Posts by Category: Yamaha

Bimota April 16, 2017 posted by

The Joy of SRX: 1987 Yamaha SRX250

Today we find a fun rare model that is - for once on RSBFS - totally affordable. The Yamaha SRX series included multiple displacements, although in the US we only received the XT-derived 250cc model and the XT-based 250cc machine. Home markets also included a 400cc variant. Based around a nimble, single cylinder air-cooled engine, the SRX models were extremely narrow and light, focusing on nimble handling and flick-ability rather than oodles of HP and straight line speed. The design was neo-British old school, and the overall package was unique and usable. Unfortunately for Yamaha, these were not great sellers, and the US models were limited to only a few editions over the 12-year global run. The 250 suffered the worst fate; a single year availability in the US over a 2-year model span. Then it was gone like it was never there at all....

1987 Yamaha SRX250 for sale on eBay

From the seller:
Up for sale is my 1987 Yamaha SRX250. This bike is super rare and only imported the the US for one year. The motorcycle is super clean for being 30 years old. The bike is all stock and runs, drives, stops and idles very well. It has 10,708 miles. The bike is missing the side mirrors. The engine is 249cc with a 6 speed transmission. The engine shares many parts with the Yamaha XT250 enduro which was produced for many years. The tires will need replacing at some point. Inside of the fuel tank is pristine. The bike has a brand new battery. All controls work as they should, turn signals, horn, kill switch, ect....

I have yet to see another one on the road. The bike gets comments everywhere it goes. The bike is a blast to ride and has plenty of power.

The antithesis of the Ninja 250R and as far away from the Honda 250 Rebel as it could get, the SRX250 looked to have carved out its own niche. But the 1980s were not about small displacement bikes, and although attractive and utterly practical, the smallest SRX lost out to lack of interest. It was a practical bike that held the promise of a lot of fun (as much fun as 17 HP will get you), but small displacement and wild introductions of Hurricanes, Ninjas, Turbos and GSX-Rs ultimately buried that fun in a sea of noisy performance.

Today the SRX is a loved model (the 600 version much more so, since we are all capacity bigots). Honda has come closest to recreating the magic with the CBR250, and with a different era upon us is actually moving a fair number of units. The little CBR will never reach the rarity or novelty of the SRX250, but then again a marketing failure is an expensive way to create a future rare model. Check it out here. Sure it's more of a toy than a true canyon tool for many - but it's very rare, very cool, and very, very affordable. What's not to like?

MI

The Joy of SRX:  1987 Yamaha SRX250
Yamaha April 10, 2017 posted by

Race Developed – 1985 Yamaha RZ500

Developed to capitalize on a 500cc GP championship, the RZ500 promised the world and then delivered.  For all its street equipment, it was a close to a Grand Prix machine as a generation would get.  Thanks to careful updates and maintenance, a new generation might now experience this 500cc machine with liter-bike power.

1985 RZ500 for sale on eBay

The RZ500 was known abroad as the RD500LC, Race Developed Liquid Cooled.  Beside 88 hp on a mid-400 lbs. package, the RZ500 was a technical marvel.  The short list - V4, twin crank, servo-controlled exhaust ports, close ratio cassette transmission, anti-dive forks, horizontal monoshock and alloy swingarm - all things found on Kenny Roberts' YZR500.  The fact that it never was imported to the states has only increased its cachet, and this example has current California title.

More of a survivor than hangar queen, this RZ500 is mostly stock and very sharp for 30-plus years and 13,000 miles.  Carburettors and exhaust have been updated, but oil injection remains as well as un-restored fairings.  The owner says it sports a vanity plate, but the pictures don't divulge.  From the eBay auction:

1985 Yamaha RZ500 original paint, It has 28mm TM carbs and expansion chambers on it runs very good, Oil injection intact and working as it should, All lights work, New chain, New battery, Tires are 80%, The front forks have the normal clear coat going away problem on the anti-dive valves, But you have to remember its 32 years old other than a few spots it is a very nice looking motorcycles also some stress cracks on the fairing lowers nothing that can't be repaired but I decided to leave it alone as it still has the original paint.

