I’m one of the hosts of the False Neutral Podcast, and my fellow hosts and I have been geeking out for a while now about how much potential the Yamaha Blaster 200 ATV motor has as a custom motorcycle swap donor. My curiosity had me halfheartedly hunting down a suitable frame for such a “Blaster bike.”

Well, this 1974 Panther Black Shadow DB175 found its way into my garage today. With two long-haul projects already underway, I have no real justification for getting it right now, except that it cost me a whopping $93.97 with free shipping. That price made it irresistible, and it’s in remarkably good shape considering what I paid.

“Panthers” were actually manufactured in Taiwan by Shin San Tong, which was also marketed around the world under the SST and Gemini brands. The were imported into the United States as Panthers by Kawasho International in small numbers and for a very short time.

One of the few online references to the Panther Black Shadow 175 is an article on Off-Road.com. Even though this and other sources describe the DB175 as a “copy of [Yamaha’s] CT-1,” that’s true only of the engine. If you compare the frame in the photo to the diagram of a Yamaha CT-1 frame below, you can see that the chassis were quite different, and probably as unlike each other as any two competing trail bikes of the era. I deliberately chose the Panther frame because of lacks any kind of central frame member between the engine and swingarm — something not true of many other lightweight frames, including the CT-1.

So, what will I do with this? Well, I have shelves of random chassis parts looking a reason to exist. I am looking forward to playing around with my surplus parts cache, seeing what I can adapt on the cheap. Even though I am busy mucking around with two other glacially slow projects, I am now suddenly hunting for an inexpensive Yamaha Blaster motor.

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