Video: King Kenny returns to the Indy Mile

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Kenny_Roberts_TZ750_2009.jpgKenny Roberts took his old TZ-750 for a spin on the Indy Mile — the scene of his famous 1975 victory — during this summer’s Indianapolis GP. Considered unrideable by anyone but Roberts (and Ben Bostrom), this bike is powered by the 125bhp, 750cc two-stroke out of the Yamaha TZ-750 road racer. Like all trackers, it has no front brake, but unlike other machines, it can reach speeds of 150mph on The Mile’s straights. In fact, it was considered so dangerous, the AMA banned it from competition after Robert’s victory there. As a holiday gift to racing fans everywhere, Yamaha has produced a short documentary on the event. >

We wonder if Oscars is going to reproduce Kenny Sr’s old leathers?


  • Andy M

    Badass rider.

    Badass engine.

    Badass bike.

    Two stroke bikes to this day, are where you learn what power really is.

    Cool vid.

  • yaki

    I was there to see him ride that thing, it sounded amazing! Managed to snap a few decent shots, too: Flickr

  • Cameron

    It was banned because it fed the junk Harley Davidson bikes their hats. Harley had the AMA in their back pockets back then so when they would slide competitively they would just “ban” the competition.

    You can still buy the same bikes today from Hardley today that they made back when they were winning Flat track races in the 70′s.

    At least they fixed the part where they leaked so much oil.


  • sam

    “i havent ridden a bike in a year”


  • Gildas

    Has anybody got a link to the video of the 1975 race? It must be pure bike porn!

    • Wes Siler

      There’s a link in the story above.

      • AadmanZ

        Nope, Youtube pulled it.. A certain mister Leroy M. Lefkowitz was not amused by it being available publicly.

  • Gildas

    Thanks – Spent my lunch break looking for that… My Google is strong but your Google is stronger.

  • CT

    Does anyone know where you can get or find Take it to the Limit?

  • John

    I was at the indy mile this year, it was definitely one of the coolest things I have ever seen on two wheels. I loved it when Valentino Rossi spoke to the crowd after Roberts did a few hot laps, “I come here, I think I’m going to ahh.. ride de Yamaha. . . but ahh, after de Kenny lap. . I ahh, I think. . . No.”

    They don’t call him the King for nothing!

  • The Grudz

    Like Yaki and John, I too was there this summer. I’d somehow managed to slip into the pits and was standing next to Kenny and the TZ when they fired it up. Holy mother of screaming rareness! I couldn’t get my ears covered fast enough and I couldn’t stop smiling and laughing. I’d read about this machine many times, but am too young to have witnessed it in it’s heyday. The fact that I was able to visit a part of cycle history in that setting as opposed to a museum was deeply special. And the sound!

  • bill thomas

    Take it to the limit is a great tape. Can’t find my copy. It was about more than just the race, it was about the whole scene. Great,great tape.
    Stevie Baker rode one of the other bikes that were made. Stevie was a hell of a rider too. Dirt track and road race, just like Roberts, and sometimes just as good.

  • gsguccilife

    Kenny of the great ones!One of my early heroes!i remember some german dudes rockin a yellow yamaha replica at the Mugello circuit,and starin at it the whole time…..

  • Mattro

    My dad was a middle-of-the-pack flat track racer in King Kenny’s heyday. I remember learning to ride dirt bikes as a kid and then finding out that my dad and all his broken down old buddies used to do it at 90mph with no brakes.

    I think few sons feel that much pride in their fathers, ever.

    Great find and my dad loved it.


  • Case

    I got goosebumps when he hammered the throttle at the start finish line for the takeoff. That’s how you start a demo ride on your old race bike. Fuck yeah King Kenny.

    Great video.

  • NatefromOgden

    What an awesome story! I loved the days when Yamaha race bikes wore the yellow bumble bee colors and they have never looked right to me in blue. Yes, I’m showing my age… Anyway, that was a terror of a bike and the sound he made with it heading out is thrilling all the way through me.

  • Shasta Grinde

    I’d really recommend you to publish much more frequently.

  • John Kirk

    I like the blog, but could not find how to subscribe to receive the updates by email. Can you please let me know?