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Cherry Fizzer: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

Practical sportbikes like the Yamaha FZR400 generally weren’t babied and pampered, or cherished in the way that seems so common with Italian superbikes: for an FZR400 fan, “to cherish” means to flog mercilessly on a canyon road or tight track, passing bigger bikes around the outside on that skinny 140-section 18″ rear tire… But nice, clean examples still exist, and today’s example has low miles to boot.

The bike followed Yamaha’s formula at the time: an Deltabox frame housing a liquid-cooled inline four, with a six-speed gearbox. It was actually more sophisticated than its bigger 600cc brother, with a frame made from lightweight aluminum, instead of cheaper steel. The engine revved happily to 14,000rpm which isn’t all that unusual today, in a world of 1100cc V4s that can reach similar engine speeds.But the 399cc engine lacked any appreciable power below 5,000rpm and made a claimed 64hp, so extensive use of the shift lever was required to make quick progress. Luckily, that aluminum frame meant claimed weight was just 346lbs dry, so the FZR400 probably still came in under 400lbs with a full tank of gas.

At the time, it was overshadowed a bit by the very exotic V4 Honda NC30, but the FZR400 offered a practical and affordable package, with exemplary handling: many are still used as race and track bikes for riders that believe less is more. In addition to the lower cost, they were actually sold here in the USA new for a while at least, making registration much easier than for some of the other bikes in the 400cc class like the ZXR400, GSX-R400, and aforementioned NC30.

From the original eBay Listing: 1988 Yamaha FZR400 for Sale

1988 FZR400 in excellent running condition with VERY low miles.  I imported about 2 years ago from Japan and rebuilt the carbs with a high quality carb kit about 5 months ago and synced them with the Morgan Carbtune, runs great.  New battery, everything works.  Will need new tires and most likely chain.  Has minor oxidation from the Japan climate but much of it will clean off, some will need repaint.  The body, tank, plastics, seat are excellent original cond.  I prefer to sell it to someone that will actual come see it in person so they know exactly what it is.  I can assist with shipping and know a few shippers.  It has a clear Florida title.  I have it for sale locally and reserve the right to cancel this ad and sell it.  Thank you

With just 2,600 miles on the odometer, this bike is probably one of the lowest-mileage examples on the planet, if that’s your thing. Of course, with an asking price of $6,500 it really should be… It did come from Japan recently, so probably worth it to make sure there will be no problems registering it, if you live someplace with a strict DMV, and as the seller mentions: there is some surface corrosion on some of the metal components, a common issue with bikes stored near large bodies of salt water. Ask me how I know…



  • Japan, the late 80s, early 90s. When I was a stupid teenager, we used to take those 250s and 400s to mountain roads and had a lot of dangerous stupid fun. Most guys had a slightly older, used bikes, but some better-off dudes had brand new machines like this. I’m almost 50 now, and honestly I just cannot believe what we used to do. I crashed a few times like everyone else but generally escaped any serious injury, but there was a guy in our group who crashed one of those FZR400 EXUP, the exact same year, the same color, he broke bunch of bones in his body. He recovered, but took him a long while. There was another crazy dude who rode CBR400RR with freakin’ slick tires. Saw him a few times on “our” road, then I saw his mangled CBR at the local bike shop. Those bikes just bring back memories.

  • Okay Tad, I will.
    How do you know?

    • I live in southern California, a block from the beach, and all of the cheap metal brackets on my bikes have gotten white oxidation fuzz on them, the exact same type you see on these old JDM sportbikes. It’s… not really a very good story.

  • Just bought the 1990 in LA w/ 12K miles this week for $5K. Not sure 2.6K miles (as a plus) and a Japanese import (as a minus for many stage reg) is worth the extra 30%. Price guides put these at $4,100 or so.

    • Agreed. Unless it’s museum quality or something. 12k miles seems pretty damn low and if the cosmetic condition is good… Personally, I prefer the red/white speedblock graphics anyway, but that could just be my fascination for the TZR250 3MA showing.

  • Yeah well, you tried.
    You could have dressed it up a little . . .
    Who’d know?

    • Sorry man, I’m usually pretty good about spinning yarns. The follow up is that I pulled the footpeg brackets on my Triumph Daytona, scuffed them up with some fine sandpaper, and hit them with some satin black paint. They don’t exactly match the frame paint [it’s this odd, dark slate grey color] but they still look pretty good. The Monster will be a lot more work though…

  • This is interesting in how different it is from the US spec bikes for 1988. The frame, cowl, cowl air intakes, tank ( metal not plastic cover?), and especially the rear swingarm, are all unique to the jdm model. That braced swingarm is really nice and while heavier than the stock US box setup, it is way stiffer and stronger. I have a stock US spec bike but it has that swingarm and the GSXR 17” rear wheel conversion.

  • And don’t forget the front brake calipers. We did not see those until the 1990 model year. Yep, the JDM bikes were always better even for the lowly yamaha which I think was usually outclassed by the other 400s.

    The 600cc bikes we got here always were 2/3 the tech in the jdm 400s. I like small bikes but always wonder where they might have ended up these days if it had remained the standard class in Japan…

  • Yes, dual versus single pot. I also have a 1992 fzr400rr, which to your point, is where the 400 went with development. On that bike I think just the motor is the same. It’s more like a US spec fzr1000 in all other ways besides the motor.

  • I have yet to see a braced swingarm on any FZR 400 no matter the year model JDM or US.
    That has to be a special aftermarket piece.

  • Fzr400 3en is the model it came on. Not sure what market.

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