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Sport Bikes For Sale posted by

1st Beyond the Blade: 1998 Yamaha YZF-R1, unit #79


This post is in our archives. Links in this post have been updated to point to similar bikes available to bid on eBay.

“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.


1998 Yamaha YZF R1 on ebay US

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).



  • Had the same bike back in 2001,saved $$$ for 1 year and puchased one from a local buy, had a full Yoshimura exhaust and jetted, at that time the bike was above anything else on the market, still think is a timeless design and would always look great, very fast bike,very fast ,i miss mine ,might keep an eye on this one,

  • Man what a pretty bike. I always preferred the Blue, but the original R1’s were really spectacular when they arrived.

    More critically, this bike, spawning the R series) marked Yamaha’s return as a premier performance brand after a long hiatus with the FZR and later YZF/Thunderace series. With the loss of Rainey and the notable exception of the TZ250, the 90s were really a dry spell for yamaha in terms of performance credibility. Since this bike, Yamaha has virtually turned the tables, now viewed above even Honda as the chief performance alternative to more expensive Euro kit.

  • Wow!

    Super nice.

    New owner should be very happy with it.

    One of my all time favs.


  • for some reason these never floated my boat. id much rather have a first gen cbr900rr even though this would clearly leave it for dead with similarly skilled riders on board

  • $5,500 for an R1 and reserve not met? Lol methinks the sellers expectations might be a little lofty. I’m shocked it even bid up to $5,500

  • if he were smart to prevent “fishing” for the reserve he could just set it lower…

  • eBay shows Sold for $5,700. Congratulations to buyer and seller!


  • Well I am evidently dumb and have high expectations and yet the bike still sold for what I was hoping to at least get. Imagine that. Thanks RSBFS for featuring the bike; always nice.

  • I am the happy new owner of this beautiful R1. It will get parked next to my cbr900rr! Always wanted an original white/red R1. Next move is getting that zx7r to park on the other side. Than maybe an ’89 slingshot! Thanks Russ! Thanks RSBFS for bring this all together.

    • Congrats Scott. Gorgeous R1, always was and will be my favorite year and color. I remember when Yamaha launched the R1 when I was working for Triumph. I looked back at the Daytona T595 and said, well looks like this is old news now haha. There was a line a mile long just to sit on the R1 at the IMS show. Glad its going to another good home.

    • Ahhhh….. What a great bike you got and I was watching it too.. Love those red ones. Congratulations, you’ll love it and sounds like it went to the right guy.

  • Bought a first gen CBR 900, you could pretty much cram it in 2nd gear and throw the shift lever in a dumpster… until the R1. New ballgame, with the foresight and experience of GP winnings that the folks at Yamaha had, not to shit on Erv, or the rest of the HRC boys (NSR 500’s) A hell yeah for Yamaha! I would be proud to be caught dead with either. Now back to the Guzzi/BMW/Bimota shit show…

  • Well, the buyer and seller are clearly happy with this deal…but they can’t be, because “shad” tells us the reserve was set wrong and R1’s didn’t float his boat! LOL!

  • its amusing when people try and pick fights on the internet. ah well at least it gives hwould something to fixate on

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