YAMAHA FZR400 (1988 - 1994) Review

At a glance

Owners' reliability rating: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Annual servicing cost: £380
Power: 64 bhp
Seat height: Medium (30.9 in / 785 mm)
Weight: Low (353 lbs / 160 kg)

Overall rating

Next up: Ride & brakes
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha FZR400 was always over-shadowed by the class-leading Hondas, both the CBR and V4 NC30 and NC35s, and, on track, was a little behind Kawasaki’s ZXR400 for sheer speed. However, the rev-happy Yamaha FZR400RR attracted the hooligans by the bucket load, drawn to the high-revving engine, sharp handling and high corner speed. And, as it was also always considerably cheaper than the competition, it meant that many ended up on track as race bikes or fun track day machines.

Ride quality & brakes

Next up: Engine
5 out of 5 (5/5)

The reason why so many Yamaha FZR400’s ended up on track was due to the excellent handling and ease of use. There’s no ‘getting-to-know-you’ period, you can just jump on and attack any section of road. It’s lightweight, flickable, will carry huge lean angles and you don’t need to be an expert to have fun – the FZR400 really flatters its rider.


Next up: Reliability
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha FZR400’s liquid-cooled, four-cylinder, 16v DOHC engine revs to an impressive 14,000rpm, but like most other four cylinder 400s nothing really happens below 5000rpm. In terms of outright performance, the Yamaha’s back wheel 64bhp was slightly down compared to the competition, but on a positive note it did make the FZR usable. 

Reliability & build quality

Next up: Value
4 out of 5 (4/5)

This is where the Yamaha FZR400 lacks slightly. Early examples soon aged after a few British winters with some winter salt thrown in for good measure. While clutches didn’t like the huge amount of abuse they received. Tuned engines were fragile if not done by experts and serviced regularly. On early models brakes needed servicing as often as possible.

Value vs rivals

Next up: Equipment
4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha FZR400 is not as mouth-watering as Honda’s RVF400 nor or as quick as Kawasaki’s ZXR, and there are a few quality and reliability issues. However, this tends to keep prices lower than the competition which means if you shop wisely and find a minter you’ll get yourself a top-handling bargain. Find a Yamaha FZR400 for sale.


4 out of 5 (4/5)

The Yamaha FZR400’s huge and distinctive aluminium Deltabox frame was considered advanced at the time, and its motor is impressive. if relatively basic. If you want a higher spec FZR400 opt for the limited edition, RR-SP, which is mouth-watering and very trick like all the Yamaha SP range. Compare and buy parts for the Yamaha FZR400 in the MCN Shop.


Engine size 399cc
Engine type Liquid cooled transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium Deltabox
Fuel capacity 15 litres
Seat height 785mm
Bike weight 160kg
Front suspension 43mm telescopic forks, preload only adjust
Rear suspension Monoshock rear, fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 298mm discs with four-piston calipers
Rear brake 210mm disc, twin piston caliper
Front tyre size 120/60 x 17
Rear tyre size 160/60 x 17

Mpg, costs & insurance

Average fuel consumption 45 mpg
Annual road tax £47
Annual service cost £380
New price -
Used price -
Insurance group 11 of 17
How much to insure?
Warranty term One year unlimited mileage

Top speed & performance

Max power 64 bhp
Max torque 31 ft-lb
Top speed 130 mph
1/4 mile acceleration -
Tank range 150 miles

Model history & versions

Model history

1988: Yamaha FZR400 EXUP launched
1989: Yamaha FZR400RR EXUP launched
1990: Yamaha FZR400RR-SP EXUP launched
1994: models deleted.

