First produced in 1996, the YZF1000R Thunderace is a classic superbike, once described as 'a Honda Fireblade on steroids' by Motorcycle Review. It’s big, perhaps slightly brash, and guaranteed to get the heart thumping. During its seven-year production run, which ended in 2003, the Thunderace brought smiles to many riders’ faces.
At 1003cc, its engine is very big, even for a performance bike, and it delivers the power to match. Its 145bhp makes it exhilarating to ride. On a race track the Thunderace is capable of around 165mph, aided by a lightweight chassis that keep its total weight below 200kg despite the monster engine.
The Thunderace was the foundation for a whole lineage of YZF Yamaha bikes, including the YZF600R Thundercat, the much-loved R1 superbike, and the slightly-smaller R6.
Despite its impressive specs and reputation, the YRF1000R can be found surprisingly cheaply on the second-hand market, so if you’re thinking of getting one, do your research to make sure it’s in good condition and has been well cared for.