The Yamaha Motor Company is one of the most successful and renowned motorcycle manufacturers in the world. Though the original Yamaha company was first founded in 1887, Yamaha’s motor division wasn’t established in 1955 but as soon as the company unveiled its first model, the iconic YA-1, the world paid immediate attention. Over the years, Yamaha managed to transform itself from an obscure and unknown Japanese manufacturer from humble beginnings into a widely known and internationally acclaimed global conglomerate. Today, the Yamaha Motor Company produces everything from motorcycles, ATVs, snowmobiles, and side by sides, to personal watercraft, power boats, marine engines, and power equipment.
Yamaha’s passion for motorcycles is reflected in the company’s numerous achievements. Since 1955, the Yamaha Motor Company has been flying the flag of innovation by introducing radical new technologies such as daring to equip a motorcycle with a single-rear shock in the early 70s, or developing artificial intelligence to improve the ride experience of motorcyclists today. The culmination of Yamaha’s research and development can be seen on their world championship winning racing prototypes, with that very technology being applied to their next generations of production bikes shortly after. The story of Yamaha’s wheeled pursuits is one focused on excellence, innovation, and passion – so it should come as no surprise to learn that the company slogan is “Yamaha: Revs Your Heart.”
A Brief History Of The Yamaha Brand
The Early Years
The Yamaha Motor Company can trace its roots all the way back to 1887, when Torakusu Yamaha repaired his first reed organ, and established a company that would repair, build, and sell musical instruments. Based out of Hamamatsu in Japan’s Shizuoka prefecture, Yamaha’s vision quickly grew, and by 1889, Yamaha founded the Yamaha Organ Manufacturing Company, the first Japanese maker of Western style musical instruments. The company evolved and moved from strength to strength, manufacturing its first upright and grand pianos in 1900 and 1902 respectively, and producing more and more diverse musical instruments. It’s no surprise that Yamaha’s logo is a reflection of the brand’s history: three interlocking tuning forks.
As with all things, World War II halted the company’s expansion with factories being transformed to assist the war effort, however, when the war drew to a close the Yamaha company president at the time, Genichi Kawakami, decided to re-purpose much of the company’s war-time machinery and begin producing small motorcycles. Using Yamaha’s engineering skills and metallurgical know-how, and with post-war Japan desperately in need of affordable and economical transportation, the first ever Yamaha motorcycle was produced in 1954: the YA-1, which was also known as the Akatombo, or Red Dragonfly. The YA-1 was a primitive 125cc two stroke motorcycle based on the German DKW RT125. Only 125 units were produced, but they were such a sales success that Yamaha formed the Yamaha Motor Co., Ltd a year later in 1955, and began looking at motorcycle production in earnest.
Naturally, Yamaha wanted to race their new products and began placing them head to head against other manufacturers almost immediately. By 1956, Yamaha battled in international races such as the Catalina Grand Prix, where Yamaha rode into a respectable sixth place. Racing allowed Yamaha’s engineers to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of their design, which led to the creation of new models like the YA-2, the 250cc YD-1, and the performance spec YDS-1 250cc two-stroke racer. Over the next ten years, Yamaha enjoyed racing success and their first Grand Prix win in the 250cc class, and sales success to match their racing achievements. International subsidiaries were opened in Thailand and the Netherlands, and bigger and better Yamaha motorcycles going into production.
Despite Yamaha’s two-stroke success, the end of the 60s brought some big changes to the industry. In 1968, Yamaha introduced the XS-1: a 650cc four-stroke, parallel twin engine powered motorcycle that could rival the likes of the Triumph Bonneville or BSA Gold Star. This was revolutionary for a Japanese manufacturer, but the four-stroke trend was up, and Yamaha’s success was short lived because Honda would shortly pull the covers off of their legendary CB750, which would be quickly succeeded by Kawasaki’s Z1. The four-stroke era had arrived, but Yamaha had plenty more to offer.
The Four-Stroke Era
Yamaha didn’t provide a worthy successor to the XS650 until 1976, when they pulled the covers off of the triple cylindered, and shaft driven, XS750. In 1978, Yamaha unveiled the XS1100, the company’s first four-cylinder motorcycle, which enjoyed a string of successes in the endurance racing category. Road bikes weren’t Yamaha’s only focus during this time period, and the company was developing a range of fascinating dirt-bikes that were full of innovation. In fact, Yamaha was the first company to introduce monoshock style suspension to their motorcycles back in 1973. Some of Yamaha’s dirt bikes are some of the industry’s most enduring, with the YZ-250 being an industry mainstay from its introduction in 1974 right up to the present day.
