Tag Archives: Yamaha YZF-R1

Riding the Motorcycle Century

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Child of the ’60s meets Bud Ekins’ 1915 Harley-Davidson in 1978. (Photo by Robin Riggs)

Looking through a file folder named “Cars & Bikes” on my computer the other day, I noticed that in 50 years of riding, I’ve experienced nearly the entirety of motorcycle history. From 1915 Indian board-track racers to a 2022 KTM 1290 Super Duke R Evo, that’s 108 model years’ worth. And in between were tests, rides, or races on more machines from every decade. Hardly planned, this all resulted from simply loving to ride, being curious, and, most of all, saying yes at every chance. Here are some of my favorite moto memories, one apiece covering 12 decades.

1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F

In 1978, Cycle magazine gave me an assignment after I joined the staff: Write a feature about anything I wanted. Interested in the history of our sport, I replied that I’d like to ride a really old bike. “Call this guy,” the editor said, handing me the number of Bud Ekins, an ISDT gold medalist and the stuntman in the epic The Great Escape jump scene.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
More than a century after its manufacture, this modified 1915 Harley-Davidson 11-F completed the cross-country Motorcycle Cannonball. (Photo by SFO Museum)

In his enormous shop, Ekins reviewed the starting drill for his 1915 Harley-Davidson Model 11-F: Flood the carb, set the timing and compression release, crack the throttle, and then swing the bicycle-style pedals hard to get the V-Twin’s big crankshaft spinning. When it lit off, working the throttle, foot clutch, and tank-mounted shifter – and steering via the long tiller handlebar – were foreign to a rider used to contemporary bikes. But coordination gradually built, and after making our way to the old Grapevine north of Los Angeles, I found the 998cc engine willing and friendly, with lots of flywheel effect and ample low-rpm torque to accelerate the machine to a satisfying cruising speed of about 45 mph. And its rider to another time and place.

RELATED: Early American Motorcycles at SFO Museum

1927 Norton Model 18 TT Replica

On a lucky trip to New Zealand, McIntosh Racing founder Ken McIntosh let me race his special Norton Model 18 in the Pukekohe Classic Festival. Unlike the exotic Norton CS1 overhead-camshaft model that likewise debuted in 1927 – a big advancement at the time – the Model 18 TT Replica used a tuned version of the company’s existing 490cc pushrod Single engine. Its name was derived, fittingly, from the sterling Model 18 racebike’s multiple Isle of Man TT wins. As such, the production TT Replica had as much racing provenance as you could buy at the time.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
The author aboard New Zealander Ken McIntosh’s 1927 Norton Model 18 TT Replica, which reached 80 mph on track. (Photo by Geoff Osborne)

I found it surprisingly capable, delivering a blend of strong power (a digital bicycle speedometer showed a top track speed of80 mph) and predictable, confident handling – despite the girder-style fork and hardtail frame. However, lacking gear stops in its selector mechanism, the 3-speed gearbox required careful indexing to catch the correct gear. But once I got the process down, the bike was steady, swift, and utterly magical, like the Millennium Falcon of Singles in its time.

RELATED: Retrospective: 1974 Norton Commando 850 John Player Replica

1936 Nimbus Type C

When a friend handed me his 4-cylinder Nimbus, it had big problems. The engine was locked solid, and my buddy wanted to get it running and saleable. Built in Denmark, the Nimbus is unique for several reasons. One is its 746cc inline-Four engine. Rather than being mounted transversely like modern multis, it was positioned longitudinally in the frame, with power flowing rearward via shaft drive. Interestingly, the rocker-arm ends and valve stems were exposed and, when the engine was running, danced a jig like eight jolly leprechauns. The frame was equally curious, comprised of flat steel bars instead of tubing, and riveted together. With a hacksaw, hammer, and some steel, you could practically duplicate a Nimbus frame under the apple tree on a Calvin and Hobbes Lazy Sunday.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Bob Sinclair, former CEO of Saab Cars USA, loved motorcycles. He’s riding a Nimbus Type C sidecar rig with a furry friend as co-pilot. (Sinclair Family Archives)

Anyway, the seized engine refused to budge – until I attempted a fabled fix by pouring boiling olive oil through the spark-plug holes to expand the cylinder walls and free up the rings. Additionally, I judiciously added heat from a propane torch to the iron block. Eventually, the engine unstuck and, with tuning, ran well. But the infusion of olive oil created a hot mist that emanated from the exposed valvetrain, covering my gear and leaving behind an olfactory wake like baking Italian bread.

