Ripping it up in pink
IN NEARLY 28 YEARS of road testing, two of my best-ever moments have come aboard YZF750s. that says something in itself.
First, when the yamaha was box-fresh (and I was working for a different magazine), we took the white and pink newcomer to the Isle of MANTT along with its closest rivals, the Kawasaki ZXR750 and reigning Fireblade. I dug out my oddly-matching lid and leathers and we put the leading superbikes of the day to their ultimate test. Naturally, we had a blast – who wouldn’t? Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, and despite the YZF giving away 150ccs or so to the Honda, the yamaha was in most ways deemed best.
Three years later (and for the same magazine) I was even more privileged to sample the works-supported, Boost-sponsored and then British Superbike-dominating YZFs of a certain Messrs Mackenzie and whitham at Cadwell Park. And I have to say I’ve never been so thrilled and humbled by a motorcycle all at the same time – something emphasized when teamster Mackenzie promptly rode round the outside of me at Park Corner aboard a completely stock version.
On seeing this example, the personal property of Neilyoung, owner of Len Manchester Motorcycles in Melton Mowbray and classic yamaha buff, I was instantly, vividly and joyously reminded of both.
He’s had it for about 18 months now having bought it online on something of a whim during a rather dreary works seminar. And, as a first year model in the definitive ‘Pink Cocktail’ colourscheme (the only paintjob, I’d suggest, bar perhaps Sonauto France blue, that AYZF750 should be in), to my eyes it’s abso-effing-lutely gorgeous.
The Deltabox gleams, those curves seduce and even the ‘endurance style’ taillight looks ‘right’. yes, the YZF is very much a bike of its era – it has the legend ‘Genesis’ on the side of its seat hump but, really, it could just as easily say ‘Marillion’ – but it’s also, arguably, the ultimate example of its breed.
It’s a ’93 L-plater yet has only just over 13,000 miles on its analogue dials. It’s also completely standard and original and, except for the slightest glove-scuffing on its humongous ’bar-ends, is so mint it could almost pass for new. there’s even the original owner’s manual under the seat. that’s right: all the fasteners and fittings are original and unmolested; there are no dings or scrapes anywhere and the result of all that is as good an example as you’ll find anywhere. I was already in lust.
From the saddle it gets better yet. For my money the yzf is a ‘proper’ three-quarter litre machine in being more roomy and substantial than a 600 yet not as bulky or imposing as a full-on thou’ from the era. Just ‘right’, in fact.
So… on board you’re instantly at home – sporty without being stretched or cramped. Or, to put it another way, the yzf feels serious and substantial without being overbearing.the view ahead, to classic twin dials, a smaller temperature gauge plus a strip of ‘idiots’ underneath is, for me and many others of a certain age, exactly what a sportsbike ‘should’ be.and the riding experience matches that in spades.
From the off, there are no unpleasant surprises. Decent balance, good ergonomics, a light, snickety-boo gearchange, span-adjustable clutch and brake levers, a tractable, easy power delivery and even good mirrors,
make the YZF a doddle to get on with through town and traffic.
But it’s once the Leicestershire roads open up that the YZF truly comes into its own. Surprisingly, what impresses first is how it steers – and it’s simply sublime.at the first turn taken at any kind of speed the reaction from the clip-ons is both instant and yet completely engaging and assured; enough to immediately remind me of those blissfultt laps 24 years ago.
Next is the engine. It’s a free-revving, whistling joy, delivering ample, progressive midrange rounded off, when you hold the taps open, with an ever-more relentless and growling charge through nine, 10 and 11 thousand thrilling rpm before the seemingly sky-high (well, it did at the time) 13,000rpm redline.and all of it is an addictive hoot.
The big six-pots are powerful enough with a good tug but, to be honest, are also a tad dull. With the benefit of 20-odd years’ hindsight they’re something of a sledgehammer to crack a walnut and lack the finesse of modern stoppers. But they do the job, are still a great talking point and are my only real complaint.
Overall though, photos over, as I thrashed back along the gloriously windy roads east of Melton Mowbray in what felt like the first sun of spring, I simply fell in love with the YZF all over again.
For meyamaha’s 750 is one of the last and arguably best of the analogue, old-school superbike breed.the R1 that superseded it moved things into a different era defined by digital LCD clocks and titchy proportions. I don’t think I quite felt as comfortable on a superbike ever again.
But the YZF750, short-lived as it was, remains one of my all-time faves. For me, it has everything – the looks, the performance, the racing pedigree and, in recent years, even the value, too.
Which reminds me of a third ‘Great YZF Experience’, that’s also pertinent here.a few years ago, while working for another different publication, I and two colleagues embarked on a ‘£1500 Challenge’ to buy a great superbike-class track bike. I managed to pick up a doggy, pink YZF (similar to this but in far worse condition) for just £1200.Three hundred sovs later of used Hyperpro shock and part used track tyres my ‘hound’ proved good enough to easily embarrass a contemporary ’Blade and ZX-7R around Cadwell and lap within a couple of seconds of a then new GSX-R750. THE moral of this tale? The YZF wasn’t just a great bike in its day, it still was 15 years later and remains so today.and if you can’t quite get one for £1200 any more they’re still cheap – for now.
And the matching pink-and-white leathers and lid? I’ve still got those, too. If only I could still get in them…
You might even call it ‘showroom’ Six-pot bragging rights and big bite Most of these went straight in the loft
YZF love affair rekindled a quarter century on