Restoring a 1965 Yamaha YM1

The genuine article

| September/October 2006

Yamaha YM1
Years produced:
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 29hp @ 7,000rpm
Top speed: 98mph
Engine type: 305cc two-stroke, air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (wet): 156kg (343lb)
Price then: $699
Price now: $2,400-$4,000
MPG: 35-40

Most bike nuts who grew up in the Sixties are fans of British, Italian or American classic motorcycles. Not Greg Davis, who ended up restoring a 1965 Yamaha YM-1.

“I was always interested in bikes, but wasn’t allowed one in high school,” he says. “I preferred the look of the Japanese bikes. They seemed to be designed all in one. They were just more aesthetically pleasing.”

In school, many of Greg’s buddies rode Yamahas, including many two-stroke twins, so he got an opportunity to become familiar with models from these years, even though he wasn’t allowed to ride one at the time. And after leaving school, Greg finally did get to own a YM-1, a brand-new 1965 model that he kept for two years. It made a lasting impression: So much so that, in spite of all the bikes he’s owned since, it was a YM-1 that Greg wanted to restore.

Read about Greg Davis' review of owning and riding a Yamaha YM-1 

About a decade ago, Greg began scouting around for suitable candidates and also started picking up leftover YM and YDS parts that were being cleared out by local Yamaha dealers. In most jurisdictions, motorcycle dealers are only required to keep parts for models less than seven years old, and Greg’s shrewdness paid off in the number of original parts he amassed.

12/25/2017 10:46:30 PM

In the 1966 movie called 'Grand Prix', there is a character named Nino Barlini a young Sicilian who was previously a champion road racer of motorcycles and then went into being one of the drivers for the Ferrari team. His choice for personal transportation: The Yamaha YM1 305 twin.

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