Ténéré 700 – Yamaha
New Ténéré 750: easy to drive, gritty off-road with stripped-down electronics. Data sheet, price and impressions.
Yamaha initially built complex engines entirely by hand, and then became a historic brand
Founded in 1897 as a manufacturer of pipe organs and pianos, the Yamaha Corporation undertook, in 1955, the diversification of production by entering the motorcycle and marine sector. From this spin-off an autonomous and independent division was born - the Yamaha Motor Co. - based in Iwata. The historic round logo, black and with the three tuning forks, is modified in style but not in the concept: the character changes slightly, the dominant color becomes red and the tuning forks grow in size and acquire three-dimensionality, while maintaining the historical meaning of "melody , harmony and rhythm”.
Torakasu Yamaha was a watchmaker passionate about mechanics as well as a repairer of gadgets of all kinds; his in-demand skills led him to repair an organ at a school in Hamamatsu. The complexity lay in the fact that the instrument was made by hand and there were no spare parts. After disassembling it, Yamaha rebuilt the damaged parts giving new luster to the prestigious organ. This little masterpiece helped him understand that certain mechanisms could be designed in a more rational way; thus he conceived the first two organs of his life and following the appreciation received, he founded the Nippon Gakki (later Yamaha Corporation) in 1897 with the aim of building musical organs.
In 1955 the Yamaha Motor Co. was born, entering a market relatively late in which over 150 manufacturers were fighting a fight for survival. Many realities were born while others, already started, poured into difficult economic situations: very few survived and among these, there was Yamaha which laid the foundations for the establishment of a solid company as it is today.
The motorcycle era begins when Genichi Kawakami - then president of Nippon Gakki - decides to use some machinery for the production of aircraft engines, as tools for the development of the first motorcycle to boast the three tuning forks. "Aka-tombo" - red dragonfly - was the nickname that led to the creation of the YA-1, the first Yamaha to leave the Haman factory. On 10 July 1955, at the third edition of the Mount Fuji Ascent Race and only a month and a half after its commercialization, the newborn YA-1 driven by Teruo Okada and adapted by the Hamana technicians to the parameters required by the competition, won its first victory in the 125 cc class. The same motorcycle he also earned third, fourth, sixth, eighth and ninth place, sending a clear message to his competitors: a new star was being born.
In 1958 Yamaha participated in the first overseas race, the eighth edition of the "Catalina Race" in California, the most important competition on the West Coast. In 1961 he began his experience in the world championship with the 250 cc twin-cylinder RD48 and the single-cylinder 41 cc RA125; in 1964 he obtained the first title in the 250 class with Phil Read and Mike Duff riding the RD56. Chas Mortimer's first success in the 1972cc came in 500, following which the Yamaha riders obtained 10 world titles thanks to well-known names such as Agostini, Roberts, Lawson and Rainey. In 2004 and 2005 the titles belonged to Valentino Rossi riding the M1; with the victory in the 2009 world championship, Yamaha brings the manufacturer titles conquered to 38, undermining MV Agusta and positioning itself behind Honda. The Japanese giant also boasts nine constructors' titles at the Dakar Rally and the same with quads.
The Yamaha story begins with the YA-1. Presented at the 1969 Tokyo show and produced from 1970 to 73, the Yamaha XS650 or XS-1 was the first bike four-cylinder from the Japanese manufacturer. After the mid-70s, the XT500 enduro arrived which anticipated the XT600Z Tènèrè, a name inextricably linked to the Paris-Dakar. At the turn of the 80s we see the arrival of the V-max 1200 and the RD350 while, in 1984, the RZV500R makes its appearance. 1987 was marked by the arrival of the very sporty FZR1000 which was followed by various evolutions. 1998 was the year of the YZF-R1, the supersport of reference for the development of modern superbikes. Linked to racing and with a very limited edition, the Yamaha R7 (OW-02) represented the link between the road and the track. Yamaha's development continues and takes us on incredible models like the new R1 and R6; the future is represented by Niken, a project that came to life leaving the world speechless. Yamaha: revs your dreams.