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Yamaha R1 Sports Motorbike Review

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Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
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MCN overall verdict rating is 5

It’s hard to fault the clinical, precise and devastatingly fast Yamaha YZF-R1. Its chassis can cope with all kinds of road surfaces and demolishes tight hairpins at any track. But it does demand skill and rivals like the CBR1000RR and GSX-R1000 are simply less work. For purists the Yamaha YZF-R1 still has something unique; a superb focus on the dark art of riding extremely fast.

Engine

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha YZF-R1's 20-valve four-cylinder motor makes more power than 90% of all road riders can cope with, and delivers it in one long, ever increasing howl of delight. Nifty gearbox helps the fun, plus the fuel injection is excellent, too. Yamaha YZF-R1 SP version has a slipper clutch and another 3bhp if you really, really need it – it costs £14,000 however.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The only weakness with the Yamaha YZF-R1's Deltabox chassis is that it needs a bit more effort, more precision, to get the very best from it at the track, compared to the  incredibly adroit Gixer 1000. It's as if the mass of the Yamaha YZF-R1 is carried a fraction higher than on the Suzuki.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4

The Yamaha YZF-R1 has all the sports bits you need, plus a handy clock on the dash, high rpm warning light and a token pillion. The mirrors aren't too narrow, but the seat is higher than the CBR1000RR or GSX-R1000. The Yamaha YZF-R1's OE Dunlop tyres don't suit some riders either, but they'll be shredded after your first track day anyway.

Yamaha YZF-R1 (2004-2006)

Detail Value
Dealer used prices
£4,320 (2004) - £5,300 (2006)
Private used prices
£3,760 (2004) - £4,620 (2006)
  View full used price info
Engine size 998 cc
Power 165 bhp
Top speed 175 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 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 4 rating is 4
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

Lush paintwork, beautiful alloy cycle parts and very well put together. Apart from the odd clutch niggle (it has a tall first gear ) the Yamaha YZF-R1 has an excellent reputation for long life and can do seriously high miles, not that many owners care to rack them up. Nick Sanders has been around the world on a Yamaha YZF-R1, dodging cattle chicanes and all sorts, so it can handle anything you throw at it.

Value

MCN rating rating is 5
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha YZF-R1 was the UK's top seller in 2004, but in 2005 the GSX-R1000 arrived and things have been tougher for the Yamaha YZF-R1 since. Good deals can be had so shop around.  Special editions? The Kenny Roberts yellow and black painted model Yamaha YZF-R1s will possibly be collectable in the future. It's only worth considering the high spec SP model if you have the spare dosh and track time to enjoy it, as depreciation will be harsh. Find a Yamaha R1 for sale.

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

2005: No major changes from 2004 Yamaha YZF-R1.
2006: Yamaha YZF-R1's swingarm is 20mm longer, rear spindle 16mm further forwards, plus a little bit of tweakery to the headstock and fork yokes. 3bhp gain in stock R1 model's claimed power output.

Other Versions

Yamaha YZF-R1 SP:  A limited edition semi race spec variant, with fuel injection tweaks, special Ohlins suspension, top end work to squeeze another 3bhp from the motor and matt black paint.

Specifications

Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.4 secs
Max power 165 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Weight 173 kg
Seat height 835 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 998 cc
Engine specification 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame Aluminium twin spar
Front suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, rebound, compression
Front brakes Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17 in

See all Yamaha R1 motorcycles for sale

Yamaha
R1

25100 miles

£3,400

Yamaha
R1

6250 miles

£7,500

Yamaha
R1

3065 miles

£7,995

Yamaha
R1

8191 miles

£6,195

Yamaha
R1

5900 miles

£7,299

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(14 reviews)

  • Best in price range by a mile

    Thomas Ellery

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    The only reason I sold this bike was that is was cheaper for me to buy a new bike with the upgrades I wanted than to do the upgrades on this bike. This bike never had a single problem the whole time I had it and it looks so good for its age still one of the best looking bikes ever made. You cannot get a better bike than this for the 4k mark and to top it you need to spend around 6k like I did. You could get the same year fireblade but its a bit boring and ugly in comparison... After riding newer bikes and getting back on it, it did feel a little bit manual and slightly hard to turn but very sturdy and the build quality is amazing. I can't stress enough if your budget is in and around the 4k mark look no further

    11 April 2014

  • Stop reading, go buy one!

    snapple

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Have had 10 months now and covered about 7K and 7 thousand happy miles they have been. Coming off a K2 GSXR 600 I was a little scepticle... no need, insurance wise it was 50 pounds more a YEAR! and performance wise it has taken my riding to another level... Very Very easy to ride, docile around town and not particularly wristy either, power isn't massive low down but starts moving from about 5K and goes completely f**king nuts after about 11K.. hold on tight (to the bike and your licence!).. bike is incredibly planted and the confidence in corners is great and did I mention the lean?? it will lean for Japan and then some!...Ridden in a hot French Summer, sub zero English commute and terrential rain, have never felt so safe/planted on a bike.. oh yeah and it may be a 7 year old design but still looks smoking and always draws positive comments. Ok Bad Bits/niggles (cos all bikes have them).. Fairing Panels are very thin/flimsy and though I hate to say it do feel cheap. Gearbox is a little cluncky and you do get the odd false neutral especially when upshifting when gunning it. (Guess I was spoilt with suzi gearboxes for to long!). Other than she's a beauty and a beast.... but the thing is YOU decide... first Yamaha for me and very impressed.

