Japanese Italian fusion

Marrying unintended engines and rolling chassis has been a biking obsession stretching way back. Success stories include the famous British Triton that matched the high performing Triumph twin engine to the justifiably praised Norton Featherbed frame. Sadly, the Yamaha SZR660 would never reach those giddy heights of fame.


Conceived and constructed by the Italian Yamaha importer, Belgardia, the SZR was a cocktail of a small capacity TZR rolling chassis and a slightly retuned Tenere dirt bike engine. It was not a happy marriage and sluggish sales led to a limited two-year life cycle and around 2000 units produced.

That said, the idea itself had some logic. SoS (Sound of Singles) racing was popular at the time with companies such as OVER Racing in Japan creating exotic and desirable machines. The low seat height and relatively low power of the SZR were also attractive to less experienced buyers but that did little to
make up for the inherent single cylinder vibration at higher revs and fairly uninspiring performance.

The spec sheet boasted many European sourced parts such as a Brembo brake caliper, Paioli forks, Lanfranconi exhaust and even Sachs-Boge rear suspension. Benefitting from Yamaha’s innovative 5 valve cylinder head technology and a fuel pump feeding not one but two carburettor bodies it was about as tech as a single could be at the time yet stands out as a 'gallant attempt” that did not gain wide appeal.

If you find a good example today the SZR is actually a tempting prospect. The Tenere engine is famously robust and parts are still available; likewise the TZR chassis handles superbly. Due to its diversely sourced 'parts bin” nature, try to secure as complete an example as possible and enjoy being single again!

source: https://www.instagram.com/p...
issued: Wednesday, October 26, 2022
updated: Wednesday, October 26, 2022

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