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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

Yamaha’s latest R1 features new-found midrange drive from junking Yamaha’s tried and tested five-valve per cylinder in favour of the traditional four-valve set up, but at the same time installing some of the “bad boy” engine manners the original model was famed for. The chassis also gets updated by way of new frame, swingarm and suspension to make this latest Yamaha R1 a perfect road bike tool and the basis for a stonking trackday and superstock motorcycle.

 

Watch the Yamaha YZF-R1 take on the Honda CBR1000RR Fireblade, Kawasaki's ZX-10R and Suzuki's GSX-R1000

Watch the Yamaha R1 take on Kawasaki's ZX-10R

Watch the Yamaha R1 take on the Honda CBR600RR, Ducati's 1098 and Suzuki's GSX-R750 in our 2007 sports bike of the year test

See the Yamaha R1 take on the Suzuki B-King, KTM Superduke and the Yamaha XRJ1300 in our group test

 

Engine

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

The Yamaha R1 was never short of top end drive and that’s true of this latest version. What the latest Yamaha YZF1000-R1 does have though is a healthy dollop of midrange kick. Not that this will be a worry in the lower gears as the fly-by-wire system, linked to detailed ECU mapping, won’t deliver everything the rider asks for, instead giving what it thinks is best. Variable length inlet trumpets (worked by electronic motor at 10,400rpm) boosts midrange revs and props up top end poke – not just a gimmick, it actually works.

Ride and Handling

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

With race-like suspension front and rear, the standard set-up of this latest Yamaha R1 is just about right for dealing with everyday riding on UK roads. Turn the pace up (road or track) and there’s enough adjustment to suit every situation and riding style. Typically the R1 is a front end motorcycle, meaning that every road detail is felt through the bars and it drops into a turn as quick as you like. Race track manners along with road motorcycle stability takes some beating and believing, but it does both with style.

Equipment

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4

As a leading sports bike/race replica, niceties of heated grips and shaver points simply don’t exist. The Yamaha R1's dash layout is spartan but effective; big tachometer face, gear shift light and LCD speedo are all you’ll really need. Yamaha has brought back six-piston brake calipers to fly in the face of four-pot fashion, but they work very, very effectively on the smaller-sized discs of the latest R1. The rear shock features high/low compression damping, which is good, as is the roomy seating position. Six-feet plus? Not a problem.

Yamaha YZF-R1 (2007-2008)

Detail Value
New price £8,999
Dealer used prices
£5,440 (2007) - £6,230 (2008)
Private used prices
£4,910 (2007) - £5,770 (2008)
  View full used price info
Engine size 998 cc
Power 170 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 4 rating is 4.5
Ride & Handling rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Equipment rating is 3 rating is 4
Quality & Reliability rating is 4 rating is 4.5
Value rating is 3 rating is 4.5

Quality and Reliability

MCN rating rating is 4
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

As there are only three major motorcycle fastener suppliers in Japan –used by all the Japanese manufacturers – the old belief that Yamaha’s finish is inferior is complete rubbish nowadays. What is questionable is the bitty way certain panels of this latest Yamaha R1 are tacked on or used to cover areas eg the flimsy placcy bit covering the down pipes. Reliability shouldn’t be a problem as the Yamaha R1 hasn’t got a reputation for being a lemon.

Value

MCN rating rating is 3
Owners' rating rating is 4.5

Yamaha’s pricing has always been strange: in 2005 the R1’s list price was £9k-plus, but then dropped to just over £8k in 2006. For 2007 the R1’s projected price will be around £8999, which (typically) is around £200 more than the competition. Value for money? Yamaha think so, as do previous Yamaha R1 customers. Find a Yamaha R1 for sale

Insurance

Insurance group: 17 of 17

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Model History

1998: The very first YZF1000 R1.
2000: New titanium silencer, revised gearbox, modified carb, magnesium engine case covers, new bodywork and fuel tank, lighter chassis components, new suspension settings.
2002: Fuel injection now fitted along with catalytic converter and uprated ECU for more power. Revised frame and suspension and cosmetics.
2004: Full make-over for the Yamaha R1; new engine internals, underseat exhaust, sharper styled bodywork, more power, frame and suspension mods (longer swingarm in 2006).
2007: Launch of all-new Yamaha R1.

Other Versions

Yamaha R1-SP: 2006 limited edition with Ohlins suspension, Marachesini light weight wheels, and slipper-type clutch
Centenary: limited edition all-yellow model in 2005/2006.