1949 Vincent Black Shadow

One blissful time, years before Black Shadows cost six figures, I was lucky enough to ride one. Seemingly all engine, the Black Shadow was long and low, with its black stove-enamel cases glistening menacingly, and its sweeping exhaust headers adding a sensual element to an otherwise purely mechanical look.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Unquestionably the superbike of its day, Vincent’s 998cc Black Shadow was simultaneously elegant and menacing, and a big 150-mph speedometer let the rider know it. This is a 1952 model. (Photo by Clement Salvadori)

Thanks to the big, heavy flywheels and twin 499cc cylinders, starting the Vincent took forethought and commitment. And once the beast was running, so did riding it. A rude surprise came as I selected 1st gear and slipped the clutch near the busy Los Angeles International Airport. Unexpectedly, the clutch grabbed hard, sending the Shadow lurching ahead. The rest of the controls seemed heavy and slow compared to the Japanese and Italian bikes I knew at the time – especially the dual front brakes. The bike was clearly fast, but glancing at the famous 150-mph speedometer, I was chagrined to find that I’d only scratched the surface of the Black Shadow’s performance at 38 mph.

1955 Matchless G80CS

Despite not being a Brit-bike fan in particular, I’ve owned five Matchlesses, including three G80CSs. Known as a “competition scrambler,” in reality the CS denotes it as a “competition” (scrambles) version of the “sprung” (rear-suspension equipped) streetbike. Power comes from a 498cc long-stroke 4-stroke pushrod Single of the approximate dimensions of a giant garden gnome. Starting a G80CS requires knowing “the drill” – retarding the ignition, pushing the big piston to top-dead-center on compression, and giving the kickstart lever a strong, smooth kick all the way through. This gets the crank turning some 540 degrees before the piston begins the compression stroke again.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
A true garage find, this 1955 Matchless G80CS hadn’t been used since 1966. Now resurrected, the long-stroke 498cc pushrod Single shoves the desert sled ahead like the rapid-fire blasts of a big tommy gun. (Photo by John L. Stein)

Once going, the engine fires the G80CS down the road with unhurried explosions. Then at 50 mph or so, the Matchless feels delightfully relaxed; vibration is low-frequency and quite tolerable, and the note emanating from the muffler is a pleasant bark –powerful but not threatening. It is here, at speeds just right for country roads, that the G80CS feels most in its element as a friendly, agreeable companion. With such a steady countenance, it’s no wonder that G80CS engines powered tons of desert sleds. I just wouldn’t want to be stuck in a sand wash on a 100-degree day with one that required more than three kicks to start.

RELATED: Retrospective: 1958-1966 Matchless G12/CS/CSR 650

1961 Ducati Diana 250

During Ducati’s infancy, the Italian firm concocted a249cc overhead-cam roadster named the Diana. Featuring a precision-built unit-construction engine like Japanese bikes, it offered an essential difference: being Italian. And that meant all sorts of wonderful learning, as I discovered when, as a teen, I bought a “basket-case” Diana. The term isn’t used much anymore, but it means something has been disassembled so thoroughly that its parts can be literally dumped into a basket. In the case of this poor ex-racer, literally everything that could be unscrewed or pried apart was. The engine was in pieces, the wheels were unspoked, the frame and fork were separated, and many parts were missing.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
The author aboard his basket-case 1961 Ducati Diana. (John L. Stein archives)

Its distress repelled my friends but inspired me. Upon acquiring it, a year of trial-and-error work included rebuilding the scattered engine, designing and welding brackets onto the frame for a centerstand and footpegs, assembling the steering, fabricating a wiring harness, and ultimately tuning and sorting. This basket-case Ducati literally taught me the fundamentals of motorcycle mechanics, by necessity. And due to the racy rear-set controls I’d crafted, the machine had no kickstarter, necessitating bump-starting everywhere, every time.

The bike was never gloriously fast, but it carried me through my first roadrace at the Ontario Motor Speedway. After selling it, I never saw it again. Rest in peace, fair Diana. And by the way, the California blue plate was 4C3670. Write if you’ve seen it!

