General

To The Crusher - Yamaha SZR660

On paper it was a great idea. Build a sporty-looking single cylinder motorcycle.


On paper it was a great idea. Build a sporty-looking single cylinder motorcycle, which combined Italian design flair and a well-proven engine. The result must be road tester praise and instant sales success.

Sadly, the SZR660 didn't really come together. The motor was the 660cc mill from the trusty Tenere, a machine where 40 or-so horsepower is fine for such a pseudo-trailie. However, whacked into the SZR's sports chassis (that could handle at least twice the power) you had something that was never going to plough a furrow through the tarmac and instead led to terminable frustration. The first few seconds of acceleration would be exciting enough, only for you to be greeted with a yawning chasm of boredom as the thing crawled to its 7,250rpm rev-limiter, the arrival of which felt similar to hitting a brick wall. Still, hitting a brick wall would have been a welcome end to the pain of having your fillings rattled around by an engine that - in the SZR's chassis - could have doubled as an Elephant's vibro.

Style-wise, the likes of the Ducati Supermono showed how a race-inspired single should look like... sadly the person involved with the SZR had a horribly diseased mind. This would be fair enough if the build quality was up to normal Japanese standards, but get too close and you could almost see 'Made in Hong Kong' stamped on the side. Despite all this in some parts of the world the machine was well received. The Japanese themselves, who made gorgeous single-cylinder race bikes like the Yamaha powered Over machine, seemed to take it to their hearts in a way similar to the Endurance game show and water torture. Nearer to home the Dutch also found the bike to their liking, although probably only after so many spliffs that they were utterly faced.

Rightly so in the UK, buyers flocked away, so it is only left for us to consign this unsightly blemish on the face of motorcycling into the crusher!

On paper it was a great idea. Build a sporty-looking single cylinder motorcycle, which combined Italian design flair and a well-proven engine. The result must be road tester praise and instant sales success.

Sadly, the SZR660 didn't really come together. The motor was the 660cc mill from the trusty Tenere, a machine where 40 or-so horsepower is fine for such a pseudo-trailie. However, whacked into the SZR's sports chassis (that could handle at least twice the power) you had something that was never going to plough a furrow through the tarmac and instead led to terminable frustration. The first few seconds of acceleration would be exciting enough, only for you to be greeted with a yawning chasm of boredom as the thing crawled to its 7,250rpm rev-limiter, the arrival of which felt similar to hitting a brick wall. Still, hitting a brick wall would have been a welcome end to the pain of having your fillings rattled around by an engine that - in the SZR's chassis - could have doubled as an Elephant's vibro.

Style-wise, the likes of the Ducati Supermono showed how a race-inspired single should look like... sadly the person involved with the SZR had a horribly diseased mind. This would be fair enough if the build quality was up to normal Japanese standards, but get too close and you could almost see 'Made in Hong Kong' stamped on the side. Despite all this in some parts of the world the machine was well received. The Japanese themselves, who made gorgeous single-cylinder race bikes like the Yamaha powered Over machine, seemed to take it to their hearts in a way similar to the Endurance game show and water torture. Nearer to home the Dutch also found the bike to their liking, although probably only after so many spliffs that they were utterly faced.

Rightly so in the UK, buyers flocked away, so it is only left for us to consign this unsightly blemish on the face of motorcycling into the crusher!

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