Remember the Yamaha R7? No, not the new one—the original race homologation special, which Yamaha sold just enough units of so that it could go World Superbike Championship racing. Also known as the OW-02, only 500 of these bikes were ever made and sold back in 1999.
Boasting an array of choice bits including a full Öhlins suspension, titanium valves (20 of ‘em), titanium connecting rods, twin injectors, and more. It was engineered for both Endurance World Championship and World Superbike racing, and it showed. Stock horsepower was only a claimed 106, but the purchase and installation of progressively bonkers race kits could bump it up to 135 or even 162, if you really wanted to get nuts.
When new, the asking price was a cool $32,000 in 1999. While that sum wouldn’t exactly be pocket change in 2023, when adjusted for inflation, that’s the equivalent of about $59,947 at the time of writing on October 17, 2023.
How much can one of these beauties fetch in 2023, though? Given their rarity, it seems that at least one zero-mile 1999 Yamaha R7 OW02 has been floating around England for the past couple of years. Another one of these legendary machines just sold at the 2023 Bonhams Autumn Stafford Sale, which is a major motorcycle auction held by the auction house every year.
The bike in question has zero miles on the clock, was never registered, and fetched a total of £37,375 (about $45,534) including the buyer’s premium. Given what the original asking price would have been when adjusted for inflation in 2023, that seems like more of a bargain than you might expect.
According to the seller, this bike was one of six that Yamaha supplied to the Virgin Yamaha race team back in 2001. Of those six bikes, four were raced, one was set aside and kept by the team, and the last one was purchased by a member of the team.
This is that last bike, which the former team member then sold to the seller in November 2019. Prior to that time, the former Virgin Yamaha team member kept it tucked away in a climate-controlled garage. Once the seller got their hands on it, they brought it inside their home, where it’s lived ever since.
If you’re curious about what one of these bikes sounds like, our colleagues over at Bike World had the chance to ride one of these exceedingly rare machines earlier in 2023. Although it isn’t the exact bike that just sold here at auction, if you watch this video, you can get a sound and feel for what this dream machine would be like to ride.