Yamaha DT-1 Bike EXIF

30 Мар 2015 | Author: | Комментарии к записи Yamaha DT-1 Bike EXIF отключены
Yamaha DT 250

Yamaha DT-1

The 1968 is more than a contender for most important motorcycle. a bike that broke wide open for the entire motorcycle industry. Words by Boehm, Editor — of Moto Retro Illustrated.

by Joe Bonnello and Ed Burke archive.

As and transformative as the 1960s were, eight of the decade was a doozie. The Tet Assassinations. The White Album’s The ascendancy of Nixon. NASA. beatings in Chicago. Hippies, LSD and disillusionment with the so-called of Love.

Crazy times, for

Motorcycling had its own explosive event year, though few motorcyclists or felt the impact, at least at The happening was Yamaha’s introduction of an motorcycle – a street/dirt hybrid around a 250cc two-… The motorcycle would not only a legendary sales and playbike/racing in short order, but would alter the motorcycling landscape in country.

That bike was the

“I remember seeing the DT-1 at the show that year,” longtime industry veteran Tom “and I’ll never it. It was beautiful, and looked like it do anything. I could see myself it, and all the things I could do on it.”

was with White because, months, the teenager found riding a brand-new, pearl-white along California’s coast “I couldn’t believe it,” remembers. “There I was, along, drinking it all in, and at a stoplight a guy next to me and says, ‘What the is that?!’ I was in heaven.”

Heaven – a descriptor for the launch of the DT-1, for Yamaha dealers and Yamaha

“Looking back on it,” longtime Yamaha product-planning Ed Burke, who was involved with the development as well as bikes as the legendary 650 Special and V-Max, “it was one of the examples of a company bringing a to market in an almost perfectly Yamaha did such a great job the DT-1. The company had wonderful technology to tap into.

It had great to guide it, with Japan the U.S. product planners during development. And what engineers came up with was short of a blockbuster motorcycle, one did everything well – just as the had scripted it. Enthusiasts loved it. loved it.

The aftermarket – which substantially because of this – loved it. And dealers loved

Yamaha loved it, too, it was soon selling nearly of the things per year.

50,000 per year, for a single model. number seems crazy in day and age, when a model sells 5000 units is a success. But it illustrates perfectly how the motorcycle market was in the late and early 1970s, when boomers were coming of age and the joys of two-wheeled fun thanks in part to the value, reliability and potential of Japanese motorcycles.

“I was a in high school in ’68,” longtime industry veteran Ken who owns five DT-1s “and I remember seeing a DT-1 when they out. I just stood sputtering… It was the coolest thing I’d seen. To get a 250 would be the ultimate – riding a Triumph. I rode my to the shop almost every looking, drooling… What a motorcycle…”

Motorcycling’s explosive growth in era resulted from many but none were more than the perfect storm of – the baby boom generation – and the of reliable, inexpensive and fun motorcycles Japan.

“Boomers began 16 in about 1961,” says “and millions followed in the fifteen years.” Some gearheads and adventure-seekers, folks to dive into motorcycling. however, were mainstreamers, who needed a bit of a nudge – one provided by marketing (Honda’s ‘You The Nicest People’ campaign, for various bits of pop culture movies The Wild One and On Any Sunday are examples) and the increasing number of on America’s streets and trails.

offerings in the U.S. in the early and were primarily smaller says Burke. “Yamaha had – small two-… streetbikes and medium-sized ones like the and Big Bear scrambler. These – and from the other Japanese – quickly carved out a reputation for fun, inexpensive and reliable, and quickly brought motorcycling to a audience.”

By the latter 1960s wider audience was ready; for larger, more advanced (which it’d get in the form of CB750 and Kawasaki’s Mach III in and also for more dirt-worthy than the street-oriented twin- and ‘scramblers’ being offered. enthusiasts were all over the machines from the European – Husqvarna, Maico, Bultaco, CZ, etc. – but mainstreamers wanted needed) something less more reliable and easier to get for.

