Australia blog: Day 7 - 500cc Grand Prix heaven

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For me, the last generation of premier class GP machines are the most awe-inspiring ever built.

The 500cc two-stroke weapons from the late 80s all the way to the beginning of MotoGP in 2002 are the ones that capture the imagination the most and Yamaha’s mighty YZR500 is probably the coolest, although thanks to Doohan and Rossi and their NSR500s, not necessarily the winning-est.

Mick Costain of Mico Products has brought the YZR500 back to life, well not the actual one, but a replica that’s a close-as-makes-no-difference.

I visited his place today, on the outskirts of Sydney, to see his latest YZR500, the seventh replica he’s produced for sale.

Finished in Yamaha racing colours of the day, this is a replica of the late Norick Abe’s 1997 YZR500 race machine. Yours for 44,000 Aussie Dollars (around £22,000).

Mico products can build you a YZR500 from any era from 1988-2002, or sell you a kit to make your own. Check out his website:

The Abe replica weighs just 135kg and makes 120bhp at 10,500rpm at the rear wheel from its heavily tuned and modified V4 RD500 motor.

The frame is an exact replica of the real thing, built in-house, as is the fairing. The tank is from a TZ250, ‘cut and shut’ wider to fit the frame. The self-supporting carbon fibre seat unit is from Capirossi’s actual YZR500.

Other real YZR500 bits include the forks, radiator, exhaust cans, brake lever, master cylinder and calipers.

Carbon brakes are from an Aprilia RS250 GP bike. Every inch of this machine is special and you can see the whole spec and more pictures in MCN soon.

Even more interesting is Mick’s own creation: the Costain 535. It’s still not quite finished, but is almost there and looks fantastic.

It’s powered by a stroked-out 535cc Yamaha RD350 engine. Most of the parts on the engine are from Banshee quad bike tuners and it makes a staggering 115bhp, weighing in at just 130kg, which is a savage power to weight ratio.

The fairing and frame are Mick’s own design, the tank is from a VFR400R and the tail unit a hybrid of a VFR400R and RC211V Honda MotoGP bike.

The forks, wheels, swingarm and shock are from an R6, but you can specify any suspension spec when ordering. As it is, this bike will cost around 30,000 Aussie dollars (around £15,000).

Once the exhausts are on (which will exit each side of the bike, one higher than the other like a TZ250M), clocks in place and the whole thing plumbed and wired up, it’s going to be one hell of a machine.

I didn’t get to ride either bike as they still weren’t 100% finished, which is a real shame. Mick reckons the YZR500 feels as quick as an R1 when he rode his last replica at Eastern Creek circuit.

I want one!


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Michael Neeves

By Michael Neeves

MCN Chief Road Tester, club racer, airmiles millionaire.