1970 Yamaha HT1 90cc Trail Bike
A relative latecomer to the Japanese scene, Yamaha was launched in July 1955 with the diminutive YA-1, better known as the Red Dragonfly thanks to its distinctive colour scheme. After proving itself in local competition events, Yamaha gained a foothold in the local market with a series of popular two-strokes but it was the launch of the DT-1 trail bike in 1968 that really gave the company worldwide success and helped establish the Japanese motorcycle industry in the USA where the idea of a street bike that could go off road really took off. The DT-1 was a pioneer of the trail bike genre, boasting features like Ceriani-type front forks, an air-cooled single-cylinder motor with five-port piston valves, an engine guard and wide tyres that could handle both bitumen and dirt in equal doses. The DT-1 was an instant sensation, selling almost 50,000 units in the first year alone and quickly spawned an entire family of off road bikes. By 1971, the range had grown to include a 90 (the HT-1 offered here), a 125 (AT-1), 175 (CT-1), 250 (DT-1) and 360 (RT-1), not to mention several tiny 'mini trail' bikes with even smaller capacity engines. With interest in classic Japanese bikes rising fast and few survivors remaining in decent condition thanks to the rough treatment normally metered out to most trail bikes, this 1970 HT-1 presents an excellent opportunity for the collector.