The ups and downs of owning a classic motorcycle
Gary and Rick Bault's 1968 Yamaha DT-1.
Bike: 1968 Yamaha DT-1
Owners: Gary and Rick Bault
Hometown: Albany, Ore.
Etc.: For Rick Bault, the Yamaha DT-1 his dad, Gary, purchased from the local dealer in 1968 was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. “The brochure Yamaha sent out before the DT-1 was released showed a white tank with a red frame and red tank emblems. My dad was buying one and was really excited that it had a red frame.
It did look cool,” Rick recalls. “When they showed up at the dealership the frame was black. Dad was a bit disappointed but bought one anyway.” Gary kept the bike stock, and rode both street and trails with it, noting, “DT-1’s were reliable. The only real problem was the ignition points. If you went trail riding you’d better take a Phillips screwdriver and a dry matchbook. The bike would run great until you went through a puddle then it would die. At least once a day you had to clean the points.”
On the street, the biggest problem was vibration at freeway speeds, Rick notes: “I remember riding as a passenger to Grants Pass from Roseburg [Ore.]. That’s about 70 miles of freeway each way. About 35 miles into the trip I was so numb from the engine buzz that I couldn’t feel my extremities. That was back in 1968 and I’m just now getting some of the feeling back.” Rick picked up his own 1970 model DT-1 back in 2003, and rode it around town quite often before recently selling it. “For its time the DT-1 was a great bike. For our time the DT-1 is still a good performer around town,” he says. “The suspension was and still is adequate for a single rider. The power delivery is smooth. No big hit anywhere. The brakes are probably the weakest link. Today’s brakes are much more powerful.” While the DT-1 doesn’t compare to his current Honda CRF450 for off-road prowess, Rick still respects the role the DT-1 played in bringing us to today’s amazing bikes, and reminds us that, “The DT-1 paved the way for what we ride now.”