Classic Yamaha Motorcycles

Long-Term Ownership

Read these Motorcycle Collector readers' letters about 1980 XS1100G, On Any Sunday, Honda CB160s, and much more.

1981-1987 Yamaha XV750/XV700 Virago

We take a look at the Yamaha Virago, the Suzuki Intruder and Honda Shadow.

All in the Family: 1972 Yamaha XS650

Join Andrew and Martin Dolcini as they revive a family heirloom.

Resurrection Road: 1973 Honda CL350 Scrambler

Five friends, with the determination to try, bring a beautiful Honda CL350 Scrambler back from the brink.

Restoring a 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Midnight Special

Follow Dale through his 1980 Yamaha XS1100 Midnight Special restoration.

Steve’s Stunning Seca: 1982 Yamaha XJ550 Seca

This low-mile, original Yamaha XJ550 Seca will take you back in time.

Lost Cause: Yamaha 0W60

Just as the square-four Yamaha 0W60 racer was reaching perfection, the company changed its course.

Bridging the Gap: 1972 Yamaha R5 350

The Yamaha R5 bridged the gap between road and track and had a lasting effect on amateur road racing in the U.S.

Peter Tremulis' 1975 Yamaha DT250

A reader shares a neglected Yamaha DT250 that had spent most of its life in an RV park.

Pat Halstead’s 1983 Yamaha XJ900 Seca

A reader shares his 1983 Yamaha XJ900 Seca and reflects on the other motorcycles of his past, including a Honda CA95 Benly.

Future Machine: 1993 Yamaha GTS1000

The Yamaha GTS1000, Yamaha’s replacement for the FJ1200, turned out to be a technological stunner, featuring the RADD forkless single-shock front suspension.

Ready to Race: 1960 Yamaha YDS1 Scrambler

Was the Yamaha YDS1 Scrambler the Yamaha Motor Company’s first production racer for the masses?

Teddy Horn’s 1970 Yamaha XS650

After riding his friend’s 1970s Yamaha XS650, a reader knew he had to get his own.

Paul Dorton’s 1975 Yamaha XS500s

A reader regretted selling his 1975 Yamaha XS500 over 35 years ago so he set off to find another one like it.

Summer Road Trip on a Yamaha

A reader shares memories of a summer trip across Canada, on the Pacific Coast Highway and on Route 66, that took more than eight weeks.

Vision with a Vee: 1982-1983 Yamaha XZ550R Vision

Comparing the Yamaha XZ550R Vision to the V-twin alternatives of its day, the Honda CX500 and Moto Guzzi V50 Monza.

Ken Stuart's 1983 Yamaha Vision

A reader shares his 1983 Yamaha Vision that he’s ridden across Canada eight times.

They’re Only Original Once: 1968 Yamaha DT-1

Super-fan Al Brotz wasn’t looking for a perfectly original 1968 Yamaha DT-1, but when he found one, he knew he had to be its next custodian.

Gordon King's 1977 Yamaha RD400

A reader shares his near-perfect Yamaha RD400 that even has the original battery.

Duke of Oil: 1976 Yamaha RD400C

The Yamaha RD400 is an even better version of America’s previous favorite 2-stroke motorcycle, the RD350.

Yamaha Trilogy: Hageman Seca 400

Custom builder Greg Hageman works his magic on Yamaha’s unloved Seca 400 for Yamaha enthusiast Mike Martens.

4-Stroke Fun: 1977-1982 Yamaha XS400

Comparing the Yamaha XS400 with its primary rivals, the Suzuki GS400 and Kawasaki KZ400.

Randy Trom’s Yamaha Twin Jet 100 and Trailmaster 100

A reader shares his Yamaha Twin Jet 100 and Trailmaster 100 as possible alternative contenders to the Honda S90.

Barber Ride Aboard a 1973 Yamaha TX750

A reader shares his brother’s 1973 Yamaha TX750 and thoughts on the Sunday Morning Ride at the Barber Vintage Festival.

Superbike Upgrade: 1984 Yamaha FJ1400

A face-lift, a tummy tuck and some steroids result in a refreshing ride down Memory Lane for Pat Conlon.

All in the Family: 1973 Yamaha TX650

This 1973 Yamaha TX650 might look like just a motorcycle, but to owner Keith Allen, it’s a time machine.

Field Find: 1968 Yamaha YR2C

Found sitting in a field since the 1970s, this Yamaha YR2C is back on the road after a complete restoration.