By the 1980s, road-oriented two-strokes were becoming obsolete, but Yamaha still continued to persevere with the humble two-stroke motor and continued to produce new models such as the RZ-250 and RZ-350. Despite Yamaha’s success, the popularity of two-stroke motorcycles began to wane and the company began to create bigger, faster, four-stroke models to please the audience. The XV750, the first Japanese cruiser, featured a powerful four-stroke V-twin engine and was praised by critics. Next, the company unleashed the FZ750, a four-stroke, inline four with a five valve cylinder head, and an innovative box-section steel perimeter frame – a model that helped pave the way for the modern sports bikes of the present day.
The Creation Of Star Motorcycles
The 1990s saw the brand expand and diversify in an unprecedented way. Yamaha now offered class leading motorcycles for a wide range of categories, from fast sport machines to hardy touring models, and from aggressive motocross machines to stalwart commuters. There was one niche that Yamaha really wanted to conquer though, and that was the American cruiser market. To make a big impression on the American market, Yamaha created its very own America-focused motorcycle brand. Star Motorcycles was created in 1995, and between then and now the Star trade name has become synonymous with power, control, and quality.
The 90s also saw the creation of another special Yamaha product: the legendary Yamaha YZF-R1. The R1 was (and still is) one of the most respected motorcycles on the road. Powered by a fearsome 1000cc four-cylinder engine mated to a radical gearbox that shortened the overall dimensions of the motor and gearbox that allowed the R1 to enjoy unprecedented handling. The Yamaha R1 had arrived, and it set a new benchmark for the sport bike industry. It’s a bar that Yamaha continues to raise to this very day, with the introduction of muscular naked motorcycles such as the MT-series (formally the FZ-series in the USA), the introduction of Yamaha’s excellent Sports Heritage product range, and the company’s ever-improving and always race-winning off-road collection.
Today, Yamaha is one of the most formidable motorcycle manufacturers in the industry, and a household name all over the world thanks to Yamaha’s unrelenting pursuit of excellence, high-quality engineering, passion for innovation, and unwavering reliability.
The classic tuning fork logo has always been a symbol of quality, whether it’s emblazoned on one of Yamaha’s musical instruments or one on of the Yamaha Motor Corporation’s many motorcycles. Over the years, Yamaha has striven to produce a premium product that comes equipped with outstanding reliability and unparalleled performance, wrapped into an affordable package. To do this, Yamaha use the best quality components available, in partnership with modern materials and production methods, and employ incredibly strict quality control methods.
Thanks to scores of design specialists and talented engineers Yamaha have been able to innovation some of the most revolutionary production methods in the industry, such as their unique “Controlled Filling” technique which die-casts high quality components that are stronger and more durable than those produced by regular methods. Yamaha’s focus on quality extends to their consumable parts, such as brake pads and air filters too, which are tested to produce the best mixture of performance and longevity for unparalleled riding pleasure. So, are Yamahas reliable? The answer is yes.
In 2015, Consumer Reports publishes a study that focused on motorcycle manufacturers and the overall reliability of their products. The study consisted on information gathered from over 11,000 motorcyclists who discussed the reliability of more than 12,000 new motorcycles that were bought and ridden between the years 2008 and 2014, evaluating their reliability and performance over a twelve month period. After gathering the information, the statisticians at Consumer Reports were able to compile an accurate snapshot of the industry, and calculate a formula to produce a concise reliability index based on failure rate. This index assessed manufacturer’s reliability scoring them in percentages with high percentages offering higher failure rates, and lower percentages offering lower failure rates. Yamaha scored in first place, making it the most reliable motorcycle manufacturer in the industry, with an assessed failure rate of 11%. This is an amazing figure, considering that the likes of BMW scored an uninspiring 40%, making it far more unreliable than Yamaha.
