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Yamaha SZR660- Best LAM's bike on the planet!

Discussion in 'Bike Reviews, Questions and Suggestions' started by kols_kebabs, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. Just bought my new bike and am in love, so I thought I'd post up my review

    Here's the specs: http://www.motorcyclespecs.co.za/model/yamaha/yamaha_szr660 95.htm

    My history:
    I've only been riding for for 12 months and have owned the following: Bug 90cc scooter (shite)
    Honda CB250 (slow)
    Honda XBR500 (shouldn't have sold it)

    After going through so many bikes I knew I needed something I was going to keep for a decent amount of time- it would have to be a bigger bike. The Honda XBR500 had turned me onto singles and after a bit of a look around the Yamaha SZR stood out as the finest example of the breed.

    Buying Advice:

    I had been looking for an SZR for weeks. I kept seeing them advertised at dealerships and privately, only to call up and be told "sorry I sold that this morning", so they're obviously in demand relative to supply.

    I paid a bit over $5000, for mine, which I thought was fantastic.

    I've seen 4 or 5 97' models with around 50k's go for over $5000. Still, If you're looking for one, don't baulk at paying $5+, considering late model 250's are going for that much :roll: freaking ripoff's. An SZR is better in every way as I will eloborate.

    First Impressions: The bike was in faultless condition, very few scratches, chain and tyres serviceable, aftermarket Staintune (you'll rarely see one without an aftermarket exhaust- pay less for one without, it's really mandatory). The sound is the best I've heard on any bike, it really turns heads.
    The quality of finish is dodgy in parts- for example in the underseat vent the sprypainting and sanding was not done properly. The electrics also appear (though function fine) to be getting fragile with age. But I am extremely impressed with the paint quality, welding, and the general equipment- there is absolutely no rust- Suzuki owners eat your heart out :LOL:

    All the reviews on the net I'd read criticised its looks, many calling especially the rear end ugly. I thought the same when I was looking at pictures on the net. However, when you see the bike in life, everyone who's seen it agree's it is really neat looking.
    The reason for this I think, is scale. If the bike was a foot longer and a few inches wider/taller it would just look goofy. But it's absolutely tiny, which means that somehow the styling actually really works- it looks hot :grin:

    One thing to consider when shopping for an SZR is colour. Normally I'm not shallow enough to care about this and just go for the best deal. However the SZR is a strange example of a bike where there were two fantastic colour schemes and one godawfull tacky one that clashes badly with its red seat. I own a black one and I love it. Theres also a red and a blue. I think you'll be able to figure out which colour scheme I'm talking about.

    So what's it like to ride?:


    Only being on my P's I haven't got a huge deal of bikes to compare this to. I have ridden the following learner legal sports bikes:
    Honda CBR250, Kawasaki GPX250, Kawasaki GPZ250, Honda XBR500.

    Of course compared to the twins- GPX250 and GPZ there is no comparison, the SZR 660 is dynamically and indisputedly faster. It's a fair bit up on the XBR500 too.

    As for the comparison with a 4 cylinder 250, the CBR, well It's a mates bike and when I've rode it I'm not out to thrash someone else's machine. I've only ever taken it up to about 12'000rpm which I know is a fair way off peak power. None the less the difference is easily obvious.

    While they're both about the same in peak power (both doing pathetic 13 sec 1/4miles), if you want the CBR to go fast you have to launch at high RPM's and keep em up there for any acceleration.
    In my riding, mostly in the 8-11'000 rpm range I thought it felt pretty flat and uninteresting. Sure power was OK, but it wasn't engaging at all.
    On the SZR by contrast you can roll on from any rpm in any gear and you will quickly be exceeding the speed limit. The difference is in the torque, which is always instantly available on the SZR and provides no need to keep high revs on the dial to keep moving.

    In all It's by far the best power I've ridden, and if your going to dislike this bike for any reason it won't be for lack of performance

    The gear box is a bit naff. False nuetral between 1st and 2nd has come up a little, though new oil might improve it. The small rev range of a big single also means that it is very unforgiving of getting in the wrond gear, with the rev's either spiralling towards 7000rpm or a stuttering idle. I'll get used to it.

    This is the best handling bike in the world! I say so, and so does my mate, the CBR rider. If It can run rings around a CBR in the bends, it must be damn good :grin:
    Suspension is firm and responsive at all times. The best thing is the strong Chassis allows you to apply full throttle out of any corner, the impressive torque driving you upright. An unforgettable feeling.