Enter the DT-1, debuted in early 1968 and surely helped fuel the sales spike seen ’68 to the all-time peak sales of 1973, when the first crisis took some of the air out of the The sales numbers during spike were – and are – staggering. began being a little performance-oriented at the time,” says “and the DT-1 hit them where they live.

It was a streetbike, and a pretty good bike and racer, too, so it them a lot of options. It was fast and good looking, and it didn’t much – about $750 or so then.” The thing sold gangbusters immediately, and by 1971 had expanded the line to include a 90 125 (AT-1), 175 (CT-1) and 360 (RT-1), and were off-road/MX variants of of those, including a 60cc called the JT-1 Mini Yamaha sold a bazillion of the “Looking back on it,” Burke, “the DT-1 might be Yamaha’s most motorcycle ever.”

That’s a statement, but the DT-1 is arguably one of the motorcycle industry’s most machines. By being a jack-of-all-trades, styled, cheap, and by providing on- and off-road performance, the DT-1 spread motorcycling to the masses – and newbies alike. It did more make Yamaha a household it pushed up an entire industry by creating the serious dual-purpose a category in which all the Japanese would eventually find success.

“The DT-1,” says vintage restorer and enthusiast Doughty, “was designed to the dual-purpose/enduro segment and provide for Honda’s 250 Scrambler. While received, the Honda was a heavy, streetbike. Its classy, dirt-oriented was its strongest feature, and Yamaha it, so they set out to build what become Japan’s first dirt/dual-purpose machine. In the process reinvented the category and built a that became the foundation for a great racebike, not the least of was the ground-breaking YZ250.”

Yamaha in the 1960s was a company on the move. kick-starting motorcycle production in in ’53 with its 125cc YA-1, the began selling bikes in the in 1958, first under the Motors umbrella and, two later, through its own dealers. two-… bikes got better year, with hot rods as the ’63 250cc Ascot Scrambler and the trick Autolube system of ’65 plenty to buttress Yamaha’s and reputation.

It was under these conditions – rapidly increasing for Japanese bikes (including the ‘scramblers’) and off-road riding and gaining in popularity – that began work on the DT-1. The nut of the came from some of the enthusiasts working for Yamaha at the – desert riders, racers, and all-around dirtbike enthusiasts.

thinking,” says Burke, to make the bike simple and and competent – a true do-it-all We knew what would really. We had great research, and good people in all phases – engineering, research, product testing, and some very dealers, too.

Jack son of J.C. ‘Pappy’ Hoel of fame (Hoel Sr. basically the famous Sturgis Rally) and a product-planner, was one. “Pappy the Indian/Yamaha dealer in Sturgis at the says ex-Yamaha man Tom Berkley. built road bikes and was in styling changes to make look like off-road like some of the other were doing. They called ‘scramblers’ at the time, and helped convince the factory to the direction. His inspiration came the true enduro bikes Montesa and Bultaco and the like, and of the desert bikes his friend and colleague Dave Holeman was Hoel hit the nail on the head a serious dual-purpose concept… and the as they say, is history.

like Hoel, Tom Clark, Tiernan, Sam Corona and others key,” says Burke. were all enthusiasts… racers, and fans. I wish I could credit for the bike, but I wasn’t nearly as much as these

The key was the emerging dual-purpose market, wasn’t overly large or at the time, but which showed “Yamaha felt that could be huge,” Burke “The bike had to be good on the street, but really good It had to be reliable, and have the potential for more power, which is our GYT (Genuine Yamaha Tuning) came in. Our engineers were savvy with two-…

We felt that if we could get the of streetability, off-road performance and looks just right, do well. The bike had to blend the fun, excitement and adventure the dirtbikes had going for them in a package with a low purchase

The team began by doing of market research to get a feel for was selling, what bikes and resonated with the public, and the buyers of all those ‘little’ bikes were likely to go as motorcycling tastes matured. The also bought and tested machinery, including Hodakas and of the more successful dirt-oriented bikes.