Amazingly, there have only been 35 Yamaha recalls since 2002. Of the 35 recalls, the vast majority of them were for very small issues such as pinched battery cables, faulty stator coil insulators, corroded terminals, and the occasional wrongly torqued bolt. Naturally, these issues were quickly remedied by Yamaha and their dealership network, free of charge. While any number of recalls sounds like a daunting figure, 35 is a very small number considering the wide range of motorcycles on sale in the Yamaha line-up, and the amount of recalls in the time frame. Recalls shouldn’t be thought of as negative things either, as it proves a company’s commitment to excellence and proves that they’re willing to take responsibility for their mistakes and spare no expense at remedying the issues.
Yamaha’s Future Technology
Yamaha prides itself on innovation and the Japanese company has been responsible for some of the industry’s most revolutionary technological advances. It should come as no surprise that the “Art of Engineering” is one of the company’s many mottos. Yamaha’s engineering ethos is based around two interesting design concepts: Yamaha’s GENESIS and G.E.N.I.C.H ideas. Essentially, these two names refer to two different engineering ideals that Yamaha strive to deliver in all of their products.
Ever since Yamaha pulled the covers off of the YA-1 in 1955, the company has been dedicated to refining and improving their two wheeled technology to provide the best ride experience available. Over the years, Yamaha has created some of the most revolutionary in the industry, such as the incredible Yamaha Power Valve System for their two-stroke motorcycles, the world’s first single rear shock Monocross suspension back in 1972, and the incredible Deltabox Frame arrangement that was originally developed for premier class racing but is now a regular feature on the roads. The GENESIS idea is the culmination of these advances, a design process that aims to incorporate the highest level of man-machine communication.
In short, Yamaha believe that the rider is the most important element of a motorcycle, and design their machines to fuse both man and machine into one responsive and organic thing. “Man-Machine Sensuality” or Jinki-Kanno in Japanese, is about integrating all of the motorcycle’s components, including the engine, frame, and other mechanisms into one organic whole.
Yamaha’s second design principle G.E.N.I.C.H (GENESIS of Electronic engineering for New, Innovative Control technology with Human orientation) is an evolution of the original GENESIS idea, and it appeared thanks to the advent of a new type of technology: electronic riding aids. ABS and fuel-injection systems began to become standard on motorcycles, and Yamaha grasped these new technologies and streamlined them with their GENESIS ethos, which transformed the future of motorcycling. Electronic riding aids had arrived, but Yamaha was determined to keep the rider firmly in control. By 2005, ABS and fuel-injection were old tech, and new riding aids set the new bench mark.
Yamaha’s YCC-T (electronic throttle control), YCC-I (electronically controlled intake funnels), and YCC-S (electronically assisted clutch control and gear shifting) redefined motorcycling and raised the bar for what electronic riding aids could achieve. Meanwhile, Yamaha were also working on other ways to help fuse man and machine together, this time in the form of a new cross-plane style engine which worked in partnership with an advanced 6-stage traction control system. If GENESIS was the mechanical fusion of man and machine, then Yamaha’s G.E.N.I.C.H principle was the perfect balance of man, machine, and electronics, blending analog mechanics with digital programing, but with human sensibilities governing the two. The culmination of these two ideas resulted in two very interesting concepts…
Yamaha pulled the covers off of their MOTOBOT concept in 2015. MOTOBOT is a humanoid robot that is capable of physically riding a motorcycle that was developed in partnership with SRI International. As an autonomous motorcycle riding robot it allows Yamaha’s designers and engineers to test theories that wouldn’t be possible or safe with a human test riders, and push the limits of design and performance. Unlike other autonomous vehicles, MOTOBOT physically rides the motorcycle – which has only had minor modifications to accommodate its robotic rider. One of MOTOBOT’s goals was to be able to ride at high speeds at a race track, and eventually surpass motorcycling legend Valentino Rossi in a head to head racing dual. Ultimately, MOTOBOT was unable to beat the human rider but that was only a minor goal for the developers. Being able to use an artificial rider to test high capacity motorcycles will take motorcycling to an entirely new dimension in the future.
Yamaha’s MOTOROiD program was developed at the same time as the MOTOBOT, but instead of being a physical robot, MOTOROiD is a proof-of-concept motorcycle that hides a sophisticated artificial intelligence program. Essentially, the Yamaha MOTOROiD is an autonomous motorcycle that uses artificial intelligence with an ingrained personality to take personal mobility to the next level. While only a concept, the MOTOROiD gives us a glimpse of Yamaha’s future – a future that bridges the gap between manual riding and autonomous vehicles, with sophisticated artificial intelligence that is capable of interacting with the rider, configuring different settings for different riding situations, and offering a tailored riding experience to any kind of rider. Autonomous vehicles are on the way, and Yamaha isn’t going to be left behind.
