The giant killing legend of the eighties. Compact and nimble, these are the machines that every young motorcyclist of the era dreamt of owning. Even today they are a hugely exciting and very capable machines - an absolute joy to own & ride.
Yamaha started producing the new liquid cooled two cylinder RD's from 1980 when many considered the two stroke to be dying. They actually started a fresh and successful era that continued to evolve for another decade and a half through many model variations beyond this first and purest form.
"It was the most alluring, magical and attainable street bike for a whole generation during British biking's peak years of the early-to-mid-80's."
Motorcycle News Feb 2017
They were light, fast, had excellent brakes and exceptionally impressive handling that put them in an entirely different league to the performance machinery before them. These were the ingredients that earned them the giant killing reputation and made them so much fun to ride. They had game changing tech and were the most advanced and futuristic bikes of their day. Liquid cooling and monoshock rear-ends maybe routine today but in 1980, against a backdrop of aircooled XS and GS's it was revolutionary.
In comparison to the air cooled two strokes these liquid cooled evolutions had better temperature control and so suffered less spark plug failures and became generally more reliable. The water jacket by default reduced mechanical noise which only added to the overall sophisticated feeling that they gave.
This example is the one I have been looking for for a very long time. Unrestored, completely original and in condition that defies belief. I was truly beginning to doubt there was one like it anywhere. The mileage is low at just 16,000 but the condition makes it hard to believe it has even done that many. It has never undergone any modifications and never had, or needed, any restoration work - at all. The exhaust system remains unblemished and without dents and the paintwork remains bright and crisp.
It still has its factory metal spark plug caps and a full set of the hallowed Olive fasteners. Compressions are still high on its original 4LO engine and further testimony to this bike having enjoyed a gentle life is that it still wears its original Sunstar chain and sprocket set that, quite amazingly, still doesn’t need replacement. There is not even any evidence that a spanner has turned the adjusters. It rides exactly as it should and is an extraordinary amount of fun on the road.