1971 Kawasaki Mach III

Stepping from an 8-hp Honda 90 onto a friend’s Mach III, which was rated at 60 hp when new, was the biggest shock of my young motorcycling life. I knew enough to be careful, not only because of the 410-lb heft of the Kawasaki compared to the Honda’s feathery 202 lb, but because the Mach III had a reputation as a barn-burner. It was true. Turning the throttle grip induced the moaning wail from three dramatic 2-stroke cylinders, and propelled the Kawasaki ahead with a ferocity I’d never come close to feeling before.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Rated at 60 horsepower, the Kawasaki Mach III (officially known as the H1) was the quickest-accelerating production motorcycle of its time. (Photo by John L. Stein)

In those first moments of augmented g-forces, I distinctly felt that the acceleration was trying to dislocate my hips. In reality, it was probably just taxing the gluteus muscles. But regardless, I remember thinking, “I’ll never be able to ride one of these.” That clearly wasn’t true, but the memory of the Mach III’s savage acceleration and whooping sound remains indelible. Additionally, the engine vibration was incessant – there was simply no escaping it – and in those pre-hydraulic disc days for Kawasaki, the drum brakes seemed heavy and reluctant, even to a big-bike novice. Glad I found out early that the Mach III’s mad-dog reputation was real.

1985 KTM 500 MXC

If Paul Bunyan designed a motorcycle, this KTM 2-stroke would be it. For its day, the 500 MXC was extraordinary at everything, such as extraordinarily hard to start; the kickstart shaft was a mile high and the lever arm even higher. At over6 feet tall in MX boots, I still needed a curb, boulder, or log handy to effectively use the left-side kickstarter. The motor had so much compression (12.0:1) that this Austrian Ditch Witch practically needed a starter engine to fire the main one. Once, I was stuck on a desert trail with the MXC’s engine reluctant to re-fire. Not so brilliantly, I attached a tow line to my friend’s Kawasaki KX250 and he pulled me to perhaps 25 mph on a nearby two-lane road. Before I could release the line and drop the clutch, my buddy slowed for unknown reasons. Instantly the rope drooped, caught on the KTM’s front knobby, and locked the wheel, slamming the bike and its idiot rider onto the asphalt. The crash should have broken my wrist, but an afternoon spent icing it in the cooler put things right.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
A beast to start and a blast to ride, this 1985 KTM 500 MXC 2-stroke was also comically and maddeningly tall. So was the desk-high kickstart arm. But, oh my, how the Austrian Ditch Witch could fly. (Photo by John L. Stein.)

When running, though, the MXC was spectacular. Capable of interstate speeds down sand washes and across open terrain, the liquid-cooled 485cc engine was a maniacal off-road overlord. The suspension included a WP inverted fork and linked monoshock with an insane 13.5 inches of travel out back. I bought the 500 MXC used for $500, and I had to practically give it away later. But now, I wish I had kept it, because it was fully street-plated – ideal for Grom hunting in the hills today.

1998 Yamaha YZF-R1

On a deserted, bucolic section of Pacific coastal backroads, I loosened the new Yamaha R1’s reins, kicked it in the ribs, and let it gallop. And gallop it did, at a breathtaking rate up to and beyond 130 mph. That’s not all that fast in the overall world of high performance, but on a little two-lane road edged by prickly cattle fences and thick oaks, it ignited all my senses. What had been a mild-mannered tomcat moments before turned into a marlin on meth, but it wasn’t the velocity that was alarming.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Superbike tech leapt ahead with Yamaha’s YZF-R1. Its performance rang every alarm bell in the author’s head. (Photos by Yamaha)

No, the point seared into my amygdala was how hard the R1 was still accelerating at 130 mph. Rocketing past this speed with a ratio or two still remaining in the 6-speed gearbox sounded every alarm bell in my head, so I backed down. Simply, the R1 rearranged my understanding of performance. But simultaneously, it made every superbike of the 1970s, including the King Kong 1973 Kawasaki Z1 – the elite on the street in its era – seem lame by comparison.

