Rip­ping it up in pink

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - News -

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

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