Yamaha’s introduction of the DT-1 in 1968 was a huge success, but the manufacturer anticipated that upcoming environmental regulations were going to make two-stroke engines difficult to continue production with. They looked into four-stroke motors, and a project of theirs that started in 1971 led to the development of a 500cc thumper that became the TT500, which was released in September of 1975.
The first prototype was based on Eso (Czechoslovakian manufacturer) 500cc engines, which had the advantage of being very light. Yamaha had experience in the dirt bike market and knew how important weight was to commercial success. Therefore, after this prototype, Yamaha managed to develop a lightweight 499.4cc engine for a bike that weighed 282lb in total. Developing 27 hp, the TT500 was an excellent partner for off-road journeys. On top of its high agility and reliability, the bike was easy to start, which was not the case of off-road bikes at the time. The TT500 was a great platform from Yamaha to expand from, which is why the famous XT500 hit the showrooms in 1976 and continued on until 1990. The XT500 notably won the two first years of the Paris-Dakar in 1979 and 1980. For more information about the TT500, and particularly the 500cc “Thumper” engine developed by Yamaha, check out Motorcycle Specs.
The TT500 showed in this listing is in pretty good shape. Its condition shows that it has been definitely used, but this is what we ask to a bike like that after all. The bike notably features a rebuilt Simons fork, a Profab swing arm and S&W shocks which make it even better off-road.
Find this TT500 in Joshua Tree, California for $3,000 here on Craigslist.