Barn Find 1967 Yamaha YL1 Turns Up In Wisconsin, But Will It Run?
There’s something particularly intoxicating about barn finds, isn’t there? The idea that someone could have just left some amazing vehicle sitting untouched and probably not even thought about it twice for decades is kind of amazing. Depending on your point of view, it may be sad, or perhaps present a good opportunity to fix up a piece of moto history—or, more likely, it’s a little bit of both.
In any case, for anyone who enjoys motorbikes and who also lives in or near Wisconsin, there seems to be an inordinate number of interesting old bikes just chilling out in barns throughout the Badger State. This video showcases another one—a 1967 Yamaha YL1 that’s apparently been languishing in a barn for at least 40 years (and probably more).
Amazingly, the owner has a title for it—and even better, he was able to actually locate said title and provide it with the sale of this bike. Since it’s been sitting for 40-plus years, it was purchased as a non-runner for a crisp $500. What wonder and/or horror awaits as Joe, the guy behind the 2Vintage YouTube channel, digs into the thing? That’s why there’s a video, of course.
First, of course, it’s time to take stock of what’s there and what’s missing on the outside. The entire bike is covered under several decades of grime, which is to be expected. A look around the outside shows that it’s mostly intact, with the notable exceptions of a broken kickstarter and a missing taillight.
Then, it’s time to start digging into the bike itself, because it’s not clear what state the engine (or anything else) is in. Digging in and pulling it apart reveals some things in surprisingly good shape, like the air filter, and the fact that there’s oil in the bike that looks to be in pretty decent shape.
Other things are, of course, a horror show. One thing to know about the YL1 if you’re unfamiliar is the fact that the frame is hollow. When you have a hollow-framed bike sitting in one place for over 40 years, do you want to hazard a guess as to one common thing that might happen? If your guess was mice, you should probably give yourself a cookie.
Pulling off the panel on the right side of the bike where the battery sits, there’s the first evidence of mouse activity. Some of the wires are chewed up, although it’s not as bad as it could be. However, there’s a huge amount of nesting material and plenty of evidence that one or more mice have been living here for some time. That, of course, is what good shop vacuums are for.
2V digs into this bike in a fairly comprehensive way, especially since this was apparently his first eight hours working on the thing. There are a lot of things that you’d expect, such as tons of cleaning, including both the contacts on the ignition coil and a carburetor with clogged jets. There are also some things you might not expect—like getting fuel, compression, spark, and a bike that kind of starts at the end of the video. (That is, before the kickstarter goes flying off the bike, because it is very much broken and needs serious attention, but that’s what the next video will be for.)