Friday, November 4, 2011

Yamaha Thunderace

The Yamaha Thunderace, was designed as the bike to beat the Honda Fireblade in sales and on the track. It failed. However the Thunderace is worth a look if your a road rider like us.
Both Jon and Me owned the Thunderace above and loved every minute of it. I would still have it now if Jon hadn't have wanted to change his R1, the bike I always wanted. The only thing missing for me was a 6th gear, but the bike certainly is no slow coach, it can still cut it amongst the Fireblades, Gixers and R1s. I have riden this bike at over 155mph on the Nurburgring circuit, it felt effortless and at home both at high speeds and touring around the countryside. Personally I think the design has aged well looking more modern than some other race bikes designed in the same era.
The bike was made from 1996 to 2003 and was unchanged through the 8 years. We owned a 1996 model for 5 years between us.
The bike was made from 1996 to 2003 and was unchanged through the 8 years. We owned a 1996 model for 5 years between us.

 The speedo and revcounter are of the analogue type, which include an odometer and trip counter, there also is an engine temperature guage. Across the bottom of the clocks are the usual array of warning lights, for neutral,indicators, low fuel,oil and main beam. I found the clocks were set rather along way back under the screen which could make it awkward to read them. The mirrors also seem to be in the wrong place somehow. Not enough to be a problem, but enough to feel to close and gave a good view of your elbows. The rear part of the seat comes off and there is plenty of room underneath for a u lock, the tool kit supplied, sandwiches and a bottle of cola. The bike has twin headlights that can be turned on and off.

Riding it
The ride though was nice. The bike originally designed as a superbike for the race track is actually better described as a sports tourer and does a good job of it. The seat is comfortable and well positioned.The pegs are slightly back and the handle bars being low gives a racey position.
 Unfortunately Yamaha only gave the Thunderace 5 gear. 1 down 4 up, I think that having a 6th gear would have enhanced the mpg and the engine would have not reved quite so much when touring.
 The suspension soaked up the bumps nicely but needed to be stiffend up for my liking.

Official Stats and Everyday Superbike stats
  •  Engine size - 1002cc
  •  Top speed - 165mph ( we saw 155mph)
  •  BHP - 145
  •  Weight - 198kg
  •  Fuel Tank - 19 ltrs
  •  Avg MPG - 35 (we saw 42)
  •  Tank range - 180 ( at about 150 the light comes on)
  •  Insurance group 16
  •  Tyres - Front 120/70 17, Rear 180/55 17 on Bridgestones avg 6000 miles on front & 3000 rear.
  •  Suspension - is fully adjustable.
 On the Thunderace we had was a tinted screen, a Blueflame end can, Dynojet stage 3, K&N filters and Uridium spark plugs. The exhaust gave a nice racey sound and it kept up with the R1 and Fireblade with no problem.
Yamaha Thunderace, with Blue Flame exhaust
 In many ways you can see how the R1 took over from the Thunderace, they have similar riding positions and share some designs. Overal a very underated, fast, comfortable, ridable bike.  
Typical load for a long weekend ride

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