YAMAHA R1 (2004 - 2006) Review
At a glance
|Owners' reliability rating:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Overall ratingNext up: Ride & brakes
It’s hard to fault the clinical, precise and devastatingly fast 2004 Yamaha 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 Honda CBR1000RR and Suzuki GSX-R1000 are simply less work. For purists, the Yamaha R1 still has something unique; a superb focus on the dark art of riding extremely fast.
MCN MODEL GUIDES
- Triumph Bonneville: a brief model history
- Our ultimate introduction to the BMW GS
- MCN's guide to Triumph Scramblers
- Exploring the history of the Ducati Monster
- The lifespan of the Ducati Scrambler range
The 2004 R1 was the first motorcycle to claim a 1:1 power to weight ratio. By tilting the cylinders forwards 40°, Yamaha also found room to run a new frame over the top of the motor, creating a straight line from the headstock to the swingarm pivot point for a 200% increase in rigidity.
Ride quality & brakesNext up: Engine
The only weakness with the Yamaha R1's Deltabox chassis is that it needs a bit more effort and more precision, to get the very best from it at the track, compared to the incredibly adroit GSX-R1000.
It's as if the mass of the Yamaha R1 is carried a fraction higher than on the Suzuki, something which is addressed in later versions with a mass centralisation project.
The 2004 R1 also got upgraded brakes over its predecessor with a radial design
EngineNext up: Reliability
The Yamaha 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.
This is the last iteration of the R1 to use the 20-valve setup before the 16-valve 2007 version and then the MotoGP-inspired cross plane crank 2009 edition.
The nifty gearbox helps the fun, plus the fuel injection is excellent, too.
The Yamaha R1 SP version has a slipper clutch and another 3bhp if you really, really need it.
Reliability & build qualityNext up: Value
The 2004 Yamaha R1 has lush paintwork, beautiful alloy cycle parts and is very well put together. Apart from the odd clutch niggle (it has a tall first gear) the Yamaha 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 R1, dodging cattle chicanes and all sorts, so it can handle anything you throw at it.
Value vs rivalsNext up: Equipment
The Yamaha R1 was the UK's top seller in 2004, but in 2005 the Suzuki GSX-R1000 arrived and things have been tougher for the Yamaha R1 since. Good deals can be had so shop around.
Special editions? The Kenny Roberts yellow and black painted model Yamaha 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.
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 Honda CBR1000RR or Suzuki 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.
|Engine type||20v transverse four, 6 gears|
|Frame type||Aluminium twin spar|
|Fuel capacity||18 litres|
|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|
Mpg, costs & insurance
|Average fuel consumption||38 mpg|
|Annual road tax||£96|
|Annual service cost||£300|
|Used price||£4,000 - £12,500|
17 of 17
How much to insure?
|Warranty term||Two year unlimited mileage|
Top speed & performance
|Max power||165 bhp|
|Max torque||78 ft-lb|
|Top speed||175 mph|
|1/4 mile acceleration||10.4 secs|
|Tank range||130 miles|
Model history & versions
Yamaha launched the original R1 in 1998 to go up against the fastest sportsbikes of the day, the Honda Fireblade and Ducati 916. In 2000 it recieved detail changes including sharper styling and a 2kg weight reduction.
The 2002 version was a new model which featured fuel injection, angular styling and a new chassis. This model lasted just two years before being superceded in 2004 by a new version with underseat pipes, a new chassis, braced swingarm and more power.
This version of the R1 recieved a few changes in 2006 including a longer wheelbase and a limited edition SP version was made available with Ohlins suspension, Marchesini wheels and a slipper clutch.
In 2007, Yamaha scrapped their five valves per cyclinder engine format in favour of a four-valve head version. The bike got more power, ride-by-wire, electronically-controlled inlet trumpets and a new chassis and styling.
A major change came in 2009, when the engine was changed for a crossplane crank design to create more grunt lower down the range. This version also got a new chassis and styling and had detail changes including six-stage traction control in 2012.
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.
Owners' reviews for the YAMAHA R1 (2004 - 2006)
20 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.
Summary of owners' reviews
|Ride quality & brakes:|
|Reliability & build quality:|
|Value vs rivals:|
|Annual servicing cost:||£300|
Had what everyone loves gsxr k6 1000 THEN friend came round on 05 r1!! The build quility was night n day ,gsxr felt like a week pushbike and built down to a low budget compared To his million dollar looking r1 . I knew there n then I had to have one , still got it and never selling!!
It’s a pure adrenaline bike , mainly fast (inc top speed runs) road rides and track days more now as it’s safer. It’s very wrist heavy so Not comfy At legal speeds!! Ive shattered wrists before and suffer in my old age (55yrs young).. For very fast sweeping bends it’s awesome for tighter bends there are better bikes , like my old k5/6 model.
Would of been 5 out of 5 but initial pick up of throttle at apex is an on/off switch👎🏼 Stopped me getting under 2 mins at portimao . ( that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it)will get power commander n dyno this yr.. engine from 8000 revs to 14000 is ballistic! But it is highly maintained with best of everything and runs a dream .
Absolutely faultless so far but still under 30,000 miles , I do service it regular myself and oil is changed every 3000 max with Mobil racing 10/30
About £50a yr Max as I do it myself , but this yr had new front pads too which were £110 Ebc Road/track .
