An Aussie idea
Back in the late ‘seventies, the band Mental As Anything had a big hit with “The Nips are Getting Bigger’, which was about Scotch Whisky, not motorcycles. But with a little imagination, it could have applied to a trend emanating from Nippon itself, specifically Hamamatsu and Tokyo, where first Honda, and later Suzuki and Yamaha, were steadily evolving a new breed of four stroke singles. Singles that did not leak oil, started reasonably easily, and even sounded right. By 1972 these models included the ground-breaking four-valve Honda XL250 and a year later, the rocker-arm breaking XL350, leaving Yamaha with but one choice if it were to steal a march on the opposition – a 500 single. That single was the TT500C, first displayed at a dealers’ convention in September 1975. Now this was a quantum leap – backwards. Back to the days of the big, bad old British singles, in as much as the TT500 was not a small or mid-sized buzz-box, but a full-on 500 single with internal dimensions that could have come straight from Birmingham. A real thumper. True, the new Yamaha was strictly an off-roader, and in most markets, such as Australia, could not (legally) be registered for road use, although quite a few subsequently managed to get around this. But it was a beauty, make no mistake; a free-spinning engine with heaps of torque,
Yamaha factory rendition of the new-for ’78 SR500.