Yamaha YZF750R/SP

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

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Con­tents - WORDS PHIL WEST PHO­TOG­RA­PHY STU­ART COLLINS

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.

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