Three Equals Four: 1979 Yamaha XS750F

Parked in a New York barn for more than 30 years, this 1979 Yamaha XS750F has been carefully restored by its new owner.

Chris Hudson's 1986 Yamaha FZ600

Reader Chris Hudson shares his 1986 Yamaha FZ600 with us.

Looking for the Magic Bullet: 1974-1976 Yamaha RD200

The Yamaha RD200 was targeted at the beginning motorcyclist who wanted an inexpensive and fun way to get around.

David Fruhling’s Custom 1979 Yamaha SR500

A reader gives his 1979 Yamaha SR500 a “BSR” custom overhaul.

Synchronicity: Doc’s Chops Builds a Yamaha Seca 900

Transforming a Yamaha Seca 900 into a custom café racer.

Half-Liter Holdout: 1978 Yamaha XS500E

Best bets on tomorrow’s classics: 1978 Yamaha XS500E.

Yamaha Clutch Bolts

New stuff for old bikes: Replacement clutch bolts from HVC Cycle for Yamaha 2-stroke motorcycles.

Simon Wall’s Yamaha XJ750RJ Seca

Simon Wall shares the story of his Yamaha XJ750RJ Seca.

Take Five: 1985-1991 Yamaha FZ750

Best bets on tomorrow’s classics: 1985-1991 Yamaha FZ750.

Two-Stroke Scramble: 1968 Yamaha Big Bear

When Al Roller came across this 1968 Yamaha YDS-3C Big Bear, a model he’d always coveted, he tore it down to the frame and restored it to perfection.

Stuart Hayashida's 1976 Yamaha XS650C

Stuart Hayashida shares his 1976 Yamaha XS650C, which he’s put quite a bit of work in to.

Love for 3-Cylinder Bikes

Subscriber expresses his thanks for inclusion of 3-cylinder bikes.

Then and Now: Keith Mashburn

Former Yamaha racer Keith Mashburn gives insight to early Yamaha racing.

Yamaha TR3 Racer

Originally raced by factory rider Keith Mashburn, this 1972 Yamaha TR3 has been lovingly restored.

1979 Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special

Intended to commemorate Yamaha’s racing success, the Yamaha RD400F Daytona Special ended up as a monument to the 2-stroke motorcycles that defined an era.

Yamaha XV920 Virago Troubles

Motorcycle Classics’ tech expert Keith Fellenstein troubleshoots a Yamaha XV920 Virago’s starting issues after over-revving the engine.

Yamaha R5 Pistons From Wiseco

Wiseco has a limited number of Yamaha R5 pistons available for your classic bike.

1982 Yamaha XV920 Virago with Problematic Aftermarket Exhaust Pipes

Motorcycle Classics’ tech expert Keith Fellenstein discusses noisy aftermarket exhaust pipes on a 1982 Yamaha XV920 Virago. 

Sold for $21,000!! 1979 Yamaha RD400F – Brand New and Still in its Crate!

If this bike rings a bell, it should. We first told you about this brand new, never uncrated 1979 Yamaha RD400F back in June 2010, when reader Scott Lees stumbled across it at Britt Motorsports in Wilmington, N.C. When Scott visited the dealership, the Yamaha was resting just inside the front door of the motorcycle dealership, pushed up against a wall and being used as a table to hold racing trophies. At the time, Scott was told it was not for sale at any price. Yet it turns out it did have a price; $21,000, to be exact.

Dumpster Diving for the Yamaha CT3

Joe Rankin revives a ready-for-the-scrap-heap Yamaha CT3.

1975 Yamaha RD350: Best Bang for the Buck

The Yamaha RD350 was THE Seventies poor boy racer. Fairly cheap, relatively easy to work on and fast through the twisties, the RD350 is still great fun today.

The Ugly Duckling: The 1982 Yamaha Virago 920 Custom

Custom builder Greg Hageman of Doc’s Chops in Tampa, Fla., builds the coolest Yamaha Virago ever.

The Yamaha XJ550 Seca

Tomorrow’s classics: 1981-1984 Yamaha XJ550 Seca.

Randy’s Cycle Service: Yamaha TX650 Advice

Randy’s Cycle Service & Restoration in Rhoadsville, Va., knows vintage bike repair   

10 Days with a Yamaha TX650

Richard Backus puts 600 miles on a 1973 Yamaha TX650   

1977 Yamaha XS750 Electrical Problems

A reader has electrical problems with his Yamaha XS750.

