Yamaha's YZF1000 wasn't a big seller, and was available in the US for only one year, making this an extremely rare bike here. Five valves, five gears, and 1003cc's should tell you pretty much all you need to know about this bike. Known as the "Thunderace" in many markets, the big YZF was a strange mix of high and low tech: it used Yamaha's sophisticated five-valve inline four mated to a five-speed transmission. But the engine's wide powerband means you really don't need that sixth cog anyway.
This was really more a bike in the spirit of Kawasaki's ZX-11 than one of today's highly-strung, just barely under 1000cc machines. 147hp is still nothing to sneeze at today, especially when combined with a claimed 435lbs dry weight, and older literbikes like this were built for fast, two-up traveling, with midrange power undreamed of by today's screaming twins and fours.
And if those brakes look like they've been fitted fitted from a later R1, you'd be partly correct: the Thunderace was famous for its excellent brakes and was the first model to feature the one-piece, four-piston "blue spot" calipers that were later used on the R1.
This bike looks to be in excellent, well-maintained shape, considering its age. From the original eBay listing: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale
This model, Yamaha YZF1000R in USA for one year only, 1997. Last all purpose supersport (not RR) with carbs. 198 kg (437 lbs) dry. Genesis 5-valve motor145 hp (133rw hp), forged (not cast) pistons, drag coefficient .29, forged aluminum rims, steering damper. Frame is 5kg less than YZF 750R, hence equivalent dry weight w/20+hp advantage and more robust 5spd transmission carried on from FZR 1000. Runs, shifts, handles as new. New tires, brake pads, battery, chain, filters, all fluids. Billet aluminum swingarm, smoked windshield. Always kept in dry garage under cover.
Extremely well kept overall, but for one repairable chip on upper left fairing, and one very small (1.25") stress crack on right lower fairing. Chip shows on photo, crack too small to easily show here. Small chip at rear of white fiberglass cowling cap also too small to easily show. D&D carbon fiber exhaust as new with original aluminum exhaust nearly mint condition. Flush mounted front signals with originals included and shown.
From MC Review (see masterfairings.com blog): "The last breed of the classic old school superbikes that Yamaha aimed to produce on an international level ... it's just overall a brilliant bike."
In a December 1996 Car & Driver Magazine comparison test of Yamaha YZF1000R with Dodge Viper the bike won all acceleration tests, top gear roll on, etc., but greasy dusty track at Willow Springs favored Viper until its motor blew and it DNF.
Scarcity and and content quality make this one a collectible low cost supersport ride. Bike is beautiful, fast and comfortable, but not for beginner.
It's not in perfectly original condition, although the seller does have the original exhaust can and turn signals if you'd prefer a dead-stock look. That clutch lever does look a bit bent, but that could be the result of a simple tip-over, something to be expected in a bike of this age.
The simple white-and-red panels on this bike have aged extremely well and give it a more sophisticated style that stand out in a sea of wild, paint-splash neon zebra designs that were popular during the 1990's. All-in-all, with just 17,000 miles on the clock and $3,400 Buy It Now price, this represents a killer deal for sportbike fans on a budget.