 

Specifications

Top speed 182 mph
1/4-mile acceleration secs
Max power 170 bhp
Max torque 87.3 ft-lb
Weight 177 kg
Seat height 835 mm
Fuel capacity 18 litres
Average fuel consumption mpg
Tank range 146 miles
Annual road tax
Insurance group 17 of 17
Engine size 998 cc
Engine specification 16v in-line four, 6 gears
Frame Twin spar aluminium
Front suspension adjustment Preload, compression, rebound
Rear suspension adjustment Preload, high/low compression, rebound
Front brakes 2 x 310mm discs
Rear brake 220mm disc
Front tyre size 120/70 x 17
Rear tyre size 190/50 x 17

See all Yamaha R1 motorcycles for sale

Yamaha
R1

751 miles

£9,499

Yamaha
R1

15112 miles

£3,495

Yamaha
R1

11315 miles

£5,595

Yamaha
R1

23850 miles

£2,650

Yamaha
R1

54000 miles

£1,900

Owners' Overall Rating rating is 4.5(10 reviews)

  • Real quick!

    chrissyboyyeah

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

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    Ride and Handling
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    Quality and Reliabilty
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    Engine

    Got an R6 and part ex'ed my bandit 1200 for a brand new R1. Its my first litre sports bike, and it really is'nt as scary as you'd think.........until.... you rev it!!pass 9-10 grand its unbelieable, completely insane, what a rush, so fast! But to be honest, I really miss the low down torque of me old bandit and the R1 just does'nt have it, maybe i'm expecting too much here. Basically, performance and handling are great, looks stunning too,great value, everything you could wish for in a sports bike, just like an R6 but more! not as wheelie happy as my old bandit 12 huny. should've kept her,but still love my R1 more, 9/10.

    21 May 2010

  • Real quick!

    chrissyboyyeah

    Average rating rating is 4

    Show Details

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    Got an R6 and part ex'ed my bandit 1200 for a brand new R1. Its my first litre sports bike, and it really is'nt as scary as you'd think.........until.... you rev it!!pass 9-10 grand its unbelieable, completely insane, what a rush, so fast! But to be honest, I really miss the low down torque of me old bandit and the R1 just does'nt have it, maybe i'm expecting too much here. Basically, performance and handling are great, looks stunning too,great value, everything you could wish for in a sports bike, just like an R6 but more! not as wheelie happy as my old banit 12 huny. should've kept the her,but still love my R1 more, 9/10.

    21 May 2010

  • Good for one thing

    TheRealAntB

    Average rating rating is 3.5

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    I never really bonded with this bike. To make this easier to read I'll summarise: Background: I owned an 08 R1 from new and just sold it last month with 4k miles on it. I took it on 4 track days. I took my wife pillion a few times and used it for the supermarket too. Mods: Screen, sliders, Michelin 2CTs, suspension set-up for me. Pros: - Amazing power up top. I don't understand why anyone would need more power from one of these. - Above 6k rpm the bike feels 100% 'right': like the best bike money could buy. Highly recommended. - Gearbok (nimble). - Very fast on the track - quicker than an equivalent (stock) GSX-R 1000. - Easy to remove tail piece, mirrors, screen etc for track-days. - Just looks so cool! Cons: - Not as much toruqe in the mid-range as everyone says. - Terrible for anything under 6k rpm (which is 90% of the time for 'normal riding'): weak, uncomfortable... - Bad niggles: horn (poor), steering damper? What steering damper (did NOTHING), hard to get at battery, kickstand (bad angle), clip-ons (bad for wrists compared to Fireblade), seat angles (both seats push you forwards unless at high speed). I don't want to groan too much, but that last point there is the reason I sold the bike - that's how bad the riding position was at low speeds. My previous bike was a CBR1000RR 2006 and it had no confort issues. I've had 2 Yamahas and 2 Hondas. It's 2-0 to the Hondas.

    21 December 2009

  • The sensible hooligan

    Anonymous

    Average rating rating is 4

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    I bought a new R1 in early 2008 and I've now clocked up 20 000 miles and do a minimum of 550 miles commuting to work every week here in Gibraltar. The riding position is very comfortable and you can cover long distances easily without numb butt cheeks and aching wrists. I’ve covered many miles across Europe even with the misses on the back and it’s been a pleasure. Don’t get me wrong if you’re used to Beemers or Goldwings you won’t be happy it but compared to other superbikes the R1 is much easier to ride for long periods. However when you’re in the mood to thrash it on a track day the bike is transformed into a snarling beast. Honestly one of the best track weapons I’ve used. This bike has a split personality. It can be the sensible tourer or by a twist of the wrist and some fast bends it makes you feel like an adrenalin fuelled racing god. And the noise of those under seat exhausts and the backfire-rumbling on deceleration still makes me smile like a kid. On the negative side I’ve been through 3 Exup cables in two years and when the warrenty runs out I will be dishing out for these out of my own pocket. For a modern sportsbike I find this unacceptable and I live in Gibraltar where the weather is lovely all year round so if you live in UK be prepared to change these a few times a year. They’re the achilles heel with this bike. Other than that it’s been faultless! Overall I’m very happy with it and I couldn’t imagine riding anything else.

