Remember super singles? An extremely niche little sports category from the '90s. Check Andrew's spectacular Yamaha SZR660 with the frame of a TZR and the heart of a Ténéré...

Andrew’s 1998 Yamaha SZR660 is certainly a one-of-a-kind build, drawing attention everywhere he goes. I was lucky enough to be allowed to take it for a quick spin to see why Andrew likes riding it so much, besides being a seriously unique looking machine…

Andrew’s 1998 Yamaha SZR660 is certainly a one of a kind build and draws attention everywhere he goes.

Andrew’s 1998 Yamaha SZR660 is certainly a one of a kind build and draws attention everywhere he goes.


Check out our other Custom Bike features here…


A standard Yamaha SZR660 is quite a rare bike and after a quick search on the web at the time of writing the article, I couldn’t find a single one for sale in Australia, but Andrew bought his way back in 2013 from Victoria for $4000 with 55000km on the clock.



The Yamaha SZR660 was made exclusively at the Italian plant in Belgarda from 1996 to 2001 and used a lightweight Yamaha TZR frame with the very lethargic XTZ 660 Ténéré single-cylinder motor, which only made around 45hp.



Obviously, this was not enough for Andrew and he had engine builder Phil Tomlin Racing work his magic on the motor, bringing the horsepower up to a more spirited 64hp. To achieve this power figure the bore was taken out from a stock size of 100mm to 102mm, making it 686cc using a JE piston kit. The connecting rod was replaced with Carillo one and to increase bottom-end strength an Over Racing big-end bearing was installed. 

Andrew had engine builder Phil Tomlin Racing work his magic on the motor, bringing the horsepower up to a more spirited 64hp.

Andrew had engine builder Phil Tomlin Racing work his magic on the motor, bringing the horsepower up to a more spirited 64hp.

The compression ratio was also increased to 10.5:1 from a stock 9.2:1 and to allow the engine to rev to 8000rpm, RC Sugo camshafts was fitted along with five Vesrah valves and Over Racing dual valve springs, which are held in place with titanium retainers.



Also helping the engine spin-up quicker, almost 1kg was removed from the flywheel. Phil Tomlin was also responsible for the cylinder porting, which allows the intake and exhaust gasses to flow better, along with adjusting the deck height for the correct squish measurement.



The ignition system used to get the most out of the performance mods is an Ignitec Sparker TCIP4, which came from the Czech Republic. The fuelling is taken care of by way of twin Keihin FCR 35mm carburetors flowing through a Phil Tomlin ported and matched inlet manifold, which suck air through a set of K&N filters. The bike is setup and jetted well to run smoothly on 98 octane fuel, which produces the 64hp.

How stunning is that exhaust system? Adds even more chrome goodness to the shiny bullet...

How stunning is that exhaust system? Adds even more chrome goodness to the shiny bullet…

Exhaust duties are taken care of by Projection Components header pipes from the UK, which have been ceramic coated and matched up to a SP Engineering muffler, again imported from the UK, this combination produced a great deep tone without it being over the top obnoxious.



The five-speed gearbox and clutch are the same as used in the Yamaha XTZ660 Ténéré so it’s basically just a trailbike gearbox. For road use, Andrew has increased the gearing one tooth on the front and down one tooth on the rear sprocket to help assist with freeway commutes to his favourite twisty roads, this also helps improve drive especially in third gear off the turns. 

The custom body work is certainly one-of-a-kind. It shows off that TZR frame immaculately!

The custom body work is certainly one-of-a-kind. It shows off that TZR frame immaculately!

The TZR250 frame and sub-frame are both made from alloy and apart from some brackets fitted to bolt on the new alloy bodywork they are standard. The alloy swingarm is also standard but has been stripped of its original silver paint and was sent off to be anodized, while all the linkage bearing were replaced for good measure. The front suspension uses the standard Paoli 41mm forks, these were given a full rebuild, while the rear uses a Boge unit rebuilt by Bike Tech Suspension and made longer to suit Andrew’s weight and riding style.



