An en­gi­neer’s per­spec­tive

Old Bike Australasia - - YAMAHA TX500 - Story Rod Tin­gate

Aus­tralian Rod Tin­gate was work­ing at Yamaha’s Euro­pean head­quar­ters in Am­s­ter­dam at the time of the launch of the TX500 (and the pre­vi­ous TX750) and was part of the team charged with iron­ing out the nu­mer­ous bugs. Here is his tale of the de­vel­op­ment saga…

“Late 1973 saw Yamaha’s test and re­search sec­tion or­gan­ise fac­tory en­gi­neers Takeshima, Okuyama, and M. Suzuki, to in­ves­ti­gate the de­vel­op­ing over­heat­ing and me­chan­i­cal is­sues of the TX500 en­gine. The team ar­rived in Am­s­ter­dam where Yamaha’s tech­ni­cal man, Bob van der Zy­den, had gath­ered a group of test rid­ers and me­chan­ics. The first TX500s had been tested at Yamaha track fa­cil­i­ties in Ja­pan, with rel­a­tively light Ja­panese test rid­ers. En­gine over­heat­ing, and oil leak­age around the cylin­der head and rocker cover did not be­come ob­vi­ous. It was Bob’s idea to test with heav­ier Euro­pean rid­ers on the ac­tual au­to­bahns that they were to be op­er­ated on. The team and bikes were trans­ported to a small vil­lage in Ger­many, to a clas­sic ho­tel sit­u­ated just be­low the his­toric Griefen­stein Cas­tle. This would be their base for the next three weeks. The bikes were rid­den at high speeds along the un­du­lat­ing Ger­man au­to­bahns by Dutch en­durance race-rid­ers in­clud­ing Jan Kost­winder, from early morn­ing to late af­ter­noon. Af­ter 500km of sus­tained full throt­tle run­ning in the morn­ing, and an­other 500 km in the af­ter­noon they re­turned to the makeshift ho­tel base­ment work­shop. The me­chan­ics worked late into the night in­spect­ing the bikes for cracked heads, oil leak­age, and other as­so­ci­ated prob­lems, be­fore pre­par­ing the bikes, and the test equip­ment

Yamaha fac­tory per­son­nel equip one of the TX500 test bikes.

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