‘It’s hard to abuse them’
“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