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Yamaha, Air Cooled To Boiler
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Yamaha, Air Cooled to Boiler

Back in the early eighties Yamaha did something to their two-stroke twins and instantly created an icon, they went water cooled, i can still see the headline in a publication of the day, Yamaha, air cooled to boiler, whats this all about.

LC 250 and LC 350 Liquid cooled two stroke twins.

In 1982 Yamaha entered the market with their new design, they weren't on their own, Suzuki were producing their own version with the RG range, another liquid cooled two stroke twin. In previous years air cooled ruled, only a handful of machines being liquid cooled, Kawasaki,s Z1300, a monster of a machine and Suzuki's GT750, although it was heavy was a lightweight compared to the Kwak which would dwarf riders under 6ft tall. But the history of water cooled motorcycles does go back many years, the Scott motorcycle company of U.K were making liquid cooled two stroke twins prior to 1910 and were winning the isle of man TT on such machines for several successive years between 1910 and 1920.

After the success of Scotts machines in the early part of the 20th century you would have thought water cooled machines would have been produced in mass by the many more manufactures of the the day and the ones to come, but that was not the case. A possible reason being the cooling system was prone to leaks, keeping all that liquid under pressure contained proved a problem, an air cooled machine although under extreme conditions will overheat, will as a rule prove to be a more reliable and easier to maintain, its only in the last 20 years or so it has become the norm by most manufactures to produce liquid cooled machines, although they have been used on the track many years before where ultimate performance was required and the ability to keep the engine from seizing by using liquid cooling, out weighed the possibility of a few water leaks.

Yamaha, air cooled to boiler, was without question a master stroke for Yamaha, the machines have proved to be one of their best loved machines with a cult following, members clubs, rallies, meets and all things LC. They proved to be more popular than the Suzuki, its direct competitor, although the Suzuki was superior in many ways, its big price tag giving the Yamaha an advantage over its competitor who went on to sell thousands over its production. Even though there are still plenty around they command a high price for a good machine, mint originals selling for many thousands.

350cc machines are generally the most sought after, giving more of a grin factor, 10 bhp more over the 250cc with 38bhp and only 3 or 4 lbs heavier, top speeds, 100mph and 110mph for the 350 in stock trim.

Japanese two strokes are in general becoming very sought after, ones to look out for ?

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