Since its founding in 1955, Yamaha has paved the future of motorcycles with its technological innovations and aesthetic design. Here we would share more about the journey that Yamaha underwent in three areas, History, Design and Technology.
At Yamaha, both the functionality and handling of the machine is of utmost importance. Since our founding, technical finesse and design sense have been constant priorities during manufacturing. Our unwavering manufacturing philosophy has driven
us to continually produce uniquely Yamaha products.
In 1955, Yamaha developed its first motorized product, the YAMAHA125 YA-1.
This was the product of the foresight of Genichi Kawakami, the founder of Yamaha Motor Company. He believed by bringing manufacturing expertise gained from making musical instruments into the realm of mobility, that Yamaha would be able to break through
the global market. This was where Yamaha's history first began.
5 months after the launch of YA-1, it competed in the Mt Fuji Ascent Race, which at that time was the largest race within Japan. Competing against over 200 bike makers, the YA-1 would demonstrate its high performance. This was a strategy for Yamaha Motor
Company to raise its brand value despite having been a young motorcycle maker.
High quality and high-performance products.
Undeterred by having only one month of preparation time, it emerged as the champion among the 125cc class in its debut race. Among the top 10 finishers, 7 were the YA-1. Since then, the racetrack became an unreplaceable place for Yamaha Motor Company.
The racetrack was seething with passion for bikes and a place to demonstrate Yamaha's engineering skills in producing high quality and high-performance products.
However, Yamaha could not solely rely on excellent race records and high technical skills to develop products. To further integrate “human” and “machine”, invoking joy and exciting the “human” became a focus. At the core of development, Yamaha
Motor Company holds this ideology and calls its Jin-Ki Kanno. Technology born from this ideology seeks to quantify and incorporate the exhilaration and ease of riding a bike. With this, Yamaha uniqueness is integrated into not only bikes which
demand high levels of rider sensation, but also a range of products from scooters to super sports.
Since its founding, Yamaha has consistently produced products with high levels of design and technical finesse. On top of functionality and mechanisms, new products have notably aesthetic design that differentiate them from the rest. This design thinking
also contributes to future development in the field of mobility.
The YAMAHA125 YA-1
The development of Yamaha Motor Company's first commercial vehicle the Yamaha125 YA-1 was a collaboration with GK (Group of Koike), a group of students from Tokyo University of the Arts Design department centered around Assistant Professor Iwataro Koike.
Currently GK Dynamics, the successor of GK, oversees Yamaha Motor Company's bike designs.
During development of YA-1, the frame obtained from the German company DKW was further polished and its beauty enhanced. Furthermore, areas such as the tank, seat, pedal and grip, etcetera have all been given an original design. The sharp acceleration
and nimble handling of the machine is expressed with a body color that resembles that of a swift horse. The body structure reflects elegance and a uniquely Japanese beauty aesthetic. These serve as the cornerstone for future Yamaha designs to
The YAMAHA TRAIL 250 DT-1
The YAMAHA TRAIL 250 DT-1 debuted in 1968 with an innovative design. At a time when off-road and on-road bike designs were not clearly defined, the Yamaha Trail 250 DT-1 were based on existing road-going machines of the time and equipped with features
like engine guards, wide handlebars and mid-mount muffler. Furthermore, it has a slim body, wild tyres and a long stroke with front and rear suspension defining what would be the standard of off-road bike designs.
In the 1980s, the JOG revolutionized scooters. With its trendy colors and aggressive design, the JOG made use of a resin body which was lightweight and served as the palette for complicated designs. This set it apart from metal scooter exteriors which
was the standard of its time. With the new aesthetic, it held captive the favor of youths and females as well.
The origins of Yamaha can be found in its high technical prowess. Yamaha has constantly honed its technology and technological ideology and continually developed high quality products. Yamaha would continue to adopt the latest technology and explore new
Yamaha Motor Company's manufacturing is always centered around innovation and technology. Bike-making first began when Yamaha made use of expertise gained from manufacturing musical instruments. Yamaha, at that time, boasted the highest sales of pianos
globally and made use of the foundry technology from making piano frames in other fields. They expanded into making propellers for airplanes and an experimental engine was developed. Transferring expertise and technology contributed to the
development of the first mass produced YA-1's engine.
Pushing the limits of the lightweight and powerful two-stroke engine, Yamaha Motor Company has secured its place in the racing world and in the global two-wheeled market. At the same time, with its advanced four-stroke engine technology and ideology,
Yamaha Motor Company was leading the world. The most unique aspect would be the technology for controlling the torque from the four-stroke engine. By finetuning the angle of the crankpins, inertia torque generated by piston movement
can be reduced and torque produced would be better. YZR-M1 that competes at MotoGP, the pinnacle of two-wheel road racing; and the commercial super sports model YZF-R1 both use the high-efficiency crossplane engine. Engines based on
the crossplane concept are developed with the torque in mind.
Yamaha Motor Company's original ideology and technology has prompted it to develop several new mobility options. These include NIKEN and TRICITY as well as commercial vehicles on sale in Japan and Europe equipped with the LMW Technology. With an independent
suspension system and two wheels joined in unison by a parallelogram link, it maintains the refreshing steering sensation of the bike and provides unparalleled rider safety and confidence across various road conditions. Currently, it has
a two front-wheel and one rear-wheel configuration, but Yamaha continues to discover mobility that are unshackled by its shape.
With 2030 in perspective, Yamaha Motor Company aims to expand human possibilities and further enhance lifestyle and society with 3 domains. These domains are: Advancing Robotics, which is the integration of robotics and intellectual technology;
Rethinking Solution, which is taking Yamaha ideology to solve societal issues; Transforming mobility, which is about revolutionizing mobility. With the introduction of concept bikes like the MOTOROID and MOTOBOT, development of next-generation
mobility is underway. Yamaha is continually innovating to create a uniquely Yamaha and novel bike.
You ride this machine. You drive a car, but you ride a motorcycle, a feeling you might liken to riding a horse. Using all five senses, you become one with the machine in an organic unity. Since its founding, Yamaha Motor Company has always held one performance
standard above the rest: handling. It's about creating a machine that responds naturally and in tune with human perceptions. This standard is unchanging, and applied to machines for beginners as well as for the world's top riders. The
feeling of rider-machine unity is what creates the joy of the ride or the thrill of the challenge…and it's what defines “Yamaha Handling.”