Small Wonder: 1969 Yamaha YG5 Trailmaster 80

032016 Barn Finds - 1969 Yamaha 2

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The seller says that this is a “survivor”, although it does look like some of the pieces have been repainted. This is a 1969 Yamaha YG5-T Trailmaster 80 and it’s found on Hemmings with an asking price of $2,995.

032016 Barn Finds - 1969 Yamaha 1

Honda owned the small bike market in the 1960s and Yamaha and the other makers were trying to play catch-up. This is a small, commuter-style bike that could have been also used in some mild off-road situations with the help of a dual-sprocket system where the rider could switch between street and trail riding.

032016 Barn Finds - 1969 Yamaha 3

This powerhouse sports a 73cc, two-cycle, single-cylinder with 6.5 and a top speed of an eye-watering 45-50 mph! Yes, you can still get hurt at 40 mph so don’t laugh at this bike’s top speed numbers. And again, just like with cars, any real bike guy or gal likes every motorcycle, not just the ones that are popular with collectors or popular with their crowd of friends.

032016 Barn Finds - 1969 Yamaha 5

With so little power on tap, it’s hard to believe that they needed electric start on this model, but it has it. Of course, Yamaha had to keep up with what other makers were offering for these little campus-type bikes and it doesn’t get much easier than just pushing a button to start this monster. The engine looks like it’s been touched up as do a few other areas, so the “survivor” description from the seller may be questionable. In any case, it’s a nice little bike as is but it could use some work if you’re going to bring it back to looking like new to enter it in vintage Japanese bike shows. The exhaust guard is super handy for not melting the polyester Sansabelt slacks to your right leg as you gallivant across campus to get to your next class.

032016 Barn Finds - 1969 Yamaha 4

Again, simple controls here, and there aren’t even turn signals on this bike so there’s a dummy switch on the left grip as on my Yamaha YL-1 Twin Jet 100. The odometer shows 2,364 miles. Some of the details would be fun to restore on this little bike if that’s your thing, or just riding it as is would be fun, too. Don’t expect to be the big man on campus in Sturgis with this bike, but I bet that even hardened, grizzled Sturgis Harley riders would get a kick out of this bike. Are you a fan of small motorcycles like this one or are you a go-big-or-go-home type of person when it comes to your two-wheeled fun?

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  1. Rick

    If I had a bike like that back in 1968 I’d a been the coolest kid on the block

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  2. Bruce Gross

    My first bike WAS a candy apple red 1968 YG5T. Grear for what it was at the time. Eventually put on a high compression head and an expansion chamber and even raced it a few times….fun memories.

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  3. geomechs geomechsMember

    Go back a couple of years before that and the most popular bike in our neighborhood would’ve been more likely a Honda S-90 or a Yamaha Twin Jet 100. But since most of us were either aspiring to four-wheeled transportation or looking toward Triumph, BSA, or Norton (or Harley for us real hard cases), we regarded ‘Ying Yangs’ as stepping stones to the ‘real’ motorcycles. I didn’t see many of this model, or the Rotary Jet 80 although there was one kid in my freshman class who rode a Rotary Jet 100. He rode that everywhere and after 7K miles it was running real bad. I thought it might need a ring job but it turned out to be a worn out rotary valve. That is the first time I got acquainted with that type of induction system. I now knew why the carburetor was attached to the right crankcase. Overall this looks like a good fun bike. A person has to realize that there are some people out there who love these bikes as much as others love their Harleys.

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  4. Tom S.

    Thanks for posting bikes. Keep ’em coming. I’m not sure of we’re seeing the results of an amateur restoration, amateur photography, or both, but this looks like no showpiece. I think it’s overpriced by about $1,500-$2,000. Be sure to wash that Armor All® off the tires before your test ride.

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  5. Neil

    I’m working in finishing a restoration to a 1970 Honda PC 50 moped.
    Just waiting on a few parts.
    Pictures to follow.
    Will be a driver not a showpiece.

    Like 1
  6. HoA Howard AMember

    Nice find, SG. I agree, more bikes. Classic “Barn Find”. Motorcycles are one of those things that end up in barns ( or corners of sheds) as they don’t take up much space, which I’m sure that’s what this is. Clearly wasn’t ridden much, as with most of these. geomechs is right, many of us “got our feet wet” with bikes like this and you don’t put on a lot of miles going around in circles ( someone always had a track in their backyard or nearby field) But when we did ride them, we beat the crap out of them, and took many a tumble, but like the cowboy who fell off his horse, you brushed yourself off, straightened the handlebar ( or whatever) and kept going. These bikes took an amazing amount of abuse.
    I have the Suzuki equivalent to this bike, a 1966 K-11 80cc, only the street version. ( took the place of my Honda step-thru 50. We’ve had the Suzuki for 45 years) I did pick up a “Hillbilly” 80 ( I know, hey it was 1966) for parts, that was this exact bike’s competition. My “street” Suzuki uses pre-mix gas, while the Hillbilly and this have oil injection, a welcome feature. ( on this bike, it’s the right side cover, and there’s no oil in it ,sight glass at bottom). I believe, changing to trail sprocket was a hassle and required a piece of chain ( included in the toolkit), but changed the bike drastically, as it kept the rev’s up “on the pipe”, as 2 cycles have poor low end power, as Honda’s 4 cycles were much better suited for trail riding.
    This is a great example ( although, I HATE shiny tires, this dealer must have a drum of it) and a far cry from the $364 dollar sticker price when new, but at $2351 in today’s money, it’s too not far off. Thanks Scotty.

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    • Scotty GAuthor

      Thanks, Howard!

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  7. Joe Howell

    Scotty you have a 100 Twin Jet? My first bike was a new 1967 Twin Jet when I was 16. Price was $389.00. I still have weak spot for Yamaha 2 strokes and have a Kenny Roberts RZ350 parked beside my Harley. What color is your Twin Jet? Mine was blue, kid across the street had a black one.

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    • Scotty GAuthor

      Hi, Joe – It’s an orange one. They’re small but are still fun little bikes, like a little sewing machine; except my mom’s sewing machine never left a trail of blue smoke.

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      • Joe Howell

        A sewing machine is what I thought of too.

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  8. Greg A Yancey

    While I was in high school, I owned a 1964 Yamaha 125 Catalina (rotary valve single) and the very first Yamaha Twin Jet 100 that our local dealer received. I truly loved that Twin Jet and would buy one again today if I could find a good, clean decent one to hang on the back of our motorhome. (being full time RV’ers, I don’t really have facilities to restore one.). That would be great :)

    Like 0

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Barn Finds