The Yamaha SZR660 was never a big sales success for Yamaha. Whist the idea of a big single cylinder engine in a lightweight good handling chassis makes a lot of sense, the quirky styling probably put a lot of buyers off.
MZ also had a similar approach with the Scorpion using a similar 660cc single cylinder engine with more convectional styling. On paper it probably should have sold well but the MZ brand wasn’t a big pull for bikers and many probably had concerns over spares and dealer support. Also keep a lookout for these if you see a nice one for sale!
This very tidy example of the Yamaha SZR660 recently appeared on ebay with only 6928 miles shown – exceptionally low miles for a bike made in 1997.
The low sales numbers for these bikes are starting to make them very collectable, and much easier to keep on the road as a modern classic with simple mechanicals. The 660cc engine had also been around for while with it been used in the very popular Yamaha XTZ660 Tenere.
What to check buying
This example has obviously been used very little during past 20 years, however a thorough inspection is always recommended before handing over any money. Bikes with pristine bodywork could be hiding a hard life as a track mule with original bodywork being replaced for track fairings. Also check for any signs of lock wired nuts and bolts, which could hint of track time.
If the bike seems genuine you should also check to age of consumable cycle parts, for example tyres. If your bike is shod with 20 year old tyres it probably provides more evidence of originality, however they are probably well past their sell by date and won’t be up to the grip levels of new rubber.
Brake pads can also seem ok on first inspection, however braking material can also become detached from the metal backing over time. Investing in new brake pads and tyres is a sensible investment if you are looking to use the bike.
Also check inside the tank for any signs of rust and check when the oil and filter were last changed. Modern fuels are much more aggressive on metal parts with the increased use of ethanol. If a bike is kept in storage for long periods always take measures to either drain the fuel or use a stabiliser product to prevent water forming within the tank.
Happy biding on the Yamaha SZR660
If you decide to bid on the Yamaha SZR660 please let us know how you get on and what your plans are for the bike. We like to see classic bikes on the road and not hidden away in collections, so we hope you take this example out on the road and have some fun.
If you are also planning to take on any servicing work yourself you may also be interested in our useful workshop tools article . This example of the Yamaha SZR660 looks ready to ride, however knowing your way around the servicing will save you money and also help you understand if the work has been done correctly if you decide to let a dealer undertake the servicing for you.
Most dealers will only specialise on modern bikes and sometimes be less inclined to take on servicing on bikes that are rare or vintage. Seeking out a good independent motorcycle mechanic is always a good option, especially if they have been in the business for many years and have a good reputation in the area. Calling ahead with some bike specific questions is always a good gauge for the level of knowledge and service you can expect. Also check out the online forums for any good reviews.
Good luck with the auction!