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Yamaha R1 Sports Motorbike Review

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Yamaha R1 - on track
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

This is like no in-line-four cylinder sportsbike ever produced. It’s simply sensational.  The Yamaha R1’s ultra-short-stroke engine has a cross-plane crankshaft, with its crank pins set at 90° and has irregular firing intervals, which is technology lifted directly from Valentino Rossi’s factory YZR-M1. At a standstill the motor spins up like a two-stroke and on the move the R1’s ability to accelerate, no matter where you are in the revs is astonishing. Thanks to the clever engine design it grunts off corners like a V-twin, while giving superb feel through the rear tyre, and howls along straights like the mad, bad in-line-four it really is. Best of all it sounds just like Rossi’s M1 at full chat. Watch the Yamaha R1 video test.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

In addition to its new cross plane crankshaft, (all other in-line-fours have a 180° flat plane crank) the Yamaha R1’s engine now has the shortest stroke of any 1000 as well as the previous R1: 2007/8 R1: 77 x 53.6mm, 2009 R1: 78 x 52.2mm. That would normally make for a peaky power delivery, but new crank and firing order fill in the low and mid-range grunt. Peak power remains the same as before, but torque is up by 2ftlb. Power: 179bhp@12,500rpm. Torque: 85ftlb@10,000rpm. The most noticeable difference compared to previous R1s is how quickly it accelerates out of corners.

As before, the motor has forged aluminium pistons, fracture-split conrods, ceramic composite plated cylinders, titanium inlet valves and exhaust and a slipper clutch. The piggy back generator has been moved down to the end of crank to make room for the new, lower fuel tank.

The fuel injection system, featuring electronically controlled variable length inlet trumpets, now has shower injectors in upper airbox like the Yamaha R6. The fly-by-wire throttle system is modified to give better control of air intake volume.

Mounted on the right switchgear, the new D-mode system lets you chose, via the fly-by-wire throttle, three levels of throttle response: A, B and standard. The engine makes the same power in each mode (unlike the GSX-R’s which cuts power in its power modes). On A mode, the throttles open 30% faster between quarter and half throttle and 30% slower for B mode.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Compared to the previous Yamaha R1, the ’09 model is sharper steering but still retains the familiar Yamaha neutral feel. The R1’s twin-spar deltabox frame and swingarm, made up of die-cast and pressed sheets of aluminium has the balance and dimensions similar to the factory M1. It’s now stronger and weaker in all the right areas, like more flex in steering head area for better front end feel and more rigidity in swingarm pivot for control.

The engine is mounted 9° steeper and 8.2mm further forward than before, putting more weight on the front end. Weight distribution is now 52.4%, 47.6% front to rear. The riding position is more compact (bars are 10mm closer to rider, the seat 7.6mm further forward and pegs 10mm forward). The wheelbase is down 5mm to 1415mm.

An R6-type magnesium subframe, shorter titanium end cans and a shorter, lower fuel tank improve mass-centralisation. Footrests are now two-way adjustable, 155mm up and 3mm back.

43mm upside down forks now have independent damping, compression in left, rebound in right leg. Yamaha says this improves the damping response. As the forks are connected by the yokes and wheel spindle it’s all one unit, so is still balanced out properly. The rear shock has a new bottom link set-up and a new hydraulic preload adjuster. The steering damper is now speed sensitive, controlled electronically

The ’09 Yamaha R1 carries the same six-piston caliper (but on different design carriers) and 310mm disc set-up as the previous model Discs are slightly lighter than before. The master cylinder lever ratio is improved and lightened by 25g and the lever shape itself is new. The rear tyre profile is up from 50 to 55-section for better side grip.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha R1 has it all: projector headlights with electronically-controlled internal reflectors to change them from high to low beam, ride-by-wire throttles, variable-length inlet trumpets, fully adjustable suspension, slipper clutch, six-piston brake calipers, variable power maps, lots of titanium parts (like exhaust and inlet valves), adjustable footpegs, the list goes on. Compare and buy products for the Yamaha R1 in the MCN Shop.

Yamaha YZF-R1 (2009-2011)

Detail Value
New price £13,399
Dealer used prices
£6,480 (2009) - £9,250 (2011)
Private used prices
£6,110 (2009) - £8,320 (2011)
  View full used price info
Engine size 998 cc
Power 179 bhp
Top speed 182 mph
Insurance group 17 of 17
  MCN ratings Owners' ratings
Overall rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Engine rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Quality & Reliability rating is 5 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 5 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Yamaha R1s tend to be bomb-proof, even when raced and there’s no reason to suspect this one will be any different; in fact, the crank design helps the engine to spin more smoothly at high rpm. Build quality is right up there with the best.

