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Exotic Yammie: 1989 FZR750R OW01 in New Zealand

Update 12.30.2014: This OW01 is back on eBay with a buy-it-now of $20k. If you missed it the first time, this is a very reasonable buy! -dc

Because the specs and overall silhouette for the Yamaha FZR750R are misleadingly similar to the regular FZR750 and don’t feature an exotic engine configuration like the Honda’s RC30’s gear-driven V4, it might be easy to overlook the OW01 as simply a warmed-over FZR. But it’s every bit as exotic as its rivals, boasting pure racing guts and high-spec bits throughout.

1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 L Side

In fact, with only 500 made between 1989 and 1991, it’s fair to say that the OW01 is even more rare and desirable than the RC30, although it was not nearly successful in racing as the Honda.

1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 Frame Plate

Because while it might look like a fairly standard FZR, everything about the OW01 is “bespoke”: castings of magnesium, internals of titanium, bore x stroke not shared with any other production Yamaha, flat-slide carbs to fed fuel, and even the frame, while looking stock, was made from higher-quality aluminum. The bike featured Yamaha’s signature five-valve heads and midrange-fattening EXUP valve that gave the motor a surprisingly street-friendly drivability, assuming you kept in mind that the flat-slide carbs couldn’t just be whacked open at low revs…

1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 Rear Wheel

From the original eBay listing: 1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01

The OW01 was Yamaha’s answer to the Honda VFR750R RC30 and is much rarer and exotic. When launched for 1989 in the UK the OW01 cost a staggering £12,700, more than twice as much as an FZR1000, with the optional race kit adding £2,415 to the price. Just 197 made their way to the UK, and only 88 were road registered, many of which went straight into collections. By way of comparison, the Honda RC30 cost £8,499 but its race kit was considerably more extensive and expensive. (Yamaha included much more race-orientated trickery as standard, hence the difference). To put all that into perspective, the 2014 list price of a Yamaha YZF-R1 superbike is just £12,399 .

We bought this example in Tokyo and it is frame #648. It is in excellent condition and has travelled just 4,700 miles or 7,600 kilometers. The OW01 is super collectible, we have another example on display in our Auckland showroom which has travelled just 2,800 kilometers. The OW01 is better than stocks or money in the bank we think.

1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 Tank

The 119hp output seems pretty lukewarm by today’s standards, but this was state-of-the-art in 1989, a barely-tamed animal for the road that existed only to enable Yamaha’s World Superbike racing efforts, although the EXUP valve did make it reasonably usable on the street. Just keep in mind: like most homologation specials, these require much more maintenance to keep them running than the everyday FZR on which it was based.

1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 Dash

It is designed for the track, although tragically, most have ended up in living rooms. They didn’t have the winning record of Honda’s RC30, but sheer rarity and exotic specifications make this a blue-chip collectable of the first order. Bidding is up to $15,000 US with just one day to go. Keep in mind that this bike is in New Zealand if you’re looking to bid!


1989 Yamaha FZR750R OW01 Shock


  • I doubt it is in New Zealand yet. All the pics appear to be from the auction 2 weeks ago. Nice bike though, would love to have it shipped straight to me in Australia if I had the $$$$$.

  • Any details on the seller?

  • This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available. If an RSBFS reader got it, tell us about it! Are you in NZ? Did you check it out in person yet? Are you going to ride it or keep it for display only?

    • Hi, we sold this bike out of warehouse in Japan to a New Zealand buyer just a few days after listing it. We have another 2000 mile example available if anyone is interested and also a 1995 YZF750 SP. Rob (Carbon Garage)

  • International flip?

  • “”The OW01 is better than stocks or money in the bank we think.”

    So what do these import businesses do with the profits from the sale of these “investment motorbikes”………the ones I know invest it into real estate and/or the sharemarket.

  • Interested in the FZR OW01 if it’s still available?

  • Exotic bits for normal 750 price.

    The forks are unique, the brake calipers (well to Yamaha, they are 90mm spaced magnesium jobs) Alloy tank, light weight axle, captive spacers – special bits in the engine… even has unique OWo1 specific wheels. That weigh a bloody tonne. I never did understand that. Considering the time and engineering and bespoke nature of so many pieces they didn’t toss on a pair of light wheels.

    The upside of the ‘parts bin’ nature of Yamaha means that many of the complete sub-systems from the OW01 can be used on other Yamaha chassis.

    I have an OW01 front end (minus lead wheel) on my TZ250/RZ500 784cc hybrid.

    These OW01s are still common enough in Japan (for now) that they regularly get parted out on Yahoo Auctions. So it is refreshing to see a complete one get sold for a change.

  • p.s. The price paid is more than double the price of the last few that sold locally in Japan in Oct and Nov 2014 – it looks like the cat is out of the bag with regard to cheap OW01s in Japan then.

  • RC-30 vs owo-1?…. Side by side comparisons… I could never decide which one I liked best. The solution buy both…

    Pie Face. Funny some investment brokers I know do just the opposite… They buy bikes with their profits from their other businesses.. goes both ways I would say.

  • From my experience,and I know half a dozen personally,none of them put the profits they make from flipping bikes back into buying bikes for themselves. That would be like a gold miner cashing in his gold and buying someone elses gold to put away for “investment”. It may happen someplace,somewhere,but it’s not the norm.

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