Three Wheel Advances
Yamaha’s recent advances aren’t reserved to intriguing artificial intelligence and robotics either. Over the last few years, the company has unveiled some remarkable but opinon dividing motorcycles: Leaning Multi-Wheel motorcycles (LWTs) or three-wheelers, in other words. Starting from the small-capacity Tricity concept, Yamaha has released a production model three-wheeler based on the MT-07 called the Yamaha NIKEN, which features two wheels at the front that lean together thanks to clever suspension and engineering. Though a three-wheeler, it handles the same as a conventional motorcycle but with superb traction that allows for aggressive lean angles and superior front end stability. The model has many critics, but very few of those who have ridden one have had a bad thing to say about it at all. While it’s probably too unconventional for the wider riding public, it proves that Yamaha is dedicated to the evolution of the motorcycle and will stop at nothing, and even add a third wheel if necessary, to improve the ride experience of the world’s motorcyclists.
Noteworthy Yamaha Models
Currently, Yamaha has one of the most successful and diverse model line-ups in the industry, with class leading sport bikes leading the charge on the roads, aggressive dirt bikes for off-road adventuring, and everything in between. If you’re looking for a motorcycle for a specific job, Yamaha will have the correct tool to get that job done. However, if you’re in need of versatility, Yamaha have also got you covered too, with plenty of genre crossing models such as sports tourers and dual-purpose machinery. Ever since the company began producing motorcycles, Yamaha has always prided itself on its diverse selection.
Some of the most notable Yamaha models in history include their legendary two-stroke race machines such as the RD350LC and the RZV500R, or their incredibly aggressive and ever-popular VMAX muscle cruiser. From the supersport department, there are few bikes that can measure up to the might of the Yamaha YZF-R7, FZR750R, or of course, the class leading Yamaha YZF-R1. Yamaha’s iconic dirt bikes include the iconic XT500 and DT-1 models, but some of Yamaha’s best models (and most underrated) come in the form of their cross-overs, such as the 1988 TDR250, which was essentially the first ever modern dual-sport motorcycle which was years ahead of its time; and then there’s other cross-over oddballs like the Yamaha TDM850, a motorcycle that’s not quite a touring bike, not a sports bike, and not an off-roader either – but a healthy mix of all three.
Yamaha produce exceptional motorcycles, but they also produce award winning ATVs, side by sides, snow mobiles, golf carts, outboard motors and watercraft too. But does Yamaha make cars? At the moment, Yamaha do produce interesting car concepts and unveil thought provoking design ideas, but at the moment the company does not have any road-focused four wheeled cars in production. However, the interest that Yamaha has shown in recent years, from producing concept supercars to motorcycle-transporter trucks, suggests that the company may branch out in the near future. Yamaha has partnered with Toyota, Lexus, and Ford in the past though, and does manufacture automobile engines for other brands.
Yamaha Company Snapshot
The Yamaha Motor Corporation USA
The Yamaha Motor Company sold its first motorcycles in the USA in 1958, conducting business through an independent distributor in California. Cooper Motors sold the Yamaha YD-1 250 and MF-1 (a 50cc step through, two-stroke scooter) to start with, but as interest grew the company began importing more and more. By 1960, the Yamaha International Corporation began setting up a formal dealership network to satisfy the American market. The Yamaha Motor Corporation USA wasn’t actually founded until 1980, but when it arrived it came with a new corporate headquarters based out of Cypress, California, and it marked the 25th anniversary of the Yamaha Motor Company, marking 25 years of Yamaha motorcycles.
The Yamaha Motor Corporation USA is one of more than 20 worldwide subsidies that operate across the globe, and while it’s one of many, it accounts for a large portion of the wider Yamaha Motor Company’s sales. In return, Yamaha is a large contributor to the US economy, directly employing around 3,000 American citizens, and supporting more than 30,000 additional jobs thanks to its corporate offices, field and distribution staff, suppliers, dealerships, and excellent manufacturing divisions.
In fact, Yamaha formed the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America so the company could build and assemble more products in country. However, despite having a US manufacturing plant, no Yamaha motorcycles are built or assembled in the United States of America. Not even the Star Motorcycles models. The Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America’s plant in Newnan, Georgia, is no less important though.
The Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America
Yamaha has numerous facilities across the country, in California, Wisconsin, Texas, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Illinois, New Jersey, and Washington, though none are as famous as the Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America’s main plant at Newnan in Georgia. Located 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, the Newnan factory employs over 1100 people and specializes in the manufacture and assembly of Yamaha’s ATVs, Personal Watercraft, Side by Sides, and Golf Cars. The Newnan factors alone spends more than an estimated $170 million dollars annually to more than 137 global suppliers, with 125 of those being based in North America – making the Newnan plant a great American asset.
Are Yamaha Motorcycles Made In The USA?
Once again, in answer to the question whether Yamaha products are made in the USA, it depends on what product is being talked about. No Yamaha motorcycles are manufactured in the USA. However, most of Yamaha’s recreational vehicles are manufactured in country, or assembled at the very least.
Authorized Yamaha Dealerships
Yamaha Motors has just over 1,300 official dealerships in the United States alone, providing thousands of Americans with jobs. These dealerships provide specialist support and sales advice for anything from motorcycles, scooters, ATVs, watercraft, side by sides, and outdoor power equipment – but if you’re looking for the best sales experience, Yamaha recommends that you seek out one of their “Pro Yamaha” dealerships. A “Pro Yamaha” dealership signifies that a particular dealership is of an exceptionally high standard and offers a superior sales and service experience. A Pro Yamaha dealer with a Gold certification indicates that the staff at that particular dealership offer a higher level of sales and service expertise too. A Pro Yamaha Platinum dealership is the highest rating available for Yamaha dealerships, and the Platinum badge award signifies that a particular dealer has been highly rated for sales, service, and scored highly in customer satisfaction surveys.
While it’s not mandatory to buy a Yamaha motorcycle from an authorized dealer, it’s recommended because Yamaha’s official dealerships are able to offer interesting financing options, extended warranties, and a wide range of service options. Used Yamaha motorcycle bought from dealerships also come with the added bonus of being serviced and verified by official Yamaha specialists, with any repairs being made with official Yamaha parts. Whether you’re buying new or used, an authorized Yamaha dealer is your one stop shop.
Pied Piper Dealership Rankings
According to the 2017 Pied Piper Prospect Satisfaction Index – an independent survey that uses mystery shoppers to score and rank the dealerships of motorcycle manufacturers with the largest presences in the United States – Yamaha’s dealerships are performing below the industry standard. In fact, the 2017 study ranked Yamaha’s dealerships in an uninspiring 15th place out of a total of 17. The study focused on the sales tactics of staff, the knowledge of Yamaha’s floor employees, and the overall customer experience. Yamaha’s low ranking shouldn’t reflect the quality of their products though. In fact, Yamaha’s PSI ranking is on the rise, and its 15th place position is actually higher than it was in 2016, and still ranks higher than the likes of KTM and Husqvarna. However, Yamaha is still the poorest performing of the Japanese dealerships. The companies ranked the highest were BMW Motorrad, Harley-Davidson, and Ducati, in first, second, and third place, respectively.
Yamaha Finance Deals
Yamaha has an entire company dedicated to providing the best financial services to their customers. The Yamaha Motor Finance Corporation USA offers plenty of deals and incentives for prospective buyers. The most popular of these is their recently launched Yamaha Credit Card program. This Yamaha-exclusive consumer financing tool allows smart finance options through Yamaha’s own captive finance company. In short, Yamaha can now offer an easy credit application system that can give instant approvals to qualifying customers, with a credit system that can extend to repeat purchases. The Yamaha Credit Card program offers attractive special financing options on all of Yamaha’s products, including motorcycles, ATVs, side by sides, and watercraft.
As well as the company’s unique credit card financing scheme, Yamaha dealerships offer a wide range of other finance options for their customers. These deals include low percentage APR packages (as low as 2.99% for up to 24 months), up to $1,250 in customer cash, and attractive apparel and accessory bonuses. For the most up to the minute deals, contact your nearest Yamaha dealership. For a broad overview, the Yamaha website has a payment calculator for potential customers to experiment with.
