Yamaha SZR 660


Make Model

Yamaha SZR 600




Four stroke, single cylinder, SOHC, 5 valves per cylinder.



Bore x Stroke 100 x 84 mm
Cooling System Liquid cooled,
Compression Ratio 9.2:1





Starting Electric

Max Power

48 hp / 35 kW @ 6250 rpm 

Max Power Rear Tyre

43.2 hp @ 6400 rpm

Max Torque

55.9 Nm / 40.6 lb-ft @ 5000 rpm


5 Speed 

Final Drive Chain

Front Suspension

41mm telescopic forks

Rear Suspension

Monoshock, preload and rebound adjustable.

Front Brakes

Single 320 mm disc 4 piston caliper

Rear Brakes

Single 210mm disc 2 piston clipper

Front Tyre


Rear Tyre

Dimensions Length 2040 mm / 80.3 in
Width 740 mm / 29.1 in
Height 1140 mm / 44.8 in
Seat Height 770 mm / 30.3 in

Dry Weight

159 kg / 350.5 lbs

Fuel Capacity 

14 Litres

Consumption Average

20.2 km/lit

Braking 60 - 0 / 100 - 0

12.8 m / 38.9 m

Standing ¼ Mile  

13.3 sec / 159.2 km/h

Top Speed

186.6 km/h

Bimota BB1 vs Yamaha SZR 660

'Mark, your arse is on fire.' We were negotiating a roundabout when I noticed smoke wafting from the back of the Supermono. 'Yeh, I know,' he shouted over the thudding engine. 'The vibrations are killing me bum...' 'No, I mean the tail unit is smouldering - look.'

We stared at the plastic melting onto the exhausts. And so it began - ten miles from Peterborough en route to Wigan's twistiest race track, Three Sisters, the Bimota tried to self-destruct and kept on trying for the next three days. To be fair, vibrations generated by single cylinder bikes are difficult to balance, so they all loosen mirrors, shake nuts off and blow headlight bulbs from time to time.

But although I'd ridden singles before, nothing prepared me for the Supermono.

Pressing the starter button results in a violent burst of shuddering which doesn't stop until the engine stalls 20 seconds later. The Bim is powered by the same 650cc Rotax engine as BMW's Funduro but, where BMW provide decent vibration damping, Bimota have gone purely for looks. This makes it thoroughly nasty to ride. With a 200 mile journey ahead there were nervous smiles, brave faces and much laughter from those not going.

Mark did the first stint on the Supermono and did most of the distance standing on the pegs or trying to stop his knackers touching the buzzing tank. We swapped at the first fuel-stop and, despite not having any spuds, I discovered just how miserable it is.

For a start, the mirrors don't work and that's without the engine running. They're designed to move within the mountings like car mirrors, but don't, so you need to wind your neck out to see anything in the right mirror and get a smashing view of the gutter in the left. But they're purely for decoration when the engine starts up.

Hands, feet, teeth, and anything between your legs goes numb, your eyeballs quiver like jellies in their sockets, white lines and oncoming cars blur into smudges and all you can hear is a cacophony of fasteners undoing themselves and the chain slapping the swing arm. The seat feels like sitting directly on the bodywork. It's sheer murder for blokes and only feels nice for girls when you brake (which is not a good time to get distracted...).

But I wasn't prepared to write the BB1 off on its motorway performance because touring is the last thing it's designed for.

At Three Sisters, Forsyth snatched the keys and headed for the track with intention of hassling some geezar on a CBR600.The BB1 sounded the business as the thick, mournful drone of the exhaust rolled between the slag heaps. According to Bimota's glossy brochure, this is the bike's natural environment - exhausts tucked under the seat and stratosphericly high pegs for maximum Ground Clearance, fancy Italian suspension and plenty of low down torque for quick cornering.

But on the track we realised not so much something was wrong, as nothing was right.

Straights were ok but every corner was a struggle. I'm used to Brembo brakes on my Aprilia RS250 but the Bimota's front stopper was stiff and under-powered. Hanging-off ready to peel in, the whole bike wobbled and weaved, and the deep rubber fins on the footrests flopped over making my foot slip. As I turned the bike in, it sat up again, so I fought it down harder. This continued right round each curve, resulting in some extremely pissed-up lines. Bastard. After ten laps I was wincing in pain because my forearms were so pumped-up. It was miserable - the rest of my body tensed and Three Sisters became a nightmare.