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

For the first time in its history the Yamaha R1 touches the ten-grand mark. It’s a lot of cash, but when you think that the original was £9199 in 1998, we’ve actually had it very good for a very long time. Also, when you think how close the Yamaha R1 is now to a MotoGP machine, you’ll realise it’s a lot of bike for the money. Find a Yamaha R1 for sale

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

1998 - The original, and some still say the best, R1 launched.
2000 – 250 detail changes including sharper styling and a 2kg reduction in weight. 2002 – New generation R1 launched, completely new model 
2004 – Another generation R1, now featuring underseat exhausts, which is still a key styling feature today. 
2006 – Minor updates, including a slight power and torque hike.
2006 - £13,999 limited edition R1-SP launched.
2007 – Next generation R1 launched featuring a four instead of five-valve head, a ride-by-wire throttle, variable inlet trumpets and a slipper clutch.
2009 – R1 launched, featuring cross-plane crank engine and irregular firing intervals. 

Other Versions

None

Specifications

Top speed 182 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.38 secs
Max power 179 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Weight 206 kg
Seat height 835 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 998 cc
Engine specification 16-valve, in-line-four
Frame Twin spar aluminium
Front suspension adjustment Fully adjustable
Rear suspension adjustment Fully adjustable
Front brakes 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/55 17 in

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2250 miles

£8,750

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2165 miles

£8,299

Yamaha
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8000 miles

£4,999

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£5,999

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11755 miles

£5,500

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(22 reviews)

  • BE AWARE TPS PROBLEMS

    bigbull

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    BIG Bang R1's HAS TPS problems too, even though Yam UK say no to any TPS problems. Got my 2009 TPS replaced last wk along with the APS since they cant tell which is faulty. Parts cost £300, My R1 would have to run 50mile b4 prob kicked in. Throttle became erratic only revving over 5k. DANGEROUS stuff!!! TPS problems running way over 50% of bikes sold after I decided to call a few main dealers in UK. BUT NO RECALLS like Yam did b4 with previous TPS faults on their machines. Disgusted at this especially how dangerous the bike becomes almost forcing you into riding out of control, and the What if question has to be asked if a crash occurred, if fatal no doubt be put down to rider error since prob disappears. My 5th Yam 1000 and this the best so far, love it, but TPS fault is naughty by YAM UK not addressing this problem like b4.

    21 November 2013

  • Freaking Owns!

    ElStoneDo

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Okay, so I am new to sport bikes. I have road many dirt bikes throughout the years. I received a large sum of money, I found a dealer who had a 2011 YZF-R1 brand-new. I bought it cash outright last week. Well I have already put 800 miles on the bike. It was very easy to learn and the power delivery is great. The adjustable power setting allowed me to adjust into the power very easily. Simple fact is people do not even try to mess with this bike, the look is backed by performance! Yes, I could have gone for a more traditional bike, but I felt that this was the way to go. The new cross plane shaft provides nice even power delivery. Even other sport bike riders rethink taking this bike on.

    23 June 2013

  • 2010 R1

    lukejr1

    Average rating rating is 5

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    I bought my 2010 R1 3 Months ago with 800 mils on the clock - I'ts now racked up 3500 including an all weather trip around europe. This bike is perfect for me, its bigger than most of the other bikes in its class (Being 6ft 2 thats pretty important!) This is purely my own opinions - The engine produces so much more mid range grunt than your normal inline 4, however you still have that full kick top end. It handles superbly also, it feels totally planted and inspires confidence. Having ridden the ZX10r and CBR1000rr also I preffered the R1, The ZX10r was just a schizofrenic hell hound (Great fun but reduced my life expectancy significantly!). The CBR1000rr was super smooth, and arguably, better handling, however once you have ridden the R1 I seriously missed that low down and midrange power so for that reason its my winner.

    03 August 2012

  • Best bike I've had

    ALAN WOODS

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Had my brand new R1 for a month now and covered just 200 miles between downpours and work. I have to say having had a 2006 R1 up to a couple of years ago and been riding a Fazer 1000 for the past 2 years my first 5 minutes on this machine were horrendous! However getting back into the super bike mentality from minute 6 was a revelation. Once you learn to muscle it around a little and get used to the awesome sound from the obligatory Akrapovics this bike is sensational. It is by far the best bike I have ever had and that's with only going to 7000 revs whilst running it in so can't wait to unleash it in a few hundred miles. The one thing to watch out for is the lack of engine braking due the cross plane crank, you can reach corners or junctions a little quicker than you anticipated until you get used to it

    04 July 2012

  • Yamaha R1 2010

    johnno2311

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Started life with 04' R1 then 07' Now 10' unbelievable leaps and bounds by this maker. I think the 10' is 10 out of 10.... Pro - Tourque awse leaving traffic behind at lights - Ride and handling brilliant new positioning of rider. - Gauge up grade always forget which gear when (trying) to take it easy - Sweeter, louder noise... metal coffin drivers hear you (no cutting you off) - Throttle response..... simply WOW Cons - They put crap michellin tyres on from the factory... 07' came out with Bridgey's burn em asap... - Heat issues again... solution, get carbon fibre cannons...you will be pleasantly surprised. - Chews the juice... Only got 200k's full tank Would recommend this machine any day..... Cheers.