“We did most of the testing and here,” says Burke. Japan was smart to trust the on the U.S. side. Watching the from my east-coast sales position, I was impressed, and being dirt-oriented, it was nice to be involved.”

followed a fairly standard process with the DT-1. were done early-on in by stylists to determine shapes and an look, while factory and testers began working on prototypes, which were unattractive but hugely important, as determined things such as geometry, engine placement and of other vital measurements.

engineers developed a piston-port two-… single incorporating then-new Autolube oil-injection making premix a thing of the Some reports say the DT-1 was a revised version of a streetbike designed in ’65/’66 that made it to production, though the changes made to the powerplant it almost a moot point.

concentrated on blessing the engine a friendly demeanor and plenty of spread over a wide – quite different from how a powerful streetbike engine behave. Prototype versions of new engine were run on dynos, and tested in early prototype and slowly but surely engineers got they wanted: decent (roughly 23 at the crank), broad and, most importantly, reliability.

As dynamic prototypes closer to the bike’s final in mid-1967, Yamaha began substantial testing in the U.S. in a of environments, from woods to to on-road. Much of the testing was by Yamaha testers and product folks, but a portion was also by dealers and racers in the So Cal area.

the DT-1 wasn’t revolutionary. two-… single, five steel tube frame, brakes, standard instrumentation, The bike’s brilliance stemmed the way Yamaha integrated all of it – its styling and and dynamic excellence.

The DT1’s at Yamaha’s dealer meetings in 1967 and early ’68 created a stir, dealers signing up for as bikes as they could get and magazines spreading the word about the new bike over the months.

“The DT-1 handles better than the usual street-scrambler,” wrote Cycle in its 1968 issue. “Considering he of genuine motorcycle enthusiasts at International in Los Angeles, it was inevitable the product should be right on – and it certainly is.”

Cycle went even further in its 1968 issue, predicting but success for the DT-1 enduro. has hit on the right combination of street and machine, and in fact are building whole ’68 sales program on the motorcycle. When they a bike like the [DT-1] all we can do is them luck, though we think they’ll need

“I started at Yamaha in January of says Berkley. “The was just going into and was featured at the dealer meetings thereafter. In June, as the DT-1s being delivered to dealers, I seminars from Orlando to to introduce the bike’s technical to dealers.”

Dealers were excited about receiving of DT-1s, and in short order selling ’em by the handful. The bike to a wide range of riders – enthusiasts, for sure, who rode and it from western deserts to woods. But the DT-1 also the attention of less-grizzled motorcyclists, a group of motorcyclists who’d hooked by the two-wheeled bug during the and who were after a simpler of excitement than the racers and types lived on.

Yamaha DT 250
Yamaha DT 250

“The was one bike that blew motorcycling wide open’,” Jack Seaver, longtime racer and Yamaha dealership during the early 1970s. “It a big buzz and appealed to a wide of riders. Experienced enthusiasts, for but also a more mainstream who was hooked by the bike’s good and all-around abilities. These wanted the bike’s perceived clout even though never even took the off the pavement.”

But many did, as racing was literally exploding all the country, from the east woods to the western deserts. “It was in the late ’60s on the racing says Burke.” If you were in for instance, you could do several per weekend.”

“The first racing with the DT-1,” Berkley, “was in the desert by Ken and of K-N Yamaha in Riverside. Dick a dealer in Newhall, also put one on the right away. Ken and Norm into the shop at Yamaha on with the [DT-1’s] paper which was clogged by dirt.

done well until engine choked for a lack of and ended up inventing the original foam/screen K-N filter.

“Mark was probably one of the first riders in the to race motocross on a DT-1,” Berkley. “All of us wannabes DT-1s to play in the desert – El etc.”

“Compared to bikes the Honda Scrambler,” says “the DT-1 was lightweight, and handled like a dirtbike you ride on the street. It wasn’t as as the euro-motocross or enduro machines, but good enough to enthuse a number of veteran and first-time to take the plunge. That create an equally huge business for parts and pieces to the DT-1 into a motocrosser, tracker, TT bike or desert ‘Jack of all trades’ and master of is probably the most fitting for the first real mainstream from Japan.”

