Who? Yamaha Motor Company
Where? Part of the mighty Yamaha Corporation the Yamaha Motor Company is based in Iwata, Japan with UK operations based, appropriately enough, within spitting distance of the famous Brooklands circuit in Weybridge, Surrey.
What’s the story? Yamaha’s tuning fork logo gives more than a nod to the company’s roots in musical instrument manufacture. Whilst still big – the biggest – in that arena, diversification has seen the same logo decorating countless other Yamaha products, including, since 1955, motorcycles. The move was precipitated by the war with factories, which had been converted to serve the Imperial Navy put to use in targeting the growing bike market. The single cylinder, two-stroke YA-1 was first off the line and its success clearly instilled corporate confidence. In the 70s Yamaha rode the crest of the Japanese motorcycle wave with models like the two stroke single FS1E – the Fizzy – fast capturing hearts and minds. Today the company is one of the world’s biggest motorcycle manufacturers with a range that includes scooters, adventure, sports, supersports, touring, cruiser and off-road motorcycles.
Key Models? The FS1E clearly, along with the 80s introduced FZ750 sports, which laid the ground for the immense, groundbreaking FZR1000. The next decade saw the birth of the legendary R1 (YZF-R1 to give it its Sunday name) sportsbike, which gave Honda’s Fireblade more than a run for its money. From that was spawned the R6, a lightning quick 600cc version, which, whilst not representing the great leap forward of its parent, packed a 100hp punch, the first in its class.
Anyone I know ride ‘em? Star of Red Dwarf, (Danny John-Jules) and BBC 1 prime time hit Death in Paradise and all round good guy chose an R1 for his charity exploits, including a ride to Valencia in aid of ace biking charity Riders For Health. If he passed you, you wouldn’t have missed him; the Yamaha is a lurid shade of pink! One William Bradley aka Mr. Angelina Jolie aka Brad Pitt is also said to be an R6 fan.
Coolest customs? It would be remiss of us not to mention Sick ‘n’ Twisted a bike said to have more kick than a Newmarket stable and finalist in 2008’s Britain’s Got Biking Talent. Similarly, although for a very dissimilar bike, we should flag Hugh Davies’ impressive OW 16 Replica, which reached the finals of BGBT’s successor, Built In Britain, in 2003. For sheer, sleek beauty it’s hard to top legendary UK builder John Reed’s Gold Yamaha, a stunning TR-1 V-twin lovely.
And what about Insurance? If you’ve customised your Yamaha or would just like a bike quote, don’t forget to talk to one of our motorcycle specialists, call them today on 1800 818 751 and we will help find the right insurance package to suit your needs.