Long-term test: 2015 Yamaha R1

Published: 27 May 2015

I’ve just collected my new R1. I’ve had super nakeds for the past few years, so it’s the first race replica I’ve had for a long time.

I love super nakeds, but I want to do more trackdays with my mates this year and as good as they are, there’s nothing quite like a proper sportsbike when you want to have fun on-track.

The R1 is the most electronically-advanced superbike to come out of Japan and has the power to compete with the best European superbikes, which will make trackdays more fun than ever. 

So far I’ve just been riding it on the road. It’s very stiff and can be a handful over bumps. It’s pretty uncomfortable, too. The seat is hard and there’s a long, low stretch to the bars, but there’s plenty of legroom and the taller Yamaha screen I’ve had fitted (£101.99) is good at keeping the windblast off.

But the R1 is so capable you don’t get a big impression of speed from it, so it’s hard to keep your speed down, especially on motorways. I’ll have to keep a careful eye on that.

At cruising speed the R1 does around 45mpg and the reserve light comes on at 128-miles… and a lot less if you’re thrashing it.

But the R1 is all about the hell you unleash when you tug on its electronic throttle strings. It hits harder than any R1 ever built and has a healthy 189bhp at the rear wheel – a good 30-odd more than the old crossplane crank version and it’s accompanied by a harder-edged MotoGP wail.

At speed that hard chassis set-up starts to make sense, giving you incredible feel diving into corners. The faster you go in, the better the feedback from the front end and the bigger the grin spreads across your face.

I’ve already fitted an official Yamaha slip-on titanium Akrapovic end can (£669.99) but it keeps the standard headers and cat. Yamaha says the cat weighs a hefty 7kg, so we’ll have to get rid of that at some point.

The brakes lack bite at normal speeds, so I’d like to try some different pads and I’m going to fiddle with the suspension to try and give it some compliance over the bumps.

I’ll admit there are lots of things I miss about a super naked, especially my old S1000R: its more upright riding position, windblast that keeps your speed down, cruise control and heated grips.

But I can forgo all this practical stuff, because I can’t wait to get stuck into my first trackday.

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