Gil Yarrow's 1984 Yamaha FJ1100

Gil Yarrow discusses owning and riding his 1984 Yamaha FJ1100.

High-Mileage Classics: Glenn Gerein's Rare 1984 Yamaha XJ750RLs

Glenn Gerein's pair of rare, high-mileage 1984 Yamaha XJ750RLs.

Dim Headlight on a 1979 Yamaha XS750

Keith Fellenstein helps a reader tackle the problem of a dim headlight on a 1979 Yamaha XS750.

Gary and Rick Bault’s 1968 Yamaha DT-1

Gary and Rick Bault discuss owning and riding the 1968 Yamaha DT-1.

Allen Brotz's 1973 Yamaha Enduro Lineup

Allen Brotz displays his full line collection of 1973 Yamaha Enduro motorcycles in the Motorcycle Classics Ride and Show at the 2011 Road America Vintage Motorcycle Classic.

Found on eBay: 1977 Yamaha XS750D

This week's eBay find is a very nice Yamaha XS750 triple that's been lovingly maintained through the years. With just more than 26,000 miles, this bike is as nice as they come and ready for spring and summer riding.  

Found on eBay: 1963 Yamaha YG-1

  This 1963 Yamaha YG-1 somehow escaped the fate of many small Japanese motorcycles, which seem to have been bought and worn out or wrecked many years ago. The bike still wears its orignial paint and the chrome seems to be in pretty good shape for being more than 45 years old.  

History of the Yamaha YM1

A look back at the ideas and innovations that led to the development of the Yamaha YM-1.

Greg Davis' 1965 Yamaha YM-1

Greg Davis' love for his 1965 Yamaha YM-1 was sparked by a ride on a classic British motorcycle, of all things.

Found on eBay: 1980 Yamaha SR500 racer

Have you been fighting an itch to get involved in vintage racing? Maybe you don't have the right bike for it, or you don't feel you have the mechanical skills to build a bike that would be both safe and competitive. Either way, this week's eBay find may be the solution to your problems. It's a 1980 Yamaha SR500 roadracer that is turn-key and ready to go vintage racing.  

The Yamaha TX500

The Yamaha TX500 was Yamaha’s first foray into midsize 4-stroke territory, and while initial impressions were highly favorable, the TX500 proved less than easy to live with, perhaps because it was a little too high-tech for its time.

Found on eBay: 1971 Yamaha XS1B

This week's eBay searching led us to a low mileage, surprisingly original 1971 Yamaha XS1B, a 654cc parallel twin with just 4,127 miles on it.

Found on eBay: 1970 Yamaha R5

Searching through eBay this week led us to a very cool find: a low-mile, original, unmolested Yamaha R5. Ready to ride and enjoy, this could be a great first classic for a new owner, or a fine addition to someone’s collection of Seventies Japanese metal.

Custom Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker

Harleys may still be the kings of the modern custom crowd, but few bikes satisfy the creative fantasies of classic custom motorcycle builders better than a Yamaha XS650 Street Tracker.

Found: 1979 Yamaha RD400F – Brand New and Still in its Crate!

If you thought the 11 brand new Norton Commandos we told you about unearthed in Belgium were cool, you need to check out this story. Instead of a cache of Nortons, Motorcycle Classics reader Scott Lees stumbled across a brand new, still in the never-opened crate 1979 Yamaha RD400F, the last year for this collectible 2-stroke classic.  

The Yamaha XS1100

Better late than never, Yamaha blew away the big bike competition with the fast and fabulous Yamaha XS1100.

Yamaha RD350

There’s no evidence supporting the idea that the “RD” in the Yamaha RD350 model designation stands for “Race Derived” — but race derived it certainly was.

Found on eBay: 1975 Yamaha XS650

Fall is here, winter is on the way, and depending on your climate, the time may be drawing near for pondering what you're going to work on all winter when it's often too cold to ride. Though it looks to be in fairly decent shape, this 1975 Yamaha XS650 looks like a perfect candidate for a little winter "freshening."

The Yamaha R5 350 Twin

In an era when small-bore engines were still fairly common, the Yamaha R5 350 Twin was in many respects the company's crown jewel.

Found on eBay: 1984 Yamaha RZ350

Do you need a zippy two-stroker for the garage? Are you going to Barber? The current owner of this 1984 Yamaha RZ350 is looking to find a new home for his bike, and he'd be happy to deliver it to you next weekend at the Barber Vintage Festival.

