Further developing on the sporty performance of the YD-1, this new model mounted a 20hp engine on a steel-pipe cradle frame to achieve unprecedented running performance. Features like the first domestic-made 5-speed transmission and combination type instrument panel with engine tachometer caught the imagination of sports riders, who quickly nicknamed it “Japan’s first sports model.”
The YDS1-R was a race kitted version of Yamaha's new for 1959 street bike. These machines were Yamaha's first effort at building a European style road racer, their previous models were more dirt oriented to suit the Japanese racing scene. These machines were the forerunners of the very successful TD/TZ250 parallel twin racing machines that dominated that 250cc racing class for a number of years.