Words: Jeff Ware
If you’re in the market for a sportsbike and your limit is $5000, you should look closely at a Yamaha YZF750.
Fans of five-valve Yamahas will love this machine.
The YZF750R first appeared in Australia in 1993 and replaced the FZR750 and FZR1000 a year later.
Built to comply with FIM WSBK regulations of the glory 750cc days, the YZF gave owners the opportunity to feel the same as Colin Edwards and Co.
Although the Fireblade stomped the YZF as a balls-out sportsbike, the Yamaha and Kawasaki ZXR were the only pure racebike replicas on the road back then. The Suzuki GSX-R750 had turned into a heavy and uncompetitive machine and the Honda was not eligible.
In almost all magazine comparison tests, the YZF750 beat the Kawasaki. And although it had its own share of problems (aside from the pukey colours), the Yammie, with its short stroke and highest revving (for the day) engine, was the true underdog King of the 750cc sportsbikes and remained so until the GSX-R750 was revamped in 1996.
Peter Pap wanted a lot for his $5000 limit. His bike had to hold value, be an uncommon or even future collectable and stand out from the crowd. With commuting every day across Sydney City, plus weekend sports-riding and the odd track day all also expected of the bike, a Yamaha YZF750R was the best choice.
“I loved the FZR750 when it came out as well as the FZR1000. But when I first saw the YZF back in 1993, with that huge Deltabox frame, I just fell in love with it. The YZF looked like a World Superbike with lights. There was nothing else as aggressive and to this day I think it is one of the best-looking machines ever built.”
Peter found this example by chance when visiting a bike shop in Sydney, “I noticed the bike collecting dust. It had been traded in and was unregistered, but I noticed the originality and low kilometres, so I knew it was good. I made an offer of $2800.00 and to my surprise it was accepted! I’d done the maths and knew I could rejuvenate the bike and register it for another few thousand and it worked out perfectly.”
The bike was washed, and Jeff and Pappy got to work (see last week’s article). In the end Pappy ended up with an amazing motorcycle for under $5000.00 and they are still out there now to be grabbed, if you can find one.
The YZF750 was produced from 1993 to 1998 and came to Australia as the R. There was also an SP version that was very rare in Australia. The bike is generally extremely reliable and has had massive success on the racetrack.
Some problems are well known these days, such as excessive oil consumption (most YZFs need a topping up every 1000km), second gear selection problems, overheating on the 1994/1995 models due to the small radiator and the valve clearances on some examples need doing every 5000km.
The stock YZF750 jetting was way too lean to pass emissions, however, most examples now have either been re-jetted or are richer thanks to slightly worn needles and jets!
There were also some front brake issues and Yamaha re-called the bike to rectify the problem. The rotors used to warp with excessive use and the brake pads were replaced with more rotor-friendly material.
THE FIRST TIME I SAW A YZF750R
It was 1993. I was a first-year apprentice motorcycle mechanic at Willing’s M/C in Wyong, NSW. One day a truck pulled up with a bigger than the usual minibike crate on the back and we all had to hand lift the crate off. I remember cutting my hands on the sharp steel frame…
Anyway, I didn’t care. All I cared about was the bike that was inside that crate. A pink and white YZF750. One of the first in the country and certainly the first I’d seen outside of drooling over the test of the bike in the March 1993 issue of Performance Bikes UK.
Then it got better. Len Willing asked me to un-crate the bike. Of course, it was in his typical style of “Hey you little SH&% get that bike out of the crate and pre deliver it ASAP”!
I was stoked. So, so stoked that if it had’ve been possible I would have Twitter and Facebooked images immediately!
I carefully uncrated and PD’d that bike and I’ve never forgotten the feeling…
WHAT MADE IT SPECIAL
It was so, so much tricker than anything else I’d seen. Made a ZXR750 look like a tank. Had the biggest brakes ever. Had the biggest, fattest muffler imaginable and it looked seriously 1990s cool in pink and white (this was the days of Hypercolour T-Shirts). It looked like a real superbike and was. To me, the YZF quickly relegated my other favourite bike, the FZR1000, to sports tourer class.
I remember when the owner picked it up I was in awe of him. I just had to have one but on $150 a week for six days it was highly unlikely – I always owed half my pay to the food truck lady!
They hardly made an impact as the Fireblade was all conquering and the ZXR750M came out. The YZF750 was two years too late for Yamaha and it was 150cc too small thanks to the 900 Blade. That means there are hardly any examples around and they are very rare.
1994 Yamaha YZF750
Colours: White/Purple, Green/Red
Claimed Power: 93kW[125hp]@12000rpm
Claimed Torque: 80Nm[59ft-lbs]@9500rpm
Fuel Capacity: 19L
Engine: Liquid-cooled, DOHC, 20-valve, in-line-four, four-stroke, 11.5:1, digital ignition, four-into-one exhaust, six-speed gearbox, wet multi-plate clutch
Chassis: Cast aluminium Deltabox, alloy swingarm Wheelbase: 1420mm
Suspension: Dual 41mm inverted forks. Monoshock, fully adjustable
Front brakes: Dual 320mm rotors, dual six-piston calipers
Tyres: 120/70 – 17, 180/55 – 17