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Two-Stroke Survivor: 1964 Yamaha YG-1 80

Small, vintage motorcycles can be addicting. To paraphrase the classic slogan of a certain potato chip, I betcha can’t buy just one… small, two-stroke motorcycle, such as this 1964 Yamaha YG-1. This bike is posted here on craigslist in Martinez, California and the seller is asking $2,600. Here is the original listing, and thanks to MattR for sending in this tip!

Ok, that can’t buy just one two-stroke motorcycle thing doesn’t roll off the tongue as well as the original potato chip slogan does, but there is a certain segment of society who loves smaller motorcycles, myself included. The YG-1 came out for the 1964 model year and the company also made a trail-friendly version, the YG1-T, or Trailmaster 80, with upswept exhaust, braced handlebars, and knobby tires. With the low exhaust and street tires, but also having a solo seat, braced handlebars, and rear rack of a Trailmaster 80, I’m not sure exactly which version this is.

This Yamaha has the look of the Trailmaster but without the knobby tires and higher exhaust so this one is a head-scratcher. With a list price of around $365 in 1964 ($3,500 today), these were fairly reasonably-priced entry-level motorcycles that were very well-built, rugged, and dependable. They’re basically all metal construction, so no fiberglass panels or shields or anything like what Honda used.

I can’t imagine a motorcycle this small having 11,372 miles on it, but that’s the case here. This example certainly isn’t in excellent condition, but it isn’t in terrible cosmetic shape either. There is a fair bit of surface rust on parts, the engine could use some help, cosmetically, as well as the paint, rubber bits, etc. The seller’s asking price is between Hagerty’s #3 good condition value and their #2 excellent condition value. I would put this one more in the #4 fair condition range, how about you? Although, with that value being $1,100, that’s not going to ever happen in 2022 or beyond, so you have to take values with a grain of salt.

The engine is a Yamaha 73-cc single-cylinder which had six horsepower when new. The seller says that this one has had a carburetor rebuild, a new OEM ignition coil, a new fuel filter, and a new petcock, and it runs well. This bike could use some cosmetic work but I like it. Which version is this one, trail or street?


  1. geomechs geomechs Member

    I saw one of those back about that time. It seems to me Yamaha put a full length seat on it the following year and called it the “Rotary Jet 80.” That was all dashed in ‘66 when Yamaha introduced the Twin Jet 100. That little buzzer rewrote the book on small motorcycles although it never caught my attention; I had aspirations toward a Honda Super Hawk by then…

    Like 7
  2. Howard A Member

    Scrolling along, hmm, hmm, WAIT, ( screeching tires), a Scotty G. posting,,,GOT to be interesting, and the author does not disappoint. Just out of HS, I had my Honda 50, a buddy had a Rupp Roadster, and another friend put this motor on a home made mini bike. Didn’t work well, but like a dime worth of investment. This hits home, because, after the Honda 50, the old man got a 1966 Suzuki 80 K10, that my brother still has in his barn, and still runs, btw, that was the equivalent to this bike. Dirt bikes were in their infancy, and they usually were just street bikes, with different gearing. The advantage Yamaha had, was the oil injection, or “Auto-Lube”, 1963. This bike has Autolube( right side cover sight glass) and wasn’t available until 1965 on the Trailmaster. It revolutionized 2 stroke operation, as mixing the gas, like on the Suzuki, always had iffy results. Too much? Too little? It was, I feel, what set them apart from all the rest. I believe the mileage, our Suzuki has about the same, its not something you go cross country on, although, I’m sure some poor sap did so, on their way to California riches and fame. It’s a neat find, but no Trailmaster. I read, it’s a YG-1, but YG-1 “T”, was for the Trailmaster. The “T” had an up pipe, a skid plate, and 2 rear sprockets. Anyone know what the “F” warning light meant? ( I think was for “flasher”, if so equipped) Neat find, check local restrictions on 2 strokes before purchase,,,

    Like 9
  3. geomechs geomechs Member

    I’m amazed at how many of these just manage to appear in the dark corners of a garage. They’re hidden behind some boxes of stuff that’s been long forgotten until someone moves, and there it is, maybe covered with dust but a little cleaning and detailing makes it look good as new again. I sometimes wish I was lucky enough to catch those when they appear…

    Like 8
    • Terrry

      Is that red bike a 185? I had one that looked just like it about 20 years ago.

