Yamaha motorbike history

Like Kawasaki, Yamaha is a Japanese industrial behemoth producing, in addition to motorcycles, musical instruments, consumer electronics, outboard engines and sports equipment. The company was established in 1887 as a musical instrument maker by Torakusu Yamaha, and is today headquartered in Hamamatsu. The company’s origins as a musical instrument maker are today reflected in its corporate emblem- 3 interlocking tuning forks.

The company first started motorcycle production in 1958 after it changed its production facilities which during World War II had been geared towards supporting the war effort. Expertise in metalworking was directed towards the 125 cc, single-cylinder YA-1, aka ‘Akatombo’. It was the bike’s success that convinced Yamaha execs to branch out into motoring. In 1968 Yamaha also gave the world the first true off-road bike, the DT-1. The company also produces a line of small Scooters, known as underbones, mainly for the Southeast Asia market, as well as large scooters (125 cc+) that are popular in Japan, Europe and the USA.

Yamaha model range

One of Yamaha’s best-known contemporary products is the YZF series of race bikes. These feature prodigious power for their classes, as well as cutting-edge technology like fully-adjustable suspension, computer-controlled fuel intake (dubbed YCC = Yamaha Chip Control) and a lightweight frame. Yamaha also manufactures a line of well-respected off-road machines (trailbikes). Other products in the Yamaha lineup are the Banshee, the BW series, the CG series (including the Jog line of scooters), the FJ and FZ series, Grizzly series, XT series, the V-Star series of cruisers, YFM series, the YTM range of ATV’s, and the aforementioned YZF sportbikes.

Looking at buying a Yamaha motorbike? Check the bike history of any Yamaha by entering its number plate in the field above.