They continue to produce some of the fastest bikes on the market both for street riding and for racing. This was classified as a muscle bike, with power that was not for the beginning rider. Yamaha created one of the fastest racing bike models in 1985 with the introduction of the V-Max. Yamaha built a racing track right next to the plant, allowing them to continually observe the quality and capabilities of their products. This model quickly became the largest selling motocross bike because it featured a single horizontal rear suspension system.
1974 brought the introduction of the YZ250. Many other manufacturers focused only on four strokes, so Yamaha was able to meet the needs of that target market. However, they also realized the potential to continue selling two stroke models to consumers as well. The results were faster motorcycles that met emissions regulations and were even more economical than the two stroke models.
This allowed the motorcycle to be used for both street riding and motocross racing. In 1959 Yamaha introduced the idea of offering a converter kit to consumers. To further attract sales in the United States, Yamaha Motor Corporation USA was established in 1977. This gave Yamaha the invitation to start selling its motorcycles in the United States with a private dealer in California.
The bike quickly became popular and was featured in the United States Catalina Grand Prix in 1958. The YD-1 was introduced in 1957 as a racing bike. By July of 1955 Yamaha was creating 200 quality motorcycles each month with a staff of 274 people. This bike featured a two stroke single cylinder engine. The first Yamaha motorcycle was introduced in August of 1954, called the Yamaha YA-1.
The decision was made to focus on manufacturing motorcycles because of the market demand for them. The ideas for this equipment included sewing machines, auto parts, scooters, all terrain vehicles, and motorcycles. They were looking for a use for idle pieces of equipment that had once been used to make propellers for airplanes. In 1953 the company was already developing a variety of other products. The development of Yamaha motorcycles is one that took place quite by accident.