Yamaha TD1B production racer

Published Date

Yamaha TD1B production racer 1965-1966

The few very first Yamaha TD1B production racers arrived in the Netherlands only in April 1966. This was already the 3rd version of the TD1B as the first version still had the orange, short fuel tank from the TD1A and the second version (the in-between model) the new long fuel tank and the newer, matt chrome, more “acoustic” exhausts. But these were still firmly bolted to the frame as were the float chambers for the carburettors.

yamaha td1b

In front of the shops from the Dutch Yamaha Importer “Het Motorpaleis”, (the Motorpalace) in Rotterdam, these pictures were taken.


The bike was destined for Cees van Dongen, the best Dutch rider at that time, who also happened to be the Workshop foreman at “het Motorpaleis”. Cees was (and is) not a very tall guy and the Yamaha TD1B is a very “long” machine. Cees therefore used his panel beating expertise and immediately re-shaped the fueltank to make his new bike tailor-made to him.

yamaha td1b

Clearly the Yamaha YDS3 engine can be seen as basis for the TD1B. Cees already removed the kickstarter and welded 2 extra strengthening tubes from the rear arm to the top frame rails. “The frame was made from Bamboo” he told me…. To these tubes he welded the fairing brackets as well.

yamaha td1b

This first TD1b came without a fairing, but quickly one was taken out of the accessory stocks from “Het Motorpaleis” and modified for the Yamaha TD1B (look at the added bulge for the crankshaft clutch)

yamaha td1b

Cees van Dongen also immediately made a steering damper out of a moped shock absorber. This was probably the first motorcycle steering damper in the world….

yamaha td1b

It is not surprising that everyone was impressed by such a large front brake in 1966. Most bikes at that time had brakes only slightly larger than shoe-polish tins!

yamaha td1b

The r.h. side of the engine shows the special cover under which the racing magneto is fitted. Still operating with normal contact breaker points with a fibre heel, this was a nuisance. The crankshafts of the YDS3’s (and therefore the racers as well) vibrated a lot, and not only due to the heavy clutch on the other side. This resulted in a rather “unstable” ignition timing. You could start “spot-on”, but after 100 meters the timing could already be off to some degrees. A lovely time to experiment!’

yamaha td1b

The rear wheel is strictly standard, the bike has not been used a lot apparently as the rubber dust caps are still fitted in the rear hub. In order to improve cooling they were normally removed. Rider Cees van Dongen did not trust Japanese welding so to see as the exhaust pipes were strengthened with a “bridge” piece on top.


As mentioned earlier, this is the first version of the Yamaha TD1B, still with the short fuel tank from the previous TD1A. However, the exhausts are from the slightly later type, this machine should have short, stubby pipes, with larger diameter end pipes.

yamaha td1b early model


The "in-between" model has the new fuel tank already and the matt chromed exhaust pipes, firmly bolted to the frame. Carburettor float chambers attached to the engine. It was "tested" by Phil Read in Japan during the Autumn of 1964.


yamaha td1b with phil read 1964 at suzuka

Maybe Phil Read sits on my Yamaha TD1B although his style is far more superior!

If you remove me from the bike you can see what I mean.......

yamaha td1b in-between model


The final version of the Yamaha TD1B as described in the beginning of this story.

yamaha td1b late model

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