YAMAHA R1 (2004-2006) Review

Published: 23 November 2006

"A superb focus on the dark art of riding extremely fast"

Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding

"A superb focus on the dark art of riding extremely fast"

  • At a glance
  • 998cc  -  165 bhp
  • 38 mpg  -  130 miles range
  • Medium seat height (835mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 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.

Engine 5 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 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 & Running Costs 5 out of 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 group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 4 out of 5

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.

Owners' Reviews

14 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R1 (2004-2006) and rated it in a number of areas. Read what they have to say and what they like and dislike about the bike below.

We’re currently improving the way this section works, which means we’ve had to suspend the submission of new owners’ reviews for a short period. Please check back soon.

Summary of Owners' Reviews
Overall Rating 4.9 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.8 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.7 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.9 out of 5
Equipment 4.1 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best in price range by a mile

11 April 2014 by Tomenski

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... Read more 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

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Stop reading, go buy one!

10 September 2011 by snapple

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

sublime

28 April 2009 by incognito96

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

2004 R1

19 June 2008 by weatie

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 3 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 3 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
4 out of 5

Nice

19 April 2007 by geriatric

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... Read more 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

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 out of 5
Engine 4 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

do you need any better?

21 March 2007 by awoo

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Awesome road bike.

04 October 2006 by tjcarr70

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best looking Jap bike around in the yellow

17 July 2006 by clowrie

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
4 out of 5

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

25 February 2006 by iq4u

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 &... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 4 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
5 out of 5

Fast, Brutal and beautiful

08 February 2006 by vegnomeat

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 5
Engine 5 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 5 out of 5
Equipment 4 out of 5
Read all 14 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2004
Year discontinued 2006
Original price -
Warranty term (when new) Two year unlimited mileage
Running costs
Insurance group 17 of 17
Annual road tax £80
Annual service cost -
Performance
Max power 165 bhp
Max torque 78 ft-lb
Top speed 175 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.4 secs
Average fuel consumption 38 mpg
Tank range 130 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 16v transverse four, 6 gears
Frame type Aluminium twin spar
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 173kg
Front suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Rear suspension Preload, rebound, compression
Front brake Twin 320mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17 in

History & Versions

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.

Photo Gallery

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  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
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  • Yamaha YZF-R1 motorcycle review - Riding
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