7 Greatest Yamaha Motorcycles Of All Time

Here is a list of the Top 7 of the meanest Yamaha machines ever created. If you have owned or ridden any of these gems, do drop us a line sharing your experience.

1. Yamaha YD2

  • Model: Yamaha YD2 Year
  • Introduced: 1959
  • Capacity: 247cc
  • Power Output: 14.5 bhp
  • Weight: 140 kg
  • Top Speed: 113 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan

The Yamaha YD1 was Yamaha's first two-stroke twin cylinder motorcycle. Heavily inspired by the Adler MB, it was replaced by the YD2 in 1959. The letter ‘D' indicates its a 250. This was Yamaha's first motorcycle to be exported to the west. The YD2 featured an enclosed chain, combined dynamo and electric starter unit, and deep valanced mudguards.

2. Yamaha YDS3C Big Bear

Yamaha was quick to drop the heavy, bulky look and introduced the YDS3C Big Bear in 1965. This trials bike, which Yamaha made by adding high level exhaust pipes to road bikes, was the company's first street scrambler. This motorcycle was based on the YDS3, which was the first Yamaha two-stroke motorcycle to feature an automatic oiling system. The YDS3 also helped Yamaha win its first Road Racing World Championship in 1964.

  • Model: Yamaha YDS3C Big Bear
  • Year Introduced: 1965
  • Capacity: 246cc
  • Power Output: 21 bhp
  • Weight: 159 kg
  • Top Speed: 142 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan

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3.Yamaha TR3

During the late 60s, many factory teams from Japan began to withdraw from international competitions. This also paved way for the Yamaha two-stroke twins to dominate the races. The TR3 earned the title of being the smallest capacity motorcycle ever to have won the Daytona 200. The motorcycle was ridden by Don Emde, who raced it against full blown 750s.

  • Model: Yamaha TR3
  • Year Introduced: 1972
  • Capacity: 347cc Power
  • Output: 58 bhp
  • Weight: 107 kg
  • Top Speed: NA
  • Country Of Origin: Japan

4. Yamaha YZ250

Yamaha, after winning the Motocross World Championship in 1973, introduced the mono shock suspension system on all its road and competition motorcycles, including the YZ250. As a result, the YZ250 became one of the best production motocross motorcycles during that time and was very popular with amateur riders.

  • Model: Yamaha YZ250
  • Year Introduced: 1974
  • Capacity: 246cc
  • Power Output: 21 bhp
  • Weight: 159 kg
  • Top Speed: 141 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan

5. Yamaha RD350B

  • Model: Yamaha RD350B
  • Year Introduced: 1973
  • Capacity: 347cc Power
  • Output: 39 bhp
  • Weight: 154 kg
  • Top Speed: 169 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
We knew from the outset that this section would warrant an early ‘centrefold' for this special story. In 1973, Yamaha upgraded it two-stroke twins that ranged from 124cc to 347cc and gave it the ‘RD' prefix. Yamaha also introduced Reed Valves throughout its range. This allowed the engines to run at higher crankcase pressure, without the risk of any blowbacks. This increased the performance of the motorcycle, to outperform bigger displacement bikes as well.
6. Yamaha TZ250

  • Model: Yamaha TZ250
  • Year Introduced: 1973
  • Capacity: 247cc
  • Power Output: 53 bhp
  • Weight: 108 kg
  • Top Speed: 225 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
The water-cooled TZ racers were introduced in 1973 to replace the air-cooled TD models. These motorcycles were essential for private racers looking for success in racing. These parallel twin-cylinders had a 108 degree crankshaft. Yamaha continuously kept improving the TZ to maintain the competitive edge. Heavily modified machines were used for races, like the one Dieter Braun rode to win the 250 World Championship in 1973.

7.Yamaha OW48

  • Model: Yamaha OW48
  • Capacity: 498cc
  • Power Output: 130 bhp
  • Weight: 145 kg
  • Top Speed: 290 km/h
  • Country Of Origin: Japan
This is the motorcycle that won multiple world championships for Yamaha at the hands of motorcycle legends such as Giacomo Agostini and Kenny Roberts. This in-line two-stroke, four cylinder motorcycle with twin Mikuni Carburettors and a six-speed gearbox was able to hit a top speed of 290 km/h.

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