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...