Yamaha My Garage App
For riders looking for a more immersive Yamaha experience, the My Garage App is an essential tool. At the moment, the Yamaha My Garage App only works for Yamaha Heritage models, but if you’re interested in buying one of those, you can find your dream model on the app, and it allows users and prospective buyers to fully customize their motorcycle using a range of Yamaha bolt-on accessories, selectable color schemes, and exhaust options. In short, it’s an online playground where you can chop and change parts for the Yamaha VMAX, XJR1300, XSR700, and SR models.
However, after users have selected their ideal handlebar configurations, the perfect seat, the right exhaust, and chosen an appropriate color, they can save it and share it with friends…or send it directly to a Yamaha dealership. Your local dealer will order the right model, and the right parts, in the right color, and your virtual motorcycle will be ready for collection, and payment, of course.
Yamaha’s MSF Incentives
For new riders and learners, Yamaha’s dealership network offers an attractive incentive scheme. Upon completion of an authorized motorcycle MSF or state authorized motorcycle education course, Yamaha offers up to $100 I reimbursement for new riders who purchase Yamaha motorcycles. This incentive helps encourage non-riders to get on two-wheels and instil a degree of brand loyalty from day one. This deal is valid to all legal-residents of the continental United States and Alaska, who are 18 years of age or older. Unfortunately, the deal is not available to citizens of Hawaii, Puerto Rico, or other US overseas territories.
Within a 120 day time period after completing an MSF course, or upon completing an MSF course within 120 days after a Yamaha purchase, eligible riders can enjoy a cash reimbursement for any of Yamaha’s Street, Dual Purpose, Off-Road, or Scooter models. Yamaha reimburse $100 for motorcycles from the Street and Dual Purpose segment, and $50 from the Off-Road and Scooter categories. It’s advised that you check with your nearest dealership for the most up-to-date information on Yamaha’s learner rider incentive schemes.
Yamaha Race Training
Yamaha also offer a wide range of advanced rider courses but the company also specializes in nurturing race talent. For those with their hearts set on racing, Yamaha has numerous paths that you can follow. There are plenty of Yamaha backed facilities up and down the country, but some of the most prestigious include:
- The Raines Racing and Raines Riding University – this school is ideal for both beginner and advanced riders looking to improve their skills on and off-road, post better lap times, and learn advanced riding skills. The school is led by veteran Yamaha rider and AMA Hare Scramblers Champion, Jason Raines, and the Full Circle Training Camp is one of the most respected riding programs in the country.
- American Supercamp Motorcycle Technique Schools – these schools offer basic and advanced training courses to help unleash your inner champion, all whilst on board a fleet of Yamaha motorcycles. This course is ideal for those looking to excel at street riding, road racing, flat tracking, motocross, and Supermoto riding.
- The Texas Tornado Boot Camp – this is arguably one of the most famous racing schools in the world, led by Yamaha veteran and MotoGP star Colin “the Texas Tornado” Edwards. This is a great facility for riders of all ages to get to grips with the basics and more advanced techniques of dirt bike riding, with skills that can be transposed into road racing situations.
- The Yamaha Champions Riding School (YCRS) – Yamaha’s Champions Riding School works in partnership with the world class New Jersey Motorsports Park (NJMP) facility in Millville, New Jersey. The facility’s lead instructors Nick Ienatsch and Ken Hill work alongside racing heroes Scott Russell and Larry Pegram to transform students into the racers of tomorrow, all in a safe and relaxed atmosphere.
Yamaha’s Other Business Interests
Aside from being a massive global presence in both the musical instrument and motor manufacturing departments, the wider Yamaha Corporation has plenty of other interesting business interests. However, the company produces such a variety of products that it would be almost impossible to list. To make things easier, Yamaha split its vehicle related operations into a separate company back in 1955, and the subsequent Yamaha Motor Company’s business interests are much easier to catalogue. Apart from motorcycles and other commuter vehicles, the Yamaha Motor Company produces a wide range of other goods.
Yamaha’s recreational vehicle selection includes All-terrain vehicles, side-by-side utility vehicles, and snowmobiles. The firm’s current ATV line-up features Sport ATVs such as the Raptor and YFZ450R models, while their Utility ATV line-up consists of different variations of the Grizzly and Kodiak models.
Yamaha’s side-by-side selection is separated into three different segments. The Pure Sport segment features performance oriented versions of the YXZ1000R model, while the Recreation segment features tamer but more manageable models such as the Wolverine with different seating configurations, and finally, the Utility segment which features the Viking side-by-side in different forms, which offers a nice combination of practicality and comfort.
