1973 Yamaha TX500 from United States of America
Ground-breaking, but with a couple of glaring weaknesses
The head gasket never stopped weeping oil, no matter how many times I had it replaced and the head retorqued.
It was a technological breakthrough for 1973. In addition to a disk brake and electric start, it had dual overhead cams, and counterbalancer, self-cancelling turn signals, and four valves per cylinder. You couldn't say that about any other mass produced bike that model year, except Yamaha's own TX750.
It was vibration-free and outran its principal competitor, the Honda CB500. Because it was narrow, it handled well and made good power if you were willing to let the engine live near the redline.
Its only real weakness was a lack of low-end torque. You had to rev it out like a two-stroke to get any power. But as long as you did, it would outrun any 650 of the day.
I should also note that, like all electric-start bikes of the era, you had to kick-start it when it was cold. The coils made very little voltage and the electric starter was only useful if you stalled a warm bike in traffic.
Would you buy another motorcycle from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 8th July, 2016