Yamaha Motorcycles – Creativity and Spirit of Challenge

Yamaha Motorcycles – Creativity and Spirit of ChallengeWinter Bike Riding –The Safe Wayby: Kay Zetkin”If you are going to do something, be thebest”Ginichi Kawakami, Yamaha Motor Company First President.Yamaha Motorcycles, under this motto, employing all itscreativity, and with a very strong spirit of challenge, becamewhat it is now: one of the biggest players in the worldwidemotorcycling scene.But Yamaha’s history doesn’t start with motorcycles…It is back in 1877 that Torakusu Yamaha started with the NipponGakki Company that later would become Yamaha Corporation: animportant manufacturer of fine musical instruments.As the company grew, they explored several fields of opportunityin the textile industry and others.During the World War II, the company set up a factory to produceairplane propellers. This plant played an important role inYamaha’s entry to the motorcycle industry as you will see.After the war, Yamaha Corporation had to find new ways to use thetooling and experience that had been accumulated during theirtimes in the airplane industry, and it was then when Yamaha MotorCorporation was founded.It’s important to mention that even though this new company wasjust another branch of Yamaha Corporation, it was placed under anindependent management. In this case, under the guidance ofGinichi Kawakami; which turned out to be a brilliant move.Before producing their first motorcycle, Ginichi Kawakamitraveled a lot establishing what would be very usefulrelationships. He also sent out his engineers to Europe and hadthem learn how to build motorcycles, particularly from DKW; whomwith they kept an underground and unofficial long lastingrelationship.One proof of this is that nowadays, the only two manufacturers inthe world of mass-produced five side-valve engines are Yamaha anAudi (DKW – Auto Union).One of the most important legacies from this internationalrelationships were all the skills learnt by Yamaha’s engineers ontwo stroke engines know-how. Other manufacturers as Suzuki wouldnot reach the same level of development in this area till sevenyears later.Not to wonder why the first bike from Yamaha Motorcycles the 125YA-1 was fairly a faithful copy of the 1949 DKW RT 12. The onlytwo important differences were the four speed gearbox instead ofthe original three speed gearbox, and a gear transmissionreplacing the primary chain drive.IMPORTANT MODEL FROM YAMAHA MOTORCYCLES>>> Yamaha YA-1Even though the Yamaha YA-1 – baptized “Acatombo” (Reddragonfly)by its fans – had “nothing in special” and was more expensivethan its competitors, it almost immediately became a greatsuccess.It was reliable: before putting it into the market, theprototypes were tested along 10,000 miles of rough rides . Eventhe big boss himself, Ginichi Kawakami, rode the bike without anyincident from Hamamatsu to Tokyo.It was beautiful: with this model Yamaha was the firstmanufacturer to put special attention to the decoration of themotorcycle. This task was given to GK Design in Tokyo. It’s worthmentioning that this firm has designed the “look” of mostYamahamotorcycles to date.It was fast: the YA-1 obtained excellent overall results in themost important local races of that time: Mount Fuji (third place)and Mount Asama (first place).In fact it was this aggressive attitude in the sporting worldthat helped Yamaha Motorcycles gain fast acceptance even thoughthey made a late start in the motorcycle scene (in comparison toHonda and Suzuki).In other words: Yamaha Motorcycles showed the world they hadarrived to be considered good and fierce competitors from thebeginning. Particularly to Honda and Suzuki.Other important models from that time were:>>> The Yamaha YD-1 (the competition for the Suzuki TPof thattime)Some technical specifications:Yamaha YD-115 hp 70 mph. 185,000 yenin comparison to:Suzuki TP18 hp 80 mph. 195,000 yen>>> The Yamaha YDS-1The dream bike of all young Japanese between 1959-1960.Some technical specifications:20 hp 333 lbs. 85 mph.Direct rival of the Honda CB72Since then, the history of models and victories goes on and on…Today, Yamaha Motorcycles is one of the major players in theworldwide motorcycling scene.Just to give you an idea of how important Yamaha Motorcycles havebecome:- The 2004 Moto GP was won by excellent rider Valentino Rossi ona Yamaha motorcycle.I could go an and on writing about Yamaha Motorcycles, victories,challenges and models but I would need a whole book…So to learn more about Yamaha Motorcycles, I invite you to visitthis page:http://www.yamaha-motor.com/products/mcy/epic/epic_home.htmlYouwill find a pictorial history of Yamaha Motorcycles from 1955 to2001.Enjoy the ride!Daniel LevyDaniel Levy is the owner and contributing writer ofhttp://www.Japanese-Motorcycles-Only.comHeloves motorcyclesand Web development.If you liked what Steel Horse News has to say pass it on Clickhere to email this to a friend.Amazon.com WidgetsCopyright© Steel Horse MotorcycleNews.  May 15, 2012.

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