‘It’s hard to abuse them’

Motorcycle News (UK) - - Garage - MARK WHITE is the owner of M&M Mo­tor­cy­cles in Stam­ford and a huge fan of R1s.

“The main faults are the sta­tors – they pack up and the gear­boxes are in­cred­i­bly weak, but just first and sec­ond gear. Do not let any­one charge you more than £450 to do the en­tire job be­cause it’s re­ally easy. It can ei­ther be a sign of them be­ing abused or rid­den too slowly, if that makes sense. Chang­ing gear too slowly is more likely to cause is­sues than them be­ing abused.

“Check the wiring loom – it’s a white plug where the clocks and the main head­light plug into the main loom. The power feed there cor­rodes and all of a sud­den you can lose power to the lights and the dash.

“The EXUP valve needs to be nicely ad­justed or else the tacho nee­dle swings round to 7000rpm – it’s called the tacho tango and it’s ba­si­cally a fault code.

“The oil level sen­sor on these is just that, it’s not an oil pres­sure sen­sor. They’re a float in­side a plas­tic cage and over time the cage de­forms due to heat. The float gets a bit sticky in­side, which means the oil light comes on ev­ery now and then even though it’s got loads of oil and the pump’s work­ing. I’ve never known an oil pump fail. If the oil light comes on ei­ther you’re re­ally good at wheely­ing or the float has stuck in the cage. Yamaha re­designed the cage later and made it metal in­stead of plas­tic but it still plays up. “It’s hard to abuse them be­cause, apart from the gear­box, they’re a re­ally strong mo­tor. Some of them have se­lec­tor de­tent spring is­sues, but that’s quite rare. “The shock will most likely be past its best. It’s not that prac­ti­cal to re­build them so go for an after­mar­ket one from a firm such as Nitron.

“A gen­eral Yamaha thing from that era is a dodgy ig­ni­tion bar­rel – you just need to put a bit of pres­sure to­ward the out­side of the bar­rel as you turn the key. It’s just badly de­signed bar­rels, but it’s not a big is­sue.

“I’d be on the look­out for the red and white one, weirdly. A lot of peo­ple didn’t like them, they pre­ferred the blue one, but for me the red and white one is what made them iconic. With around 20,000 miles on the clock I’d just give it a good look over – no more than any other sec­ond­hand bike of that age. I would want to test ride it and check the gear­box but I know how easy it is to sort the gear­box so I wouldn’t be put off at all by gear­box prob­lems.

“The wheel fin­ish isn’t very good. Clean­ing them with some­thing like WD-40 can ac­tu­ally re­move some of the paint so you just have to be a bit care­ful. They’re get­ting on a bit, af­ter all.”

‘I wouldn’t be put off at all by a ’ 98 R1 with gear­box prob­lems’

White con­nec­tor be­hind head­lamp can cor­rode and cause is­sues Oil sen­sor light is prone to il­lu­mi­nat­ing for no rea­son, so check level in glass

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