Current California registration with personal plate that is very cool, I have stock exhaust and carbs also the air box and original cables and brackets, I have a complete set of rings and some gaskets, Also have at least ten motorcycle magazines with RZ500 articles, Also two sales brochures, I also have at least three sets of brake pads and a couple of brake rotors and some other parts, Yamaha service manual also, The bike has 21,326 kilometers on it a little over 13,000 miles, For sale in the USA only!!!! Always draws attention wherever I ride it.

Some compromises were made to road duty, like the wet clutch and engine's balance shaft.  Period wheel sizing - 18" rear with 16" front, requires care when riding and shopping.  But it's closer overall to the track than the street.  Most of the RZ500's here made their way down from north of the border, though they were exported down Oz way and sold at home.  The road ready condition of this RZ might keep the price out of the stratosphere, but the left coast title, well considered updates and mostly stock presentation should spell a smashing ride for the next owner...

-donn

 

Race Developed – 1985 Yamaha RZ500
Yamaha April 7, 2017 posted by

Silver Fox – 1989 Yamaha FZR 1000

Yamaha's FZR1000 was their flagship from 1987-1995 and named "the bike of the decade" by Cycle World in 1989.  This European import is a second generation machine with the EXUP electronically controlled exhaust collector, but is also in a classy color scheme rarely seen stateside.  The mileage indicates a well-loved FZR, and a couple of foibles and faux pas might keep this superbike on budget.

1989 Yamaha FZR1000 for sale on eBay

Capable of 0-60 mph in under 3 seconds and the 1/4 mile in just over 10, the FZR1000 was a capital-S Superbike.  The 1989 update brought major engine and chassis revisions, the 5-valve 1002cc challenging the quicker-handling GT with 145 hp.  The alloy Deltabox frame carries the engine from the top only, and uses it to increase rigidity.  The formerly 18" rear wheel is now a -17, matching their gyroscopic forces.  With fresh air intakes under the dual headlamps, the fairing works as well as it looks.

The importer but not the original owner, this EXUP fan has brought this example through almost 31,000 miles, and looking pretty swell.  He discusses the limited edition paint in the eBay auction:

The fine silver was offered for one year only and sold in limited numbers, it was never offered in the US.  In the UK the nine digit VIN for '89 started with number 3LG000101.  As can be seen from the listing, this imported motorcycle is number 18 of that year for the UK.  I brought her in as it was always my favorite bike and it took me two years to find one in decent shape.  Attrition over the years has taken its toll on the remaining numbers.  She rides like she's on rails and runs smooth but I noticed when I started her earlier today she may need a carb balance as she coughed slightly. The mirrors are 1994 but I have the originals ( most people used the 94's ).  The screen is a replacement zero gravity in smoke and I have the original.

Reviewed as a fitting 2nd generation, the FZR1000 won quite a few endurance races and was the basis of the truly exotic Bimota YB6.  As too much garage time will do, the carburettors need adjustment, electric petcock repaired, and a rub here or there could be smoothed out.  But the geometric paint scheme will be worth the effort,  the three shades of silver metallic coolly telling about the long haul...

-donn

 

Silver Fox – 1989 Yamaha FZR 1000
Yamaha April 1, 2017 posted by

No Fooling: 1988 Yamaha FZR400

April 1st has often been a day maligned by trickery. Even the hallowed pages of RSBFS have been besmirched by the occasional April Fools Day joke in past years. Not so this year. This year there are FAR too many excellent bikes available to waste time and web space on foolery. For example, 2017 seems to be the year of the FZR400 as evidenced by this fantastic find. This is a two-owner model that looks very clean and has obviously been well-loved. That is always good to see - especially with the Fizzers, as they are all too often raced, modded and generally abused.