2008 Yamaha YZ250F

After 25 years away from motocross, in 2008 I bought a new YZ250F and went to the track. Oh, my word. The dream bikes of my competitive youth – Huskys, Maicos, Ossas, and their ilk – faded to complete irrelevance after one lap at Pala Raceway on the modern 4-stroke. Naturally it was light, fast, and responsive, but the party drug was its fully tunable suspension. By comparison, everything else I’d ridden in the dirt seemed like a pogo stick. Together, the awesome suspension and aluminum perimeter frame turned motocross into an entirely different sport, and I loved it anew.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Contemporary technology turned riding motocross from torture in the sport’s early years to the best workout – like simultaneously using every machine in the gym at maximum effort. Training and racing this 2008 Yamaha YZ250F produced heartrates just shy of running a 10k race. (John L. Stein Archives)

In retrospect, the glorious old MX bikes were dodgy because real skill was required to keep them from bucking their riders into the ditch. But, surprisingly, I found motocross aboard this new machine still merited hazard pay, for two reasons: 1) Thanks to the bike’s excellent manners, I found myself going much faster; and 2) Tracks had evolved to include lots of jumps, sometimes big ones. Doubles, step-ups, table-tops – I later paced one off at Milestone MX and realized the YZ was soaring more than 70 feet through the air.

2017 Yamaha TW200

There’s something about flying low and slow that’s just innately fun. Just ask the Super Cub pilots, lowrider guys, or Honda Monkey owners. After a day in the Mojave, plowing through sand, sliding on dry lake beds, and dodging rocks and creosote bushes, Yamaha’s TW200 proved equally enamoring. Yes, it’s molasses-slow, inhaling hard through the airbox for enough oxygen to power it along. And it’s built to a price, with an old-school carburetor and middling suspension and brakes.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
For flying low and slow on a dry lake bed, the fat-tire Yamaha TW200 is righteous. Learn to dirt-track early in life, and the skills last forever. (Photo by Bill Masho)

Nonetheless, its fat, high-profile tires somehow make it way more than alright, kind of like riding a marshmallow soaked in Red Bull. Curbs? Loading docks? Roots, ruts, and bumps? Scarcely matters at 16 mph when you’re laughing your head off. Top speed noted that day was a bit over 70 mph – good enough for freeway work, but just barely. So, actually, no. But throttling the TW all over the desert and on city streets reminded me just how joyous being on two wheels is.

RELATED: Small Bikes Rule! Honda CRF250L Rally, Suzuki GSX250R and Yamaha TW200 Reviews

2020 Kawasaki Z H2

Building from its supercharged Ninja H2 hyperbike, Kawasaki launched the naked Z H2 for 2020. Lucky to attend the press launch for the bike that year, I got to experience this 197-hp missile on a road course, freeways, backroads, and even a banked NASCAR oval. The latter was, despite its daunting concrete walls, an apropos vessel to exploit the bike’s reported power. Weighing 527 lbs wet, the Z H2 has a 2.7:1 power-to-weight ratio – nearly twice as potent as the 2023 Corvette Z06.

Riding the Motorcycle Century
Exploiting Kawasaki’s 197-horsepower Z H2 definitely required a racetrack. (Photo by Kawasaki)

Supercharged engines are known for their low-end grunt, and the Z H2 motor was happy to pull at any rpm and in any gear. But it fully awakened above 8,000 rpm, as the aerospace-grade supercharger began delivering useful boost. From here on, the job description read: Hang on and steer. Free to pin it on the road course and oval, I did. And not for bravado’s sake – I really wanted to discover the payoff of having so much power. As it turns out, a supercharged liter bike dramatically shrinks time and space, making it a total blast on the track – and absolute overkill on the road. Watch where you aim this one.

Based in Southern California, John L. Stein is an internationally known automotive and motorcycle journalist. He was a charter editor of Automobile Magazine, Road Test Editor at Cycle, and served as the Editor of Corvette Quarterly. He has written for Autoweek, Car and Driver, Motor Trend, Cycle World, Motorcyclist, Outside, and other publications in the U.S. and abroad.

The post Riding the Motorcycle Century first appeared on Rider Magazine.
Source: RiderMagazine.com

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Review | Part Two | Track

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Review | Part Two

Yamaha YZF-R1 Test by Wayne Vickers – Images by SD Pics


So I’ve put down my thoughts on how the new R1 performs on the road in Part 1 of the R1 review here (link). But I was also lucky enough to get some time on track with it. Trev thought it would give me a more rounded appreciation of the bike. The boss is smarter than he looks sometimes…

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Jumping on the R1 at the track after a 10-year hiatus

It only occurred to me after saying. ‘Yeah that’ll be aces,’ that it’d been over 10 years since I stepped away from racing and sports bike ownership and the same amount of time since I’d swung my knees in the breeze at the track. In a lot of ways I figured that would represent a decent chunk of returning riders out there. After all, it actually is just like riding a bike… Right?

