+ TZ750+

DEMOC­RACY ON TWO WHEELS

Classic Bike (UK) - - Steve Baker's Star-Spangled Season -

Yamaha’s awe­some TZ750 dom­i­nated big-bike rac­ing for years, win­ning 11 con­sec­u­tive Day­tona 200s and six out of seven F750 ti­tles.

The reed-valve in­line-four was the most demo­cratic big­bore race bike of all time, be­cause it al­lowed pri­va­teers to beat fac­tory rid­ers. Yamaha sold six hun­dred Tee Zees (at around £6500 – the equiv­a­lent of £35,000 now) which won ev­ery­thing from world cham­pi­onships to club events.

The bike was rugged and rel­a­tively cheap to look af­ter. It was also damnably fast, with 140 horse­power on tap – not much less than 500s had a decade later, when tyres, frames and brakes had made huge ad­vances.

Early TZS were ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause the en­gine was too much for the chas­sis, but Yamaha fixed that when they fit­ted a monoshock sys­tem.

“I loved that bike,” says Baker. “If ev­ery­thing was work­ing right it wasn’t scary.”

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