The Yamaha motorcycles range is very comprehensive and includes everything from scooters to superbikes, plus many off-road and competition bikes. Current models include the YZF series of high performance sports bikes, including the R6 and R1, the versatile and great fun to ride FZS Fazer, the sports touring FJR1300, the dual sport XT and WR range, plus the fabulous MT-01 muscle bike.
125cc Yamaha motorcycles include the trail bike styled WR125 and XT125, while the commuter friendly YBF125 is one of the top selling bikes in the UK. The new YZF-125R is a very advanced 125cc learner legal sports bike featuring a water cooled 4-stroke, 4-valve 125cc single cylinder motor. Yamaha scooters include the 50cc Aerox and Jog, the 125cc X-Max and Cygnus, plus a range of ‘super scooters’ which includes the 500cc TMAX and 250 and 400cc Majesty models.
Yamaha Motor Company was founded in 1955 with the launch of their first bike, the 125cc YA1 – a single cylinder two stoke powered machine. As the company developed throughout the latter years of the 1950’s, larger machines were offered including the 175cc YC-1 and 250cc YD-1, a two stroke twin cylinder bike. With a definite sporting philosophy always in mind, Yamaha machines were soon gaining race successes and exports to the USA were strong. Throughout the 1960’s the company continued development of the range, still concentrating on 2-stroke designs.
More race successes followed on the world GP circuits and in events such as the Isle of Man TT. By the late 1960’s Yamaha motorcycles were receiving great acclaim throughout the world and even greater sales success. 1968 saw the introduction of the famous DT-1 250, a machine which is often considered to be the first mass produced trail bike. The DT-1 was particularly significant as it opened up a whole new market for off roaders, and was a huge seller in the USA. With more stringent emissions laws coming into effect, 1969 saw the introduction of the first 4-stroke machine, the 650cc XS1, though through the 1970’s the company remained heavily involved in 2-stroke motorcycle production and the YD and later RD Yamaha range proved incredibly popular.
Throughout the seventies Yamaha produced many now iconic but still affordable machines including the FS1E 50cc sports moped (the ‘Fizzy’ is now a real classic Yamaha motorcycle), the aircooled RD250, RD350 and RD400 and later the fabulous water cooled RD250LC and 350LC models. 4-strokes began to feature more heavily in the range by the late 1970’s and early 1980’s and included such models as the XS400, XS750 and XS1100. The single cylinder SR500 4-stroke took some inspiration from earlier British designs, but with a refinement previously unheard of in a big thumper. The classic Yamaha XT500 trail bike was developed from the SR and was an instant hit. Sports models including the FZR and YZF 4-strokes featured Yamaha’s then new EXUP device (‘exhaust ultimate power valve’ which was designed to improve low to mid range torque). Yamaha’s V-Max was introduced in 1985 and it’s bold ‘Mad Max’ styling bestowed upon it a cult status that remains strong to this day.