Classic Steel

“Maxxis Tires” – Classic Ink #14 The Yamaha Moto-Bike 

Comments (13)
  1. I wanted one of these so bad! Then I got a job in a bike shop and had to work on one and in reality it was all looks and no go. This was just before actual purpose built bmx frames hit the market and when they did it was all over.

    1. Yeah, I think the reality of the Moto Bike paled next to its imagined excellence in my mind at the time.

  2. I rode one once. It was really, really heavy and the suspension bobbed like crazy with every pedal stroke. I wanted to like it, and it looked super cool, but it was a bit of a facade.

  3. These ‘MX’ bicycles had faded fast by the mid 80s when I first encountered them. My bro.’s classmate had such a bomber, a clone no less, allowing me a good look at its not-so-fine qualities: lead-heavy framed, bouncy-tired & plain cheap all around. K-mart must’ve had a hulluva time clearing its stock when more respectable BMX machinery arrived.

  4. When I was a kid in the early 90’s my dad found an old Yamaha Moto-Bike abandoned next to the dumpster at his work with a cracked friend. He rebuilt it, painted it flat black, and gave it to me as a birthday present. I rode that bike for years and would ride it down staircases like nothing. I was so bummed when I outgrew it. I’ve been thinking about modifying it with an electric motor and giving it as a gift to my nephew.

  5. I ran across this article by Googling the Moto Bike for a story I’m writing. I had one! Got it for Christmas in, I think, 1974 at age 8. In one fell swoop, I became the coolest kid on my Raleigh, N.C., street. I don’t recall that it was heavy or fragile, but only that it was super cool, and the suspension made jumping boxes and riding down steps a piece of cake. And I can still remember the feel of the rubber handgrips and how the fat, nobby tires were way better than plain ol’ bike tires. I was sure that my Moto Bike was the next best thing to an actual motocross bike, and always sought out off-road areas where I could show it off.

  6. Growing up in Southeast Tennessee in the 1970’s was fantastic! As some here have said, bicycles gave us our freedom as children. Freedom from chores, if you were fast enough, at least until you got back home. Freedom to injure yourself as well!

    I was NOT lucky enough to have one of these awesome Yamaha Moto-Bikes but no less than 2 of my neighbors did! I would watch them jump ramps and land smoothly and without the gut-wrenching slams my Sears MX Bicycle offered me! One of my friends, Alan received an orange Yamaha Moto-Bike then shortly afterwards my friend Chuck received one! I was so awe struck by what these things could do by using the physics of their shocks! Our biggest achievement was lining 18 car tires laying flat, end to end, then racing towards a 4 foot makeshift ramp we put at the precipice of a 4 foot hill, then as soon as we hit the ramp we pressed down as hard as we could on the shocks of the Moto-Bike and they compressed! If we timed it just right those shocks and our momentum catapulted us from the top of the ramp and sailing over all 18 of those tires! Now that was a BLAST! We each pictured ourselves as a young Evel Knievel!

    Needles to say I NEVER tried that jump on my Sears MX Bike!

  7. A friend had one, it was the coolest looking bike ever, but so damn heavy! He traded it off for a schwinn.

    A year later, I got a huffy monoshock, it actually worked pretty darn well, although rarely are you sitting on the seat when jumping, but it made light bumps a little easier on your rump.

  8. My parents said I could have a Motobike if I helped to pay for it. So I broke my piggy bank and handed over what little I had. Believe it or not I still own my 1974 orange Motobike, now completely restored and sitting on top of a large bookcase in my den. Illuminated with track lighting; I am admiring it as we speak. It never fails to bring back memories of my childhood.

  9. I’ll never forget when my brother and I came around the corner on Christmas morning to see what Santa (dad) had brought us. The yellow bikes with their full suspension shocks and number plates stood out like beacons as we screamed with excitement! We had not asked for them but could not be happier when we seen them. I was around 8 and my brother is a couple years older, and these lasted us until we outgrew them. While they were rock solid and heavy, it had many advantages as the bikes would literally steer themselves. I quickly learned how to pedal down our street to get enough speed that I would put a foot on each side bar and once balanced fully stand up and let go of the handlebars! When the bike slowed I would drop my butt down onto the shocked seat while grabbing the handlebars and then turn around to go the other way and do it again. My brother even had the excitement of chipping his front tooth on his Yamaha going down brickwork that paralleled steps down at the mall in our southern California neighborhood! He was doing great going down it until all of the sudden a sprinkler head pipe jumped out of nowhere and hit his pedal flipping the bike.. hell yeah, I’m so jealous! The memories made on these bikes will never be forgotten and is likely the very reason why I’ve tried so hard to make my two boys Christmas mornings every year something they will never forget! Thanks Dad!

  10. I had one of these in Australia in the ’70’s. I didn’t recall any Yamaha branding – perhaps they didn’t have that there. But it’s definitely the same bike. I’d seen an ad for it on TV and really wanted it. I told my Dad, yet on Christmas morning there was no bike by the tree and I was disappointed. But there was a tiny box with my name that I picked up and noticed there was a string attached to it. I followed the string, which wound its way around the living room, to the dining room and out to the patio – and there was my Moto Bike!

    I eventually painted it blue and had a lot of fun with it on the trails behind the houses, including a kind of natural bowl there. But as you say it was heavy, and the suspension sapped a lot of your energy when you were trying to pedal fast. It was really hard work trying to keep up with my friend on his racing bike but I partly credit that with the fact that I’m still a fast runner in my 60’s.

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