Braking is taken care of by a four-pot Brembo caliper up front, which squeezes onto a 320mm disc. At the back a twin-piston Brembo caliper is used along with a 210mm disc. The brakes are a bit dated by modern standards and are not brilliant, in Andrews own words “don’t put yourself in a situation that needs extreme braking”.  The standard 17in wheels are also made by Brembo and are wrapped in Michelin RS rubber 110/70 at the front and 150/60 at the rear, which provide more than enough grip for the little Yamaha.



The bodywork is the thing that makes this bike stand out and look even more special and that’s down to Andrew’s design. He fabricated all the alloy bodywork himself cutting and shaping the alloy panels for both the tank, ducktail and seat unit.



Once he had the shapes cut and bent how he wanted, they were then given to Exel Marine to be neatly TiG welded. To finish off the silver look, the standard front guard was sprayed silver and a Suzuki GS1000 headlight was fitted.

Once Andrew had the shapes cut and bent how he wanted for the bodywork, they were then given to Exel Marine to be neatly TiG welded.

Once Andrew had the shapes cut and bent how he wanted for the bodywork, they were then given to Exel Marine to be neatly TiG welded.

Andrew has put countless hours into his SZR660 and all that work wasn’t cheap at around $22k, but you can tell he loves his bike and get enjoyment out of it and at the end of the day, that’s all we want as motorcycle riders…


GS Adv

Quick Spin
The first thing I noticed when I threw a leg over the SZR660 was just how light the bike felt and with my only instruction from the owner Andy, was to make sure I rev it and give it the berries, I was off up the road. The ride position is extreme to say the least and to be honest, I was glad I was only going for a short spin, because of the weight it put on my wrists and my leg position from the rear sets. 

Pommie got the chance to take the custom SZR 660 for a quick zip. Check out what he thought...

Pommie got the chance to take the custom SZR660 for a quick zip. Check out what he thought…

Underway the bike feels even lighter than it looks and the single-cylinder provides ample torque and plenty of power, but as a single it’s a bit vibey as you can imagine, although does gets smoother the higher you rev it and it does like to be revved.



The modified motor provides plenty of power to have fun on and put a smile on any rider’s face. In fact, if I was on a twistier road the little SZR660 would be a formidable weapon in the right hands, because the bike handles amazingly well and is really flickable, only slightly let down by the dated brakes, but that would be an easy fix. 

"The ride position is extreme to say the least and to be honest, I was glad I was only going for a short spin, because of the weight it put on my wrists and my leg position from the rearsets."

“The ride position is extreme to say the least and to be honest, I was glad I was only going for a short spin, because of the weight it put on my wrists and my leg position from the rear sets.”

The main thing about this bike is having fun and it delivers that exceptionally well, the sound coming from the exhaust is loud but not offensively so and just adds to the whole experience of riding the SZR660 and I’d love to have the Yamaha to add to my collection!


Special thanks:

  • The late Phil Tomlin Racing
  • Anton at Motofix for assembly 
  • Frank Pons at Bike Tech for the suspension
  • Simon and Neil at Excel Marine 
  • John Harding

Custom 1998 Yamaha SZR660 Specifications

Engine: SOHC single-cylinder four-stroke five valves, bored from 660cc to 686cc, JE piston kit, Carillo rod, 10.5:1 from a stock 9.2:1 compression, RC Sugo camshaft, bore and stroke of 102 x 84mm, head ported by Phil Tomlin, stock clutch, stock XTZ gearbox, one less tooth on front sprocket, added tooth to rear, Twin Keihin FCR 35mm carburetors, K&N filters, Projection Components headers, SP Engineering muffler.


Chassis: Stock SZR660 frame (Same as TZR250), anodized swingarm, removed all fairing and replaced tail section and tank with custom cut, bend and TiG welded pannels, then polished. 110/70-17 Michelin RS (f) and 150/60-17 Michelin RS (r) wheels made by Brembo rims. Paoli, 41mm forks, rebuilt (f) Boge, rebuilt with length added to shock (r). Single four-piston Brembo caliper with 320mm disc(f), Brembo twin-piston caliper with 210mm disc (r), GS1000 headlight, Peyton Place indicators from Japan, Taillight from vintage car


Performance: 64hp@8000rpm 44Nm@7000rpm


Owner: Andrew Crooks, Central Coast, NSW, Australia

Custom Yamaha SZR660 Gallery


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