A naked Yamaha blast from the past.

This is a 1991 Yamaha R1-Z. It’s a tiny little quarter-liter two-stroke that was only sold for two years in Japan, from 1990 to 1991. A few have been imported to the U.S., but not many. If you want a head-turning R1 that few people will be expecting, this might be the bike for you. 

This baby R1 features a retuned TZR250 engine that produced an alleged 44 horsepower at 9,500rpm, and 27 pound-feet of torque at 8,500rpm. Meanwhile, it also came in at a claimed 293 pounds dry. It’s a sprightly little trellis-framed two-stroke racer, and it has 29,237 kilometers (or 18,167 miles) on the clock. Not bad for a bike that’s nearly 30 years old! 

It’s currently located at the Iconic Motorbikes hangar in Marina del Rey, California, and comes with a clean Oregon title. It’s mostly stock, although some time during its 29-year lifespan, someone installed dual USB chargers, a battery tender plug, and Napoleon mirrors. A crisp new paint job that merely updated its stock look was skillfully applied in 2019. Still, this is a bike that has been ridden, so it has some minor scuffs you’d associate with a bike that didn’t sit around as an art piece for most of its life.  

Gallery: 1991 Yamaha R1-Z

An honest bike that has lived its life and actually been ridden is comforting to me, because to my mind, that's what bikes are for. There’s some black electrical tape around the front left turn signal that appears to be holding the lens in place, and you may want to know about that if you're considering it. Broken tab, maybe? It's not clear, but you can ask if you're interested.

It starts up and sounds quite nice, as you can hear in this video. Will you be the only one to show up at a future local bike night on one of these? I can’t promise that’s the case, but it seems pretty unlikely that you’ll see another one very often. I’m also not sure how the mileage on this one will affect its final sale price, but one of these sold for just over US $6,000 on eBay in 2017. Then again, that one also had about half as many miles on it, as well as a few modifications. 

This auction ends on April 2, 2020, and the reserve has not yet been met, but you can bid over at Iconic Motorbike Auctions if you need it. 

Sources: YouTubeIconic Motorbike AuctionsBike-Urious