It’s taken 63 years to get to this moment, and it’s a special one, it’s Yamaha Motor Day, a time to celebrate all the excellent times that Yamaha Motor Corp has aided through the years from our first P-7 outboard motor, to the NEW groundbreaking F425 XTO engine, Yamaha has come a long way….
Whether you’re a Yamaha fanatic or just a casual Powersports follower; there’s no denying the impact that Yamaha Motor Corp has had on the industry. From the XT500 Motorcycle and 2-stroke 85HP Yamaha Outboard of old to the latest 5.6 Litre XTO Outboard and Sports Touring FJ-09, progression is in Yamaha’s DNA, so it’s no surprise when you trace the history, it all started with a forward-thinking founder, Genichi Kawakami.
In 1953, Genichi found a way to make use of old machining equipment that was used to build aircraft propellers. Lucky for us, instead of using the machining equipment to create sewing machines – which he contemplated doing, Genichi decided to focus his efforts on motorcycles, and the Yamaha Motor Corp was born. After touring European motorcycle manufacturers with the aim of learning the ins and outs of bikes, the development team pooled all their efforts into building the first Yamaha motorcycle prototype, and in August of 1954, the first model was complete. It was the Yamaha YA-1. The bike was powered by an air-cooled, 2-stroke, single cylinder 125cc engine. Once finished, it was put through an unprecedented 10,000 km endurance test to ensure that its quality was top-class. This was the start of what has now become a long tradition of Yamaha creativity.
To celebrate our anniversary we would like you to comment and post an image of you and your Yami’s on our Facebook page and tell us which do you think, is the most famous iconic Yamaha motor?
Yamaha began competing internationally in 1956 when they entered the YA-1 into the Catalina Grand Prix, finishing sixth. Yamaha Motor Corp then released more 2-stroke bikes, the YA-2, and the YD-1 in 1957. This time also saw Yamaha release their first outboard marine engine. By 1963 Yamaha Motor Corp’s dedication to innovation paid off when they won their first international competition at the Belgium GP. This success helped Yamaha set up its global market and the rest, as they say, is history.
In 1968 Yamaha launched their first four-stroke motorcycle, the XS-1. The Yamaha XS-1 was a 650cc four-stroke twin, a larger and more powerful machine that equalled the displacement and performance of the famous British bikes of the era, such as the Triumph Bonneville and BSA Gold Star. The 70’s was an excellent era for Yamaha Motor Corp. They released the XS-750, a 750cc triple cylinder machine, and then the XS-1100. The 70’s also saw Yamaha release the first off-road bikes exclusively for off-road racing and recreation.
The development project for the first Yamaha outboard motor began back in 1958 with a project staff of just two engineers. At the time, everything was new to them as they started from scratch to build the company’s first marine engine. Soon after the project’s start, the staff grew in number and preparations began to move into production. At the time, however, there were no set standards for testing and the development process involved simply running the prototypes 24 hours a day and investigating how to improve the parts that broke down. The project had started from zero and its final result after overcoming many obstacles and hardships was Yamaha’s first outboard motor model, the “P-7″ that was marketed in Japan in 1960. In fact, however, it was still far from being a perfect outboard motor. For example, as one of the engineers from that time recalls, it was particularly loud and had a high level of vibration. This led to jokes from fishermen such as,”You can tell it is an outboard built by a musical instrument maker – it puts out quite a sound”
Yamaha has real racing pedigree – 39 world championships, 6 MotoGP titles, 208 victories at the Isle of Man TT, and numerous AMA Supercross Championships. That’s impressive, and a solid foundation for the other Yamaha motor products that follow in the humble YA-1’s footsteps, like Yamaha’s ATV’s, outboard motors, snowmobiles, boats, WaveRunners, golf carts, and automobile engines. To see Yamaha’s latest offerings go here.