A standout machine that never won the reputation it deserved in its time is now being appreciated as perhaps the best of the ’90s 750s
Fact file: Yamaha YZF750 The most horribly underrated 750 of modern times properly appraised in the minutest detail
WHEN EXCUSES BECOME necessary, ‘born too late’ is an oft-bandied adage. But it’s the only real explanation why Yamaha’syzf750r is both one of the ’90s best sportsbikes – and its least successful.
When launched in 1993, the five-valve Yamaha’s combination of class-leading speed, handling, looks and decent value for money should have resulted in it becoming one of the success stories of the decade.that it didn’t is down to three things.
On road, theyzf was launched into a world still dominated by bigger machines – Honda’s Fireblade, Suzuki’s GSX-R11 and evenyamaha’s own, aging EXUP were still, in 1993/4, the superbikes that mattered most.
On track, where theyzf’s 750 designation made most sense, and despite a debut BSB title by Jamiewhitham’s Fast Orange machine, it failed where it really counted – against the mighty Ducativ-twins INWSB. In truth it did eventually come good – but too late. It wasn’t until 1998, by which time the Yamaha had already been out of production for two years, that Noriyuki HAGA’SWSBYZF made a significant impact.
And most damning of all, theyzf’s own parent company, yamaha, with its truly revolutionary 1000cc R1 just around the corner, pulled the plug on the sweet-handling 750 more than a little prematurely. after just four years on sale THEYZF750R was dropped from its line-up.
None of which, of course, means the YZF750 is a bad bike – quite the opposite. Its abilities, performance, style and appeal were never in doubt, they were just quickly overshadowed, unluckily you could argue, by the ’Blade, 996 and R1.
Its track success, too, in homologation special ‘SP’ form, was also never celebrated as loudly as it could have been – and undoubtedly should have been. whitham’s ’93 title may not have been matched on the world stage, but theyzf dominated BSB from 1996-98 (yes, after theyzf had gone off-sale); it won the Suzuka 8-hour in 1996 (the only non-honda to do so in 12 years); it wasyamaha’s first ever Bol d’or winner in the hands of the Sarron brothers in ’94 and, in 1998, it won fivewsb rounds in the hands of Haga in the year that title-winner Fogarty won only three.
All of which today, in our book, makes the YZF some kind of underrated classic. Prices are already on the up. If you’re after one, buy before they go for silly money.