Reader restoration: Yamaha FZR600 Genesis
Budget-built Supersport 600 rebuilt to outlast a nuclear winter, and then some
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.”
Start point was this tidy ’97 US import