Tuesday, January 20, 2009

2009 Yamaha R1 riding impressions


The 2009 Yamaha R1. The ride of your life...

With its MotoGP-derived technologies, the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 is supposed to be the hottest ticket to superbike nirvana this year. Some of the world’s motorcycle press have had the opportunity to ride The One, and here are some interesting excerpts from what they have to say:

‘All you need to know is, the new engine has transformed the R1 into one of the best sportsbikes I’ve ever ridden, and that’s praise indeed when you consider just how good the current Honda Fireblade is,’ says Michael Neeves at MCN. ‘Revving the engine for the first time, it’s hard to comprehend just how quickly the rev needle dances around the dial; it spins more like a two-stroke 500cc GP machine than a litre-sized road bike,’ he adds.

‘The way the R1 leaps out of corners is incredible. As soon as you’re ready to accelerate, the Yamaha surges forward like it’s powered by an industrial-strength electric motor – it’s just seamless, instant torque and power, and impossibly easy to control,’ says Neeves. ‘Honestly the R1 accelerates like it has a racing engine; it has V-twin levels of torque down low and screaming four-cylinder power up top. The howl from the engine at full throttle is exactly the same as Rossi’s M1; it’s like your very own MotoGP bike for the road,’ he adds.

About the new R1’s handling, Neeves says, ‘A new chassis helps the R1 feel much lighter than the old one, and it steers much quicker and more accurately. As always for Yamaha, the handling is nice and neutral, although probably not as ‘pointy’ or fast steering as the Fireblade. In one stroke, it makes every other sports bike out there seem a bit old and wheezy. Impressed isn’t the word.’
 
The 2009 Yamaha R1 on test...
At Motorcycle-USA, Steve Atlas is no less impressed with the R1. ‘The throttle response is unlike anything I have ever felt. So instantaneous and so precise, it caught me off guard during our first session at the 12-turn Eastern Creek Raceway. On more than one occasion I twisted the grip a bit too far while still at high levels of lean, spinning the street-spec rear tire and popping my butt a few inches off the seat when it hooked up. Wake up time! It's spot-on, in-your-face good,’ says Atlas. ‘Overall, the feeling of the engine truly is hard to describe as is the distinct sound. You still get the sense it’s an inline-four once the revs build high, but in the low rpm it feels almost like a well-tuned V-twin race bike, and in a way, sounds like one as well. Vibration is far from what you are used to as well, feeling somewhat like a traditional V8 car. The most amount of disturbance is right off idle low in the rpm, smoothing out as revs increase and becoming almost nonexistent at top-end – completely opposite of any inline-four we have ever ridden. Strange initially, but one quickly gets used to it,’ says Atlas. Regarding the handling, Atlas says, ‘Front-end confidence is greatly improved from last year due to the updated weight distribution, giving the rider far more confidence to push deeper and flick harder as the fork gives ample feedback. Once on its side, the R1 continually feels as if you can lean it further and further, quickly approaching elbow-dragging territory.’ However, Atlas discovers that the R1 is not without its shortcomings. ‘Brakes are still the weak point of the R-Uno. Despite the changes up front the lever feels a bit wooden throughout its pull, lacking the outright power of some of the competition. Where in this day and age using anything more than two fingers to stop is almost unheard of, on more than one occasion I was in deep enough to require the use of my entire hand, even running off the track into the grass once, something I haven’t done since… well, the last time I rode an R1. That being said, they are slightly better than the previous model,’ he says. Hmmm… apart from the brakes, it all sounds pretty impressive. We don’t know yet how the 2009 R1 will stack up against this year’s GSX-R1000, but we suppose it’ll be close. Let the 2009 superbike dogfights begin…

1 comment:

LADucSP said...

it's just soooo ugly. and those pink intake runners on the black one? what were they thinking?

just give the M1 lights and signals, et voila! perfection.

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