Mark (ex-lap record holder round the track) wasn't impressed:

'I expected the Bimota to be hot shit, but it's turned out to be more of a luke-warm, fudgey stool. It's nervous, skittish and sounds like the chain is about to leap off the sprockets'

Kenny P, tyre-kicker and suspension expert to the stars, attacked the soggy forks with a spanner to increase spring stiffness but discovered the adjusters were jammed on maximum anyway. It was at this point arguments about who was riding the Bimota to the Lake District broke out and we ended up tossing a coin — I won. Mark sulked.

But come on — how could Bimota take innovative ingredients like an oval section alloy frame, fuel tank in the belly pan for low c of g, 46bhp at the rear wheel, and so effectively turn them into a recipe for disaster? The geometry of the bike feels so awkWard. As Kenny pointed-out, it's no better than a bad reader's special — a be-nice-when-it's-finished kind of bike.

Bruntingthorpe's 2-mile runway bore further testimony to the Supermono being less than completely developed. There was no point in tucking down for speed testing because fuel supply couldn't keep up with demand at high revs and the motor kept cutting-out. Bimota say they've maximised the air flowing through the engine by using two carbs and two pipes, but without enough petrol the Supermono's top speed run was an embarrassment of hesitant burps punctuated by backfiring farts. On 46bhp it should've blown the SZR into the turnips.

What a waste. The BB1 stopped people in their tracks and always had a small crowd of admirers touching the neat welding and praising the smooth, aquatic styling. It looks the gears and the only way we could convince bikers at Devil's Bridge otherwise was to start it up and make them rest a hand on the tank. Looks of awe turned to horror as they considered the genital mutilation entailed when riding the BB1.

Bimota reckon people buy their bikes for the prestige of owning a Bimota. Good luck to them But unless you're planning to invest in the Supermono as piece of sculpture, I wouldn't touch it with yours

The idea of riding the SZR660 filled me with dread and I'd written it off before it even arrived. I was convinced the Yam would be slow, weird and a bit pointless. But I'm pleased to admit I got it wrong. The BB1 was a scrapie-infested sheep in wolfs clothing and the Yamaha was a gas. Probably nitrous oxide because it makes you giggle. It waited quietly in the shadows while everyone admired the Bimota and when its moment finally arrived, bowled us over by being excellent. Well, as excellent as singles get...

While MF was tying himself in knots trying to shield himself from the Bimota's tank, I was wondering what the agg was about. The red seat on the SZR is a hideous eye-sore but not a butt-sore. The motor seems less harsh all round and, although you still feel like the Ready Brek kid after 120 motorway-miles, I offered to ride it back from Kendal (the Supermono came back in a van).

Unlike its expensive rival, the SZR doesn't stall at lights, travels with the throttle hard against the stop without cutting-out and the mirrors work well enough to save you from plod.

For something with so much low-down torque, it's very smooth on the roads with none of the Bimota's lurching transmission problems. The engine braking sets the bike up for corners, and as you power on, the engine sounds like a fighter plane accelerating towards the ground in a terminal nose-dive.

But it does have a couple of irritating habits. Dipped beam is so magnified by the projector lens it pisses car drivers off, full beam is so dim you can't see diddly and the indicator flasher-unit gives up at 6,500rpm and sends Morse-code messages. And this particular bike's tendency to leap out of top gear is annoying.

But I'd expected much worse than this, and the bike's performance at the track made up for everything. A lap on the frumpy SZR was over two seconds quicker than the 'race-rep' BBl. The exhaust went down all over the place - in total contrast to the Bimota, Ground Clearance is poor but the suspension is excellent. Such stability when the bike is banked right over makes fast cornering a doddle.

Unfortunately, while I stopped to rest my right hand because the SZR throttle springs are so stiff, Mark took the Yam out for a 'couple of laps' and I got lumbered with the Bimota for the rest of the track session.

'The Yamaha feels so planted,' he said (when we finally reeled him in). 'The only place the Bimota is likely to feel planted is in the tyre wall. And in spite of having less power, it's got much more mid-range'

You know you're enjoying a bike when you start planning what you'd do if you bought one. It would make an awesome Sunday bike on country roads. Second hand prices are low because the SZR hasn't sold too well — probably because nobody really knows what to use it for. The standard rolling chassis is very good, but that huge and hideous zorst needs to go. Racing singles can make 80bhp, so it wouldn't be too difficult to squeeze some more rort out of the SZR. Finish the package off by getting a black seat cover and hang round on Sundays waiting to pick fights with FireBlades who drift into your patch.

Source Bodily Odours