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In 1960s in United States, unlike in United Kingdom, most of the learner drivers were practising their skills on dirt tracks away from the main traffic and ever watching policemen. However the traditional RD style Yamaha motorcycles just weren’t suitable for the rough grounds.
Home made attempts to modify them were common. Such DIY Scrambler would have the muffler and exhaust raised, protective plate under the engine, enforced handle bars and universal tyres. In the end the rider was still left with heavy machine and expensive modification.
There were other manufacturers on the market such as European Husqvarna or Bultaco already producing off road motorcycles, but not many Japanese motorcycle manufacturers specialised in trail bikes. So in October 1968 Yamaha launched their purpose built dirt bike version - the Yamaha DT-1.
The DT stands for Engine Displacement which is the main characteristic of this series ranging from 50-400cc. The 1968 Yamaha DT-1 was in fact a dual purpose motorcycle, as it was aimed originally for the US market, it had to perform well off road, but be street legal at the same time. The Yamaha DT-1 was inexpensive bike in comparison to Yamaha RDs. It had 250cc single cylinder two stroke engine with autolube system, it was light and slim with good ground clearance, had new improved front suspension and 4inch wide tyres.
Few more improvements followed in coming years:
1972 Yamaha DT2 250 received new reed intake system
1973 the Monoshock rear suspension became norm in all Yamaha DT Enduro bikes, followed by disc brakes
1980’s the liquid cooling was added
The success of DT models led Yamaha to diversify the off road bikes into Yamaha RT1 (360cc), Yamaha AT1 (125cc), Yamaha HT1 (90cc) and other “mini trail” models with engines from 50cc-80cc.
As Yamaha models evolved so did parts, some are still being used nowadays and are available from Yamaha dealers directly, some were made obsolete. We offer a quality reproductions of some of the most desired Yamaha DT parts on the market.
information about the very first Yamaha DT1 visit Motorcycle Classics
Lots of advice and help can also be found in the Yamaha Enduro Forum with lots of pages dedicated to Yamaha DT