Wild stories entwine around the legendary Yamaha YFZ 350, nicknamed Banshee. The banshee is said to herald the imminent death of a family member with her lament, according to a variant of the legend.

Many people may feel a chill of fear down their spine. The two-stroke screeching of the Shee is more likely to give a quad fan goose bumps. This is what happened to Thomas Gernhardt, who tells us about his personal spiritual experience.

Thomas is an off-roader with body and soul. The 38-year-old from Dresden was infected by motocross when he was 13. There he drove for podium places in the Saxony Championship. However, when he had a serious accident while training in 2002, he had to give up the passionate hobby. In the years that followed, Thomas was repeatedly caught by his dreams of driving a 2-stroke again. While doing research on the Internet, he happened to come across the Yamaha Banshee. OK, not a motorcycle, but the two-cylinder with the two strokes, the irrepressibly high speed and incredible power of over 50 hp from a displacement of just 350 cubic centimeters. That was exactly his thing. The condition of the offered vehicle at the time is honestly far from “top condition”, but Thomas did not care, or he consciously accepted it. Speaking of buying, he took over the box from the previous owner on the day before his 32nd birthday and moved happily from Dannen. The Yamaha from the year of construction 1997 was only repaired to the extent that it was necessary to convince the TÜV of another two years of life, which actually succeeded without much effort.

The witch is on fire

This was followed by a year and a half of driving pleasure, until a cable fire suddenly occurred, which demanded a serious decision. Either the witch should end her existence in eternal purgatory or, like Phoenix, rise from the ashes – using a lot of ashes – and start a new life. Fortunately, Thomas made the right decision and swore eternal loyalty to the banshee. For this purpose, the quad was dismantled into every single part it consists of. The bare frame and screwed-on attachments were sandblasted and then partly white and partly black powder-coated. The engine was expanded to 392 cubic centimeters with an Athena Big Bore Kit and has developed around 65 hp since then. Many other measures were taken to increase performance (see also the mod list). First, Thomas created a wish list and gradually organized the parts. Only then did he start to rebuild. Various parts from other quad models and motorcycle brands were also used, for example the double-piston brake calipers from the Yamaha Raptor, shock absorbers from a Yamaha R1 and a charge regulator from a Ducati. However, Thomas will convert to an H&R coilover kit in the near future in order to bring the enormous speed safely onto the road. The topic of speed is not in the focus – although in the current version more than 150 km / h should easily be possible. So far, Thomas has refrained from actually asking the fairy to do this. Very reasonable.


Last year, Thomas was happy to visit the quad meeting in Pullman City in the Harz for the first time. His buddies almost had to persuade him to put his banshee in various competitions. So he registered himself and his quad for “Show & Shine” and for the acceleration race on the Harzer Meile. At the evening award ceremony, the surprise was pretty big. Not only did he take second place with the banshee in the 500 cc class in the drag races, the jury also chose his banshee first in the prestigious “Show & Shine” competition. The audience also saw the Banshee at the front, despite numerous extremely beautiful conversions that took part in the competition. Which once again confirms that the uniquely classic Yamaha model with years of history is still at the top of the list for many quad fans. We are right to say and wish Thomas many more years together with this very special vehicle.

MOD list

  • Athena Big Bore with 392 cc
  • Hot Rods crankshaft
  • Mikuni TMX 30 powerjet carburetor with open air filters
  • Carbon membrane
  • Changed CDI
  • DMC 916, complete exhaust system
  • Alternator made with + watt and + charging current
  • Ducati charge regulator
  • Alba A-Arms, plus 2 inches
  • Pro Axle rear axle
  • Yamaha R1 shock absorber
  • Nerf bars with heelguards, polished aluminum
  • Reinforced tie rod ends made of stainless steel
  • Large aluminum cooler
  • Wiring harness completely new manufactured
  • Steel braided brake lines front and rear
  • Brembo front brake pump
  • Double-piston front brake calipers from Yamaha Raptor
  • VBW Silver Dreams rims, front 8 × 10 with 195/50/10 and rear 10 × 10 with 225/40/10 MAXXIS SPEARZ tires
  • Domino double pull throttle
  • ZAP coupling fitting
  • Housing for speedometer and additional instruments made of GRP, covered with Alcantara
  • Seat covered with Alcantara
  • Panel painted in Imperial Blue (Ford)
  • Covering provided with high-quality decor
  • Lighting system converted to LED with highsider, high and low beam separated, rear 3 in 1 lights from Kellermann

Magazine article from 03/2018


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