    04 March 2011

  • 2009 R1

    bads3ct0r

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    What about intense heat from exhaust..it's unbearable :(

    14 July 2010

  • Average rating rating is 5

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    My dream bike. Hopefully i'll win Rossi's TT R1!

    16 December 2009

  • 2009 R1

    dc14

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Traded my 2008 Ducati 1098 for the new 2009 R1.I had alot of reservations about it before the descion was made,mostly due to the fact I thought I had the bike I would own for the rest of my life,and previously being lucky enough to have owned nearly all the latest and greatest bikes over the last 10years,I thought I'd found the bike of my dreams that ment more to me than just having the lastest tool.But a few problems with the Duke mainly the constant cutting-out,and also the fact that I do around 7-10k a year on bikes ment that I started to look else where.Anyway,after choosing the new r1,(and telling the wife the payments are roughly the same) I got one and made sure I put on the akras with Y piece straight away .Having had it for a little while now I can honestly say it's by far the best bike I've ever owned.The engine is a perfect mix of a twin and 4c,the handling is beyond the 1098 and my old K7-1000.It came with those fucked-up dunlops on it,but when I get some money together I'm putting a pair of 2ct's on that should quicken-up the steering.The brakes felt a bit vague at first but no doubt that's just the bedding-in.Not much engine braking,or maybe it's because I 'm used to the Duke.Comfort is good for me(6',13st) and the noise...fantastic! can't wait to do a trackday hopefully in march as the weather is shite at the moment.The looks are growing on me now after the exhaust,footrests,plate holder,and all the indicators have been changed to flush mounts.It is a very different bike to ride at first,but once your used to it,it's hard to imagine another bike offering such a unique blend of tech-and engine character.I'm off out to the garage t have another look!

    16 November 2009

  • 1300 miles done

    LJay

    Average rating rating is 5

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    Getting cold, but I don't care. This bike eats flys...especially the big green ones haha!

    29 October 2009

  • price too high

    david gray

    Great Yarmouth ,

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    I've only test rode it for 3 days and cannot quite adapt to the engine I think people who have ridden a ducati or bmw would get on it and go quicker than those of us who've only ridden in line 4's. the looks are... in the eye of the beholder good from the front not so good from the rear but from any angle you can see this bike means business. it's power delivery is set up to allow for earlier power out of bends but 3 days was not long enough to build enough faith in it to do so. the handling is awesome on a par with the k9 suzuki. The engine cannot compete with the blades in the midrange but wins everywhere else. It might be different after an aftermarket exhaust system is fitted but you might lose the superb exhaust sound. a great bike but at £11,400 I cannot justify it. Probably the first bike since eu3 regulations came in... to challenge the k6 gixxer 1000

    15 October 2009

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kwackanacki

User's Badge

kwackanackisays

R1

Had a blade and a ZX10, if you have owned a LC350 you will know that Yams have a soul and the others don't also the R looks like its doing 150 stood still - take the blanket off during winter, sit in the chair and open a tin one - better than crimbo TV any day - well apart from the bike battles on Eurosport.

Roll on spring.

31 December 2010 18:44

Anonymous

Anonymoussays

For Sale: Yamaha YZF-R1 2009 Motorcycle

We sell Brandnew and Used Motorcycles at competitive price, we have available motorcycles such as: Yamaha YZF-R1 2009 Motorcycle
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Contact us via: bikewithus@gmail.com

11 June 2009 13:31

darb1

User's Badge

darb1says

r1 v blade

sour grapes it aint,i owned a 2005 r1 which wasnt bad but the paint was thin ant the front calipers rattled like hell so after this i have owned gixers and now a blade and find them to be much better bikes so as for the growing up as said by scoobystu maybe u shouldnt judge people  so much as u aint got a f****in clue what your on about

04 March 2009 20:33

scoobystu

User's Badge

scoobystusays

R1 Vs Blade

I am not a huge fan of the rear end on the new R1 I think it looks lardy as hell , I have no doubt it will look much better with after market cans but then it shouldn't have to... I have ridden the new blade and it has a great engine but the looks have put me off . There is nothing about it that is even remotely attractive and I think Darb1 needs to grow up and stop being so obvious . The blade is a great bike but honda ran out of money or ideas when it came to the looks . And what's with the 'underseat pipes are so last year ' get a grip ... if all the manufacturours were the same we wouldn't even be having this infantile argument . The fact is the R1 is pushing the envelope AGAIN!!! AND Darb1 should admit he has sour grapes that yamaha has stolen the limelight again as they did from the blade in 1998 . GO ON yamaha .....

01 March 2009 00:52

darb1

User's Badge

darb1says

r1 vs blade

owning bikes is not all about speed for a lot of people,ownership and pride in their bike is just as important so for most who will never ride their bike to its full potential its about looks and if we all had the same tastes life would be very boring

18 February 2009 20:00

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