Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1978 Yamaha 0W31

Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1978 Yamaha 0W31

© 2019, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.

Featured In the October 2019 issue of Roadracing World:

       There’s a certain amount of confusion between Yamaha TZ750s and factory 0W models and the 0W term itself. In the UK and USA, the number zero is often pronounced “oh,” so the Yamaha factory bikes were 0Ws not OWs! Yamaha factory racebikes were not sold to the public and differed from those that were. If you see a TZ750 being called an 0W31, it’s highly unlikely it actually is one.

        The first factory 750 was a twin-shock 0W29 that Giacomo Agostini rode to victory at Daytona in 1975. The 0W31 was introduced in 1976 as a monoshock machine made available to Yamaha’s five leading distributors and their riders: Europe and Agostini; Canada and Steve Baker; Venezuela/South America and Johnny Cecotto; Japan and Hideo Kanaya; and the USA and Kenny Roberts.

        Cecotto won Daytona that year but Victor Palermo won the F750 Championship with TZ750-engines in Nico Bakker monoshock frames. The following year Baker won the F750 Championship, by that time given world status, with five wins on the Yamaha Canada 0W31.

        The 1977 TZ750D production racebikes appeared to be similar to the previous year’s 0Ws: Monoshock suspension, factory style fiberglass and exhaust system (see the September 2013 issue of Roadracing World, Historic Racebike Illustrations) but appearances were deceptive!

–Historic Racebike Illustrations: 1978 Yamaha 0W31, by Mick Ofield

The Yamaha TZ750 racebike was an amazing machine that defined road racing for years, but when the Yamaha factory race shop got through with the bike, it was at an even higher level. The 1978 Yamaha 0W31 utilized 500cc GP bike technology and was lighter, more powerful and faster than the production racer. Read all of the details about why the factory Yamaha was such an awe-inspiring machine – it’s all in the October issue of Roadracing World!

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