanding array of motorbikes has successfully penetrated a number of different markets across the world.

Yamaha* established themselves as the preeminent American off-road maker in 1968. It was announced that year that the 250cc DTi Enduro was finally available.

Vertical twin-cylinder engines enabled the XS-1*, soon to be the XS650, to successfully compete with British imports beginning in 1970.

Yamaha* maintained its position as an industry pioneer and innovator.
In the 1970s, for instance, the Monoshock rear suspension, originally designed for motocross, was converted for use on road bikes.

The performance of two-stroke engines was significantly improved in the 1980s as a result of racing-related advancements such as the Yamaha* Power Valve System.

In addition, there was the Deltabox aluminum frame to consider. Shaft drives that did not need regular maintenance were standard on all of the company’s motorcycles, including the 50cc step-throughs, 1,100cc four-strokes, and 1,200cc V-twins.

In keeping with the high-performance road ethos, the designers created the 250cc, 350cc, and 500cc two-stroke water-cooled engines.

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AMSOIL DOMINATOR® Synthetic 2-Stroke Racing Oil

In addition to YZ motocross racers, off-road choices featured highly adaptable trail and endurance motorcycles.

Yamaha’s* victory in the 500cc world championship in 1977 was only one of numerous motocross titles that the Japanese company took home.

The firm achieved victory in nine different Dakar Rally races between the years 1979 and 1998. During the middle of the 1980s, two thrilling four-stroke high-performance engines were released.

Because of its blistering acceleration, the water-cooled V-four engine of the 1,200cc V-Max* cruiser gained the motorbike an immediate reputation as a mythical beast.

The four-cylinder Genesis engine made its first appearance on Yamaha’s* FZ750* supersport motorcycle. It also sparked the development of the FZR* line of motorcycles, spearheaded by the groundbreaking FZR1000*, which used Yamaha’s* innovative “EXUP” (Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve) technology for the first time.

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AMSOIL Motorcycle Octane Boost

Eddie Lawson won a total of four world championships between the years 1984 and 1989, and much of the credit for those victories goes to his team’s dogged pursuit of two-stroke engine and chassis advancement.

Also, Wayne Rainey rode YZR500 V-4 engines to victory in three races in the early 1990s. The 900cc four-stroke Yamaha* YZR-M1* had its first MotoGP appearance in 2002.

This bike gave Valentino Rossi, a former Honda* champion, two consecutive world titles in 2004 and 2005. Racing had an effect on the development of the technology that was utilized in display machines. 1998 saw the release of the 1,000 cc YZF-R1*, which was immediately met with widespread praise.

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Its 1,000cc five-valve engine was well matched to its balanced frame. The RI* has seen many revisions, each of which has improved upon the previous one by adding either fuel injection or a more robust Deltabox frame.

A four-valve-per-cylinder engine debuted later that same year. New power distribution configuration with a cross-plane crankshaft is only one example of how M1 racing research has benefited the current Rl*.

Beginning in the middle of the 1990s, Yamaha* cruisers that were sold in the United States under the Star brand were equally innovative in their design.
The engine capacity was raised to a staggering 1,854 cc. The 1,679cc VMAX* was the most powerful muscle machine that the Star had available at the time.

Additional high-performance motorcycles will be discussed in depth in subsequent blog postings.

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AMSOIL 10W-40 Metric Motorcycle Oil

If you have any questions concerning motorcycle lubrication, or lubrication for vehicle types, please submit them in the comments section below and we will try our best to respond.

If you ride a Yamaha* and are seeking the best lubricant for your motorcycle, you should think about the advantages that a synthetic motorcycle oil that has been properly formulated may provide. A custom-blended synthetic metric motorcycle oil can maximize engine and transmission performance in four-stroke metric sport bikes, cruisers, touring motorcycles, and adventure bikes.

Expect a premium synthetic motorcycle oil to have the following characteristics and benefits: wet-clutch compatibility for confident, smooth shifts; strong heat resistance and wear prevention; the ability to maintain viscosity; and improved detergency that cleans vital components.

*All trademarked names and images are the property of their respective owners and may be registered marks in some countries. No affiliation or endorsement claim, express or implied, is made by their use.

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