1988 Yamaha FZR400 for sale on eBay

With an aluminum Delta Box frame wrapping itself tightly around the rev-happy Genesis inline four, the FZR400 emerged as the sweetest handling machine of the 1980s. Able to carry higher cornering speeds than comparable middleweights (or even open class bikes), the relative lack of power is more than made up for by conservation of forward motion. This is a bike that loves to be ridden, and rewards a smooth, committed rider most of all. The fact that it is also a very forgiving platform makes it all that much more approachable; you will be hard pressed to find negative reviews on this gem from Yamaha.

From the seller:
1988 Yamaha FZR 400. Owned since 2012 (2nd owner). Penske rear shock, Race Tech front suspension upgrades. Very good overall condition, blemishes represented in pictures. Kerker exhaust, Lockhart tank cover, 2009 swingarm, Includes original exhaust, Corbin seat, OEM service manual and many receipts from the original owner.

This particular machine has had some interesting mods. The suspension upgrades are non-destructive and warranted; technology has come a long way in 30 years, and some refresh/upgrades are definitely in order for a bike that has seen some use. Pipes and jetting are common to extract the maximum from what small displacement is available, and the original exhaust is available with the bike (nice!). The Corbin seat is another common mod. The swingarm update is curious; this is normally a cure for the limited tire selections due to the wheel size - but no mention is made of any changes there. Interested buyers might want to find out more. There is nothing inherently negative about this change, but there may be more to the story.

The market remains curiously soft on these smaller machines. In the US, there seems to be a general lack of interest in anything below 750cc. Of course the production numbers don't help the supply/demand equation either, as this was a mass-produced Japanese machine. Still, these hold their value much better than a comparable middleweight (say, a FZR600), and with parts growing scarce we may see an elevation in status for these underrated canyon carvers. Check it out here, and enjoy the glut of FZR400s this year - it may not last!

MI

No Fooling: 1988 Yamaha FZR400
Yamaha March 20, 2017 posted by

Naked Ambition – 2001 Yamaha FZ-1

The Yamaha R1's likeable cousin, the FZ-1 was known as the Fazer offshore.  With its smaller carbs stretching the torque curve, more compliant suspension, and accomodating riding position, the FZ-1 was a bit of a sleeper with 143 hp.  Some of that friendliness has been dyno-tuned out of this example from Michigan, with airbox delete, exhaust and re-jetted carburettors.

2001 Yamaha FZ-1 for sale on eBay

The Fazer model began as 600, but with the R1 right across the showroom, requests for the 998cc four in a plain wrapper became too numerous for Yamaha to ignore.  The FZ takes advantage of the Genesis five-valve heads and EXUP exhaust, which tailors the dimensions of the exhaust collector to engine speed.  Brakes are similar to the R1 but use a larger rear disk in anticipation of a passenger.  Frame mounted fairing is a little bigger than your average bikini, and echoes the R1 beak.

The FZ-1 was only offered in age-appropriate color schemes and this one is basic black with the steel frame in silver-gray.  The owner has deleted the frame-mounted mirrors and the blue anodized covers look good with the levers and brake caliper pucks.  But the stock mirrors will have to go back on unless the new owner picks some bar-ends, which are not part of the deal, as stated in the eBay auction:

Originally a slightly detuned version of the R-1 this is a torque monster. This bike is not detuned. It has a full stage 3 modification from Fast Bikes in Grand Rapids. He now works at Fox and does all the engine tuning and dyno testing. This bike pulled 136 HP at the REAR WHEEL. A huge grin to ride. And comfy enough to ride all day long.
It pulls like a jet from 30 to 110 and I have seen 154 on the speedometer. 
All the original parts go with it. I did think it was a bit plain so put vinyl accents on it. Also the tank bag, soft bags go with it. The soft bags had lousy rain covers so I had some made from Sunbrella waterproof covers.
It has plug covers where the original mirrors were. I have the original mirrors I had trouble seeing behind me with the stockers. So I put very pricey bar end mirrors on it. I am keeping them. All stock parts except the original pipe go with the bike.

The FZ-1 was a good seller, so while rarity wouldn't be in the cards, this unusual level of tuning might be worth looking into.  The FZ-1 reviewed as a real-world R1, and while compromises in the chassis and weight can't be denied, you can hack around town most of the afternoon and still have the energy for a quick jaunt on a back road.  This one has some neat professionally done mods and looks well cared for...