    07 December 2009

  • Awesome!!

    foggie996

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I have been riding for over 25 years have part-ex'd my SP1 for an 07 R1 in white and red. It is standard with 3500 miles on the clock and looks stunning. On the road it is a peach to ride, comfy, smooth with great controls and power. I am 6' tall and fit it really nicely. We did a 300 mile trip and had no discomfort problems. I have been on track at Mallory and |Donington (twice). Once the suspension had been tweaked the handling is smooth and sure with excellent ground clearance, awesome power, suberb brakes and she sounds andf looks fantastic!! Sorry I'm a bit gushy but I love the Yam!! It's the best looking Jap bike out there and up with the Ducatis on looks as well...... Must dash gotta ride!

    17 July 2009

  • It's a beauty..

    yamr108gb

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I had the choice of getting this bike for 7999 in december of 08 in red and white, or waiting for an 09, i came to the conclusion that i'm not the fastest of riders and won't get the best out of either of these bikes so i went for the better looking one, which the 08 wins every time. i've got onto this after riding an 07 FZ6 and it can be just as easy to ride, a little awkward keeping to 30mph limits though. it reminds me of my Aprilia 125's, almost like it's got a powerband feel to it, below 10k it's very pokey but managable, above that it's all about holding on very tight!! it's very comfortable compared to an R6, the only pain i get is from my wrists but it takes a lot of riding for that to happen. although i change my bikes quite a lot i think i'll have this for a while, i suppose i would say it but i honestly believe it's the best looking bike out there. Until yamaha sort out the 09's front end. it reminds me of dame edna, do you wanna ride dame edna??!!

    23 February 2009

  • King of the road

    iq4u

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I had an '06 R1 previously & was tempted by the '08 because of the Yamaha 0% finance. It feels like the same bike but different, which obviously makes no sense. Below 7000 it's so easy to ride, between 7 & 10 it demands your attention & anything over 10 rquires 100% of you. It is roomy for my 5'9" frame, the head lights are brilliant. I'm torn between the looks of the 06 & the 08. Sometimes I prefer the cleaner lines of the older model & sometimes I prefer the angular lines of the O8. I can't say I can really feel much difference in performance between them although the 08 does seem to take off a 1000 revs sooner. I like the Pirellis that come with it, much better than the dunlops of the 06 model. Handels well, makes me feel confident even on winter roads. My friends ride Blades ZX10's, when we are out there is nothing between them performance wise. It all comes down to looks & in my opinion the R1 wins that every time.

    29 December 2008

  • Love it!!

    Karen Shaw

    Preston , UK

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I traded in my '05 R1 for a '57 face-lift and was extremely impressed. I didn't think anything could be better but the face-lift model feels smoother and more balanced. Still a bit slow in low revs but a Dynojet power commander soon sorts that. I also have a Renthal front sprocket fitted, Akropovic system, K&N etc coming soon. I'm still getting used to the addition of the tps, makes the bike feel restricted until you look at the speedo! Awesome bike, amazing power, highly recommended!

    11 September 2007

  • Wow

    lardyboy66

    UK

    Average rating rating is 4.5

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    Came from a K6 GSXR 750 to this and wow what a bike!!. Nice and easy below 7,000 rpm which is around 100mph in top and handy for rain, town usual stuff but go beyond this and the thing starts to fly. Hit 10,000 rpm and you enter a very different and scary world !! After a week in France touring with a few mates the bike was faultless and suprizingly comfy. The only time it suffered was over tight twisty broken tarmac roads which had it sliding around but I would have struggled on a BMW GS to be fair. Quality is excellent and it makes the GSXR 1000 look like a pig !!!

    10 August 2007

  • Average rating rating is 4.5

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    I sold my CBR600RR, Hayabusa & Bandit 12 to fund my new R1 I also bought a old 918 blade for track use and work so I have a bit of bike knowledge. Now I have got my bike fully run-in (1k) and the sun was shining I took the R1 out to put it through its paces and amazing simply amazing. It was so nimble and you dont realise the lean you get. I was arriving at my favorite corners probably twice as fast and going round and I thought not realy trying but my knee was firmly planted and even though twice as fast as im used to the bike sorted it all out. Dont be fooled it doesnt take anything away from you it still lets you know your going fast the front has an habbit of jumping up in the air. The noises coming from under the fuel tank i.e the moving air intakes and the loud standard pipes behind that pop and burble make it a very interesting and exciting bike to ride. You can here the air intakes pop at 10k if accelerating hard can feel a slight bit of extra surge. After having such a good ride on the bike I had to write it down. New R1 officially brilliant!

    01 April 2007

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rumifumi

rumifumisays

2007 R1

My 2007 R1 is best bike i've had. It overloads your senses and gives unbelievable feedback as suspension and chassis flex are just about perfect.  Take the time to set the bike up for YOU and it will reward like no other bike.  You have to work the gearbox on tight twisty sections but if you want a bike where you only need one gear buy a scooter!!

14 April 2011 17:19

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