Yamaha XS750

Under the Radar: Yamaha's XS750 was the company's response to it's flawed TX750

Yamaha XS650

The Yamaha XS650 was praised for its reliability and criticized for its styling

Restoring a 1965 Yamaha YM1

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

Found on eBay: 1962 Yamaha YDS-R Factory Racer

And now for something you don't see every day: Yes, it's a 1962 Yamaha YDS-R factory race bike. We remember seeing this bike at the 2006 Legend of the Motorcycle show in Half Moon Bay, Calif., where it impressed us with it's amazing condition. It also impressed the judges there, winning a first place tropy, and now it could be yours.

The Yamaha YX600S Radian

The mid-1980s were challenging times for the motorcycle industry. Faced with a changing and constricting market, Yamaha, like every company, took a long look at its products and considered how it should adapt to a new reality. Along with the monster V-Max and the immortal FZ750, Yamaha introduced the Radian, a smaller, kinder, and yes, faster standard for the street.   

1985 Yamaha FZ750

Vintage motorcycle racing at Road Atlanta with Neale Bayly on a 1985 Yamaha FZ750 that has seen better days.

1964 Yamaha Trailmaster 80

When you think of a vintage small-bore Japanese motorcycle for running in-town errands or slinging mud on a weekend camping trip, the Yamaha Trailmaster 80, might be the bike for you.

The Yamaha TT500

Although the Yamaha TT500 was last imported into the U.S. in 1981, the lightweight, fun Yamaha single still has tons of fans.

Contact Patch

Wow, but Why? 197hp, 123 lb/ft torque and 1,679cc displacement! All wrapped in shiny black and much chrome, the 2009 version of Yamaha’s V-Max is now a reality. 

1984 Yamaha FJ1100

The 1984 Yamaha FJ1100 certainly caused a stir in its freshman year: “The best large displacement sport motorcycle of 1984, and maybe even the best in its class in the history of motorcycling,” said Rider magazine.

Found on eBay: 1975 Yamaha RD's

Why bid on just one nice old Yamaha RD when you could bid on three of them at once? 

Found on eBay: 1978 Yamaha SR500

Yamaha's SR500 was a retro bike before being retro was popular. A throwback to the days of BSA Goldstars and other big street singles, the SR showed a whole new generation how great a big single can be both for running around town and snaking down tight backroads.

The 2009 V-Max: First Photo!

Our buddy Paul Crowe over at The Kneeslider ( has the info V-Max lovers have been waiting for: yes, finally, a photo of the new-for-2009 Yamaha V-Max! It's taken Yamaha quite a while to get to this point, but by our eyes, it was worth the wait!

1968 Yamaha DT-1

Prior to the release of the Yamaha DT-1, a reliable, reasonably powerful and inexpensive dirt bike simply didn’t exist.

Found on eBay: 1977 Yamaha RD400

This week's eBay searching put us in a two-stroke mood, and what better way to scratch that itch than a Yamaha RD400? This one looks like it has lead a pretty easy life, and it's been sympathetically restored and looks ready to ride.

The Yamaha TX750

Yamaha experimented with the parallel twin on the 1973 Yamaha TX750.

Yamaha V-Max

In 1985, the brand-new 1,198cc, 70-degree V4 monster Yamaha V-Max was an unapologetic two-wheeled hot-rod. It was the undisputed king of the boulevard, and the most American bike ever to come out of Japan. Virtually unchanged 22 years later, it still may be.

Yamaha SRX600

Best bets on tomorrow's classics: The Yamaha SRX600 got positive reviews but was ignored by American buyers

1980 Yamaha SR500

Durable and easy to maintain, the Yamaha SR500 became a cult favorite among classic motorcycle fans

1982 Yamaha XJ650 Seca

There are a few less-celebrated bikes from the Eighties that are still great bikes today, and Yamaha’s 650 Seca is one of them.

1984 Yamaha RZ350

Jamie James Production's modified Yamaha RZ350

The sound and the fury: celebrate the machines that changed the world!

Motorcycle Classics JulAug 16Motorcycle Classics is America's premier magazine for collectors and enthusiasts, dreamers and restorers, newcomers and life long motorheads who love the sound and the beauty of classic bikes. Every issue  delivers exciting and evocative articles and photographs of the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!

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