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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)

  • Its ok i suppose

    1308lee

    Average rating rating is 3

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    ended up buying a thunderace because im young and daft as a brush... i was knocked off my CBR400rr which was an amazing bike, by a van (the old 'sorry mate i didnt see you'). i rode that bike near enough to its limit! i had my knee down at every corner, every roundabout and even in a straight line! i thought long and hard about what bike to get next considering im only a baby and it was the insurance i had to worry about. the average sport bike quote was 10k+ so i thought id challenge myself and see what its like to ride a 1000cc! my reasoning was if i can ride that hard being a big heavy lump i can ride anything! iv had her nearly 3 months now and im still dragging knees but its a lot less 'responsive' than my little 400, which is understandable as i used to outhandle more or less everything on the road. the power delivrey is fantastic. once i got a good set of tyres and tweaked the suspension i fely much more confident riding this monster machine. the only thing im struggling with is low speed manouvers and walking the thing backwards as iv only got little legs and the bikes way to heavey to be flying round tiny tight bends. apart from this the bikes great, hasnt really let me down as yet although they all burn a fair bit of oil when you tater them a little! all in all, id deffinately reccomend it to most people. its not great for racing but it certainly keeps up. im looking at trading it in for a k8 GSXR750 next year though as i find it much more comfortable for how i ride however anyone who's ever ridden my Ace has mentioned how comfortable it is. i dont find it all that comfy to be honest? must just be me :)

    19 October 2013

  • Bags of fun!

    deaves

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Had my Ace 11 years now and LOVE IT !Great bike once suspension sorted. If you can ride no worries keeping with newer faster bikes

    09 February 2012

  • LOVE IT!

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have had this bike for 1 year, 1370 quid from ebay(P reg with 24k), took a chance and im glad i did! burns no oil, looks great in red/black and sounds even better with the Scorpion exhaust. Only downside is the exhaust rotting, i was lucky to be able to weld mine so look out for this before buying.Im 18stone and ive been for a 300 mile journey with full panniers and the Mrs and bike returned 50mpg. Compared with a brand new Speed Triple 1050 which i test rode this is more fun and looks better...although the triple was good i just couldnt justify the extra cost. Buy one!!!

    28 January 2012

  • superb

    BUSA666

    Average rating rating is 5

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    superb bike, fantastic 20 valve engine, and comfy, A +++

    12 April 2011

  • ThunderAce

    TheChamp

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    A little more than a year ago, a friend crashed my beloved CBR1100XX into a wall, and I was left without a motorcycle. This went on for several months and in the Spring I could stand no more! Just about that time I found a 1997 YZF1000R for $700! It had bee layed down, and had alot of cosmetic damage and was missing the turn signals, also it neaded tires badly, but it ran well and rode as it should, so I jumped on it. I used it for the summer and found it to be an enjoyable motorcyle, especially considering the cost. I never had any mechanical issue with the bike, and it always fired up faithfully and easily, suprising for older carburated bike. The handling was okay, I could tell it was lighter than the XX, but it wasnt as confidence inspiring. It rode okay too, but couldnt really be called smooth. The brakes were very good. The 5speed tranny was okay, and I never wanted for a 6th gear. The motor was strong, and at high RPM had the same "instant transmission" effect as the CBR, and any number of big modern bikes, though it wasnt as flexible, wouldnt be lugged. My time with the bike came to an end recently. Someone stole it, made it ~400m then crashed, destroying both himself and the bike. I now have a 1995 CBR1000F, which for the record, is not nearly as good as the Yamaha. The ThunderAce was made as a more street oriented and cheaper alternative to the R1. I dont think Yamaha did enough to differintiate the two, as the difference between th Busa and the Gixxer, or the Fireblade and Blackbird is much greater. If you want a big, fast comfy road bike go with the CBR1100XX, GSX1300R etc. If you want a race bike get an R1 etc. Not that the YZF1000R is a bad bike in isolation, its just in a no mans land between genres and you can do better on either side.

    01 November 2010

  • Fantastic Bike!

    Daddle

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Just bought an Ace three weeks ago. Born again biker, well sort of, so was a bit worried about buying such a powerful bike but it kept on cropping up as a good buy in the reviews and it ticked all the right boxes. What a bike! Comfortable, ridiculously fast, looks good (and looking better each day), amazing MPG, got mine for well less than £2k, a 97 with only 14k miles on the clock! What more can you ask for? Would agree with some of the other reviews, it is an easy bike to ride and would suit beginners as long as they are physically capable of riding the bike. HOWEVER... if you're anything like me you'll quickly find that the national speed limits seem very slow. The bike loves to go fast and it's so smooth and planted that you don't realise just how fast you're going (that's my excuse anyway). Tame enough to ride around town but twist it's neck and it's like the Millenium Falcon making the jump to light speed. I use mine for a 60 mile commute on A roads and through town, it eats it up. Can't wait for some long trips in the summer with a tent strapped to the back. If you're thinking of buying one, just do it. You will have no regrets, just watch you're speed - like I said, it just loves to go fast (Note to self - read this review before riding my bike).

