Hideo “Pops” Yoshimura started the company “Yoshimura”, in 1955 in Japan. Pops was trained as an airplane mechanic during WWII. Pops knew how to tuning planes, cars, and all manner of other combustion engine powered vehicles, but motorcycles were his favorite.
During this time, Yoshimura developed a large and well-earned reputation for building power for motorcycles. Customers flocked to Yoshimura looking for a competitive edge and Yoshimura Exhaust delivered it. The company prospered, but Pops wanted more.
Pops had a goal of racing at the Daytona 200. In 1971 Pops added to Yoshimura Japan by opening Yoshimura Research and Development of America, Inc. in Los Angeles, CA.
Although Yoshimura started as an engine building shop, selling motorcycle exhaust pipes quickly became the primary focus of the business. An engine’s ability to make horsepower is largely determined by how quickly it can exhaust spent gasses. From the beginning, the first piece to modify was the exhaust system.
In 1976, the first official AMA Superbike series was established and the first race was Daytona. The Daytona 200 was reserved for two-stroke 500’s and this was a great chance for Pops to showcase his magic.
Yoshimura initially focused its efforts with Kawasaki motorcycles and a racer named Wes Cooley. Wes had an unorthodox style of racing. The 1976 Kawasaki KZ 1000 didn’t handle very well, but with Yoshimura’s modifications it had more than enough power, so Wes Cooley used a technique of a two wheel slide and powered his way out of turns. The Yoshimura team finished in 4th place that year.
In 1977, Yoshimura moved one step closer to victory with a third place finish. In 1978, Yoshimura switched from Kawasaki to Suzuki and the results were immediate. The new Suzukis made massive power and handling was much greater than Kawasaki. Steve McLaughlin won the Daytona Superbike race on a Yoshimura built Suzuki GS1000.
In 1979, Team Yoshimura racers Ron Pierce, Wes Cooley and Dave Emde finished in first, second and third at Daytona. This incredible outcome was the first time an entire race team swept the podium in an AMA Superbike race. From 1978 through 1981, Yoshimura and Suzuki won four straight Daytona Superbike races. This had never been done before and the legend continued to grow. Wes was successful in the series and won the 1979 and 1980 AMA Superbike titles.
Yoshimura’s innovative engine building methods and racing success quickly built a larger following. All of this was going on while the top Japanese manufacturers created lighter, high-powered sport motorcycles. Yoshimura was in the right place at the right timeand was growing at a rapid pace.
Yoshimura has invested millions of dollars to keep up with advancing exhaust technology. CNC cut-off saws cut pipe-work to specific lengths while multi-level CNC tube benders shape pipes to exact specifications. Yoshimura also uses computer-controlled robot welding machines.
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