    Okay, admittedly it's not all roses and I'll address here the practicalities of the bike


    First of all, as mentioned is the size. I'm 6'1", so I'm pretty average for guy's. I'm 57kg's though, so I'm damn small in a way. The riding position isn't too bad- pegs and bars seem exactly right for sports riding style, not cramped as you might expect. However the Knee cutouts on the side of the tank are really extreme and there's no comfortable way to place your legs against the side of the tank. Also the seat slopes forward, and I always seem to have sore nuts within minutes of riding (too big I suppose :LOL: ).


    Work well and are clear and attractive, look nice at night especially, with a nice red glow.


    The screen is definetly designed for someone much closer to 5 foot than me. I had the chance to ride the bike on the Highway for an hour- in the poring rain no less :? . The screen kept wind and rain completely off my chest, but there was a lot more noise around my helmet than I've ever experienced on my naked bikes. I could feel the pressure on my arms too, and it contributed heavily to fatigue.

    Friendliness to Learners

    This is my first real bigger bike, as it will be for a lot of owners, and theres a couple of things that have intimidated me so far that I thought I'd share, that a 250 would not do.

    I pulled up at a mates place the other day, and was trying to do a U-turn up a slight slope in his yard. His yard is entirely made up of loose topsoil and gravel, the least traction surface I've ever seen. Anyway trying to do this U-turn I gave it some revs and let the clutch out slowly. The bike didn't move at all, so I gave it a little more clutch. All of a sudden the back wheel was sliding to the left and stones were flying behind me- I was doing my first ever burnout! Never happened on a 250, a combination of the higher weight and power obviously.
    Unerving if your not trying to do it.

    During my first day on the bike, I was speeding towards a T-intersection at 100km'h+ and left the braking to the minimum distance. To my grief, the rear brake locked up and the bike fishtailed- scary. Easy to lock up. I wouldn't use it at all, but unfortunately my front brake lever doesn't activate the light, which shits me.

    Doing U-turns on this bike is a mixed bag. It has good stability so that's not a problem. However its impossible to keep your hands on the bars at full lock as they press hard against the tank.


    The vibration on this bike is something else! It's a big single, and although its supposed to be more advanced, it feels much worse than my aircooled 87' XBR500. When I started the bike up this morning, disturbingly a bearing flew off and hit me in the leg- vibration related? My left mirror is okay, but my right one just won't stay in a usefull position and vibrates all over the place.
    Vibration does intrude on ride comfort. For short distances, who cares eh? But on the highway... On my one trip on the highway, I was legally limited to 90 (3500rpm) and as this is the sweetest spot in the range the vibration was not good, but tolerable for 1000km a day I would think, the windblast likely to be more of a problem.
    The problem is that 110km/h comes up at exactly the worst spot in the rev range, 4500rpm. I tried this for a short time- ouch! It's slightly better just above this, although you will be greatly speeding at 5000rpm+- best to keep it to 90km/h then.


    Overall I rate it greatly :grin:
    It's not the most comfortable. But its a real sports bike. And it's unique. It's got character. "You'd have to be heartless not to grow to love the vibration" to quote IK.

    You don't buy a sports bike because you want it to be comfortable. And when your learning you don't want the most powerfull bike. But you can take pride in owning the best handling bike short of a 125cc 2-stroke.
  2. I shouldn't have started writing this, once I did I couldn't stop.

    Blew out beyond all proportions.

    Took me a damn sight of a while to write, I hope someone finds it usefull.

    Still, at least next time someone asks for advice, they can simply be told to search (or PM me)
  3. And you wanted a Postie??? :shock: Congratulations on finally finding one - they're definitely a great machine...
  4. wait wait wait wait. you went overseas and came back with more money than you had when you left? did you go to the money tree or something? :LOL: :p :shock:
  5. I'm 18. It was my first post school holidays. Parents funded it, so I broke even on the holiday. I went to New Zealand too, and only stayed with relatives so it cost me <$200

    As for how I gained more money... well I've just moved out of home and my parents have started paying me $120 per week while I get started at Uni.

    Don't get me wrong I'm not spoiled. I earnt $5140 of the total $5200 cost.
    Do you know how long it takes to earn $5140 on a woolworths wage of $11.20 an hour? I will be shattered if I bin it or it gets stolen :cry:
  6. A fantastic review, and greatly appreciated. It will be worthwile to a lot of people.
  7. I still want a postie!!

