Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1964 Yamaha RD56, In The October Issue

Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1964 Yamaha RD56, In The October Issue

© 2021, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Featured In the October 2021 issue of Roadracing World:

        In 1961, Yamaha made the decision to enter the Grand Prix World Championship series with two machines: The 125cc RA41 and the 250cc RD48. The factory team entered three events, including the grueling Isle of Man TT, with the objective of gaining technical data for developing future machines. 

          The RD48 was an air-cooled Parallel Twin, disc (or rotary) valve two-stroke with a six-speed gearbox. Fumio Ito finished sixth on the RD48 in the 250cc Lightweight TT, sixth in Holland, and fifth at Spa in Belgium. While the results did not set the racing world on fire, a huge amount of data was collected for the 1962 season, but an economic recession forced Yamaha to miss racing that year. Instead, intensive development was carried out on the 125cc and 250cc machines.

           For 1963, lessons learned from the RD48 resulted in a new 250, the RD56. This would be the first truly competitive Yamaha racebike which could challenge the dominant Honda four-strokes… 

           —Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1964 Yamaha RD56, By Mick Ofield


The hard work paid off in 1963, when the Yamaha won at Daytona and Spa, and a year later Yamaha had the 250cc World Championship in its hands. Read the story of the development of this landmark machine in the latest issue of Roadracing World!


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