“I wasn’t involved in the DT-1’s says Gary Jones, national motocross champion. once my Dad got his hands on one, we got excited. In the desert, on the dirt we rode ’em and raced ’em right off the they had potential right out of the Of course, we started modifying right away – pipes, frames, carburetors, etc. We to get serious about motocross in

We ended up making big changes – we the engine, modified the motor more, changed suspension, We even sold kits for mods, as you couldn’t buy this back in the day. There was no FMF or Pro back then – just smaller companies that get bigger in a hurry. We won championships in ’71 and and I guess we were at the forefront of the wave we see today.”

In many the DT-1 turbocharged an aftermarket that would literally in size during the 1970s and all manner of motorcycle genres, motocrossers to roadracers and everything in

“The DT-1 wasn’t a racer in stock condition,” Tom White, “but with the mods it was plenty good. was smart to offer the GYT kit. Mashburn and [Freddie] Edwards the heck out of them on the dirtracks. But the really jumpstarted the aftermarket; it was to build parts that it better for off-road riding and But the real credit goes to the at Yamaha; they did such a job with the basic package.

I my first race on mine; I it to Huntington Beach Cycle took the lights off, the mirrors, and raced a TT there – rode it home! It had a GYT kit and a J-R silencer. memories!”

Retail sales ’68 on were simply insane. were riding a wave of and excitement fueled by the combination of numbers and the ever-increasing numbers of and hugely functional motorcycles… and the in many ways led the charge.

dealers were selling a DT-1s per year,” says “Amazing. One was in Sissonville, West Another, on the Ohio border, was Don place.”

But what’s doubly is the effect the bike bad on the industry as a Within a few years of the DT-1’s Yamaha offered an entire of dual-purpose bikes, from 60 to The other Japanese manufacturers suit, and soon the streets, and tracks of American were of the things, buzzing around and huge smiles on the faces of owners.

In many ways, dual-purpose opened the floodgates to the industry’s growth of the early ’70s by to a more mainstream rider, and many thousands of relative to the sport of motorcycling.

All of which it’s pretty much to overestimate the significance of the DT-1, or the it had on the industry. Its technology, timing, and ridability were all shockingly And I’d find out how true all this was a or two before this issue to press when Cobra Ken Boyko offered me a chance to one of his DT-1s.

I’d planned to simply the thing around the block a few but Boyko had a more involved planned. Boyko, his son Dustin, special project manager and vintage expert Denny and I took two of Boyko’s DT-1s and a of his 360cc RT-1s on a 15-mile run along Pacific Coast on a sunny Friday afternoon and had a blast.

The orange, ’70-spec I rode was light, peppy, comfortable and possessed the sort of mentality I always imagined bikes would have. The 2-… exhaust note, the take-offs, the pop-pop-pop while for stoplights and the visceral, chunky of the controls and shifter put me solidly in time. I was only eight old in 1970, but after that I have a pretty good for what thousands upon of motorcyclists experienced during the reign.

“The Yamaha was not the world’s first dual-purpose says ex-Cycle World David Edwards. “But do you the Bultaco El Montadero or the Montesa You do not. And if you recall the BSA 441 Victor “Victim”) at all, it’s because one of the bastards kicked and broke your ol’ man’s Nope, what the DT1 was, was the first practical, affordable, dual-purpose bike.

The fact its system meant you never had to mix two-… oil with the gas (Hello, was just a bonus. The DT1 spawned by the dozens; within a few years, 60% of sales in the U.S. were It also gave birth to the aftermarket industry that’s with us today, as vendors suspension kits, expansion hop-up parts, etc.

the world’s first dual-purpose No. The most important dual-purpose No doubt.”

Can’t put it much than that.

[Thanks to Boehm. Get your subscription to Retro Illustrated here .]

Yamaha DT 250
Yamaha DT 250
Yamaha DT 250
Yamaha DT 250


Tagged as:

Other articles of the category "Yamaha":

Our partners
Follow us
Contact us
Our contacts


Born in the USSR


About this site

For all questions about advertising, please contact listed on the site.

Motorcycles catalog with specifications, pictures, ratings, reviews and discusssions about Motorcycles.