Dressed in black
The R1 from Yamaha is one of the fastest bikes out there, and dressed in black it looks just as fast as it is.Text: Frode Johansen Photo: Ruth Helen Kjærran / www.rallyruth.com
The overall power of these 1.000 cc super sports bikes are almost out of this world, they pull from as low as 2.000 rpm and as it builds up the engine pulls stronger and stronger and even stronger.
How does it look?
Well, of the shelve, this is the best looking bike in the 1.000 cc super sport segment, and a solid second place if I include all the super sport bikes. The R1 is only beaten by the amazingly good looking GSX-R750/600, who also has to be dressed in black. But if you are looking for the prettiest color from Yamaha, you should go for the beep red.
The R1 really looks fast, with a very good overall design, only messed up by the ugly turn signals which need to be changed. The wide V shaped front, the narrow rear end and nicely shaped swing arm in flat black finish. Even the stock exhaust system looks good, something the designers at Suzuki should have thought about when they designed the new GSX-R1000 that has two very ugly mufflers. But if you want to make the R1 bread more freely, releasing both more power and more of that sweet sound of pure power, there are several after marked full race systems that do the job.
As I throw my leg over it I realize that the seat sits a little higher on the R1 than on the competition. The display is most of the time easy to read, but some of the info is a little hard to read because of the small size. And Yamaha have not included a gear indicator, which is just plain stupid to leave out.
Turn the key, clutch in, hit the start button and the beast beneath me is alive. Step it into first and of I go. While letting the wheels warm up, I instantly feel that the suspension is softer and more comfortable that on the ZX-10R which was hard as rock. I am no huge fan of the sitting position on these super sport bikes. But here I have a nice knee angle, and setting the cruising speed at 60 mph the head wind takes most of the weight of my hands.
After a few miles I start to do some acceleration tests and letting the power run a little more freely. It is pulling smoothly, but not super strong, from 2.000 rpm. As the engine picks up more and more rpm’s it just pulls stronger and stronger. When I run it flat out and hit the 10.000 rpm mark, it really takes of and the sound gets super intense, while I am just hanging on as best I can. With a 100 mph top speed in first, and 145 mph in second, this is a bike to bring to the track days if you want it to run freely. Or you could use it to blast thru central Europe to get some real Italian pizza and a cold beer, and maybe some girls with moustaches for dessert. I would skip dessert and head home, to some nicely shaped blonds with Available signs on their foreheads at the local bar.
What to me felt like a little softer suspension just cruising along the highway firmed nicely up as the corners and speed put some weight down on it. In both tight corners and faster ones the bike feels stable and safe. I never pushed it close to the limit but rode it like I would ride my own Suzuki Sv-1000 on an afternoon ride. Of all the super sport bikes I have tested, including the ZX-14R (ZZR-1400), this is the best one for me. It does not give me pain in the back of my neck, and as long as I keep the speed up my hands are doing just fine. If it was my bike I would have put on a little higher screen, after replacing the turn signals of course, and a pair of higher clip-on’s, raising them about an inch.
The gear box and clutch works very good, and there is no problems doing quick changes or tapping a fast double gearing on it. I never use more than two fingers on the front break, and just putting a little pressure on it makes the speed drop like a stone. And I have a good feed back on what is going on down there as I increase the pressure on the breaks.
Taking a step back
As I park the bike and takes off the helmet, I pick up the voice recorder and do the final words. I am happy with it, and if I compare it with the Kawasaki ZX-10R and ZX-14R it is simply a better bike for me. A specially for my kind of riding, doing the afternoon blasts on the back roads and a couple of longer trips during the summer. Plus bringing it to track days with good rubber on it. The only thing I really missed is the gear indicator, because the gear ration is so close that it is hard to tell what gear I am in.
If I decide to go for a sports bike with some touring possibilities next time I change my bike, the R1 will be on top of my list, at least as the future looks today.
2007 Yamaha R1
Here you can see both the relaxed sitting position, and the good knee angel :-)
Norwegian and Nordic Road Racing Champion in 2006 on a R6 in the Production 600 class,
Helge Spjeldnes, made this R1 happen for me to do this test. Thank You...!!!! Visit his web-page on this LINK
If you wonder why I do not have my leather suit on, well, my experience is that Dainese is crap.
Two seams have had to been redone, and two zippers have been changed, and the dress was not even one year old.
And on top of that, the shoes, also new Dainese, have been back to Italy for repair.
Good looking original exhaust, thumbs up to Yamaha - Good work :-)
Just look at those turn singnals, they just do not fit in.... But the wide V front is very good looking...
When you see the needle pass 10.000 rpm, have a new gear ready, you will need it, very soon....
Riding my own Sv-1000 from the Suzuki GSX-R750 test to pick up the R1, the
Police was in my mirrors, but they didn't stop me, because I never do anything illegal, almost....