Yamaha TX750 story

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Dear TX750 Fans, here is part of the TX750 story. When I remember more, I will add or modify things in the future....!

The History of the TX750
Introduction
Yamaha wanted to continue on the path set with the successful XS650 motorcycle and create its own line of modern powerful 4-stroke motorcycles.
Please remember that in the early 1970’s the Japanese Manufacturers all followed (and had) their own identity. The UJM (Universal Japanese Motorcycle) came later.
So the initial plan was made for a series of twin cylinder 4-stroke machines, first the TX750, to be followed by the TX500 and smaller brothers (you have seen the TX350 already on my pages).
Engineers were asked to use their imagination for the creation of this first Yamaha big bike.

The result was the TX750 which had a lot of novelties, like the Omni-Phase balancer system, a Positive Crankcase Ventilation system, whereby fumes were re-directed to the airfilter box. A system that has become common on all engines in the world nowadays. The TX750 was also the very first machine with valve seats made for use with lead-free petrol and we all remember the fail-safe double rear lights, the light-alloy wheel rims and the double front disc brake for the European Market.

 

It was (and is) a very beautiful motorcycle.(you can click for the TX, to exit, go to "vorige"-"previous" <<<< (upper left in your browser)

Even today, 35 years later, nobody can deny that the TX750 was styled like a motorcycle should be. Everything was in proportion, in harmony. This was accentuated with the nice “candy” colours of the day. And that is probably also one of the reasons that the TX750 still has so many fans around the world, even though its life-span was rather short.

First Impressions
The first 2 machines arrived in Europe in October 1972, these were the test bikes for Yamaha Motor N.V. in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. With the bikes came the Project Engineers, Messrs. Sakuma and Sato. They were accompanied by a testrider, who’s name I have forgotten.
After setting-up the machines we rode them to Germany, to the Office of Mitsui Maschinen GmbH, near Dusseldorf, the Yamaha Distributor. Here we had the first “World” Journalist test.

“World” in 1972 was simply Mr. Ernst Leverkus (or “Klacks” as his nickname was), the Editor of “Das Motorrad”, at that time I dare say, the most professional and influential motorcycle magazine in Europe. (Not Italy, but Italy had an import restriction on Japanese Motorcycles, so was not important then) When ”Klacks” said “okay” to a bike, it was good for the Industry ! In my old photo report (to exit, go to "vorige"-"previous" <<<< upper left in your browser), on this event you can see what and how it happened.

 

After this successful introduction (everyone was very impressed with the TX750), we continued our tour and rode the bikes to Switzerland, to Sursee, near Luzern, the place of our Swiss Yamaha Distributor, Messrs. Hostettler. In view of the expected usage of the TX750 in Europe we wanted to ride the TX750 together with a BMW R75/5 and a Honda CB750K2 over the Alps.

 

Everything went fine, although the weather was absolutely horrible. Rain, fog, sleet, you name it and we had it. I was wearing a Barbour suit, so I was wet outside and inside.... and my old Cromwell helmet also did not help very much. Oh, how lucky are bikers today with good clothing and heated grips on their luxury motorcycles !

 

The TX750 gets on the Market
In the Spring of 1973 the first production machines arrived in Europe and Sales commenced during May. Initial sales were very good and the customers were very happy with their machines until by mid-summer the first reports of oil-leakage and seizures reached us. At first we did not understand the cause of this problem as it had not happened at all in Japan and also not with our test bikes in October 1972.
Of course I also cannot recall everything that happened during those hectic days but I remember that one of our race mechanics, Rod Tingate, suspected that the problem was in the oil circulation. He cut the oil tank and glued a Perspex window on it. After running the engine it was clear that not oil, but just foam came from the return pipe.
Oil temperature was therefore the main problem, we were thinking. Only years later we realized that it was something different. Japanese Motorcycles in the early 1970’s were light years ahead of cars. But we only had “old” car-designed 4-stroke oil!

Several oil-engineers have assured me later that if modern 4-stroke motorcycle oils had been available in those years, Yamaha would not have had any recall.... And also Honda would not have had their camshaft and camchain-tensioner problems as another example. But if... does not help.

 

Because of the above Yamaha tried to remedy the affected bikes. The first was to fit a Yamaha US accessory oil cooler to the TX750 (a Lockheart cooler, I believe). A Dutch Company, KOVA, made the stays and oil pipes for us. These first modified TX750’s can be recognized by the oil pipes running over the cylinder head. Later-on Yamaha Japan made another set-up with chromed pipes low down.
I was in charge of the Logistics of all this and had to send all the modification parts to all our Yamaha Distributors. In these pre-email days everything went by Telex, so I handled kilometres of telex paper for this operation. Once the whole Operation got underway, we had mechanics working at major dealers to modify the motorcycles. When the initial shipments were modified, the next shipments were equipped with complete “fresh” engines, which incorporated all the modified parts.
We can say that this was the first major re-call in the Motorcycle Industry and Yamaha tried very hard to satisfy the customers. Please do not forget that for the “old industry”, the British, Italian and majority of German makes, problems were mostly ignored...!

So the final TX750’s had an enlarged crankcase sump, adjustable balancer chain, oil cooler, different gaskets, changed chain adjusters and literally hundreds of others small modifications.

 

Race/Endurance

One of the two TX750 machines that had arrived in October 1972 already (pre-production bikes) was already used for the now defunct Zandvoort circuit 6 Hour race in Holland in the Summer of 1973. Rider was “Texas” Henk Klaassen, a very competitive rider of that period. “Texas” Henkie was always dressed as an American (you have guessed that already) and I think he came home 6th in the event.

 

What most of you do not know (if any), is that Yamaha Motor Amsterdam was so convinced about the basic qualities of the TX750 that we commissioned Porsche A.G. Research in Weissach, Germany, to prepare and tune the TX750 for Endurance racing for the 1974 season.

We ran the 2 prepared machines only twice, in de French Bol d’Or 24 in Le Mans and during the Thruxton 500 miler in the U.K. One machine was piloted by G. Maison and J. Bertsch (I think they were both French Motorcycle Policemen) and the other machine by Peter Davies and Pete Lovell, both well-known long distance riders in the U.K. at that time. In the Bol d'Or both bikes failed during the night because of snapped cam-chains. Compression and valve lift from the race camshafts was too much..!

No, No, do not ask me! I really have not hidden this Porsche-Yamaha in my workshop. I believe both bikes were shredded.....!

 

I wonder if the beautiful girl still wears her fashionable coat, 35 years later....!

 

On this picture you see on the extreme left Mr. Jean-Claude Olivier, then and now still President of Yamaha Motor France, next with the light sweater Peter Davies and in his racing gear Pete Lovell.

 

The Thruxton 500 miler was run in lovely weather but I do not remember the results for the TX750's. I met so many friends over there. The Swedish Journalists were there from Allt om M/C and MC Nytt magazines. I have those pictures somewhere!

 

And this is the very last start after re-fuelling i realize now, of the Race TX750....

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