Posts by tag: thundercat

Yamaha July 8, 2019 posted by

Grace, Space, and Pace: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace for Sale

I co-opted Jaguar’s old motto for that headline, but it does seem to apply to the short-lived Yamaha YZF1000. Known in some markets as the “Thunderace,” the YZF1000 was quickly superseded by the class-breaking R1, but it was an open-class motorcycle in the GSX-R1100 and ZX-11 mold, offering handling, reasonable comfort, and real-world performance. Weight and power figures aren’t attention-grabbing by today’s standards, but these days you can pick up this handsome and versatile motorcycle for very little cash.

The “Genesis” inline four engine had Yamaha’s distinctive, forward-canted design and an odd 1002cc displacement. It was packed with their signature performance-enhancing technology, including five-valve heads and an EXUP Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve that helped with midrange performance. Pretty much every modern sportbike has some kind of exhaust valve now, but Yamaha were the first to apply the concept to four-stroke engines. The package was good for 145hp and 164mph, which is plenty fast for any roadbike, unless your weekends involve illicit drag races top-gear roll-ons against modern superbikes with extended-swingarms and nitrous on deserted stretches of freeway…

As with some other open-class sportbikes of the era, the “Thunderace” had a five-speed gearbox, since the engine had an ample spread of torque, but the six-speed from a YZF750R apparently will fit into the cases. So you can always bolt that in, if you happen to have one lying around. An updated Deltabox frame from the YZF750R was wrapped around the engine and gearbox, and the Thunderace saw one of the first applications of Yamaha’s famous “blue-spot” calipers that saw use on the original R1.

Today’s example is exceptionally clean, even considering the low miles. As the seller indicates, there are a couple of very minor flaws in the bodywork, but that can be easily overlooked if you just plan to ride it, or corrected if you plan to squirrel it away deep underground in your private, climate-controlled collection.

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace for Sale

1997 Yamaha YZF1000R “Thunderace” 1003cc motorcycle with 8,980 original 2-owner miles with all original plastics and paint. I purchased from the original owner in early 2018. The YZF1000R was last year Yamaha used its bulletproof FZR1000 EXUP engine, stuffing it into a 600cc superbike frame – and this bike was only imported to the U.S. for one year (sold in Europe from 1996-2003). The YZF1000R is the bridge between the FZR1000 and R1 models. 

Perfect addition for ANY collection or to ride for the next 100k miles if you’d like. This bike starts/runs like a sewing machine, dives into corners like a champion, stops on an absolute dime, and rides/feels/looks like a nearly new bike. Maintains operating temperature as she should, pulling hard toward to redline from any RPM and in any gear. The only non-original item I can find on this bike are the installed Helibars, which have completely improved the riding position.

Bike was recently serviced by a former Yamaha mechanic and FZR/YZF1000R expert. New fork seals and oil, carbs cleaned and tuned/adjusted, new spark plugs, EXUP valve serviced, new valve cover gasket, new thermostat, o-ring and coolant. Also, installed new NOS cleaner element, rebuilt clutch using only OEM Yamaha frictions, springs and clutch springs, new OEM Yamaha front and rear brake pads, new OEM Yamaha oil filter, new OEM Yamaha fuel tank petcock (under tank), fresh oil, coolant, brake and clutch fluid. New NOS radiator cap installed, new NOS windscreen recently installed. Tires are nearly new with less than 800 easy miles on them. I’d estimate with the shop rates and parts costs, I’ve got $2000.00+ in the bike over the past year. With that said, she needs nothing else mechanically done to her.

Zero issues with this bike (e.g., does not pop out of gear on hard acceleration, strong clutch lever and grip, does not use or drip oil, etc.). Cooling fan come up when bike reaches proper temperature; she does not overheat in the Texas summers. Has only been fed non-ethanol fuel for the past year + Sta-bill additive = zero carb. issues (I don’t run ethanol-blended fuel in either of my bikes). Two original ignition keys come with the bike.

Winner of the bike will get all the original paperwork from the original owner, including the original sales invoice and other documents. Incredible documented history!

The only cosmetic flaws (see photos) came from shipping the bike. Note the left cowl where it meets the fairing is cracked (repaired inside the cowl – repair is not visible), note the cowl is cracked under/behind the LH mirror, note the fuel tank has a small ding in the top. Also note the original exhaust can has a dent underneath/to the outside (photographed) and scome scratching near the head pipe where your RH boot would be.  