Putting aside the inordinate amount of time it took me to load the bike onto the trailer, and the whole getting halfway to the track before realising I’d left the bike keys at home, the rest of the morning went pretty smoothly. Sign in, scrutineering, a quick safety briefing. The Phillip Island Ride day gang lead by Brouggy have their stuff sorted.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

The 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 at Phillip Island

Then the nervous wait for the first session. 

First sessions at the Island were always a bit of a mind bender even when I was doing them fairly regularly. A bit of a write-off really as your brain takes a bit of time to come up to speed. The place is so damn fast. There’s no denying that a quick blast on the road just doesn’t compare to sitting up at around 270 clicks for the first time as you approach turn one…

I’d forgotten how much the wind hits you. And The Island being The Island, there was a reasonably gusty wind coming across the track that threw you around quite a bit coming out of 12, and into Turn 1. And pushed you on at Turn 3. So only three of the four quickest corners then – cool.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi JED

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi JED

Heading out on the R1 at Phillip Island for the first session

Back into the pits. I started to collect my thoughts again and it was only during the second session that I was starting to feel comfortable. Lines started to return and I could feel a bit of a rhythm coming back – even if I was well off my previous pace. 10 years worth of rust doesn’t just instantly disappear it would seem. 

However, what was noticeable was how well the whole package comes together. Bearing in mind that I still had the suspension on stock settings here and was still running the OEM (and stonkingly good) Bridgestone RS11 Battlaxe hoops, the bike felt so composed on its side at what were still reasonable lap times for a track day punter rider.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

As tested the R1 has the OEM Bridgestone RS11 Battlaxe hoops

Great power, stonking mid-range, excellent brakes and immense feel at both ends. I took it as a bit of a task to see just how far I could go on the stock settings without nudging the limits too closely. I had to keep reminding myself that it wasn’t my bike. And I wasn’t practising for a race… I had Trev’s strict instructions not to push too hard sounding loud and clear in my melon.

Turns out – you can push it quite a long way and still have plenty in reserve. By focusing on cornering and input smoothness – and letting the traction control system work its magic on exit – you’re able to get on the gas relatively hard and early. Felt like cheating to be fair compared to my old ’09 blade without traction control… Not having to worry too much about being spat into orbit sure lets you concentrate on other things.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

The electronics package on the R1 lets you concentrate on cornering, smoothness and getting on the gas

Speaking of getting on it. While you don’t often need to wring it past 11 thousand on the road due to the great gobs of mid-range grunt, at the track you do – and the sound it makes when you wind it right out is gloriously feral. It moves your soul and the corners of your mouth in equal parts. It’s epic. Out of say… Turn 12, you’re in fourth and as you start to straighten up and tuck in, you’re edging past 11 and steps up a notch and fairly howls. Feed it another gear. More howling.

Into sixth before the finish line and you’re proper shifting as you crest the hill. I was rolling off waaay early (almost at the 200m mark, a full 100+m earlier than I used to) to get the bike settled in the crosswind, but even then you’re fairly hauling. Out of Turn 2 in third and the traction control keeps it tidy as the front goes a bit light.

You feed it another couple of gears as you drop into the fast left hand Turn 3, before banging down three gears via the quick-shifter into the hairpin. That quick-shifter, which to me feels a little doughy on downshifts on the road, doesn’t seem to be an issue on the track. Maybe it’s just wearing itself in. The bike did have only 12 kms on it when I picked it up…

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Had I been chasing lap times, I’d have worked on suspension settings

The stock suspension settings were only really holding things back under the hardest braking and on the fastest corners. If it had been my bike and I’d been seriously chasing lap times I’d have thrown some slicks on and firmed things up a little both front and rear. The front to help stop it diving quite so much under braking into the Turn 4 hairpin and the rear to give it a little more weight over the front through the fastest corners.

Having said that, my times were still steadily dropping as the day went on. They plateaued at about my fifth session for the day, but realistically it was me that was the limiting factor – not the bike. That was also the session that I was looking for the chequered flag a couple of laps before it came out, so I decided to call it a day at that. Don’t do ‘just one more’ Wayno… You know how that ends from recent experience.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

When I started to feel it towards the end of the day I came in with a greater appreciation of the new R1

Yes the traction control system is insanely good and instils so much confidence to explore the limits. As does the LIF system that limits the front from coming up. And the lean sensitive ABS, even though I never reeeaaally let myself fully test that out if I’m honest… 

All up the day was awesome. The bike was awesome. The track was awesome. The new gear I was testing was awesome (more on that in a bit). And as track days tend to do – it gave me a much greater understanding of the bike’s immense capabilities and changed my perception of it a little.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha’s 2020 YZF-R1 offers a significant upgrade over the outgoing model

Back on the road afterwards I felt even more comfortable on it. Truth be told I could be tempted back to sports bike ownership with one of these jiggers if I could include some track time in my schedule. A 15 year younger me that was still very much into track days would most likely buy one of these from the current crop of sports bikes. I reckon they’ve got this one right.

