" Before the eighties had fully taken hold of the aesthetic; long before the availability of factory specced adventure tourers; before bloat-tanked Ténérés had littered the byways of Europe and beyond; before superbikes with full fairings and colourways "
One Day You’ll Own a Yamaha
In the protean cultural mass that was the mid seventies, the Yamaha Moto Bike was a classic bit of corporate kidsploitation.
In Dogtown the Z-Boys were riding pools in long white tube socks in the first skateboarding wave, spanking Chargers and Camaros were cruising the wide boulevards of Detroit despite the oil crisis. And BMX riding grommets were defining the cycling version of a faddish culture that would by the turn of the century flower into an Olympic discipline.
You could see Yamaha’s logic. Draw in a future generation of YZ series motorcross riders by using their hard won expertise in producing a pedalled version of the crosser for the kids. Brand loyalty garnered. A youth cult created.
Except, the Moto Bike, while undeniably cool through the retrospective gaze of the 21st century, didn’t work, despite the extensive marketing campaign.
Its oil-damped shocks were super heavy, interminably slow, soft and weighty. The heavy gauge frame was also ponderous and over-rigid. The whole issue was extremely tail-happy – which allowed for wickedly easy wheelies but was wholly, ridiculously, inappropriate for racing (this was way, way before the real growth of freestyling).
The kids had it sussed. The men in suits missed a trick, and as soon as we could save up, me and my mates bought a KX 250.
CLICK TO ENLARGE