      Like 1
      • geomechs geomechs Member

        That’s a for-real Twin Jet 100. The guy told me that it was in a long abandoned garage. He took it out, cleaned it up, put in some fresh gas and it fired right up…

        Like 1
  4. rancher

    My friends were getting new Honda 50’s when we turned 15.5 years old in 1965. I was jealous and my Dad finally surprised me with a nice used Yamaha 80! It did have the full length seat.

    Like 3
  5. Ken

    I love seeing small bikes here on BF. Yamaha made some great two-strokes.

    Like 5
  6. George Birth

    Not too overpriced considering how many kids first vehicle is a motorcycle. That price puts it into affordable price range for many. $1100.00 would sell it faster though.

    Like 1
  7. Glenn Reynolds Member

    Cool bike. I prefer slightly larger engine (125cc) to carry my 200 lb carcus around. Would like to see more small bikes, but not for me, I have already have five.

    Like 1
  8. John b

    This looks like the street bike version. I I currently own the dirtbike Enduro version called the Yamaha Omaha Trail. They came in 55 cc and 80 cc. They fall under the MG1 family opposed to the YG one family. So far I found most parts are interchangeable although I’m sure there are plenty of porch that or not. Omaha Trail came in yellow and red as far as I know. My 80 cc topped out at 38 mph so maybe the gearing is different because that could be dangerous if that’s the top speed of a street bike. Here is a link to the sales brochure of the Yamaha Omaha Trail. https://www.ebay.com/itm/333144063154?mkcid=16&mkevt=1&mkrid=711-127632-2357-0&ssspo=rCBkAXtJSS2&sssrc=2349624&ssuid=RpPPD4gJSvO&var=&widget_ver=artemis&media=COPY

    Like 3
  9. PRA4SNW PRA4SNW Member

    I am surprised that this bike is still available, what with Scotty lurking in the shadows… Very tempting.

    Like 2
    • Howard A Member

      HA! Got his number. I happen to know, he is on the west coast, or was, and probably took all he had NOT to bring this home. He happens to have a vintage Twin 100, that was probably the next step up from these for buyers, but been idle so long, the pistons and cylinders are probably one piece by now.

      Like 2
  10. 87Ragtop

    Well I worked at East Ridge Yamaha in Tenn
    I had a 50 Suzuki that I traded in on a Twin Jet 100 Yamaha that little fellow would do 78 MPH or at least that is what the Speedo showed!! Traded for a 125 Yamaha that had electric start it was a dog in the speed department maybe 70 on a good day then the 68 Grand Prix 350 came out had to have it 15.5 years old and 36 hp ran right at 100 mph this started my appetite for SPEED!!!

    Like 2
    • geomechs geomechs Member

      That 350 was an impressive bike. There was a couple of them in our neighborhood. I don’t think there was anything back then that could shut one down. Well, a couple years later one got traded in for a Kawasaki 500 that reigned supreme until he T-boned the circuit court judge’s Cadillac. Maybe it was his Toronado…

      Like 1
  11. Dave

    Dad bought me a brand new one in 1965 in black with the longer seat the Summer I turned 14 which was the age to get a license here in Oklahoma. Most had Honda 50,65, or 90’s. I had only ridden a Cushman Highlander and once a Yamaha Riverside 55. When we got to the dealership he said it’s yours but you gotta ride it home. That 8 mile trip from Tulsa to Sand Springs is stuck in my memory forever.

    Like 2
  12. Mike

    There is one in Craigslist cedaredge colorado for $500

    Like 0

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