From a true performance standpoint, a stock Yamaha DT1 is nothing to write home about, and yet the model has been hailed by dirtbike historians as possibly the most important Japanese bike ever produced. Why? Because it is the first real Japanese dual-sport machine, an attempt by Yamaha to build a true all-purpose dirt/street machine that would attract new riders while also appealing to the hardcore motorcyclist.

“I’ll never forget my first setting eyes on a DT1,” Tom White says on his Early Years of Motocross Museum website. “It was December of 1967 at the Anaheim Cycle World show, and I placed an order the next day with my dealer, Rustan Motorcycle Sales. When the bike arrived in April, engine number 312, I polished it in the showroom for a week before Bob Rustan would let me take it out of the store.”

The DT1 did it all. In stock form, it was a mellow commuter or a casual weekend trailbike, but Yamaha also sold a GYT Kit (Genuine Yamaha Tuning) that would transform the DT1 into a competitive machine that could give just about any production scrambles, desert, or motocross machine of the era a real run for its money.

But like the famous Ford Model T, while countless DT-1s were produced, only a handful of pristine, stock examples exist today. Because of their desirability as a low-cost alternative race machine, many DT1s were shed of their lighting equipment and other non-essential accessories to be raced in just about every from of motorcycle competition under the sun. Thus, finding a completely unmolested DT1 is a real task. The example you see here has 45 original miles, and White managed to score it only after five years of pestering the last owner, longtime friend Wayne Meridian of PEP. This pristine DT1 is in unrestored original condition.

  • James Stewart

    Wow… just wow. Had not heard about the Tom White diagnosis – that’s a damn shame – but it sounds like he’s going out the right way… WFO !!!

    Thanks guys. I hope Editor in Chief Street Squid Duke didn’t get too bored with all those DIRT BIKES!

    • Kevin Duke

      Hey, not fair, I rode dirt for 10 years before I got my first streetbike!

      • James Stewart

        Then stop wheelieing all those KTM Dukes around – and go test a 450 SX-F at Glen Helen. Be sure to post video of your triple jumps or your X-rays from the San Bernadino ER if you case it. 🙂 At least it will make a better story than hitting a pebble on your roller blades…

  • panthercity

    I bought the second DT-1 in Wyoming from Bixby Lawn Mowers. Loved that bike. It was SO narrow compared to almost anything available at the time.