The seller also includes additional pictures here, and a video of the bike running here, along with a video of Richard Hammond’s review. With a starting bid of $4,500 I think the seller might be aiming a bit high with this one, in spite of the low miles and condition. The Thunderace was a bit of a lame-duck bike for Yamaha: with the class-redefining R1 on the horizon, the YZF was soon very obsolete and the bike was only in production a short while, especially here in the US where it was only available for one year. That makes them pretty rare, but rarity doesn’t always equal value. Personally, I really like them, but I think the seller is overestimating its value at the moment.

-tad

Grace, Space, and Pace: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 Thunderace for Sale
Yamaha August 22, 2017 posted by

Rolling Thunderace: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale

It’s pretty common for cars in the USA to get evocative names like “Cougar” and “Charger” or components with nonsensical, but cool-sounding names like “Vortec” or “Jetfire.” In the motorcycling world, the reverse seems more common, since today’s bike was known as the Yamaha YZF1000 here in the USA while overseas it was the “Thunderace,” big brother to the 600cc “Thundercat.” For me, it’s impossible to even read “Thundercat” without hearing it echo three times in my head, each time with increasing volume, followed by a resounding “HO!”…

The EXUP-equipped, 1003cc, five-valve Genesis inline four engine produced 145hp and 73lb-fts of torque, enough to push the 435lb dry YZF1000 to a top speed of 164mph. Tuned for midrange rather than top-end power, the gearbox made do with just five speeds instead of six. That all may not scream “cutting-edge performance” today, but the potential is there: Bimota used the same package to motivate their YB11 with only minor changes to the tuning, and no one ever complained that it was slow. Brakes on the big YZF were excellent as well and carried over to the later, lighter R1 while the aluminum frame was an evolution of the Deltabox unit found on the YZF750R.

Styling is very clean in either the grey-and-silver seen here or the more traditionally Yamaha red-and-white, both mercifully free of the horrific early 1990s graphics that seemed to afflict every Japanese motorcycle manufacturer. It’s not very exotic-looking, but very simple and handsome, an “adult” sportbike, and one seemingly owned by an adult in this case. Like the GSX-R1100, The Thunderace is a fast road bike or a sports-tourer with the emphasis firmly on the “sport” part of the equation, rather than than track-ready race-replica. It was followed by the YZF-R1 that pretty much rewrote the literbike rules, meaning the Thunderace is mostly forgotten today, although that’s an advantage now, as prices are low, even for examples as nice as this.

From the original eBay listing: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale

It’s time for my YZF1000 to find a new home. Of the 40-some bikes that I have owned over my lifetime this has been one of my all-time favorites. The decision to sell her was a tough one to make and I held out until now, but the time has come.

The YZF1000, or Thunderace as it’s known in Europe, is a true classic that was only available in the US for one year. If you’ve found this auction you probably know what these bikes are all about and that the YZF1000RJ earned Sportbike of the Year honors in ’97.This Ace is mechanic owned and in excellent condition.  It has never been crashed, dropped or abused and has been meticulously maintained.There are lots of extras on this bike that really make this one unique Thunderace, including some Over Racing Project parts straight from Japan.

Here is a list of the extra goodies:
• Ohlins rear shock
• Over Racing Project upper triple clamp
• Over Racing Project billet aluminum countershaft cover
• Over Racing Project floating rear brake assembly
• Custom made frame sliders
• Factory shift kit
• Lockhart-Phillips bar-end sliders
• Hand-made Goodridge -2 stainless steel brake lines
• Eurotail rear fender eliminator kit
• Lockhart-Philips carbon fiber tank protector
• Lockhart-Phillps carbon fiber dash cover
• 530 gearing conversion (from 532) with DID X-ring chain/ Pro-Tek sprockets

This is one nice bike with lots of extras. I took a lot of time and enjoyment in getting this bike perfectly set-up and balanced for about any riding scenario. Sport touring, commuting or carving up the back roads, this Ace will pleasantly surprise you! I also have the original factory service manual that will go along with the bike. I’ll even include the matching set of Tour Master luggage that you see pictured in the one photo. Whoever gets this bike going to be extremely happy.

This bike will be available for free local pick up. Any shipping arrangements and expenses are the buyer’s responsibility, but I will make myself available for whatever is arranged.