    Anyone interested in a swap :p

    Still, at least I can start going on Netrider group rides now. Calling all Novacastrians.

    Main problem with owning the bike in a new town, is I don't know any decent roads and I'm afraid of getting terminally lost.

    Whether or not I'll pass these courses... I might have to cut down on my 2am netrider usage.

    Incidentally, how do you like my new Sig? I thought it to be a very necessary public service.
  8. Thanks for the review, kebab man.

    That's an odd looking ride, I've never seen one before!
  9. Hey mate where abouts in newcastle are you? i'm in belmont......please msg me PM where you are cause i'd love to meet up and look at your bike......look not test ride.

    Reason being i've just sold my cb250 looking for another machine at the moment and reading your review makes me very very interested. cheers!! :)
  10. awesome review mate, sounds like you got a bargain. the only thing i find strange is that a 660cc bike can put out 35 kilowatts :shock: what's going on there??
  11. It's a single cylinder. Trail bike engine actually.

    I can't be bothered going into the details, buy basically what that means is relatively low power, but also extremely low weight (it weighs less than a much more expensive and brand new supersport) and good torque throughout the range.

    Yamaha tend to tune their big singles for torque rather than horsepower, and the SZR has a very strong midrange as a result.

    The engine is understressed, can easily be tuned, and racing ones in Europe are reportedly putting out a believable 80bhp :twisted:
  12. :LOL: :LOL: I like it dude :cool: :grin:
  13. How UNO so much about bikes?
  14. That was a great review :grin:

    Ummm if it took you that long to get the money, and you couldn't replace it then you areally should think about getting insurance :shock:
  15. Good review KK, and pleased that you've got yourself a fairly rare (and therefore head-turning) bike, it's nice to be a bit different.

    In answer to the 660cc / 35kw question, it's a LAMS approved bike and therefore limited. Big question is how much it's going to cost to de-restrict in 12 month's time??
  16. Was offerred a rolling chassis for one of these, USD forks, Brembo brakes, the works, all less engine for around $1000. (owner bought it for a replacement engine for his track bike)

    before I do a bit of googling, anyone know how hard it is to get parts for, esp a motor :p

    might be a good replacement for my bent beast

    Bloody good review BTW

  17. The SZR is not restricted for LAMS Hornet, all SZRs sold around the world put out that much power (it's just coincidence that it happens to slip nicely under the LAMS power/weight limit). The SZR simply has a lot of torque, but not many revs - so whilst they might have the same power as a 250 they've got about 3 times the torque and much greater reliability/durability. (Engine is straight out of the XT660 I believe Iffracem).
  18. I used to have one of these bikes and must say that it is a nice little bike.
    The handling is extremely good with it's TZR based frame (if i remember right) and light weight. The brakes are also quite good for what are pretty basic Brembo's, however they don't have alot of weight to pull up so that helps alot. Power is nothing extraordinary but that isn't what it is about, torque is where it's at.
    I had the black version with the hideous red seat (the seat only lasted a day or two before i had it recovered). I gotta say that i never got used to the styling, it always seemed to me like 3 different people designed the front, middle and rear of the bike and none of them spoke to each other in the process!! :p
    I went so far as to strip my bike completely of all bodywork and made it a nice little cafe racer. :cool:
    It had a Staintune exhaust, 1 tooth smaller front sprocket, a custome enlarged airbox with K&N pod filter and more than 10 kg's less weight (the subframe is made of steel ffs, mine was a custom lightweight jobby).
    It went like stink compared to when it was stock!! And the sounds it made was incredible.
    I really really wish i didn't crash it at over 140km/h and destroy it. :cry:
    It cost me alot of time and money to modify it, just wish i could go back in time and decide to stay home that day. I miss that bike.
  19. Yamaha still use the motor new in one of their quads at least so thats no worries. The Brembo Brakes and Paioli suspension on the other hand are typically italian and elusive if you need to replace tham.

    If the bike ONLY needs the engine than its a good buy, but other parts aren't too easy to find.

    They are unrestricted, how much power do you expect from a single?

    Thats one of the bikes I was talking about that I rang up and they said "sorry sold it half an hour ago". That bike's long gone, they just haven't removed the ad yet.