This year’s R1 really does seem to be an easier thing to ride on the road AND have even more overall performance. With Honda moving in the other direction in terms of only bringing the highest spec CBR-RR-SP in, I reckon Yamaha could pick up a handy little sales boost this year… It’ll be interesting to see how it fares against the new S 1000 RR. But the R1 has a crossplane ace up its sleeve that adds another level of fun in my book.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Phillip Island and riding on the track gives a whole extra scope of insight into the R1


Now – I mentioned some new gear I’m testing for road and track focussed riding. Here’s the low down on some of what I used on the day.

Airoh’s GP500 (from Moto National – link)

This is one of a pair of Airoh lids I’m trying at the moment, alongside the matching colour schemed Commander DUO (also from Moto National link). I’m loving both of these helmets, but let’s talk about the GP500 as its the one I wore on the R1.

Yamaha R IMG Airoh

Yamaha R IMG Airoh

Airoh GP500

It’s nice and light at 1200g, is super comfortable and dripping with quality. The GP500 comes with a lightly tinted visor (50% tint which has excellent optics and no visual ripples) and has a PinLock anti-fog strip in the box. Ventilation is really good and I reckon the colour scheme looks mint. The matt paintwork seems to clean easily too.

Yamaha R IMG Airoh

Yamaha R IMG Airoh

Airoh GP500

On the head it feels physically small no doubt due to its weight – and when on the bike the wind noise is really very good for something so well vented. The overall shape reduces buffeting in a straight line and has very little wind grab when you turn side on. It also has Airoh’s ‘Emergency Fast Remove’ cheek pad removal system that means the cheek pads can be removed with the helmet still on – to enable easier helmet removal post crash.

Spidi ‘SuperSport Touring’ two-piece leathers

The other bit of kit I was testing was a tidy new Spidi ‘SuperSport Touring’ two-piece leather suit thanks to Moto National (Spidi Australia website link). The leathers offered typical great Spidi quality with a terrific fit (I’m just on 6 ft, 85 kegs and take a size 54 for what it’s worth). Being a two-piece suit its a bit more usable than a one-piece jobby in that you can obviously take the jacket off and cool down at rest stops.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi A

Spidi ‘SuperSport Touring’ two-piece leathers

It comes with flex panels for a great fit and has CE protectors on shoulders, elbows, knees and hips – and is ready for insertion of Spidis ‘Warrior’ back and chest protector units. I wore my existing back protector vest underneath and it was nicely snug. The flex panels provide some ventilation with higher flow panels on the shoulders and back and the inner mesh lining helps wick sweat away nicely.

It also has some neoprene panels on the wrist and neck for optimum fit. It comes with a speed hump on the back for added cools (and better aero) and an internal zipper pocket for stowing the bike keys, while having fairly funky ‘bi-phase’ styled sliders too.

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Yamaha R Wayne Airoh Spidi ANW

Testing out the Spidi ‘SuperSport Touring’ two-piece leathers on the 2020 YZF-R1 at Phillip Island

The real test was moving about on the bike on track. And to be honest – I never really had to think about the suit while riding – so that’s a massive win. No rubbing or seams grabbing anywhere, no impaired movement on the bike. The fit was perfect, no doubt helped by the stretch panels. Makes my old Spidi race suit look a bit old school to be honest! That old one-piece is still in great condition mind you – these guys make stuff to last.