Yamaha snowmobiles are some of the best in the business, and it should come as no surprise that the company offers a wide range of snow-tackling machines. These Yamaha snowmobiles are divided into five different segments (Trail, Crossover, Mountain, Touring/Utility, and Youth), with prominent models such as the Sidewinder, SRViper, Phazer, Venture, and SnoScoot models.
Boats And Marine Engines
Yamaha’s engine prowess isn’t reserved for land-only vehicles either. Yamaha actually boasts more than fifty years of marine-based heritage that all began when the company developed a fiberglass reinforced plastic boat in Japan back in 1958. These days, Yamaha’s marine catalog features everything from power boats, sail boats and custom made craft, to personal recreational watercraft – all powered by Yamaha’s very own marine engines.
Yamaha’s boat range comes in four different categories: 19 ft boats, 21 ft boats, 24 ft boats, and Yamaha’s exclusive Wake series. The SX and AR models are available in the three different sizes, with the only real difference between the two model variations being the addition of a tower on the AR series. For real water sports enthusiasts, the Wake series offers the best compromise in practicality and performance.
Similarly, the Yamaha WaveRunner series of personal watercraft come in four different flavors: the EX Series, for light recreation; the VX Series, for standard recreation; the FX series, for luxury; and the Performance Race Series, for real championship riders and speed enthusiasts. All of Yamaha’s personal watercraft feature a unique dual throttle handlebar control, which does away with manual shifting, with no gears in play to complicate the ride experience.
The dual throttle control system is just one of many innovations that Yamaha has introduced to the industry, for their outboard motors, electric marine motors, diesel marine motors, stern drives, and other marine technologies.
Since 1993, Yamaha been at the forefront of the electric-assisted mobility industry and has been continuously producing some of the most advanced electric bicycles available. Currently, Yamaha has four distinct power-assisted electric bicycles in their line-up, from sporty, urban-focused commuter cycles such as the Cross Core and Urban Rush, to more aggressive mountain conquering adventure bicycles like the YDX Torc, and dual-purpose do-it-all models such as the Yamaha Cross Connect.
Yamaha also produce some of the world’s most highly respected golf cars. Over the past 8 years, more than 2,300 golf courses have switched to using Yamaha transportation – which speaks volumes about the company’s products. While Yamaha offer a fully customizable service, they offer 6 different base models, from “The Drive” personal transport vehicles, to “The Concierge” multi-seat cars, with off-road utility-styled machines such as “The Adventurer” and “The Range Picker,” full luxury options such as “The Fairway Lounge” and even special security-focused models too. Yamaha Golf Cars come powered by gas or electric motors, depending on the models, YamaTrack suspension, and more.
Yamaha’s engines are used to power more than transport. Over the years, Yamaha has taken their engine principles and applied them to other exciting projects, creating a series of essential power products. Yamaha have developed a reliable chain of power generators for personal and industrial use; small economical water pumps and heavy duty pumps that can pump up to 449 gallons of water per minute; compact and efficient multi-purpose engines built to power a wide range of machines; pressure washers that can shoot water at up to 4000 PSI; snow-throwers; and even kart engines for small-capacity race enthusiasts.
Yamaha does not currently manufacture a production car of its own but it has worked it partnership with a number of car manufacturers in the past to lend their engine building expertise to the auto industry. In 1967, Yamaha worked with Toyota to develop the Toyota 2000GT. Over the years, Toyota and Yamaha have collaborated on the numerous engines, such as the Toyota 4A-GE, the Celica GT-4 and GT-S and more. Similarly, because Lexus is owned by Toyota, Yamaha has worked on many Lexus engines, including the Lexus LFA. Yamaha have also worked in collaboration with the Ford Motor Company to produce compact V6 engines, such as those found on the Ford Taurus, a series of four-cylinder engines like the Zetec-SE engines found in the Ford Puma, and more. More recently, Yamaha have worked with Volvo and British sportscar maker, Noble.
Yamaha also specialize in building industrial-use unmanned helicopters, sophisticated and technologically advanced electric wheelchairs and wheelchair electric drive units, intelligent machinery such as compact intelligent industrial machinery like assembly robots and surface mounters, to name a few. In fact, Yamaha manufacture more products than you could possibly imagine. The company even manufactures swimming pools, water-sliders, and all kinds of pool related equipment. And of course, the company also produces its very own parts, accessories, merchandise, apparel and special Yamaha-branded motor oil.