The build quality is my favourite thing about this bike Also underslung swingarm and underseat pipes..I think it’s perfect and all I have done is get rid of the cat and put A&r race baffles in ,and a Toby adjustable steering damper!! Bridgestone s21 and now s22 tyres are awesome even on track👌
Buying experience: I got mine from stratstone for £4600 . Many yrs ago . I’d never sell for less than 4000 now .i only ever see rough ones for sale . I think people that have nice ones love them and want to keep them ,for such a beautiful bike that was the first 170bhp 170kg bike they are a bargain, at the mo!!!
Version: Exup valve version
Totally recommend this bike for reliability, performance and ease of ride
It’s a high performance sports bike meaning ride position puts some stress on the joints and back.
It pulls like a train in all gears ...delivers all that’s asked of it and more. John McGuinness won the Isle of Man TT on an 2005 R1
Never failed to start, never broken down.
Low Yamaha service cost with all parts easily available
Buying experience: Bought privately without issue
12 months ago I upgraded from 09' ZXR and what a bike. Takes off like a missile but far less scary than I imagined the jump upto 1000cc would be. The engine runs so smooth and there's more than enough power on tap when needed. I'm 6ft 3 and only occasionally get some aches in the knees, but it is minor and almost unavoidable on most sportsbikes. Handles great and for a bigger rider the standover height and extra width from a 600 is much welcomed. Only downside is no gear indicator or fuel gauge (25-30miles on fuel light), but I have gotten used to that and rarely bothers me now. Always the chance to add aftermarket. Usually get 130 miles to a tank, which is acceptable. Great bike, don't see why I would spend 5k more for a newer version when this is old school mechanical mania. The paint finish is superb also.
Only because you can always upgrade brakes, but more than up to job as standard.
For a sportsbike the running costs are about standard
Lack of gear indicator/fuel gauge
Fast, but also real easy to ride slow and not nearly as intimidating as I thought it would be before I bought it. Looks beautiful and is now 14 years old and still looks great. Top build quality, kudos to Yamaha
Shreds tyres as all litre bikes do. 3000 out of a rear is ok.
Warp factor 10
Just thought I would comment about the reliability. I bought mine brand new in 2004 and it now has 110,000 miles on the clock. Original clutch, exhaust, rear shock, wheel bearings, head bearings. It still doesn't burn any oil between changes (at the specified interval) and goes out in the fast group at track days where it is still a very fast bike.
Annual servicing cost: £300
My first bike after passing my Direct access test. Having only ridden 2 stroke 125s before this, I was quite nervous about owning an R1 but I needn't have been, it's so easy to ride! Its confidence inspiring and everyone who told me an R1 as a first bike was a bad idea is wrong, Its fast yes, but very stable and planted.
Excellent brakes and very comfortable for what it is. My bike has upgraded brake lines so cant comment on how the stock brakes would feel.
Brilliant engine with loads of grunt and a howling scream of an exhaust note at high revs
No problems yet, paint finish is still gorgeous even after 10 years
Pretty basic but the clocks have a gorgeous blue glow at night which is nice. Could do with a fuel gauge!
Buying experience: Bought from Frasers of Gloucester, lovely people and a great service.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
This is simply the coolest bike on the planet!!Precision engineering like a swiss watch (forget your dukes etc), with gorgeous looks and sound (have you seen that ugly gixer end can ?), and with all the performance and character you will ever need (boring blades go home)- what more could you ask for ? Having previously owned R6, R1, Blade, Boxer Cup Replika etc etc this new generation R1 is the dogs. Pure music from the induction roar (first time on an R1) will keep you grinning. Gearbox is also so slick, clutchless changes smoother than with clutch. If you haven't tried one yet - you must, and you will be sold, if not then it's time to hang up the leathers and get a new pipe and slippers. Strengths: 1/ Performance, performance, performance. 2/ Looks, looks, looks. 3/ Sound, sound, sound 4/ Cool, cool, cool. Weaknesses: 1/ Pillion provision poor (rather tall leggy wife to accommodate occasionally). 2/ No good for touring. 3/ Flat below 4500 rpm 4/ Yamaha sports screen means more wind protection but more wrist pressure.
<p>I sold a 2001 RI (had a 98 modle as well) for a Ducati 998s last May. I had listened to the rave reviews about Ducati and went for it. The bike looked fantastic (body off Baywatch) but; rideability and reliability (face of Crimwatch). I rode the new 2004 R1 50 yds and wondered 'what have I been doing'........ Strengths: The immense power delivery is remarkable, progressively smooth. Light to handle with possitive road connection, good brakes!! Weaknesses: Leave it somewhere dodgy and it will disapear!! and add-ons (carbon etc) difficult to get hold of.</p>
Fantastic bike, I love R1s and had a 2002 model, this one is so much sharper, better looking and sounding. Beautiful. Strengths: Handling, throttle response, engine smoothness, brakes, looks and sound (again!). Weaknesses: Bars vibrate and riding position hurts my back.
Purchased the bike about six weeks ago to replace my 2002 Aprilia RSVR. It has totally altered my riding style and I feel so much more confident. I was really concerned about purchasing a bike with so much power as thought it would be a handful, but this R1 is a tame beast being able to ride it hard is not a problem. I have covered 1600 miles now and enjoyed ever mile of it and cannot stop grinning from ear to ear. THIS R1 IS WHAT RIDING A MOTORBIKE IS ALL ABOUT. If you're thinking of purchasing one don't think just do it you will not be disapointed. Strengths: The shear power and grin factor with this bike, along with the excellent handling. Weaknesses: The underseat exhaust is awesome but gives an extreme amount of heat and on a hot day it becomes unbearable.