The Thumper Returns – 1976 Yamaha TT500

In Japan, Off-Road by Tom WackerLeave a Comment

Through all of the 1960s you really had two choices if you wanted to play in the dirt. Many manufacturers made ‘Scrambler’ models but they really were better at getting you to the dirt than actually getting dirty. You could either ride a two stroke single that made horsepower like crazy or ride a vintage English 4 stroke single. Both had their drawbacks for the casual dirt rider. That all changed in 1972 when Honda brought out the 250 XL. Four stroke reliability in a bike you could legitimately take off road.

For 1976, Yamaha upped the ante with the 500 single TT and XT. The TT was a dirt only player and the XT was street legal. The TT weighed 30 LBS less than the XT and Yamaha had some serious success with them in the long rallies of the time but they really were aimed at a wider market. It worked, Yamaha sold them by the boatload.

The 1976 Yamaha TT 500 used a 499 CC (30.4 CID) air cooled four stroke single cylinder motor that made 27 HP with a five speed transmission. Telescopic front forks, dual coil over rear shocks, drum brakes front and back, a 21” front and 18” rear wheel and a weight of only 262 LBS made a creditable dirt rider.

This particular 1976 Yamaha TT500 (VIN # 583-001537) is in Lawrence, Kansas and listed as a very original survivor. It’s the first year for the TT, and looks to be very complete except for the muffler. It looks to be a very clean example of a pretty classic motorcycle. The bike has a Buy It Now price of $6,200

Motorcycle Classics
Motorcycle Specs
TT 500 History
Motorcycle Chaos
Wikipedia – Honda XL history