Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Yamaha 750s: The memorable three

The mighty OW01 (above) packed 120 horsepower, revved to 14000rpm and cost a fortune!
Purists said the YZF750R (above) was heavy and underpowered
The R7 (above) was beautifully finished and handled well, but lacked power (in stock form) and was horribly expensive

The mighty Yamaha FZR750RR, also known as the OW01, was built to win races, niceties for the road be damned. With a 14,000rpm redline and 120 horsepower on tap, this wasn’t a bike for the timid. It was super-expensive, and laden with exotic bits like Yamaha’s very stiff and race proven Deltabox chassis, Ohlins suspension, six-speed close ratio gearbox and various titanium and magnesium bits for reduced weight and better handling.

The OW01’s successor, the YZF750R was deemed heavy and underpowered by purists and did not enjoy the kind of racing success which its predecessor did. However, the Yamaha YZF R7, also known as the OW02, redeemed some of the prestige which Yamaha lost, picking up a few race victories in WSB with Noriyuki Haga, and earning a name for itself as the best handling bike Yamaha’s ever made. The R7 was never a sales success though, as it only made 100 horsepower in stock trim (150 horsepower or more, when set up and tuned for racing…) and cost more than twice as much as an equally powerful, yet much more affordable R1.

A bunch of 1990s bikes - a Kawasaki ZXR750, Yamaha YZF750 and the original Fireblade - against a K6 model Suzuki GSX-R1000? Yes!

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