It may not seem like it now, but in 1984 Yamaha’s FJ1100 was a fairly hardcore sportbike, winning accolades from the motorcycle media that year as Bike of the Year and King of the Superbikes, only giving way in all-out performance to Kawasaki’s GPz900 Ninja. Over the years the FJ morphed into a softer, more sport-touring role as the FJ1200, and eventually the current model FJR1300. The original FJ, however, was all business, helping usher in the modern era of sportbike performance.

  • ‘Mike Smith

    Why would a major company like Bridgestone bail on the premier motorcycling competition? That’s the article I would like to read.

  • john phyyt

    This yamaha tragic thanks you and sort of agrees. I would have put the first R1 at number one. .. Yamaha has a magic history in 2 stroke GP history and also off road excellence I would love an article on the mighty TZ’s etc . I believe that Yamaha has a more authentic racing heritage than those other expensive “Name” brands

    • spiff

      Yamaha definitely has a rich racing heritage.

  • spiff

    The FZR1000 was a great all round road bike, then the YZF1000, what about an FZR 400. As you can guess, I dig Yamaha. I am not in total agreement, but dig them all. I was going to call blasphemy until you mentioned the RZ

    • Mahatma

      I’d vote for that FZR 400

      • spiff

        I say bring it back as the YZF400R and the forced induction YZF400RR. 🙂

  • OW01. Fogarty’s IOM TT record that stood for 7 years. 4 Suzuka 8 hours. Rymer, McElnea, Witham, Mackenzie won BSB championships on this and then the YZF750.

    Then there’s the TZR250 that was the first ever 100mph IoM production 250 ridden by Mat Oxley.

    Two other bikes deserve a mention. The original R6 which was when 600s properly came of age, not the FZR600. And my all time fav hooligan bike the TDR250. You’d be lucky to get 1000 miles out of a Stan Stephens stage 2 top end rebuild, but they were hilarious.

  • JMDonald

    I noticed some of the older bikes have vents or scoops. Are they functional or are fake scoops a recent design cue for Yamaha? I don’t alway ride Yamaha sport bikes but when I do I insist they have fake scoops on them. I am the most interesting motorcyclist in the world. I see a new marketing campaign in their future.

  • SRMark

    The RD400 was a very good bike when left in stock trim. Great for everyday commuting, outstanding on the weekend romps. It was reliable too. I sure miss mine.

  • Bob Dragich

    Including the GTS and not including the R6 seems a bit uninformed.

  • Jon Jones

    The FZ600 was a pretty sweet ride at the time.

  • 0verdose

    No R6?

  • Tinwoods

    Great list. Thanks!

  • Robs

    My first bike was a 78 RD400. Bought it near new from a co-worker that had it less than a month. He’d already put a low-rise handlebar on it, but the day I bought it I rode it into my garage and it emerged a month later with pipes, rear-sets, clubmans, 1/4 fairing, Daytona Special seat, and various other details.

    • evan morrow

      Very sweet looking tricked out RD400….I”ve always loved the RD’s.. The 2-stroke snappy throttle response, lightness, the high-rev scream of it’s exhaust and attractive looking design made me want one from the first moment I saw one..

  • Ron Austin

    I was sure the list would have included the Gen1 (2001-2005) FZ1. We all have our favorites I guess.

    • Tinwoods

      Especially because it’s one of Yamaha’s longest running models. I have a heavily modified 2006 Gen 2.

  • Jamie Robinson

    That little FZR started my career in motorcycling !! still want an original 89 like my first one.

  • Tinwoods

    Among my 30+ motorcycles over 35 years of riding, I’ve owned two first-year FZ750’s, a later-year FZ750, an FZR1000, a YZF1000R “Thunderace,” two R1’s, and my current FZ1. I thought at least the first and last of these bikes would have made this list, but I understand that there wasn’t enough room for every great Yamaha sport bike (or sport-tourer) on a Top 10 List.