    10 September 2011

  • sublime

    incognito96

    coventry

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Having come from a cbr600f,the R1 makes it feel anaemic,it does everything better,the thing what is striking is the fact it makes you feel more alive,it will potter about or give it your 100% and it will laugh at you and say is that all you got kind of thing.I was reserved about owning one,but looks and performance you can,t fault it.I havn,t ridden every bike but the R1 has that sublime don,t mess with me look and feeling about it.

    28 April 2009

  • 2004 R1

    weatie

    Nottingham

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I had a 2004 R1 purchased brand new at launch. Was first Jap 1000cc has had V-twins before. Have to say it was a good bike, but was not impressed with the build qaulity Panels were too flimsy and felt cheap. Was forever fighting to keep the front down when nailing it. Bike looked good though. Until I binned it at 12 weeks old, resulting in it being a write off as plastics just fell apart and forks bent. Went a gixer 750 K4 after and that felt loads better as was solid build quality and much more useable.

    19 June 2008

  • Nice

    geriatric

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Thats it the 04 R1 is nice. An R1 should not be nice. I had a 98 model that was wicked, in all senses of the word. My 04 was nice. I toured long distances- covered 20,000 miles im less than two years. No where near as grunty as the 98 but faster and easier to ride. The only bad bit is that tyre choice is critical. Get the wrong ones (Corsa III) and the steering gets very very heavy at low speed and the back end slides into corners. Just chopped it in for a new one - much better. This one has got the fire back. It took Yamaha 9 years repeat the feeling of the original R1 but they have got it just about right

    19 April 2007

  • do you need any better?

    ALAN WOODS

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    chopped in my Aprilia last July for a new Laguna Seca coloured 2006 model. A month later i went over to France on it. i have now finally found a bike that inspires me with confidence even in pouring rain. the feedback is fantastic and the stability at both high and low speed is the best i have experienced. Build quality is excellent and the feel good factor it gives me every time i ride has been worth every penny, with more than enough performance for any average road rider and after all looking good is part of riding this type of hypersports bike and this R1 has got what it takes! this bike is so good that i dont see myself parting with it for a long time to come.

    21 March 2007

  • Awesome road bike.

    tjcarr70

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    The R1 has to be the best litre bike you can buy for the road. Having access to fireblades, gixers and a ZX10, the R1 simply blows me away with its ability. The riding position is superb. If you found a blade uncomfortable, then try one of these. Its also the best looking superbike out there. The downside is that the clutch plates fused together and needed soaking over night, and the bike plays up in hot weather especially around town. The gear change can be a little clunky at times also. People have moaned about the lack of torque with this incarnation of the R1, I found it helps when putting the power down out of corners. Strengths: Looks, handling, riding position, comfort. Looks. Build quality. Parts available. Weaknesses: Tyre wear, gear selection, bikes popularity.

    04 October 2006

  • Best looking Jap bike around in the yellow

    clowrie

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Traded in by 2004 blade for the 2006 R1 - The R1 is better built in terms of quality and feels better to ride. Only issue I have has is with vibration early on and this went after about 1,200 miles. Better than the blade around town, but not as good on the track (for me anyway - less stability at the front). Strengths: Looks, build quality and it's high rev grin factor. Weaknesses: Still vibrates more than a honda between 3 and 5 K.

    17 July 2006

  • Have spent the last 5 years riding a Mille so my comparison is against that

    iq4u

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Having just moved from an Aprilia RSV Mille I have to say that the one thing that I notice most is the real lack of performance at lower revs. The Mille would just leave it standing. The seat height is lower than the Mille which is good for me & the riding poition is much more comfortable. I had found the gear box clunky & many false neutrals but this has become alot better as it is getting run in. You can really feel that is a lot lighter & it tips into corners so easily. The Mille had to be wrestled in comparison (& I thought the Mille was good). Considering it is February, cold damp & I'm on a new bike, it gives me a lot of confidence on braking & cornering. Strengths: Looks, sound of exhaust, weight, higher rev performance. Weaknesses: Really weak performance at lower revs, poorly positioned foot pegs, they are exactly in the path of where my legs want to be when stationary on the bike. Non adjustable clutch lever. Clunky gear box.

    25 February 2006

  • Fast, Brutal and beautiful

    vegnomeat

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I had reservations about taking on 170 BHP, I needn't have as unless you are a freakin nut case it is a pretty docile bike. Set the rev warning light to 6k revs and change up when you see it. Even limiting the revs to 6k this bike is awesome, the low down grunt is exceptional and for most riding you can keep it in 6th, it really is that good. The "turn in" is true sports bike, a gentle nudge and it simply goes where you point it. The instruments are clear and concise and the switches intuitive and easy to use with a firm feel. I traded up from a CBR600 and for the first mile of riding I couldn't stop thinking what have I done! The riding position can only be described as "tough", tough on the neck, the wrists and the back. It's only above 50 mph that the airflow lifts your body up in to a comfortable position and takes some of the strain away. With a seat height of 830mm it's probably the highest seat on a sportsbike today. I fitted an Alpha Technik link arm that lowers it by 30mm. Strengths: Torque, lots of it and it's also a beautiful piece of engineering. Weaknesses: It may be the most comfortable superbike bit that doesn't say much, try before you buy.

    08 February 2006

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kwackanacki

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kwackanackisays

R1

Rode the R1 and ZX10 back to back and bought the R1, it does it all unlike the track focus of the ZX10, had R1s before and this one is the best by far, it looks like art and can trundle like a moped - but also is a real evil beast if you want, the power is huge and all you can think is "warp speed Mr Sulu". Un-like the ZX10 there seems no effort in riding the bike and it just seems a refined package. I have a ZX-7 and a ZX-9 and the R1, it has the most smiles per miles you will get, love me Kwacks but this Yam is king.

08 November 2010 13:55

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