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Yamaha posted by

Yamaha Thunderace Market Update


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

After spotting the Yamaha YZF1000R for sale right here in town, I got curious about how rare this model is today. Turns out, I can’t find many available to evaluate! The few I spotted were actually outdated ads that had sold already. Most were a bit cheaper, but not by a great deal.

Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace

I guess what makes me believe that I could even contemplate a bike like this is that I have a very vivid recollection of riding shotgun back in college on my buddy Jay Johansen’s CBR1000F. While it was exhilarating, it certainly didn’t seem like the crazy, uncontrollable power that the CBR’s 135hp would suggest. Although this could be due to the additional weight: the CBR1000F weighs in at over 500 pounds, while the Yamaha tips the scale at 430 pounds. And the Thunderace certainly has more sporting intentions with more aggressive stance, bodywork, and another 10hp. But in conservative hands, surely it couldn’t be too much right? Maybe it is. Here’s a quote from Nigel Wines writing for Motorcycle.com on the YZF1000R:

The YZF1000 is a bike that only skilled, competent, experienced riders can enjoy — anything less, and you’ll just scare yourself silly. Or worse. If you haven’t got experience on big bikes and raced a bit, go for something else.

Well that pretty much rules me out as I’m only qualified to drive Miss Daisy compared to most sport riders. Or maybe that ride 15 years ago, when I was pretty young and naive, was faster than I recall.

Even though the motor is a bit outdated in this bike, basically lifted from the FZR1000, it is a 5 valve per cylinder, EXUP equipped, Yamaha motor. And damn they’re sharp looking motorcycles. I’ve been right-clicking-save-as like a madman on these articles!



Yamaha Thunderace Promo Video:



  • Never ridden one. I’ve always liked them. Never once lusted after one though. I had an acquaintance who owned one he outfitted with who knows how much $$$ in titanium hardware. He was a real aficionado and always had the best of the best (including an RC30). So it says something to me that he owned one of these. This would have been back in ’98 or so though.

    I recall the press raving a lot when it came out in ’97. It’s ironic that a bike most said was exceptional ends up being a one-year bike in the US. Its single year of US importation is an interesting characteristic–but mostly I see it as a drawback. Other than aiding collector value and being a conversation topic, what’s good about being a single year bike? All I can think of are bad things. From what I’ve read it was produced all the way until 2003 [shrug]. But I gotta wonder how many where sold after ’97 when the R1 was an option. Regardless, for those in the US it’s a one year bike.

    For me, the ’97 YZF1000R looks like a turning point for Yamaha and sportbikes in general. The R1 that replaced the YZF in the US model lineup was practically revolutionary. Suddenly the days of YZF1000R’s and the like being the baddest bike on the block were gone. The R1 was the new king (certainly in Yamaha’s lineup). The YZF kinda gets lost in there somehow. As good as it might be, it is clearly the last iteration of a generation gone by. I’m not sure I like the feeling that leaves me with.

    None of that takes away from its intrinsic value as a very good motorcycle (I assume it to be). But if I’m shopping for a bike and find a YZF1000R, I’m gonna ask myself why I want a heavily revised FZR1000 that Yamaha FINELY got light enough and modern enough to compete (and maybe even beat, maybe) the likes of a CBR900RR. That’s kind of my attitude towards the YZF1000R.


  • That’s an important point that I didn’t really touch on, the one year only for the U.S. with the Thunderace. Thanks as always for your great addition to the blog!


  • Comment when you have ridden a Thunderace!!.

    Never mind the import duration. ‘GET ONE’.

    Mine goes like stink, and is the best superbike for real people. Goes on forever, handles superb, cheap to run, and is.. and will be… the dogs B****.

  • Your spot on there Pat. I’ve had mine since 2000, I’ll never sell it either. It soaks up the bumps on our shit Aussie roads brilliantly, I haven’t had the need for a steering damper either. It goes like the clappers, and although I’ve read otherwise, my Thunderace has never required a top up of oil in it’s 46,000km lifetime.
    Compared to the R1, the Ace soaks up bumps better, it’s a lot rarer (who wants to be a sheep), and is only a smidge behind the R1 in all other areas.
    Love corners…

  • I had one for about a year. I loved it and stupidly sold it cause of money issues. the power was great, im 6’2 abd fits great, very comfy with the corbin seat.

  • I just bought a 97″ thunder ace thats naked but it hauls and so far I like it but will make it look good as my winter project, I need a driver seat though any Ideas?

  • I would set up a reminder on eBay for when one comes up. Keep an eye on Craigslist too.


  • Thanks, yea I found one on eBay!

  • A thunderace was my first liter bike. I wish I never sold it. it was the smoothest riding bike I owned.

  • I upgraded to this bike from a GPZ400R and all i can say is that its a really easy bike to ride for its engine size, extremely fast, a bit thursty about 6-7.5 lp 100 at betwen 110 – 130 kph betwen bundaberg and dalby, after 200k’s of continueis riding i get a sore butt, but then again this is no FJ1200 Tourer. The Ace has covered 93000 k’s so far and the only problem ive had is a rattly exup valve. I will definitly keep this bike and rebuild in the future if necessery.

  • I agree, this is an awesome bike. Unfortunately I’ve outgrown my sport bike phase and mine is currently up for sale:


  • i have one black/grey very sexy has d&d pipe,28000 miles, smoke windshield new michelin pilots,leather tank cover and its for sale txt for info or pics 9158200612 or price lol
    very clean ¡!

  • Another retread bites the dust – I’m too old to keep riding my black/grey ’97 Ace and sadly it’s now for sale. I would never sell it if I could still ride. Typical upgrades and aftermarket bits, 24K miles, polished wheels and swingarm, Corbin and stock seats, etc. and it’s yours for a song…and $2,700.00. Gilbert, Arizona. 6023610045

  • I have a 1997 Thunderace 1000 for sale here in the states. it is in spotless condition with only 16000 miles on it. I have put an aftermarket D&D exhaust but kept the original one. New brakes and tires and a tinted windscreen. Im having no luck selling it here due to the fact no one has every heard of it and they feel that being a 1997 it is too old. But i have seen and read multiple forums of gentleman over seas in the UK, Austrailia, and other places that love these bikes and figured id give it a shot. If anyone would like to purchase it or knows someone who does please email me at angelo_pampena@yahoo.com. I have numerous pictures for serious inquires. Thanks.

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