The 600


"Sometimes a bike begins it's life as the hot ticket, spends a few years scratching with the best of them, then becomes the manufacturers 'entry level' sport-bike. The FZR600's run has been a long one, and Yamaha have sold tens of thousands of them over the years. The original, 1989 model, was generally regarded as the best performing 600 available. It wasn't the cheapest, or the most comfortable, but it's virtues outshone its shortfalls. In 1994, after 6 years of production, the FZR600 was Yamaha's best seller. The reason for such success was the very strong and smooth motor, combined with solid components, and packaged in a steel "Deltabox" frame. There were no illusions about it winning class honors after a few years, but it certainly provided ample performance for most riders, and that was reflected in showroom sales. The appeal was probably the good value for money, decent real world performance, and the fact that the FZR was a machine that could grow with the rider."

(reprinted with permission from


Yamaha FZR600 1989-1999

   The FZR was considered by many to be the best 600 available when it was introduced in 1989. There have been no major revisions to the FZR's design with the exception of substituting a single headlight in the '91 and '92 years and adding 4 pot brake calipers, a spin on type oil filter and a bit wider rear tire after '89.

  The key features of the FZR600 is the Deltabox frame. Although made of heavy steel, it is a frame design that evenly distributes the weight of the bike giving it incredible handling characteristics, now heavily copied by every other sportbike manufacturer. Some FZR600's, and all those sold in California, USA, have an EXUP valve. The EXUP maintains high back pressure at low RPM's and opens fully at high RPM's yielding excellent midrange and no loss of top end, most exhaust tuners find the Yamaha EXUP valve design "hard to beat." Therefor it is recommended to only add a full exhaust system on a 49 state FZR600 as it requires you to lose the EXUP valve (just get a good slip-on).

  The only problem with the stock FZR for performance riding is the under dampened rear shock and soft fork springs. Ohlins and FOX both make replacements for the rear that make a world of difference and Race Tech springs for the front are the preferred choice. 

  The FZR is an excellent machine that will run circles around inexpensive Ninja's, Katana's, and the like. The popularity of this bike makes it easy to find parts and used ones between $2000-$4000. Reliablity is excellent under normal riding, but the weak Yamaha clutch and tranny does not take kindly to abuse, repair work should you destroy yours is aprox. $1000.