1981 Yamaha TZ500H ‘0W’ racer
With Phil Aynsley
Yamaha only produced a customer racer version of their 500cc GP bike for three years – the ‘G’ in 1980, the ‘H’ in ’81 and the ‘J’ in ’82.
The bikes were the company’s response to Suzuki’s RG500 that had become the privateers staple by the late 1970s and were based on the previous year’s factory 0W racers, suitably modified for cheaper construction and maintenance.
This ‘H’ model was originally delivered to Yamaha Holland but was then sent on to Malaysia were it was campaigned in the domestic 500 cc series, wearing this Marlboro livery.
The team received a degree of factory support and as a result the bike features a range of modifications from the standard TZ500H, including cylinders with larger ports, 0W spec expansion chambers (Ron Tingate replicas now fitted), nylon (not alloy) tops on the carburettors, 0W48 wider section swing arm and three-piece mono shock, 0W magnesium front calipers fitted on machined out carriers with oversize rotors, Morris magnesium wheels & 0W hubs, heavily braced frame around the steering head with two of the coils repositioned as per the 0W and ‘J’ bikes.
The customer TZ500s were never quite as competitive as the RGs of the time and never dominated the privateer ranks as the Suzukis did. Standard ‘H’ model specifications were 110 hp at 10,500 rpm, with a dry weight of 138 kg.