    11 April 2010

  • Fantastic Bike!

    Daddle

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Just bought an Ace three weeks ago. Born again biker, well sort of, so was a bit worried about buying such a powerful bike but it kept on cropping up as a good buy in the reviews and it ticked all the right boxes. What a bike! Comfortable, ridiculously fast, looks good (and looking better each day), amazing MPG, got mine for well less than £2k, a 97 with only 14k miles on the clock! What more can you ask for? Would agree with some of the other reviews, it is an easy bike to ride and would suit beginners as long as they are physically capable of riding the bike. HOWEVER... if you're anything like me you'll quickly find that the national speed limits seem very slow. The bike loves to go fast and it's so smooth and planted that you don't realise just how fast you're going (that's my excuse anyway). Tame enough to ride around town but twist it's neck and it's like the Millenium Falcon making the jump to light speed. I use mine for a 60 mile commute on A roads and through town, it eats it up. Can't wait for some long trips in the summer with a test strapped to the back. If you're thinking of buying one, just do it. You will have no regrets, just watch you're speed - like I said, it just loves to go fast (Note to self - read this review before riding my bike).

    10 April 2010

  • great first bike

    thunderacer85

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Got the thunderace as my first bike beacause i wanted a sports bike and the ace was 1/3 cheaper insurance than the 600cc sports and even cheaper than a fzr600. With no biking expierience i had my worries about buying such a powerful bike but after just a few miles they were gone. It's so easy to get along with,smooth and comfortable that anybody can ride it with confidence. The brakes are amazing and then there's the speed.Every speed limit broken in less than 4 seconds without changing gear,and it pulls like that all the way to 160+ Amazing. Managed to get a 99 plate with 16,000 miles for under £1800 and in 3000 miles its needed a service and a brake bulb and it always starts on the button. It does use oil but im told this is common so i just keep a bit under the seat. Overall i think this bike is amazing and would recomend it to anybody, old or young novice or expert

    10 March 2008

  • Good solid perfomer with smooth power delivery and excellent reliability

    bigkesh

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have owned my Ace for about a year now. It was very cheap to buy and it is very reasonable to insure. Nothing has really gone wrong so far although I did have to replace the downpipes (I managed to pick up a second hand set cheap but new ones cost a fortune) I find it has more than enough power for me and if you keep the revs above 6000 there is still not much on the roads will get past you. Better comfort than it looks and I have done 500 miles in 24 hours on it recently. Although I needed a rest after that it wasn't too bad. The handling seems pretty good to me and it gets round corners nice and quick even in the wet if you keep it smooth. Again it is actually quite flickable because although heavier than most modern counterparts it still has a low centre of gravity which makes it feel lighter and instills confidence through the bends. One last thing. If you ride one every day and take it easy the fuel econony is exceptional.On a fairly steady 75mph motorway run I got 59mpg!! Strengths: Power, balance, cheap purchase price, relative comfort and economy. Weaknesses: Looks a bit dated now, uses a bit of oil, not much good for pillion.

    16 September 2006

  • A lot of bike for little money

    reidy78

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have had my Thunderace for 2 years and am still very pleased with it. This bike is not just a weekend tool, but is my only transport so I get to find out more about a bike than most. Since owning this bike I have done 16'000 miles of relativly trouble free riding, but I did repair/replace a few things soon after buying it. The rear shocker was knackered, (had this rebuilt for £95 inc. postage) and did all the usual stuff, oil, plugs, filters, tyres (Mac X100's) chain/sprockets, fork oil, brake pads. The bike already had braded lines and an Art carbon can on it, and I had a cat 1 alarm/imobiliser fitted. Just recently the Throttle Position Sensor went on it, £120!!! No Thanks, I got one from a breakers, gauranteed working for £27 delivered. My ace has done 38K miles and uses a little oil but only a litre every 6 months and I avarage 55 MPG. I'll often run up over 200 miles before refueling, and I don't dawdle around either. I also got 8000 miles from my last tyres (Mac X90). Strengths: The ace is fast, comfortable and well handling. MPG is good, hasn't stopped running yet. Weaknesses: You need to make sure you keep that EXUP working properly otherwise there is NO power until atleast 4000 RPM.

    29 May 2006

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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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