Check out this interesting article on Yamaha written by Paul Polk. It has some interesting facts you may or may not have known about the beloved Blue Brand.
Yamaha Motor Company Limited is a Japanese motorized vehicle producing company. Yahama Motor is part of the Yamaha Corporation and its headquarter is located in Iwata, Shizuoka. Along with expanding Yamaha Corporation into the world’s biggest piano maker, then Yamaha CEO Genichi Kawakami took Yamaha into the field of motorized vehicles on July 1, 1955.
The company’s intensive research into metal alloys for use in acoustic pianos had given Yamaha wide knowledge of the making of lightweight, yet sturdy and reliable metal constructions. This knowledge was easily applied to the making of metal frames and motor parts for motorcycles. It produces motorcycles, all terrain vehicles, boats, snowmobiles, outboard motors, and personal watercraft.
Yamaha’s first motorcycle was the 1 YA-1, which had a 125 cc, single-cylinder two-stroke engine. It was launched in February 1955 and the bike won its first race, the Mount Fuji Ascent Race, in July 1955. Yamaha continued producing two-stroke engines until it launched the XS-1 in 1969, with a 650 cc two-cylinder four-stroke engine, using expertise that it gained doing engine development work for Toyota. In 1979, the XT500 won the first Paris-Dakar Rally.
In 1994, Yamaha announced the creation of Star Motorcycles, a new brand name for its cruiser series of motorcycles in the American market. In other markets Star motorcycles are sold under the Yamaha brand. Today Yamaha produces scooters from 50 to 500 cc, and a range of motorcycles from 50 to 1,900 cc, including cruiser, sport touring, sport, dual-sport, and off-road.
Yamaha has a long racing heritage where it has had its machines and team win many different competitions in many different areas, particularly in motorcycle racing. Yamaha has had great success with riders such as Giacomo Agostini, Bob Hannah, Heikki Mikkola, Kenny Roberts, Eddie Lawson, Wayne Rainey, Jeremy McGrath, Stefan Merriman, Chad Reed, Valentino Rossi, James Stewart and currently Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.
They won the supercross championship two years in a row (2008 and 2009) with the YZ 450F (One with Chad Reed, and the other with James Stewart). Yamaha has won a total of 36 World Championships, including 3 in MotoGP and 9 in the preceding 500cc 2-stroke class, and 1 in World Superbike.
Yamaha created the innovations which lead to the modern motocross bike, as they were the first to build a production monoshock motocross bike (1975 for 250 and 400, 1976 for 125) and one of the first to have a water cooled motocross production bike (1977 in works bikes, 1981 in off the shelf bikes).
Since 1962, Yamaha produced production road racing grand prix motorcycles that any licensed road racer could purchase. In 1970, non-factory privateer teams dominated the 250cc World Championship with Great Britain’s Rodney Gould winning the title on a Yamaha TD2.
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