-donn

Naked Ambition – 2001 Yamaha FZ-1
Yamaha March 19, 2017 posted by

Collector Alert: 1998 Yamaha R1 with 4395 miles

1998 Yamaha R1 on ebay

Ahh the Yamaha YZF R1...not just the bike that moved the motorcycle world beyond the legendary Honda CBR900RR/ Fireblade but also the template for pretty much every superbike that followed.   When it was introduced the YZF-R1 changed the expecation of what a street superbike could by packaging a power to weight ratio that had only seen on pure track machines with a bike comfortable enough to use everyday.  It shouldn't be a surprise the R1 was named as "One-Of-The-10-Sportbikes-you-have-to-own!" by Practical Sportbikes in their Oct 2016 issue.   As motorcycling editor Phil West wrote

"In producing the  YZF R1 (Kunihiko) Miwa and his team not only revolutionized sportbike design, they created the template for every superbike to this day."

For anyone unfamiliar with the R1 development history, in 1996 most inside Yamaha believed the market for super-sportbikes was static or decreasing.  Faced with this lack of growth Yamaha decided the only path was to get a bigger share of the market "pie".  Authorization was given to start working on a new superbike with a mandate that it had to position Yamaha for both race and sales success.  This was a tall order given that the competition included the legendary Honda CBR900/Fireblade.

Lead by Kunihiko Miwa, a team of Yamaha engineers undertook the project guided by thee major concepts; make it have the highest power, make it have the lowest weight, and make ii have the most compact dimensions.  The result was a design that shortened the length of the engine by vertically stacking the gearbox (an unheard of feature for a streetbike) and then joined it with a new lightweight frame developed around the concept of ultra-light weight and rider control/ergonomics.  New handlebars/clipons, one piece brakes and even LCD gauges were all incorporated into the design.

Upon its launch in late 1997 the R1 delivered 150ps while weighing only 177kg  (that's 148gbp and 390 pounds in Imperial).  Not only did the R1 dramatically exceeded the performance of the competition, it and reset the bar that had been established by the Honda CBR900RR/Fireblade earlier in the decade, it also seemed like it came from a different planet compared to the Thunderace it was replacing.

This particular R1 is in the first year blue/silver color scheme which seems to have been more popular than the white/red style.  Condition looks to be absolutely pristine and the seller does a very good job with the photos showing the bikes condition.   While service history/details aren't much that is to be expected given the very low mileage.

Here is what the seller has to say:

  • No scratches, only a few pin size marks from road dust
  • Mileage under 5000
  • Original exhaust changed when new, inever used and comes with the bike
  • Original paint, seats, tires and rear bike stand
  • Original books, keys, Bill of sale, copy of MSO, original title, service records and shop manual.
  • Bike has had only 2 collector owners in its 19 year pampered life.   Always stored in Heated and Air Conditioned Collector Garage

So what is this benchmarking blue beauty worth?  The current asking price for this one is at $6995 USD which is kind of high in my opinion but not out of line with what we have seen previously on RSBFS.  While this one is not in the red and white bodywork more currently prized by collectors, it is in amazing shape.  I think a fair price for this one is about $6400, maybe a bit more if the seller throws in fresh rubber or shipping.

One final note - I think is important to recognize that just a few years ago a 1st year Yamaha R1 wasn't high on the list of future classics for most collectors.  Everyone seemed to think it was a great bike, probably the final great sport bike of the 1990's, and yes it dethroned the Honda CBR900RR/Fireblade, but a future classic?  While these same collectors were probably still searching for a Ducati 916SP or Kawasaki Zx7RR or perhaps even a first year CBR900RR/Fireblade, prices for first year R1's were  starting to move up and are now no longer cheap.  The value will probably continue to rise over time so this might be a rare chance to get one before prices get out of reach.

-Marty/Dallaslavowner

Collector Alert:  1998 Yamaha R1 with 4395 miles