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 Yamaha - YD 1
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Yamaha D2-492-01-04
Photo ou archives : F-M. Dumas

Capacity : 250
Model : YD 1
Production : 1957 - 1959
Category : (R) Street Bike


250 YD1 – 1957

Birth of a legend


The Yamaha YD1 is a Japanese made touring motorcycle built in 1957. It has two stroke twin 250 cc engine; with a top speed of 71 mph (114.3 km/h).

"Yamaha, the youngest of the "Big Four" Japanese motorcycle manufacturers, didn't build its first two-wheeler until 1954, when it unveiled a copy of the DKW RT 125, calling it the YA1. This spidery autocycle was a great success. It won handily the first cindertrack hillclimb ever held at Mount Asama, north of Tokyo, in both 125 and 250cc classes. It was a decisive moment for Yamaha.


Inspired by Adler

But Yamaha's competitors were not standing still, so in 1957 Yamaha launched a new 250cc model, this time based on the Adler MB 250. The new bike's main difference was in its frame, which was a pressed steel copy of the German Adler's cradle frame. Maybe that wasn't such a good idea! The first racing versions of the 250 YD1, seen at Mount Asama in 1957 and in the Catalina United States Grand Prix in 1958, went back to the original German cradle design!


A Brilliant Dynasty

Yamaha was a fast learner and, within a few years, its twin had cast off all traces of its origins and had given rise to a motorcycle dynasty. The first was the electric-start YD2. Then came the first dedicated sports models, the YDS1 and the YDS2 (the first model exported to Europe). Yamaha competed in its first French GP at Clermont Ferrand in 1961 and returned in 1963 with a succession of famous riders - Vesco, Read, Redman, Ivy, Saarinen, and Agostini.



Engine: 250cc (54x5*mm) two-stroke twin

Power output: 14.6 hp @ 6000 rpm

Fuel system: single carburetor

Transmission: chain final drive

Suspension: (front) telescopic forks; (rear) swinging frame

Brakes: (front) drum; (rear) drum

Wheels: 16 in wire

Weight: 309 lb

Maximum speed: 71 mph


With its chubby Germanic styling, the first Yamaha twin gave little hint of the fabulous line of competition two-stroke twins that was to follow

Motorcycle encyclopedia Moto Passion, realised by François-Marie Dumas, include almost 2000 photos presented with an exhaustive history of the motorcycles exhibited.

This unique collection has been realised with the participation of many specialists. With many thanks in particular to Yves Campion, Michael Dregni, Didier Ganneau, Jean Goyard, Helmut Krackowizer, Michel Montange, Christian Rey, Bernard Salvat, Mick Woollett, etc

One can order here

  • Original cards on paper (in french)
  • High resolution scans or original documents presented and signed with my name.

Please contact me at info@moto-collection.org for conditions and copyright.

© Tous droits réservés
François-Marie Dumas

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