The Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace, was around the time of the launch in 1996 rebranded into a 'sport tourer', and the Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace quickly earned this unwanted title. Nobody in the mid '90s had an idea what a sport tourer was. That's like saying these are my 'smart jeans' It was a non-sense, just like the daft acronyms slapped on the rear of the Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace, quite literally: ASS' or Aero Super Sport, yet more stupidity. But hold on, maybe I'm being far too hasty…. The Yamaha Thunderace is a comfortable motorcycle, even for larger foreigners plus, with a slightly higher screen and a tank full of fuel you could quickly clock up the kilometers. It's not a bad motorcycle for pillions either.
When you new to riding a Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace you will without doubt search for a sixth gear, but it's useless as there isn't one. The gearing of the five-speed gearbox begs for a sixth cog, but you do get used to it, eventually. There is a solution though; a gearbox from a Yamaha YZF750 uses the all important sixth gear, and it will fit directly in to the Yamaha YZF 1000. Makes you wonder why Yamaha never did it…. When you buy the Yamaha YZF 100 Thunderace secondhand. The obvious things will be age related, things such as exhaust headers, they will not only rot but will also do their best to stop the EXUP valve moving – being located lower than you expect on the motorcycle it doesn't get cleaned much and also gets covered in crud. The EXUP valve should be free to go through its cycle when the servo tugs the cables, many don't. They can easily be stripped out and serviced, which makes you wonder why owners don't do it until it's too late.
Many aftermarket systems don't incorporate the EXUP valve, which isn't actually a bad thing. All FZR / YZF engines like to use a drop of oil and being a five-valve engine valve clearance etc. is a tedious and fiddly job. Clutches are weak if abused and gearboxes often notchy. Some also tend to be vibey: not necessarily and issue, but can lead to comfort issues.
Most people who look at a Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace often also look at a Honda Blade from the same era. Both are still great motorcycles. If you're a bit more a sportsbike person then a Honda Blade might appeal more. The Yamaha FZF 1000 Thunderace is more comfortable for daily commuting. Both are still fast…
Not so long ago I saw a 1998 Yamaha YZF 1000 Thunderace for sale in Thailand for a very affordable price, you could not buy a new Honda CBR300R for the same money..