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You Can Buy Wayne Rainey’s Title Winning 1990 Yamaha YZR 500 for $170,000


Are you still dreaming about owning a two-stroke 500cc GP race bike? A German collector has offered for sale a 1990 Yamaha YZR 500 works racer used by Wayne Rainey to take his first of three 500 GP titles. Here is the link with the details. Just a heads up to our wealthy readers … make out your check for $170,000 (125,000 Euro).



  1. PatrickD says:

    There’s a YZR500 being used in anger at the Classic TT in August. Lap record holder (I think) kiwi Bruce Ansty will be racing (not demonstrating) what will be a heck of a sight/sound for race-goers. Which includes me!

  2. dave says:

    This is what we need.
    A Two Stroke with UDX forks.
    H,Y,K,S build it.

  3. kneedrag says:

    I got a chance recently to race a TZ750, and while not a factory bike, it was quite managable with new race rubber. 2 overbored TZ820(?) on the grid that were making close to 170hp and they looked smooth power with proper jetting. At the following trackday there was a rider with a Redbull YZR 500 having a blast in the intermediate group. I think its the combo of 2-smoke powerband/90s era Michelins/riders pushing the limits are what made this era legendary.

    This bike with fresh rubber and a proper tuner futzing with air/fuel ratio would be a hoot.

  4. Tommy Test says:

    My Dear cable company aired two documentaries titled “The Unrideables” that chronicled what these things, and their riders/pilots/victims had to do to keep the bikes upright and on the tarmac.
    Looks like they (1 + 2) are available from that streaming site.


  5. MGNorge says:

    Mere mortals, presumably like most readers here, would likely find a bike like this so overwhelming and too much of a handful. To ride these anywhere close to their capabilities took one of those 1 in 1,000,000 individuals who could tame them (Hats off to Rainey and his competitors).
    Though this being a race bike, I was reminded of the thin power bands many of the road going two-strokes had. Just took a 300 mile trip into and around Mt. Rainier and into Eastern Washington and thinking of this I’m glad I was riding something with a wide power band. The many switchbacks and changes in elevation would have been exhausting if I had been riding something that constantly had to have the gears rowed up and down.

    But back to the point, the YZR is racing history and deserves to be placed where more people can admire it. My vote is that a public museum snatches it up.

    • Hot Dog says:

      How about Barber?

    • todd says:

      Rowing through the gears is only necessary if you’re trying to tap the full power of the motor – which I doubt anyone will be doing on Mt. Rainier on any bike. You could probably do the whole trip in first gear on this bike.

      Most “mortals” probably can’t get the full potential out of a Ninja 500 either.

      • MGNorge says:

        In response to getting full potential out of an engine you are correct. But riding a bike that quickly is off song unless in the right gear and right rpm is what I was referring to. I wouldn’t call that fun at all.

  6. Nomadak says:

    I recall seeing one of the YZR500’s running at Road Atlanta way back in the Formula USA series in the early-mid 90’s. It was so far ahead of the heavily modified liter plus bikes, it was ridiculous. Certainly a great piece of history..hard to put a price tag on such a thing.

    • Hot Dog says:

      I saw Rich Oliver come down the straight of Brainerd during a Formula Extreme race and he smoked the big four strokes. It was awesome hearing the screech of that beast on full pipe.

  7. Chris P. says:

    Am I the only one that thinks this is a great deal at the asking price? I’m not inferring I could afford it, but for such a special bike this seems like a reasonable asking price. There are so few of these GP bikes remaining, and the number in private ownership has got to make this one of the rarest bikes ever. Add to that the pedigree of it being a championship winning bike and the aura and legend that surrounds Rainey, it looks like a complete bargain to me…

    • Dave says:

      Come to think of it, the asking price is very likely well under the bike’s original cost. Honda was *leasing* bikes to teams not long after this for $1m/yr.

  8. mike says:

    no thanks. I am a collector of famous historical race bikes

  9. Pablo says:

    Or, save yourself $25,000 euro and buy a Ronax! Google it and you will find a street legal 500cc v4 two stroke Gp bike with all the modern goodies. Only 46 are being made.

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Only 46 are being made.”

      yeah that’s what they’re saying, but the truth is they’ll build 1,046 if people started coming off the dime. right, like someone in the year 2014’s going to say no to money.

