Restoring a 1965 Yamaha YM1
The genuine article
Years produced: 1965-1969
Total production: N/A
Claimed power: 29hp @ 7,000rpm
Top speed: 98mph
Engine type: 305cc two-stroke, air-cooled parallel twin
Weight (wet): 156kg (343lb)
Price then: $699
Price now: $2,400-$4,000
Most bike nuts who grew up in the Sixties are fans of British, Italian or American classic motorcycles. Not Greg Davis, who ended up restoring a 1965 Yamaha YM-1.
“I was always interested in bikes, but wasn’t allowed one in high school,” he says. “I preferred the look of the Japanese bikes. They seemed to be designed all in one. They were just more aesthetically pleasing.”
In school, many of Greg’s buddies rode Yamahas, including many two-stroke twins, so he got an opportunity to become familiar with models from these years, even though he wasn’t allowed to ride one at the time. And after leaving school, Greg finally did get to own a YM-1, a brand-new 1965 model that he kept for two years. It made a lasting impression: So much so that, in spite of all the bikes he’s owned since, it was a YM-1 that Greg wanted to restore.
Read about Greg Davis' review of owning and riding a Yamaha YM-1
About a decade ago, Greg began scouting around for suitable candidates and also started picking up leftover YM and YDS parts that were being cleared out by local Yamaha dealers. In most jurisdictions, motorcycle dealers are only required to keep parts for models less than seven years old, and Greg’s shrewdness paid off in the number of original parts he amassed.
Finally, he placed an ad in a local “buy and sell” free newspaper, and discovered a rather sad looking YM-1 in a nearby suburb. After some negotiation and horse-trading, Greg acquired the 1965 YM-1 in exchange for engine work he did on the previous owner’s 125cc BSA Bantam D1.
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