Yamaha In The USA
Yamaha has numerous subsidies in the United States of America. Apart from the over-arching Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A and Yamaha Motor Manufacturing Corporation of America, Yamaha also controls:
- Yamaha Marine Precision Propellers Inc.
- Yamaha Jet Boat Manufacturing U.S.A, Inc.
- Yamaha Golf-Car Company
- Yamaha Motor Golf-Car Lease Receivable Corporation
- Yamaha Motor Finance Corporation, U.S.A.
- Yamaha Motor Distribution Latin America, Inc.
- Yamaha Motor IM America, Inc.
- Yamaha Motor Ventures & Laboratory Silicon Valley Inc.
- Yamaha Marine Systems Company Inc.
- Industrial Power Products of America, Inc.
- Skeeter Products, Inc.
- Benett Marine, Inc.
Yamaha has had an active motorcycle racing presence since 1956, enjoying wins and podium finishes across a wide range of categories and in a wide range of competitions. In recent years, Yamaha has performed excellently in the MotoGP championship. Since the formation of an official Yamaha factory team in 1999, Yamaha have achieved no less than 7 rider’s championship victories, with three championship titles won by Jorge Lorenzo, and four from Valentino Rossi. Over the years, Yamaha has teamed up with the likes of Marlboro, Fortuna, Gauloises, Camel, Fiat, and Spanish telecom giant Movistar. The Yamaha MotoGP team has fielded some of the best riders in the world, such as the above mentioned champions, as well as racing legends including Colin Edwards, Ben Spies, Carlos Checa, Max Biaggi, and Marco Melandri. Yamaha’s MotoGP racing prototype is the YZR-M1.
For those who would like to see the full collection of Yamaha’s top racing prototypes, and a full overview of the company’s motorcycling history, then there’s no better place to visit than Yamaha’s very own “Communication Plaza” – a place that presents the past, present and future of the Yamaha Motor group. In essence, it’s a place where customers, business partners, and Yamaha employees can come together and celebrate the company, exchange ideas and information, and interact with the company’s greatest achievements.
The Communication Plaza has more than 60 motorcycles on display at any one time (with plenty more in storage), 16 of which were competition racers, with a collection of ATVs, snowmobiles, marine vehicles, power products, power-assisted bicycles, and even some auto history in the form of Yamaha developed Toyota engines, as well as a complete Toyota 2000GT, and a Jordan Yamaha 192 Formula One racer. The museum is located in the city of Iwata, Yamaha’s HQ, in the Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The Yamaha Communication Plaza is open Monday to Friday between the hours of 9am and 5pm, and is open on the second and fourth Saturday of every month too, keeping the same 9am to 5pm hours. Admission is completely free.
5 Things You Didn’t Know About Yamaha
#01. You can download and print your own “papercraft” models of your favorite Yamaha motorcycles directly from the Yamaha website, which can be assembled with scissors, glue, and string. Interestingly, the Yamaha website also has instructions to building Yamaha themed Bento lunches, recommended Yamaha exercise routines, and you can also watch Yamaha’s very own Anime series Masters Of Torque too.
#02. While Yamaha is most associated with motorcycles in the USA, don’t forget that Yamaha is the largest manufacturer of musical instruments and musical equipment in the world, selling a wide range of products from pianos, guitars and violins to PA systems, amplifiers, and more.
#03. Yamaha once commissioned its musical instrument division to design and build a motorcycle concept, and they also asked their motorcycle designers to design and fabricate new musical instrument concepts too. The results were mind blowing.
#04. Yamaha also makes sports equipment – but while the company is most famous for its exploits on the race track, Yamaha actually has two sports teams of its own: the Yamaha Jubilo rugby team, and the Yamaha Jubilo Iwata soccer team. The latter calls the Yamaha Stadium in Japan’s Shizuoka Prefecture home.
#05. Though Honda wears the crown as Japan’s largest motorcycle manufacturer, Yamaha can proudly boast that it’s the older of the “Big Four” Japanese companies. Yamaha was originally founded in 1887, followed by Kawasaki in 1896, and Suzuki in 1909. Honda didn’t start life until as late as 1946. Though Yamaha wasn’t producing motorcycles back then, it still makes it an older company that the rest!