"The final great sport bike of the nineties. The Honda CBR900RR/FireBlade may have set the agenda and the Ducati 916 may have added finesse but the Yamaha YZF-R1 topped them off with extra power and madness. Even today the original Yamaha YZF-R1 is a sports tool to be reckoned with."
When writing a post for RSBFS, the following are typical criteria considered by this humble poster:
- Did it introduce a new dynamic (in either looks or technology)?
- Did it exceed/elevate the standard of the time?
- What is the condition of the offered example?
- How many were produced/is it the first or last year edition of the model?
- Where is it located?
- Do I want it more than I want to spend a weekend under the covers with Christina Hendricks and Charlotte McKinney? Opps.. I digress.
Let me just conclude by saying this first year Yamaha YZF R1 certainly seems to meet all the approved criteria as a Rare Sport Bike and is worthy for a post on RSBFS.
The YZF-R1 (typically referred to as just the 'R1') is truly one of the seminal sportbikes bikes of the late 1990's, a time period which also gave us the Ducati 916, Honda Fireblade, Suzuki Hayabusa and Kawasaki ZX7RR. The R1 was Yamaha's "beat-the-blade" bike, a response to the CBR900RR/Fireblade which had been introduced 6 years earlier. The Honda had moved the goal posts of what a 1000cc sportbike could be, introducing a 120 hp 900cc sportbike no bigger than a 600cc. While the CBR/Fireblade was revolutionary, success on the track was limited. The R1 was a clean sheet response, a 150 hp (non-ram aired!) sportbike sized like a 400cc machine, a bike with handling, braking and stability that moved the goal posts yet again and formed the basis of Yamaha's racing effort for the next several seasons.
This particular YZF-R1 is in almost unbelievable condition for a non-crate bike. I see no missing pieces, the turn signals look to be OEM as do the windscreen and mirrors which are all impressive considering the habits of a lot of 1990's owners to go for flush mounted signals, aftermarket mirrors and god-awful anodized accents. The only non-stock item appears to be an exhaust and the seller indicates the original is included (its in the pics, just not mounted). The bike does appear to be a true first year model as evidenced by the the uber-rare white-over-red bodywork and the seller's eBay auction pic that shows the VIN#, not a re-skinned 99 or later model
Note: The demand for the YZF in the US was so great that many potential buyers were forced to wait for the 2000-2001 model. This has led some to incorrectly identify the all blue 2000-2001 model as the first year of the YZF-R1 in the US which is incorrect.
Here is what the seller has to say:
- You are looking at one of the first 80 Yamaha R1's ever produced in the desired red/white livery, most likely rolled off the assembly line in the first day of production.
- 5359 miles.
- Runs/stops fantastic and everything works as it should.
- All original (I have the original exhaust as you can see in the pics). However, I do not have the original owners manual, toolkit or passenger seat cover.
- Tires have approximately 400 miles on them.
- Never been down plastics are just about perfect, the only blemishes are a small nick on right side of tank, a scuff on top triple clamp and some blemishes on the front wheel paint (I have pointed these out in pics and the video attached to the auction).
What's this 1st year Blade killer worth? Well the R1 is still being offered by Yamaha so having one isn't going to wow anyone at bike night. Also I don't know the extent of the difference between the first year and later editions, from what I have read its fairly small but parts would need to be factored in to any decision.
To be honest, I really think this one is going to appeal most to collectors of first year bikes and I have to admit I would love to see it take up residence next to a first year red/blue CBR 900RR. It's significance, low mileage and condition will probably command a price a bit above its current $3,950 USD price (reserve not met), my personal target would be slightly under $5,ooo USD for this one. We are unlikely to see one like this again for quite some time so if its on your list, better act fast (pun intended).