Yamaha SZR660

One piston, two wheels and a whole lot of bend-slaying laughs: we’re re-booting the SZR660!

Created by Yamaha Italy in 1995, the SZR660 was essentially a factory parts bin special. It married a TZR125RR chassis, complete with rear-sets, swingarm and front mudguard, to the single-cylinder four-stroke XTZ660 motor. Yamaha Italy designed their own (ahem) unique bodywork and added a red seat three years before the R1’s iconic scarlet perch.

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The lethargic engine and eccentric styling meant the SZR flopped at the showroom and it was dropped from the range after a brief two year run. You might see the odd one playing the supermono card at track days thanks to its excellent handling but the bike was (and is) a rare sight on UK shores. Here’s what it might look like if it was still in the Yamaha line-up.

We’ve updated the original bike’s quirky styling with curves from the Yamaha range, past, present and future. From scooters to the R125 and even a concept bike, we’ve tweaked and fine-tuned the lines until they are just right. Back in the day the SZR was an ‘acquired taste’. We’ve tried to make it more instantly loveable. Like the original, it’s not going to be comfortable – especially for six-footers – but add a twisty B-road and you’ll be whooping too much to care. Besides, you’ll want to stop every hour to check your fillings are still in place.

Using an evolution of the SZR swingarm, we’ve matched it with a downsized and modified FZ6-style alloy frame which is a surprisingly aesthetic beauty. Lightweight five spoke wheels take the place of the dated 1990s three-spoke design and as before a single disc at the front is all we need but we’ve dropped the Brembo caliper for an R6 item. No pillion provision is needed which would keep the weight well under 150kg.

The stock SZR motor makes a modest 45bhp at the back wheel but tuned versions can top 60bhp without too much trouble. Replace the twin carbs with modern day fuel-injection, ditch the heavy, stifling end can for a de-catted MT silencer and plug in a Power Commander V and we’re away. Sure, it’ll still vibrate and run out of steam halfway down the straight but you’ll catch them at the next corner. Right?

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