It’s been 8th generation since the first YZF-R1 was Born. Introduced in 1998 to replace the bulky Yamaha YZF 1000RR, this Yamaha bike is equiped with new generation “Genesis” Engine, which is more compact and lighter. Four cylinders with Four Kehin CV carburetors of 40mm diameter fed fuel to the engine, 140 bhp was claimed by the factory, at the countershaft. USD 41mm front forks supplied by KYB mounted 300mm semi-floating disk brakes. The instrument panel was electrical with, self diagnosis system inbuilt, and digital speed readout. The exhaust system utilised an EXUP valve, which controlled the exhaust gas flow, to maximise engine power production at all revs, creating a high powered but also torquey engine. The twin headlights were powerful.
Now, 21 years since the first R1 was born, a whole new package has delivered. Engine with more agressive and complicated electronics, suspension package, and of course, the motoGP like atmosphere in the dash. Allowing the rider to control the increased power output is Yamaha’s proprietary six-axis inertial-measurement unit (IMU), which measures pitch, roll, yaw, and acceleration fore and aft, up and down, and side to side. It then feeds all of this data to the Yamaha Ride Control processor that meters Power Delivery, Traction Control, Slide Control, Lift Control, Launch Control, and the Quick Shifter. Settings are controlled via an all-new and excellent TFT display interface
Titanium fracture-split connecting rods, and the cylinder head now has finger-follower valve actuation which lighter the engine and deliver the power as it. The power test on the dyno best pull with the stone-stock bike was a competitive 167.4 rear-wheel horsepower at 12,270 rpm, with 77.0 pound-feet of peak torque at 8,810 rpm.
The dyno test with the accessory Circuit ECU, which not only unlocks restrictions put in place for US sound emissions but also eliminates the top-speed limiter and applies a far more aggressive track algorithm for the aBS brake system, including unlinking the UBS feature. Thus unhindered, our R1 registered a 172.8 hp/76.6 pound-feet run, which puts it squarely in the hunt against BMW with a virtually identical power-to-weight ratio. Oh, and P.S.: The Circuit ECU shuts down the headlight/taillight to discourage running it on the street.
If you sound impressed with the engine, we are. But the inline-four’s ace in the hole is Yamaha’s electronics package. Of all the systems sampled from BMW, Ducati, aprilia, Kawasaki, and even KTM on its 1290 Super adventure and Super Duke R, the R1’s suite is the most transparent in operation. Using excellent coding and multiple means to control power output, including fuel, throttle-butterfly angle, and ignition retard, Yamaha has made interventions incredibly hard to detect and therefore amazingly smooth and nonintrusive. as a matter of fact, for intervention to become noticeable on a grippy mountain road, we had to toggle TC to a very conservative setting, while the SCS (slide control) was all but impossible to feel at a street pace. Wheelie control provides the same sensation, until you shut it off completely, at which point you realize how much it is doing to tame wheelies.
Toggling to PWR, TCS, or SCS displayed on the lower dash highlights the selected parameter with a white background indicating adjustment is allowed or black background if not. altering PWR requires closed throttle, while changes to TCS or SCS require near zero cornering lean. This can result in the status flashing between white/black while riding.
Minor complaints with what is otherwise the best rider-aid package. and while the electronics do a great job of providing the rider with the confidence to ride aggressively, the chassis backs this up with supreme composure.
Our standard model, equipped with the manually adjustable KYB suspension, was pretty stiff as delivered, which was just fine on one 400-plus-mile day of twisty mountain roads. The bike was rock solid, never even dreamed about wallowing, provided excellent feel, and communicated grip exceptionally well. Hitting frost heaves perpendicular to the direction of travel, however, felt like running over a 2×4 lying on the road. That said, one of the nice features of the new fork is that all the adjusters (including spring preload) sit atop the caps, allowing easy access. For street duty, we eventually took a significant amount of rebound out of the fork for improved ride quality, but the R1’s suspension is definitely valved and sprung stiffly.
Credits to Yamaha Motorcycles.