Reader restoration: Yamaha FZR600 Ge­n­e­sis

Bud­get-built Su­pers­port 600 re­built to out­last a nu­clear win­ter, and then some

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents -

CHRIS JAC­QUES SPENT 11 per­cent of his en­tire life re­build­ing hisyamaha FZR600 – partly be­cause he’s only a youth­ful 22, and partly be­cause restor­ing theyam has taken him two and a half years. In fact, as it turns out, Chris has man­aged to pack a large chunk of the highs and lows of bik­ing into his short ca­reer so far.

He started rid­ing ayama­hayzf-r125 when he was 18: “A mate round the cor­ner was into bikes, so I thought I’d get one too...”. a young man in a hurry, he passed his full test in short order and found him­self looking for some­thing faster.

“Within a month or so, I’d bought this,” he says, point­ing at his gleam­ingly im­mac­u­late, clearly non-stan­dard 1994 FZR600. But Chris freely ad­mits he had no idea what he was buy­ing: “No, I didn’t know much about them; I had a mate with an FZR1000 but it was heav­ily mod­i­fied; a matt black rat bike; so I didn’t even know what they were sup­posed to look like.” So why an FZR600?

“I was think­ing about what I could af­ford to be in­sured on,” says Chris. “And a litre-bike was out. So I won­dered ifyamaha had ever built a 600 – I googled it out of cu­rios­ity.and when I saw what they looked like, I knew I wanted one. It was love at first sight.and in­sur­ance was rea­son­able too.”

Wow, that’s one way to buy. Pre­sum­ably you read-up on what they were like? “No, not at all. My opin­ion is to make my own mind up about things – be­cause ev­ery­one usu­ally tells you some­thing dif­fer­ent any­way.” Chris spot­ted his FZR, in black, on ebay, in spring 2012. “It looked tidy, for £995 from a dealer up in Keigh­ley. I de­cided to take a gam­ble and got it de­liv­ered.when it ar­rived it was beau­ti­ful – nothing wrong with it.” The FZR is a 1994, twin-head­light US im­port, brought across in 1997. In the States, un­like Europe, the FZR600 switched back to twin spots in 1993 from the sin­gle head­lamp of 1991 to ’92, and con­tin­ued to be sold along­side the Fox­eye FZR600R (called theyzf600 in the US) right up un­til 1999.

“I think the only other dif­fer­ences are the US bikes had EXUP valves, and a reed valve sys­tem for Cal­i­for­nian emis­sions,” says Chris. “But I had no idea about all that when I bought it. It was just jump in at the deep end and work your way through it.”

WORDS SI­MON HAR­G­REAVES PHO­TOG­RA­PHY CHIPPY WOOD

Start point was this tidy ’97 US im­port

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