Yamaha has been producing some of the best motorcycles and sports bikes for decades. The company often times tops the best-selling charts. But with so many bikes in its lineup history, which ones turned out to be the most influential and impressive? We’re here with a list of the best bikes ever made by Yamaha.
YZF-R7: One of the most influential bikes Yamaha ever made
Initially designed to compete in the Superbike World Championship, the Yamaha R7 still stands as one of the world’s most influential race bikes. It’s also one of the priciest since according to HiConsumption, there was only a limited production run of 500 R7s total.
The YZF-R7 revolutionized what it meant to be a race bike, with a 749 cc, DOHC 20-valve engine and additional “race edition” package that helped the R7 create an impressive 135 hp.
When it debuted in 1999, the R7 was also one of the first homologated bikes to use activated fuel injectors and an upgraded exhaust system that made it a force to be reckoned with on the track.
V-MAX: Took power to the next level
Back in the early-to-mid 1980s, Yamaha produced the original 1200 cc V-MAX, which topped every bike lover’s list. At a time when motorcycles weren’t typically putting out more than 80-100 hp, the V-MAX exploded onto the scene. That’s because it boasted an engine that could produce 145 hp at full-power.
The V-Max cruiser was known for its powerful engine, which could power the V-MAX up to a top speed of 150 mph, as well as its distinctive design. According to Visor Down, it was so powerful that restrictions were placed on models sold overseas. But more than a decade later, Yamaha gave way to its hard-to-handle V-MAX in favor of lighter motorcycles.
XT-500: A perfect bike for adventuring
Lovers of adventure motorcycles should appreciate Yamaha’s XT-500, which according to Devitt Insurance, marked history as “one of the original trail and endurance adventure motorcycles of today.”
Inspired by Scramblers from the 1960s, Yamaha debuted the XT-500 in 1976, with many imitations following shortly after. But the XT-500 started a trend of nimble, yet powerful bikes that had a classic design and nothing classic about its performance. The XT-500 introduced Yamaha’s beloved four-stroke engine and was used to win several big races. The XT-500 was sold until 1989.
YZR-500: Yamaha’s first champion bike
At first glance, the YZR-500 looks bulky in comparison to Yamaha’s other slick rides. But don’t let the bold design fool you, as the YZR-500 has won several world championships and the hearts of many superstars. When it first hit the streets, it didn’t weigh any less than other bikes. However, it could certainly go faster with a top speed of 180 mph.
It was first seen in 1973, with a bulky Chromoly frame that made it one of the best-balanced bikes on the market. It was during that same year that the YZR-500 became Yamaha’s first factory bike to win a championship. The YZR-500 was produced until 2002, remaining a favorite among fans and racers for decades.
YZF-1000 R1: One of Yamaha’s best selling bikes
Dubbed as one of Yamaha’s greatest creations by Hot Cars, the YZF-1000 R1 was originally created to take the top spot on the charts from its biggest competitor, Honda. But Yamaha got way more than it bargained for with the R1, becoming one of its best-sellers ever.
First seen in 1998, the R1 was aggressively designed, comfortable, and reliable. But that’s not all the R1 provided, with an extremely lightweight design, a 998 cc engine, and a top speed of 168 mph. In fact, the R1 set the bar for lightweight, rocket-like sportbikes that would come after it. Yamaha certainly hit the jackpot with the R1. As proof, it’s still in production and remains one of its best-selling bikes ever.