    • GKS says:

      It is not $170,000 because of what it is, a vintage 1990 500cc road racer.
      It is $170,000 because of what it DID, win the 1990 500cc World championship

  10. mike says:

    I am trying to get the contact info on this bike.
    Does anybody have a email or phone # of seller.

    please contact I AM A VERY INTERESTED BUYER

  11. Brinskee says:

    Wonder how hot that seat got with those expansion chambers right underneath with all that padding. Yowza!

    I love it and I want it and yes I would do a track day with it because why not!!

  12. Scott the Aussie says:

    I love the simplicity of it. Wild and beast like they were, but also pretty simple.

    • Honyock says:

      “Multa novit vulpes, verum echinus unum magnum” or, “The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one great thing”. The focus, the singularity of purpose, the purity of form following function attracts our interest. Would that I were worthy of mounting such a steed.

      • Scott the Aussie says:

        I have mounted such a steed, be it only a Grand Prix 125 from the 1980s. It was PURPOSEFUL. Super light, tiny and narrow.

  13. joe b says:

    Lucky me, I just bought it. (poof, dream over)

  14. Provologna says:

    You guys obsess about the lack of seat pad? Forget that! Look how low are the grips!

    Q: Grip Height + Braking Power = ?

    A: Can you say, “a-r-m p-u-m-p?”

  15. Provologna says:

    Has anyone seen official certified power band for bikes like this? How wide is useable torque band? Does it jump from 10 lbs to 75 lbs within a 400 RPM range, or similar? Does HP jump from 25 to 140 in a 1k RPM range? Yikes!!!!!!

    One would be so very tempted to test ride this beast, but anyone with common sense would similarly suspect they’d likely crash it the moment they released the clutch, at least lacking proper training.

    You’d almost need a training simulator!

    • Norm G. says:

      re: “Has anyone seen official certified power band for bikes like this?”


      re: “How wide is useable torque band?”

      not very.

      re: “Does it jump from 10 lbs to 75 lbs within a 400 RPM range”


      re: “Does HP jump from 25 to 140 in a 1k RPM range?


    • Norm G. says:

      re: “You’d almost need a training simulator!”


  16. Provologna says:

    It’s hard to tell for lack of scale, but the bike’s body work seems wide, unless the overall dimensions are smaller than today’s GP bikes (I was 75′ from Marquez on the starting grid at Austin’s “Main Grand Stand” this year…post if you plan to attend Austin 2015). Might American’s overall larger frames decrease chance of seeing another American world champion? I’m tending to think yes.

  17. Sam says:

    That seat can’t be very comfortable for cruising and the ‘tree huggers’ won’t like the open expansion chambers:)

    • Hot Dog says:

      tree huggers like em’ but the far right wing won’t allow uncontrolled free thought…

  18. VLJ says:

    No self-canceling turnsignals = dealbreaker for me! – Hordes of MD Readers

  19. Gronde says:

    $170,000. Does that include a seat pad? Just asking…

  20. Dave says:

    Does it come with a seat? Lol

    I saw this (or one almost exactly like it) in 1993, Prague at a Marlboro promotion. I couldn’t believe how little there seemed to be to it. Just a frame, a big pair of slicks and a smallish engine + pipes. Made the streetbikes we’re used to seem so bloated.

  21. Man Relish says:

    I couldn’t afford to get the thing running, or keep it running. And I probably don’t have the damn skill to ride it either….I’ll take it.

  22. mickey says:

    How does one in Germany go about obtaining a factory Japanese roadracer used by an American to win a World Championship? Yamaha give it to Rainey as a reward, who gets hard up for money and sells it?

    • Randy D says:

      $$$$$$ Ka Ching!

    • Provologna says:

      Personally, I am repulsed by your use of the words “hard up” in reference to a beloved road racing athlete/3x World Champion, who suffers lifetime crippling injury for the sport.

      I strongly doubt you know more about Rainey’s personal finances than me, which is nothing. But regardless, there is no justification to use the term you chose and you could easily make any related point without the term.

      The most usual motive for persons to put someone else in unnecessary negative light is to elevate themselves. Your terminology tells readers everything about you and nothing about Rainey.

      • mickey says:

        seriously? lighten up Provalona, there was no mal intent there towards Rainey. What is your problem?

    • Dave says:

      The owner is likely thinking that it’ll sell to a museum trust (Barber Motorsports?) Which is probably where it belongs.

      Did Wayne “own” this bike prior? It’s pretty unusual for a racer to acquire a bike like this. When Honda got back the NSR’s they leased out, they’d put them in a crusher. Seriously.

  23. Norm G. says:

    this has got RSBFS written all over it.