YAMAHA R1 (2009-2011) Review

Published: 28 January 2009

"Best of all it sounds just like Rossi's M1 at full chat"

Yamaha R1 - on track

"Best of all it sounds just like Rossi's M1 at full chat"

  • At a glance
  • 998cc  -  179 bhp
  • 40 mpg  -  160 miles range
  • Insurance group: 17 of 17
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  • Medium seat height (835mm)

Overall Rating 5 out of 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.

Ride Quality & Brakes 5 out of 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.

Engine 5 out of 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.

Build Quality & Reliability 5 out of 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.

Insurance, running costs & value 5 out of 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 group: 17 of 17 – compare motorcycle insurance quotes now.

Equipment 5 out of 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.

Owners' Reviews

23 owners have reviewed their YAMAHA R1 (2009-2011) 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 4.8 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4.7 out of 5
Engine 4.9 out of 5
Build Quality & Reliability 4.8 out of 5
Value & Running Costs 4.7 out of 5
Equipment 4.7 out of 5
5 out of 5

2010 R1 Poor Handling!

03 August 2014 by Adzy1981

I've owned my white R1 for a little over a year now and covered 3000 miles on it. I owned the 2002 R1 previously and noticed massive improvements accross the board except for one.. Handling! Now.. before you all rip into me, I know the suspension... Read more on this bike is cutting edge on this bike so I am not slating it but compared to the one I had before it's terrible. I think the main reason for this is that the previous owner played with the suspension settings on the front forks because I noticed on a couple of track days that the bike is reluctant to turn in and seems to improve if I drag the back brake slightly as I turn in?? during the corner.. it feels unstable and doesn't fill me with confidence. I checked tyre pressures which were fine and have now fitted new Pilot Power 3's but still the strange handling occurs?? I've also checked for free play in the front and rear wheel bearings but this was also fine. Any ideas about what might be causing this would be appreciated! I know that once this handling issue is sorted.. from my point of view the bike will be perfect! I love the power, looks, sound, build quality, riding position and just about anything else you can think of.. I just need someone to help me find that cherry for the top of an almost perfect motorcycle cake. Thanks!

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 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

BE AWARE TPS PROBLEMS

21 November 2013 by bigbull

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... Read more 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.

Overall Rating 5 out of 5
Ride Quality & Brakes 4 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

Freaking Owns!

23 June 2013 by ElStoneDo

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.... Read more 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.

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

2010 R1

03 August 2012 by lukejr1

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... Read more 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.

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Best bike I've had

04 July 2012 by awoo

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... Read more 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

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

Yamaha R1 2010

04 March 2011 by johnno2311

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... Read more 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.

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
4 out of 5

2009 R1

14 July 2010 by bads3ct0r

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

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

R1

16 December 2009 by twicky999

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

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

2009 R1

16 November 2009 by dc14

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... Read more 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!

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 5 out of 5
5 out of 5

1300 miles done

29 October 2009 by LJay

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

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 5 out of 5
Read all 23 owners' reviews in full

Facts & Figures

Model info
Year introduced 2009
Year discontinued 2011
Original price £13,399
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 179 bhp
Max torque 85 ft-lb
Top speed 182 mph
1/4-mile acceleration 10.38 secs
Average fuel consumption 40 mpg
Tank range 160 miles
Specification
Engine size 998cc
Engine type 16-valve, in-line-four
Frame type Twin spar aluminium
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Seat height 835mm
Bike weight 206kg
Front suspension Fully adjustable
Rear suspension Fully adjustable
Front brake 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 17 in
Rear tyre size 190/55 17 in

History & Versions

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

Photo Gallery

  • Yamaha R1 - on track
  • Yamaha R1 - distinctive headlights
  • Yamaha R1 - wheelie
  • Yamaha R1 - knee down
  • Yamaha R1 - in blue
  • Yamaha R1 - stand-up wheelie
  • Yamaha R1 - blue and white
  • Yamaha R1 - on track
  • Yamaha R1 - more weight on the front than last model
  • Yamaha R1 - six piston calipers
  • Yamaha R1 - bold frame
  • Yamaha R1 - adjustable pegs
  • Yamaha R1 - 43mm upside down forks
  • Yamaha R1 - engine now has the shortest stroke of any 1000
  • Yamaha R1 - swingarm
  • Yamaha R1 - big lean
  • Yamaha R1 - tasty top yoke
  • Yamaha R1 - colours
  • Yamaha R1 - white
  • Yamaha R1 - blue
  • Yamaha R1 - black
  • Yamaha R1 - cans
  • Yamaha R1 - tank
  • Yamaha R1 - clocks
  • Yamaha R1 - riders eye view
  • Yamaha R1 - naked
  • Yamaha R1 - naked
  • Yamaha R1 - on track
  • Yamaha R1 - on track
  • Yamaha R1 - distinctive headlights
  • Yamaha R1 - wheelie
  • Yamaha R1 - knee down
  • Yamaha R1 - in blue
  • Yamaha R1 - stand-up wheelie
  • Yamaha R1 - blue and white
  • Yamaha R1 - on track
  • Yamaha R1 - more weight on the front than last model
  • Yamaha R1 - six piston calipers
  • Yamaha R1 - bold frame
  • Yamaha R1 - adjustable pegs
  • Yamaha R1 - 43mm upside down forks
  • Yamaha R1 - engine now has the shortest stroke of any 1000
  • Yamaha R1 - swingarm
  • Yamaha R1 - big lean
  • Yamaha R1 - tasty top yoke
  • Yamaha R1 - colours
  • Yamaha R1 - white
  • Yamaha R1 - blue
  • Yamaha R1 - black
  • Yamaha R1 - cans
  • Yamaha R1 - tank
  • Yamaha R1 - clocks
  • Yamaha R1 - riders eye view
  • Yamaha R1 - naked
  • Yamaha R1 - naked
  • Yamaha R1 - on track
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