Saturday, September 04, 2010

2011: End of the road for the Yamaha R1

2011 Yamaha R1 2011 Yamaha R1
The 2011 Yamaha R1. Long in the tooth already...?
2011 Yamaha R1 2011 Yamaha R1

No, we’re sure Yamaha will still continue to make the R1 for many, many years – it’s just that the 2011 model year looks like the end of the road for the R1 as we know it now. The 2012 bike is likely to be a radical departure from the existing machine – an all-new YZF-R1 could be in the pipeline, even as Iwata prepares to take on the S1000RR and the RSV4 Factory in 2012. And why should you believe that? Because when Japanese bike manufacturers only add cheesy graphics to their top-of-the-line sportsbike, instead of making improvements to the engine/chassis/suspension, it’s pretty much a sign that says say┼Źnara, arigat┼Źgozaimasu. New bike coming next year, kon'nichiwa!

MotoGP-inspired crossplane crank engine or not, the Yam R1 has had its arse kicked into orbit in recent years by everything from the mundane Honda Fireblade to the rather more exotic BMW S1000RR and Aprilia RSV4 Factory. We’re guessing Yamaha will try and claw back their advantage with the 2012 model R1, which will definitely have ABS and traction control as standard equipment. Lighter, more powerful, better looking, quicker, faster and absolutely fizzing with electronics – that’ll be the 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1. But if you can’t wait till the new bike comes along, you can get your hands on the 2011 Yamaha R1 from October this year, with prices starting at US$13,590.
With no mechanical improvements and cheesy new graphics (the red bike...), the 2011 R1 is not taking the fight to its competition from Germany and Italy. The 2012 R1 is likely to be a different story though...