2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specifications

Yamaha YZF R

Yamaha YZF R

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1

Engine
Engine type 4-cylinder, liquid cooled, in-line, 4-stroke, DOHC, 4-valve
Displacement 998 cc
Bore x stroke 79.0 mm x 50.9 mm
Compression ratio 13.0 : 1
Maximum power 147.1 kW (200.0 PS) @ 13,500 rpm
Maximum torque 113.3 Nm (11.6 kg-m) @ 11,500 rpm
Lubrication system Wet sump
Starter system Electric
Clutch type Wet, multiple-disc
Fuel delivery Fuel Injection
Ignition system TCI
Transmission system Constant mesh, 6-speed
Final transmission Chain
Chassis
Frame Diamond
Front suspension system Telescopic fork
Front travel 120 mm
Caster angle 24.0°
Trail 102 mm
Rear suspension system Swingarm (link suspension)
Rear travel 120 mm
Front brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø320 mm
Rear brake Hydraulic single disc, Ø220 mm
Front tyres 120/70ZR17M/C  (58W) Tubeless
Rear tyre 190/55ZR17M/C  (75W) Tubeless
Dimensions 
Overall length 2,055 mm
Overall width 690 mm
Overall height 1,165 mm
Seat height 855 mm
Wheelbase 1,405 mm
Min. ground clearance 130 mm
Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank) 201 kg
Fuel tank capacity 17.0 litres
Oil tank capacity 4.9 litres
Price $26,3999 Ride Away

Source: MCNews.com.au

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Review | Part One | Road

2020 Yamaha R1 Review – Part 1

Yamaha YZF-R1 Test by Wayne Vickers – Images by TBG


Having ridden the outgoing R1 last year I had a good idea of what I was in for, but was still shaking my head a few days after riding the new 2020 Yamaha YZF-R1. It’s a far more well rounded rocket than last year’s number.

Yamaha R IMG

Yamaha R IMG

The Yamaha YZF-R1 boasts a host of changes for 2020

The words “Spinal Tap’ come to mind. Not because you’ll end up in back pain (though it’s a seriously focused riding position), but because it goes all the way to 11, in almost every aspect. It really is ‘even more’ than last year – everywhere. Engine, suspension, brakes, the lot.

I’ve mentioned how focused modern sports bikes are these days before, but if you want a hint of just what I’m talking about? The dash doesn’t include a fuel gauge. Or a distance to empty meter. 20 km’s after picking it up I was looking to check if it was full of fuel.. And there was no way to tell without stopping and popping the lid. Yep. It makes some concessions to everyday usability. And gives very few shits about trivial mortal things like how much fuel you have left. Sort that stuff out before you ride, human.

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

The 2020 R1 makes few compromises, there’s not even a fuel gauge

But back to the all the way to 11 thing. I’d very much underestimated just how much more punch the full tune on the new R1 has on the MT-10 SP I’d just stepped off. Yamaha have done quite a bit under the fairings on this update, even if – from the 10 metre check – it looks pretty similar to the outgoing model. Those updates include new cylinder heads, injectors, cam profile and fly by wire throttle.

Just as importantly they’ve made some important changes to the oil lubrication around the crankshaft and improved cooling on exhaust ports to beef up longevity under hard-core racing conditions. Interestingly the improved oil distribution alone frees up five hp at high revs apparently. The net result is dribblingly good – it spins up SO damn fast and pulls SO hard that I found myself over blipping downshifts and just generally muttering expletives multiple times each ride for several days after picking it up.

Yamaha R IMG

Yamaha R IMG

Refinements to the engine have made an enormous difference

It sounds like a proper high-comp race engine too, especially on start-up where for the first few seconds it has an even more lumpy idle than usual before settling into a ‘normal’ idle. It’s not grumpy like a race engine though. Far from it, its fuelling is spot on to cruise around at low revs. But give the bike it’s head… sweet mother of god… Feeding it gears under full throttle is downright eargasmic. Even if the new muffler is supposed to be a little quieter (for shame Yamaha, for shame – we want more noise – more, more, more!). But have it pinned past 11 grand and it goes to another level of banshee. The reality is that I rarely found myself needing to get to 11 on the road with such a prodigious mid-range. On the track was another story however…

And there is some updated tech to play with too – and thankfully they’re able to be tweaked on the go with relative ease. Four preset ‘modes’ that are all adjustable, allowing you to play with Power (PWR), Traction Control (TCS), Slide Control (SCS) and Engine Braking (EBM) on the go. Initially I admit that I felt like a bit of a blouse dropping back to PWR mode 2, but it’s just too aggressive for everyday road riding.

