Poll: 2WD R1 - the future or gimmick?

By MCN -

New bikes

 09 July 2009 13:10

MCN is the only publication in the world to have ridden the Ohlins two-wheel-drive Yamaha R1. But here's the question: Is 2WD the future of motorcycling or is it a pointless gimmick? Read our FAQ and have your say in our online poll...

Does 2WD have a weight penalty?
The Ohlins R1 is a 2WD test mule. As such the present system weighs in a shade under 6kg, which isn’t a lot – although this is noticeable with high speed rapid changes of direction at, for example, a track. A factory production bike could see a weight loss depending on final spec. 

Does 2WD affect braking?
Because the system only works with rear wheel slip under acceleration or cornering 2WD doesn’t affect braking in any shape or form, front or rear. The disc mounting points are stock R1, as are the calipers, wheel spindle etc.

If a bike has 2WD, traction control and ABS, will it be so safe to become boring?
With traction control on a bike eg Ducati’s 1198S, you can further explore your track riding limits, while making road riding a much safer place. 2WD should be viewed in the same way. To put it another way: whoever thinks Honda’s 175bhp CBR1000RR Fireblade with ABS is boring obviously hasn’t ridden one.

Can you still wheelie?
Pure throttle in first gear around the 6-7000rpm should get the R1 skyward, but it doesn’t. With the rear tyre struggling for grip the bike lunges forward where it should break free of the tarmac. But as the revs hit 9-8000rpm and the R1 really starts to sing the front lifts clear. Clutch-in/clutch-out wheelie technique causes the R1 to loft as normal, but with maybe a few fractions of a second delay.