The development of Yamaha motorcycles is one that took place quite by accident. In 1953 the company was already developing a variety of other products. They were looking for a use for idle pieces of equipment that had once been used to make propellers for airplanes. The ideas for this equipment included sewing machines, auto parts, scooters, all terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. The decision was made to focus on manufacturing motorcycles because of the market demand for them.
The first Yamaha motorcycle was introduced in August of 1954, called the Yamaha YA-1. This bike featured a two stroke single cylinder engine. By July of 1955 Yamaha was creating 200 quality motorcycles each month with a staff of 274 people. The YD-1 was introduced in 1957 as a racing bike. The bike quickly became popular and was featured in the United States Catalina Grand Prix in 1958.
This gave Yamaha the invitation to start selling its motorcycles in the United States with a private dealer in California. To further attract sales in the United States, Yamaha Motor Corporation USA was established in 1977. In 1959 Yamaha introduced the idea of offering a converter kit to consumers. This allowed the motorcycle to be used for both street riding and motocross racing.
By 1960 Yamaha was producing 135,000 bikes per year. 1965 saw the advancement of no longer having to mix oil with gas due to the automatic oiling system. By 1973 Yamaha was selling more than 1 million motorcycles each year worldwide.
During the 1970’s they began working on developing four stroke models to compete with other manufacturers. The results were faster motorcycles that met emissions regulations and were even more economical than the two stroke models. However, they also realized the potential to continue selling two stroke models to consumers as well. Many other manufacturers focused only on four strokes, so Yamaha was able to meet the needs of that target market.
1974 brought the introduction of the YZ250. This model quickly became the largest selling motocross bike because it featured a single horizontal rear suspension system. Yamaha built a racing track right next to the plant, allowing them to continually observe the quality and capabilities of their products.
Yamaha created one of the fastest racing bike models in 1985 with the introduction of the V-Max. This was classified as a muscle bike, with power that was not for the beginning rider. They continue to produce some of the fastest bikes on the market both for street riding and for racing.
Yamaha has never been satisfied to simply stop when they had a good thing going. They always had a vision of achieving more and to strive to further customer satisfaction. The visions and philosophies of the company have proven to be effective in every aspect of motorcycle production. The fact that they offer so many different models means the consumer has the opportunity to find the exact motorcycle they are looking for from a brand name they know they can trust to offer them a quality product.
While some of their models of motorcycles haven’t sold well, many of them have. Yamaha has always focused on the future of motorcycles while keeping in mind what consumers are wanting. They have been able to diversify their developments, and it has paid off by allowing them to reach a large portion of the motorcycle market without compromising their vision.
Today, Yamaha is the second largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world behind Harley-Davidson. They continue to make fast, reliable motorcycles that customers around the world are proud to own. They also manufacture motorcycles that have won more races than any other brand on the market. Their diversity and dedication to making quality motorcycles that meet the needs of the consumer have kept them a top seller in this growing industry. Yamaha dealerships can be found around the world, offering a full range of motorcycle models to suit your tastes.