This is what happens when the Japanese get it so nearly right and proceed to improve on the ethos year on year, finally nailing it at the third attempt. First seen in the UK during 1962, the TD1, based heavily upon the YDS2 road machine, made competitive 250cc racing a real possibility for all.
The TZ750 story begins during the latter part of 1970 when Yamaha felt upstaged by the other Japanese manufacturers progress with large capacity Superbikes. Honda had the CB750, Suzuki the GT750 and Kawasaki the H2, while the nearest that Yamaha had to a big bike was the hopelessly outclassed XS twin and they vowed to do something about the situation.
The Yamaha FJ series are great big, dependable bikes with a large following and buoyant owner club. As bikes go the FJ is easily capable of travelling huge distance in double quick time, and with the maximum of rider comforts but, would you consider racing one against pure sports machines? The track is a different arena to the open road and the stocky FJ with its wide girth and slow handling is surely no place for it to excel.
Yamaha 700cc Four There has rarely been a series of machines more desirable, or mysterious, than the big Yamaha racing fours of the mid 70s. Before the types introduction, 750cc racing machines were based upon modified road bikes, the rules…
Usually machines are discovered at the many shows throughout the year, or by readers submitting pictures and details of their machine but, this one was for sale in the classifieds section.
Damien the Kawasaki H1 plus 1 – “Not stock and four smoking barrels” At first glance, Roger Ramm’s machine is just another nice 70s bike, albeit well put together and very well maintained. Many will have passed by without giving…
Kawasaki has had a fleeting romance with premier class of GP racing over the last thirty odd years or so, first of all during the early seventies with Dave Simmons and Ginger Malloy on the air-cooled, roadster based triples and then with a full on radical design for a short period during the turn of the eighties before returning in more recent times with a four stroke Moto GP machine.
Riding the Foale framed machine back to back with the virtually standard chassis race bike was quite an eye opener. The same day of this test I had also thoroughly enjoyed punting a relatively standard Z1 around the fast and challenging Mallory Park circuit and treated its foibles as simply the way seventies bikes went about their job.