A bit of history and some stories about vintage bikes for sale

’66 Yamaha YL 1 Twin Jet 100

I love little bikes, it’s no secret. Small bore motorcycles are so much fun to ride. They’re light, accelerate rather briskly (for their size…), you can park them on the sidewalk and nobody will get pissed off and they generally handle surprisingly well. I have seen many good riders on little bikes blow by bigger sportbikes on twisty canyon roads.

The YL1 Twin Jet from Yamaha is probably one of the most fun little, little bikes you could ride. A number of years ago I was out riding up in the Santa Monica Mountains on the ‘Mighty 350’, (my ’72 Honda CB350) having a great ride. At the intersection of Mulholland Highway and Kanan Road, heading down to the Rock Store, I came upon a pretty good size group of riders all on small size Japanese 2 Strokes. Some were pretty stock, some were cafe’d out and some…I was really surprised were actually running and on the road!!??

When we all got down to the Rock Store I spent a good amount of time visiting with the guys, and ladies, riding these little ‘Two Smokers’. They all enjoyed the lightness, the easy handling, and the just plain fun of being different. ” Yeah, I can afford one of those expensive Ducati’s or Harleys, but then I would look like most everybody else here”. This was a common thought amongst the group, me included.

So, when I came across this little Yammie Twin Jet 100 on ebay I got inspired to go out to my barn and start (again) pondering my ’74 Benelli 250 2 stroke project. But then, sanity kicked in and I came back inside to learn more about this little Yamaha.

The Twin Jet 100 came stateside with a whopping 9.7 horsepower. Not 9, not 10, but 9.7…big difference. With a good tail wind you reach a top speed of maybe 100 KPH (about 60 mph), it did have oil injection (a good thing…made life much easier for the average commuter buying small bikes world wide) and it was pretty racy looking.

The YL1 actually was born out of Yamaha’s Grand Prix racing experience, just look at it. The tank is shaped for laying on, the bars are a little lower, and you’ve got this little high RPM screamer motor…a perfect little racer.

Ok, so I found this neat little YL1 on ebay and for anyone looking for a high giggle factor small bike, check this one out.

Overall, it’s in good condition, just needs some love. It has just shy of 5000 miles on the clock, which, for a little 100 is a bit, so even though it is a runner, it may need some internal service (re-ring), the seat needs to be recovered (no big deal) and a good amount of elbow grease to make it shiny again. It’s got a set of chambers on it versus the stock exhaust and it looks to me that there are no silencers on the stingers so you might want to find something in the aftermarket (there are plenty of sources for 2-stroke silencers) or your ears, and your neighbors, are not going to be happy. A little twin cylinder 100cc screamer…ear piercing.

It’s not freeway legal here in California, not even safe on a freeway here, but…in the tight and twisty canyon roads we have around here…oh baby, BIG fun in a tiny package. Click on the pics below for more info, so far it’s a good deal.

’66 Yamaha YL1


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