If you have any questions feel free to ask, I’m always happy to answer. The starting price is well below NADA value ($5,445) as is the reserve and BIN. I have maintained 100% positive feedback since joining eBay nearly 18 years ago, so bid with confidence! I’m a motivated seller, so all reasonable offers will be considered. Additional pictures are available upon request. As always, Good Luck and Happy Bidding!!

PS: Some of you local to the Akron/Canton (OH) area may even know this bike. Back in the day I used to ride it to work at Ohio Superbike Racing.

In general, liter-sized sportbikes from the Japanese Big Four aren’t especially rare here in the USA, although it can be very hard to find nice, clean, original examples. But the YZF wasn’t common at all here even when new and, as mentioned by the seller, was available for only one year. Honestly, I think I’ve seen more YZF-powered Bimotas than I’ve seen YZFs for sale in the past couple years! Mileage is extremely low considering the age and practicality of this beast: the seller even has one pic of the bike fitted with touring luggage! This example also includes a couple bits of Over Racing bling and some other tasteful and practical upgrades. There’s very little time left on the auction, with the Reserve unsurprisingly Not Met with just a few hours left to go. Hopefully, someone will snap this one up and give it a good thrashing… I mean, home!

-tad

Rolling Thunderace: 1997 Yamaha YZF1000 for Sale
Bimota April 21, 2017 posted by

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

This is the first Bimota YB9SR I can remember seeing for sale and the seller unfortunately includes very little information, although the photos are of decent quality. The one detail you might want to keep in mind? The $5,500 asking price which, assuming the bike is mechanically sound, makes it an absolute steal. You probably won’t find the YB9 on a short list of classic Bimotas, but bascially every Bimota is rare, fast, and collectible, although “fast” might be pushing things a bit here. The “9” has nothing to do with the bike’s displacement and simply indicates that it’s the ninth Bimota powered by a Yamaha engine. It’s a bit down on power compared to its stablemates the SB6 and the YB11, which feature the GSX-R1100 and YZF1000R “Thunderace,” respectively, since the YB9 actually uses the liquid-cooled inline four and transmission from the YZF600R “Thundercat” [Ho!] with around 100hp and it even uses that bike’s stock gauge cluster, nestled in between the carbon air-intake tubes.

Bimota obviously made its reputation wrapping lightweight frames and sexy bodywork around reliable powerplants from Japan, sexy powerplants from Ducati, and even the occasional German powerplant from BMW… Their early offerings used tube-style frames like the Verlicchi part from yesterday’s Ducati 750 F1, but by the 1990s they’d moved on to aluminum beam frames as seen here. Access on some beam-frame models for maintenance and repair can be a bit iffy: the massive-looking part used on the SB6 and SB6R is designed to connect the steering head and swingarm pivot directly, but makes access to some parts difficult, like the front sprocket that supposedly requires the engine to be dropped when it needs changing… I’ve heard no such complaints about the YB11 that uses a very similar frame to the one seen here, which makes a certain amount of sense considering the fact that both use Yamaha engines.

This appears to be the carbureted SR model, not the fuel-injected SRi introduced in 1996: the metal knob at the top of the triple clamp looks like it could be the choke. That’s probably no bad thing, as the fuel injection system was exclusive to the Bimota and will probably make maintaining the bike more problematic: with just 651 YB9s built, anything exclusive to the model might be tricky to source. The system did add a few claimed ponies but, like all Bimotas of the period, reviews of the fueling “improvements” varied a bit and I’ve read both rants and raves. And as easy as it should be to maintain the YZF600 engine and transmission, be aware that bits and seals for those forks and the Paioli rear shock might not be so easy and the bodywork… Let’s just say if it were mine, I’d be regularly trolling eBay for panels “just in case.”

From the original Craigslist post: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale

2,653 original miles. 2nd owner. All stock, 1 of 3 imported to the US. Email for more info. Available April 19-26 only.

So the listing contains very little information, but mileage is extremely low, and it looks to be in pristine condition from the few photos provided. And the price? A screaming deal at $5,500. I’m under the impression that the seller needs to sell quickly, which might explain a price more in line with a decent used 600cc supersport. Of course the YB9’s 600cc engine means a modern 600cc supersport would probably destroy it in any straight-line competition, but handling should still be impressive. Maintenance should be affordable, but bodywork might be very difficult to obtain if you push a bit too hard… I’m not the biggest fan of the yellow color with blue graphics, but this is a great-looking bike and possibly the cheapest way to get into Bimota ownership outside the questionably-styled Mantra.

-tad

Screaming Deal: 1996 Bimota YB9SR for Sale