The size of the American leisure market is almost impossible to imagine and, since the 1970’s it has been populated with motorcycles, trikes, quads and 4x4’s as well as Jet Ski’s and “party boats”. Among these certain vehicles stand out as exceptional and the Yamaha Banshee 350 is one of them.
Manufactured for an incredible 25 years – and available in the USA from 1987 to 2006 (until regulations killed it off) - the model soldiered on in other markets until 2012 almost unopposed. The two-stroke, twin-cylinder Banshee is a legend in the off-road world and many are still being blasted around sand dunes and in deserts to this day. So, what makes the Banshee so special?
Well, the Gaelic legend of the Banshee speaks of a female spirit who’s wailing warns of serious consequences and, for sure, if you get it wrong on a Banshee you rarely get a second chance. Based on the water-cooled Yamaha RZ (or LC) 350 motorcycle engine, this was the first two-stroke twin sports quad and, coupled with, light weight, a six-speed gearbox, long travel sports suspension and out-of-the-box blistering performance, the Banshee took no prisoners and attacked dunes and long-distance desert races like the Baja with an inexhaustible appetite for thrills…… and fuel!
Relatively low-tech, the Banshee had none of the road bike’s Powervalves and was kick-start only while relying on carburetors to shove huge amounts of air and fuel into the cylinders.
With so many sold, and a good number still being used, the Banshee is that best of all worlds proposition, it’s available and still a relevant, rewarding ride in today’s world. The other good news is that CMS parts finders are constantly scouring the globe looking for NOS Banshee parts so if you are starting a resto’ make sure to bookmark our website!
issued: Saturday, January 28, 2023
updated: Monday, January 30, 2023
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