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Yamaha posted by

Proof of Concept – 1990 Yamaha OW 01


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

Shortly after the Superbike World Championship opened in 1988, manufacturers were compelled to prove their production bikes were up to the task, by providing comparable bikes to the marketplace.  Numbers of bikes homologated depended on the size of the manufacturer.  Though it did not result in a championship, Yamaha provided the OW 01 to the fray in 1989 and 1990, and in the process created a very memorable street machine.

20150805 1990 yamaha ow 01 left

1990 Yamaha OW 01 ( FZR 750 R ) for sale on eBay

20150805 1990 yamaha ow 01 right

Built to compete with the YB4 and RC30, and the eventual championship winning Ducati 851, the OW 01 was a thinly disguised racer.  A 749cc carburetted straight four delivering over 120hp can hardly be otherwise.  The 5-valve OW 01 was reputed to be quite rideable, thanks to EXUP, the automatic exhaust port valve.  The aluminum perimeter frame was not an innovation but this lightweight DeltaBox was , with similar fabricated swingarm.  Large for the day, 43mm forks are fully adjustable, as is the Ohlins rear shock.  Braking handled by 280mm front disks and 177mm rear.

20150805 1990 yamaha ow 01 cockpit

20150805 1990 yamaha ow 01 front

Not without its blemishes, this OW 01 looks good for its 34,000 kms.  From the eBay auction:

One of only 500 produced this bike has never been raced. dry stored for the last 7 years, running and riding perfect before storage
has the stock exhaust and muffler which is in mint condition,
has 34,000 kilometers (20,000miles)
top end was done using yamaha parts and i have the receipts
comes with the owners manual and pouch
original toolkit, missing one small socket
as you can see in the pics there are 2 chips in the paint beside the headlight and under the headlight area there are stress cracks in the paint.

20150805 1990 yamaha ow 01 binnacle

A higher mileage OW 01, this machine might be a restoration candidate, maybe after some serious rides.  The steep price when introduced speaks volumes about the development dollars and potential in each machine.  OW 01’s are available as perfect restorations or patina-ed racers, this one could be great to take in either direction…



  • why hasnt the seller fired it up after taking it out of storage or tried at least

  • How does importing a grey bike work. If the owner were to ride it across the border and I pick up the bike from there, what government functionary will seek me out and how would they find out about that. Would not going anywhere near a DMV help. I live in Texas so using this as a road bike is a joke. Track day maybe. Canyon carver? no, big fat texas no!

    • It depends. Do you ever want to get a title for it? Bikes 25 years and older get waived through DOT/EPA, so there really is no reason not to import it properly through Customs. It will save you a lot of headaches down the road.

  • Any OW01 experts out there see issues with this one? Except the listed issues & 7 yrs in storage…..and not fired up?


  • I can’t speak to the expert part but I’ve been bidding on it and as much as I would typically shy away from bikes with this many miles, this is such a rare bird that it would be a great restoration. Thing that’s stopping me from getting deep on the bidding is that knick in the frame. I’m sure a really good aluminum shop could probably correct that but I don’t know, frame repair is dicey and definitely scaring me away a bit…

    • To be transparent, I’m bidding too and have the same concern about the frame. This would probably end up being a rider for me, due to miles.

  • Good luck mark, I’m still considering the rc45 that’s expiring soon too so I won’t raise the bids up too much. Would of Mose certainly bought the other w the buy it now if I would of seen the auction in time. Oh well…. Let us know if you win brother!

    • You are free to pursue the OW01… I could not let that RC45 slip away. 🙂

  • gee theres a shocker… ^

  • Upper cowl reminds me of some sort of star wars helmet in shape and coloring.

    April, thanks for the tip. I was not aware of that. Glad to know

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