Yamaha IT Motorcycles
Whether you are a fan of Enduro racing bikes or you are just a Yamaha enthusiast, you may have heard of the IT series. This excellent collection of two-stroke bikes dominated the off-road scene in the late 70s and offered bikers the power they need to compete in Enduro competitions.
Take a look below to find out the history behind the Yamaha IT series, and why it is still well-loved even to this day!
The Yamaha IT Story
The Yamaha IT series was first introduced to the public market in 1976 with the Yamaha IT400C. Designed for Enduro enthusiasts, this 2 stroke series offered exceptional 0ff-road performance at a more than affordable cost.
The IT400c quickly became a mainstay in Enduro competitions around the world earning its riders gold medals in style. Yamaha quickly capitalised on the success of the IT400C and began manufacturing the IT250 and the IT175.
For the next 6 years, Yamaha focused most of its attention on improving the IT series design. With improvements across the series, you could expect more displacement and a slew of engine and cylinder bore improvements.
However, as 1986 arrived, the motorcycling world began to shift its focus from 2-stroke engines to 4-stroke designs. As the IT series was predominantly a 2-stroke line, Yamaha slowly began to work on their upcoming 4-stroke F-series.
Yamaha proved that they could develop powerful Enduro bikes with the IT series. If the world remained focus on 2-stroke designs, would the IT series still be as popular today as it was in the early 1980s?
The Iconic Design
One of the main features of the IT series was its 2-stroke engine design. A 2-stroke engine produces more power per round, which is fantastic if you want a motorcycle with fast acceleration. However, most 2-stroke designs are slightly less stable than your average 4-stroke engine.
The Yamaha IT series was mainly designed for enduro competitions and off-road racing. Most IT motorcycles could be instantly spotted thanks to their iconic blue and yellow design. This style helped IT bikes stand out.
Why The IT Series Is The Best For Trail Riding
The Yamaha IT series was designed for superior performance on trail riding tracks. Designed specifically for off-road use, few motorcycles could outperform a Yamaha IT when it came to trail riding.
Most bikes in the IT series were designed with high levels of power in mind, suitable for dirt tracks and enduro competitions. This paired well with the fantastically designed tires, providing efficient handling and grip.
Enduro Riding - The Yamaha IT Series Is Built For You
As you might expect, the IT motorcycle series was perfect for enduro riding. As all bikes featured in the IT line were designed for off-road use, they instantly became a popular choice for off-road and enduro competitions.
To this day, Yamaha still dominates the enduro racing scene with their fantastic WR and TT-R biking series. But none of this would have been possible if it wasn't for their initial development into the IT series.
The Two-Stroke Motor And Its Impact on The IT Series
The two-stroke motor found in all Yamaha IT bikes was both its crowning achievement and its eventual fall. Whilst the two-stroke engine offered fantastic acceleration and provided high levels of power, it lacked the stability of a four-stroke design.
Another reason why four-stroke designs eventually took over from two-stroke motors is fuel consumption. Two-stroke bikes, including the IT series, were known for high levels of fuel consumption due to their pressurized design.
However, the two-stroke motor, at the time, was the perfect fit for the IT series. With off-road motorcycles commonly relying on power to win their riders gold, Yamaha's unique two-stroke design was a perfect fit.
Yamaha IT - Evolution of Models
The Yamaha IT175 first saw public release in 1977. Developed with competition motocross bikes in mind, the IT175 was top of its class. With a 6-speed gearbox and an air-cooled two-stroke engine, this powerful machine brought the IT series into the mainstream.
Originally manufactured in 1984, the Yamaha IT200L was a powerful stand out amongst off-road motorcycles. It featured a two-stroke, single-cylinder engine and quickly became an Enduro legend on the trail scene.
Featuring a range of innovations such as a capicrot discharge ignition and making use of YEIS technology, this bike from 1980 was an instant hit. Its design was similar to the YZ series. This is why Yamaha fans around the world instantly fell in the love with the IT250.
Designed with power in mind, this off-road motorcycle outperformed its predecessors in almost every way. First reaching the public market in 1980, you could expect a decent maximum torque and better power than the Yamaha IT400.
Perhaps the most popular of the IT series, the Yamaha IT465 was a fantastic Enduro motorcycle. With a maximum peak output power of 35.00 HP (26.9 kW) @ 6000 RPM, you could expect the IT to offer a smooth but powerful off-road ride.
When it comes to improvements, few motorcycles in the IT series saw such a jump as the Yamaha IT490. Thanks to a seven-millimetre increase in its cylinder bore design, the IT490 saw decent improvements to its displacement power.
What Does The IT In Yamaha IT Stand For?
The IT in Yamaha IT stands for 'International Trial'. The first Enduro Competitions were known as International Trials, which is why Yamaha adapted it into the name of their world-famous motorcycles!
Which Year Was The Last For Production Of The Yamaha IT Series?
Spanning 8 generations and the first bike, being manufactured in 1976 the Yamaha IT series was an incredible off-road motorcycle line. The final IT motorcycle, the IT200 ended manufactured in 1987 bringing a close to this excellent series.
In What Year Was The IT250 Last Made?
The Yamaha IT250 first reached the public market in 1980 and was based on the Yamaha YZ series. It was manufactured for around 3 years, with production ending in 1983.
When Did The 490 Come Out?
The Yamaha IT490 first saw public release in 1983. Offering a two-stroke single-cylinder engine, it was an ideal off-road motorcycle.