Yamaha DT400 1977
This very rare 1977 Yamaha DT400 is finished in red and is showing just under 13,000 miles from new. This runs well and can be simply registered and enjoyed or restored. In good condition like this, we would leave it as it is.
The 400 variant is very unusual and not a bike we find very often. It has a little more power than the 250 providing a higher top speed and easier cruising along country lanes. This was the largest motor available for this bike.
The Yamaha DTs were a series of bikes for use on or off road which were fairly and squarely fun bikes. They were never for serious trials riding nor for serious touring, they just weren’t ever that serious. They were designed to put a smile on your face as you hooned around the roads and country trails accompanied by the unmistakable sound of a two-stroke single.
The DTs were produced between 1968 and 1985 and ranged from 50 to 400 cc. Like all trail bikes, the Yamaha DT series is a compromise between a road bike and a dedicated off-roader. Whether the DT is called a trail bike, a dual purpose bike or (as in the US) an enduro it offers more than one riding experience. With true Japanese reliability the motors would keep going as long as they were maintained. Automatic oil-injection systems meant that pre-mixing of two-stroke oil wasn’t needed either.
For off-roading the DTs featured high ground clearance and protection under the motor. Front indicators are placed safely high up on the bars and rear ones flex should the rider take a low-speed tumble. Needless to say, the exhaust is high up out of harm’s way.
For on-road riding the DTs have quick acceleration off the mark and stay nippy as long as the revs are kept high. That said, the bikes were never fast and certainly not the best choice for motorways or long distance touring. They are more than capable of a blast to the coast of the coffee stop though.
The bikes are light, typically around 270 lbs (123 Kg) meaning they can be handled by just about everyone yet still present a reasonable size of bike on the road. Starting is easy as with any two-stroke although owners should be prepared that they will have to do a little bit of work as these are kick-started.
Performance is limited with brake horse power only in the high teens or early twenties, though the DT400 should be good for about 85 mph. These bikes are not about performance, they are about fun. And with over 100 to the gallon very achievable, they are a cheap form of fun at that.
Prices remain strong as demand for these never goes away.