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Yamaha YZF1000 THUNDERACE Sports Motorbike Review

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Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 3

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace started out as Yamaha’s last throw of the old school superbike dice, and resulted in the final incarnation of the FZR1000 EXUP. But ironically the Thunderace has proved to be a better big bore sports touring motorcycle than out-and-out superbike – albeit a humungously fast one. If you like your superbikes big and brash and with room for two, the Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace now represents great value.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace's big old 1003cc five-valver is a meaty, proven and fast motorcycle. 147bhp may seem old hat today, but the Yamaha Thunderace’s torque spread reminds of Kawasaki’s ZZ-R1100 and is smooth, solid, glitch-free and versatile… even if the transmission is a touch notchy.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

The standard of modern superbike handling may have moved on, but the big ol’ Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace is still no slouch with its YZF750R-derived chassis. Being a less focused motorcycle than the latest 1000cc weapons means that with the Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace you can get on with destroying distances in relative comfort thanks to its broad and comfortable seat, less extreme riding position and a fairing which gives good protection as well. Serious thrashing will have the undercarriage grounding out, but the the YZF1000R Thunderace was raced in the Isle of Man production TT so it’s not an insurmountable problem.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

Again, ‘old school’, meaning the Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace is pretty lavish by modern superbike standards. This motorcycle has decent pillion provision, a large fairing, comprehensive switchgear and instrumentation etc, even plenty of luggage mounting points. The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace also marked the first appearance of Yamaha’s awesome one piece, four-piston brake calipers that have also adorned the R1 which are two-finger powerful and make a mockery of some six-piston designs.

Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace (1996-2003)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£1,870 (1996) - £2,040 (1996)
Private used prices
£1,680 (1996) - £1,840 (1996)
  View full used price info
Engine size 1002 cc
Power 145 bhp
Top speed 165 mph
Insurance group 16 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 3 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 3 rating is 4
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 3 rating is 4
Value rating is 4 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

Yamaha never has had the best reputation of the Japanese factories for quality finishes and the like and the YZF1000R Thunderace is another example. Heavily wintered bikes suffer, sometimes alarmingly, but look after your Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace and you’ll be OK. Mechanically they’re solid and proven motorcycles.

 

Value

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace was reasonably priced when new but, being decidedly ‘old school’, it’s now an outstanding value motorcycle secondhand. As long as you don’t mind riding a machine generally considered to be out of fashion.

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Insurance

Insurance group: 16 of 17

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Model History

1996: Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace launched.
1997: Wiring loom modified to enable fitment of alarms.
2003: Yamaha YZF1000R Thunderace discontinued.

Other Versions

None.

Specifications

Top speed 165 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.8 secs
Max power 145 bhp
Max torque 70 ft-lb
Weight 198 kg
Seat height 795 mm
Fuel capacity 19 litres
Average fuel consumption 35 mpg
Tank range 180 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 16 of 17
Engine size 1002 cc
Engine specification 20v transverse four, 5 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Front brakes 2 x 298mm discs
Rear brake 245mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 180/55 x 17in

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(13 reviews)

  • Bought to tide me over - but now thinking of keeping it (just for a little while longer).

    br14n

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    I bought the Thunderace with some reservations. But at the time money was tight and while I wanted a sports bike for the rides my little er5 weren't really suitable for and I couldn't afford a gixer or r1. So the ace was a compromise between cost and performance and only just won out over a suzuki rf900. I didn't really expect much from the bike and a couple of little mishaps early on certainly didn't do the bike any favours. But after a long trip to Cornwall (from Yorkshire) and a week on the Isle of Man, my mind has certainly been changed. The handling really isn't far off more modern kit and its settled nature in the corners really helps your confidence. Comfort is on a par with my old zzr-1100. Even with a recently broken wrist, all day riding is easy. I think the engine is lazy, and unless you work at keeping the revs up. Mine drinks oil, lots of oil. But that does seem to be quite common with these bikes. Strengths: It's not right on the edge performance, but it's close enough to embarass blades and R1s and would complement a rider where a more focused bike would punish them. This is an awful lot of bike for your money, a very good buy.
    Weaknesses: It drinks oil and the clutch is a bit grabby - like hayabusa clutches, all on or all off - which can make the traffic light grand prix a touch lairy. Mines an older bike and the electrics are a bit, erm, tired.

    04 May 2006

  • Black and Silver second hand German import. Mileage covered 15000. De-restricted.

    dalebaldry

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This is by far the best motorcycle I have owned. I have owned the ZZR1100, FZR1000, FZR1000 exup RU, CBR1000 and many different other Honda's and have thousands of miles experiance. This is the best handling, performance and reliability I have had and all I think I'll need. I travel at least once a year around Europe covering in total 1500 miles per trip. The Thunderace is good for all roads from 130mph bends to 20mph mountain switch backs. Its no R1 but it is an excellent all round bike with grunt where you need it. I've seen an indicated 170mph on the clock which is enough for anyone and has kept me happy. It has a good tank range and a fair seating position and can and has riden all day. Strengths: The whole package....
    Weaknesses: Not found one, but then again I'm no Mick Doohan.

    20 February 2005

  • Top notch

    strag

    Average rating rating is 4.5

    Show Details

    Overall
    Ride and Handling
    Equipment
    Quality and Reliabilty
    Value
    Engine

    This bike, although not as cool looking as the more streamlined new sports bikes, is a great 2 up machine. It has oodles of power and does not get left behind, although a bit slower in the twisties. It will match most modern bikes on a normal everyday rideout. (And my missus likes it!). Strengths: Power, brakes and comfort are spot on. Weaknesses: Weight.

    30 July 2004

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markfireblade929

markfireblade929says

Yamaha thunderace

Does anybody know what had panniers can I get to fit my thunderace?

 

14 July 2010 18:39

obie01

obie01says

10 years ago, I sold my Yamaha YZF750R it would have been best production sports bike back then! So i got urge to start riding again. Looked at lots of different bikes and how comfortable was the riding position with a sporty style and naked bikes does nothing for me and especially when they look like insects.
So I bought a Yamaha YZf1000R Thunderace at the time it was just could afford.
The bike had done 55k required some servicing and maintains replaced swing arm bearing, clean and adjusted the EXUP exhaust valve and tuned the bike not as Crisp as the old YZF750 felt but there’s lots of torque for 2 up and there not really any new bikes that are similar design and riding position to the old thunderace it would be nice if Yamaha made the R1 into a sports tourer that are not so bulky as all the touring are bike are these days.
Yes what a Good idea detuned a R1 a very little increased torque add a descent seat for the pavilion slightly larger fairing may be slightly raise the handle bars and call the Bike R1 T and you would have a very sharp sports touring bike with out the huge cost reproduction costs in a new model line what a good idea.

18 August 2009 13:51

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