Revealed: Yamaha's plans for a two-wheel-drive GTS1000

Published: 22 December 2008

For the first time we can reveal what might have been for Yamaha if the firm's hub-centre-steered GTS1000 had proved a sales success.

These images show the designs for two bikes which were under development during the early 1990s when the GTS was on sale, both with input from the one of the GTS's designers, Hiroshi Takimoto. First is a development of the original GTS1000 design, but with two wheel drive!

The design features a second drive shaft running forward from a transfer box alongside the engine. The shaft runs inside the front swingarm to a bevel gear and constant-velocity joint at the front, transmitting the power to the front wheel as well as the back.

Yamaha's designers worked on the idea for three years from the late 1980s to the early 1990s before ditching it as GTS1000 sales failed to reach the firm's expectations.

The second design reveals another two-wheel-drive, hub-centre-steered machine developed at the same time. Using a completely different drive system, with three chains taking power from the front sprocket to the front wheel, the off-road-style four-stroke single was a precursor to the later, hydraulically-powered two-wheel-drive Yamaha 2-Trac off-roaders. Again, Takimoto was a key designer.

While these bikes might have failed to make the grade, Takimoto saw later success when he was part of the team that created the original R1.