Other versions


Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA FZR400 (1988 - 1994)

5 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA FZR400 (1988 - 1994) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

Review your YAMAHA FZR400 (1988 - 1994)

Summary of owners' reviews

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 (4/5)
Ride quality & brakes: 4.8 out of 5 (4.8/5)
Engine: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Reliability & build quality: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Value vs rivals: 4.2 out of 5 (4.2/5)
Equipment: 3.8 out of 5 (3.8/5)
Annual servicing cost: £380
4 out of 5 Easy to ride mid level bike
31 March 2017 by Charlie Deem

Year: 1990

Annual servicing cost: £500

Handling by far, especially in the wet, you can get a bit loose and was forgivable. Cheap bike to run and maintain. Seating position a sacrifice for the handling and Exup valve over time corrodes and becomes loose therefore exhaust looses its crispness.

Ride quality & brakes 4 out of 5

Poor brakes but awesome handling

Engine 3 out of 5

Had to ride it like a two stroke, gearbox a little clunky, The size of the bike would have suited a 750cc and made better use of its handling. The 400 was like a bombed 250

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

All okay but constantly adjusting and servicing the brakes

Value vs rivals 4 out of 5

Three services a year

Equipment 4 out of 5

The complete package. Could have used a more superior chain tension method, no matter how tight you get the back wheel, would loose tension quite often.

Buying experience: Fun, cheap reliable bike, many happy memories

4 out of 5 FZR genesis 86' review
26 October 2015 by Kris Sone

Version: 1WG Genesis

Year: 1988

Annual servicing cost: £250

this may be due to age but the bike though lovely to ride and very very fast is not the most reliable of things. it does go wrong and can be very costly and almost definitely time consuming when the inevitable happens and something goes wrong.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Very smooth when riding and sound beautiful with those carbs opening up right underneath that thin plastic cover. The bike stops exactly where you want it too, I was pleasantly surprised by their performance even in the rain.

Engine 3 out of 5

Not the most reliable as I keep coming back too. Have gone through many for different reasons, these engines are very quick, can always put a smile on your face- when it works.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5

Value for money for this little gem is amazing. I would definitely recommend to anyone at all. Day to day running costs are very minimal but like I mentioned not the most reliable and costly when they do go wrong.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Not much that comes with this bike- just the basics.

Buying experience: I would buy another and do not plan on getting rid of my little baby- Ever. however I would probably spend a little more money and time getting the right one next time. and never buy someone else's hard done project unless you have the money to back it up.

4 out of 5 '89 FZR400. review of 26 years with my "Fizzer"
26 August 2015 by Nazty

Year: 1989

Handling is superb. almost telepathic. Love the high revs. Sounds like an F-1 car pulling onto the highway.. Only had it for a short period. Pulled it completely apart and had a full race engine built. Not racing anymore, but still love to freak out the kids on their new rides.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5

Excellent feel and ease. no endos on accident. never a fade.

Engine 3 out of 5

Pulled it apart for the race parts. Valves were already showing wear @ 3K miles.

Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5

Was solid for as long as it was in 1 piece. Pulled it apart for a race build.

Value vs rivals 3 out of 5

rear tire are becoming hard to find, but I do not wish to go with the "standard" of todays bikes. The extra large wheel let's me lean a bit more.

Equipment 3 out of 5

Race track refugee. If it doesn't make it go faster, it's not there.

4 out of 5 Awesome
30 July 2012 by joshcherry93

Owned the bike for a little over a year now (been holding out before i posted on this). Handling obviously is amazing, runs rings around the big boys and the engine is enough to keep you entertained (though admittedly a 600 block would be nicer). Quality isnt bad, hard to trace parts though. All repairs on my bike have been inflicted by its owners so it cant be that bad... Value is the strongest point, picked mine up for less than a grand and its a hell of a lot of bike for this, just be prepared to pay a little for the odd spare part here and there.. especially if it hasnt had a 520 chain conversion !!

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 4 out of 5
Value vs rivals 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5 fzr400rr exup 1989
18 May 2010 by grahamfzr

This bike among all the 400 sports bike range has got to be one of the best. dispite its old looks and square back end it goes and handles like a demon! the engine is very reliable exept some of them have weak gear boxes and also MOST of them have rattly EXUP valves... they are a bugger to start when you leave them standing.

Ride quality & brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Reliability & build quality 5 out of 5
Value vs rivals 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
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