If you’re a fan of Japanese sportbikes from the 1990s, then you’ll particularly appreciate this drag race video pitting a 1996 Honda Fireblade CBR900RR against a 1994 Yamaha YZF 750R. The Fireblade’s biggest claim to fame at the time wasn’t power—it was its comparatively light weight. At the curb, this 1996 Fireblade weighs an entire 40 pounds less than the 1994 YZF 750R—in addition to its higher displacement.
Now, before you get worried about the wellbeing of these two bona fide ‘90s classics, this isn’t the flat-out brawl that some drag races can be. Instead, it’s a kind of just-for-fun approach, using borrowed vintage machines in the hands of experienced racers to see which bike (and which rider) comes out best in this Bike World test.
The 1996 Fireblade hails from presenter and former BSB racer Chris Northover’s family, where it’s been flogged about through the decades. Meanwhile, the 1994 YZF 750R is on loan from a friend, so that’s the one that they both want to be most careful with since it doesn’t belong to either of them.
On the outside, of course, both these bikes have fantastic colors and graphics that are emblematic of some of the best 1990s aesthetics that rolled out of Japanese factories back in the day. That’s always a subjective thing, of course—so by now, chances are good that you already know whether you’re a fan of this look or not. It’s a treat if you are, and an eyesore if you aren’t.
What about specs? The 1996 Honda Fireblade CBR900RR had a 919cc inline four-cylinder engine that made a claimed 130 horsepower at 10,500 rpm, alongside 67.9 pound-feet of torque at 10,000 rpm. It was mated to a six-speed gearbox, had an adjustable Showa suspension, had disc brakes all around, and rolled on a 16-inch wheel up front and a 17-inch wheel in the rear. Wheelbase was 55.2 inches.
On the other side of this competition, the 1994 Yamaha YZF 750R had a 749cc inline four-cylinder engine that made a claimed 125 horsepower at 12,000 rpm, alongside 59.3 pound-feet of torque at 9,500 rpm. It was also mated to a six-speed gearbox.
The front forks were early upside-down units, featuring preload, rebound, and compression adjustability. The rear had both adjustable preload and rebound. The front brake discs were slightly bigger (320mm versus the Fireblade’s 296mm), but it also had a disc braking setup all around. It rolled on a pair of 17-inch alloy wheels. Wheelbase was just over half an inch longer, at 55.9 inches.