The good-old 175cc Yamaha has been around now for the best part of forty-odd years, giving riders of all ages and abilities immense fun as they sold by the bucket full. Where did they all go is a question which often comes up in conversation. Well Andy Hipwell decided a few years ago to purchase one as a project for his father from which, in the long run, he would benefit. It was not in very good condition so he jumped on ebay and purchased another one. In his own words he now had two wrecks to make one good machine from and his father Les was given the task to help him achieve this.
Article: Andy Hipwell and John Hulme from Summer 2014
Pictures: Josh Turner
So the Special TY 175 Yamaha actually evolved from two separate machines. The first one was purchased from a friend of Andy’s in the local village where he lived up until about five years ago. The other machine, however, was the result of a ‘boozy’ night on the ebay auction site with his partner Janice Proctor – what else did they buy, we wonder!
Andy: “I initially wanted to make one very good machine from the two wrecks I had got and since my father was twiddling his thumbs in his workshop I thought it was a good idea to appoint him chief mechanic to keep him busy. After stripping both machines down to their last nut and bolt he kept the most serviceable parts from both machines and selected which were the best for the rebuild into the one good machine. My father just loved tinkering about with engines from machines my younger brother Kev and I had, and especially the Yamaha TY 175cc machines we had when we were younger. As we were constantly riding them they often required repairing and so he has had a lot of practice in mending them, so the task of engine fettling was handed over to him whilst I concentrated on the cycle parts. To be honest when you can pick the best bits from two complete engines it’s fair to say that the main power unit is fairly standard with just the odd tweak to improve performance here and there, but nothing special. The main modifications have been made to the standard frame, which has been given the classic ‘Majesty’ modifications carried out by my good friend Steve Davis from Congleton. He also runs one of the best TYs in the area and knows a lot about the geometry they need to have for the best possible handling. As you can see a few aftermarket parts have been added including a new fuel tank while the exhaust system is made up from off-the-shelf parts from In Motion and the one and only Nigel Birkett. I think the main thing that has gone into the creation of my one-off Special is the care and attention to detail I have tried to carry out on every aspect of the rebuild. I am somewhat of a tinkering perfectionist myself now and what I thought originally was only going to take me about six months actually took about three years. My biggest regret however, now that the project is more or less complete, is the fact that what started out as something for my father to fiddle with in his shed has finished up as somewhat of a legacy to his skills as a mechanic. His enthusiasm for motorcycles has passed on to me as he passed away early last year, and although he never actually saw it in its finished state I know he would be proud of the little machine. If anyone is looking at a rebuild project I can definitely recommend the Yamaha TY 175cc as your first job as nothing is too difficult and parts can still be found quite easily. Enthusiasts such as John Cane at his Trail and Trials shop has many aftermarket parts that are hard to source manufactured, and he is also a mind of information on them. Parts identification is also pretty easy and John’s website: www.tytrials.co.uk has so many parts available to purchase online. As for the remaining unused parts of the original machines, well watch this space as they may one day end up as another project!”
How much progress have we seen with trials machines in the last forty years? Let me point out one pretty keen observation which is not really an answer to the question: The progress has changed the face of the modern trials motorcycle but you do not need a large budget to have some serious fun.
Words: John Hulme
“Andy’s special looks pretty impressive and so in that case I can safely tell you that nine times out of ten that indicates that it will be good. It does look quite modern in a funny way, and the fuel tank certainly adds to this. The single cylinder air-cooled motor, even after all these years, still looks very compact and well thought out. As with all the Yamaha 175cc engines be careful when you kick-start the machine into life as the mechanics of the starting mechanism are, shall we say, not very strong. It soon fired up into life and gives out quite a crisp exhaust note. The machine felt rather small for myself but you can soon adjust your riding to this, which I duly did. You have to really ride the machine to get the best from it but it feels so light to ride and the enthusiasm this gives you almost instantly makes you want to try and ride up bigger hazards. There is not enough power to get you into trouble and as I have already said you have to concentrate on riding the machine to extract the best from it. With the return of the ‘No-Stop’ ruling I suggest some of the top riders try riding an old twin-shock machine like this, as you certainly have to pick your line in a hazard much more so than on a modern machine and use your body to gain forward motion. What Andy has achieved with this machine is the all-important fun factor element allowing you a good day’s sport on an old machine. The Retro trials scene for the old air-cooled twin-shock and single shock machines has not yet hit the trials market but I can assure you that when it does the 175cc Yamaha will once again return to its former glory days as the ideal Clubmen’s machine.”
If you fancy a rebuild on your old Yamaha TY and need parts and information then why not contact one of the many advertisers found in Trial and Classic Trial Magazine.