Yamaha R IMG

Yamaha R IMG

Electronics are extensive with modes, traction control, lift control and more…

Yamaha’s own R1 owners manual describes mode 1 as ‘suitable for track riding’ mode 2 as ‘soft track riding setting’, mode 3 as ‘suitable for road use’ and yes mode 4 is ‘street or rain’… And on the road the difference between mode 1 and 2 is fairly linear across the whole range and just takes the abrupt edge off throttle openings, whereas mode 3 is more noticeably softer again in the mid range. If I was stepping up to a big bike for the first time – or a returning rider – I’d probably start with mode 3 and work my way back up to 2. I’d have to wait to get onto the track to play with the traction control and slide control settings properly… more on that later.

Suspension wise there’s new KYB forks and shock, that at first sample on factory settings seemed overly firm coming off the MT-10, but they actually soak up reasonably large road hits very well, so I left them alone while my head still got used to everything else. It was the right call. As come the twisties, they were sublime. A notable step up from last year according to my buttometer.

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

KYB provide updated suspension on the 2020 R1

Excellent feel, especially on the front end, which now feels impossibly planted to the road. No doubt helped by the amazing anti-wheelie system – LIF, which can be dialled back from 3 (you won’t get the front more than an inch off the deck) back through 2 and 1, then OFF. And no, you don’t feel it doing its thing. It just produces maximum forward progress. Makes my head hurt just thinking about how quickly these systems have to respond to inputs to work this well.

Braking is the other major improvement. Gone are the previous model’s linked system – which I didn’t mind actually – replaced with a new Brake Control System with two settings – 1 for track work and 2 for everything else. It also has new pads that feel stronger both in initial bite and power while still having excellent feel.

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

yam yzfr eu dpbmc det

Yamaha did away with the previous linked brake system, with a new brake control system in its place

So what’s it all add up to on the road by comparison to last year? A noticeably better bike in the real world. The new suspenders make the biggest difference on the road, soaking up general road ripples, bumps and potholes much better than last year’s YZF-R1. And to my mind they gave even better feel in the twisties too. Somehow it’s all added up to a bike that is an even better real world proposition – and its quicker as well. Bravo Yamaha.

But this isn’t where the story ends on this one. Trev organised for me to spend a day at Phillip Island to get even more intimate with it. Read about that in Part 2…

Yamaha R IMG

Yamaha R IMG

Yamaha’s 2020 YZF-R1


Why I like it
– Feels like a better road proposition than the last model.
– That R1 crossplane engine at full tune. Other-wordly.
– New KYBs noticeably better on the road.
– Electronics even more refined.
– If I still did track days this would be at the top of the list.
I’d like it more if
– Not a fan of the scroll wheel controller and screen interface
– A fuel gauge might be nice…
– Umm?

2020 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specifications

Yamaha YZF R
Dimensions 
Overall length 2,055 mm
Overall width 690 mm
Overall height 1,165 mm
Seat height 855 mm
Wheelbase 1,405 mm
Min. ground clearance 130 mm
Wet weight (including full oil and fuel tank) 201 kg
Fuel tank capacity 17.0 litres
Oil tank capacity 4.9 litres
Price $26,399 Ride Away 

Source: MCNews.com.au

2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 arrives in dealers | $23,999 +ORC

YZF-R1 arrives in Tech Black & Yamaha Blue for $23,999 +ORC


Yamaha’s YZF-R1 has arrived in Australian dealerships for $23,990 + ORC, with two new colour options available for the year model in the form of a new Tech Black alongside Yamaha Blue versions.

Yamaha YZF R Team Yamaha Blue
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Tech Blue

The Yamaha YZF-R1 boasts an evocative M1 derived 998cc crossplane four-cylinder DOHC, four-valve engine, with MotoGP developed electronics including lean angle sensitive ABS, traction control and slide control.

Inlet manifold length is adjusted on the fly by Yamaha’s YCC-I system for optimal performance. Other features include a high-compression cylinder head, pent proof combustion chambers, large-diameter intake and exhaust valves and titanium conrods holding forged aluminium pistons.

Yamaha YZF R Team Yamaha Blue
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Tech Blue

The chassis features a compact aluminium Deltabox frame, long upward-truss type swingarm and magnesium sub frame, and fully adjustable race-bred 43mm KYB forks feature a large-diameter 25mm front axle, with rear KYB monoshock suspension also fully adjustable. 17-inch magnesium wheels are the first to be fitted to a mass-production model as standard.

Yamaha YZF R Tech Black
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Tech Black

Brakes include four-piston front calipers on 320mm rotors, while the rear boasts a dual-piston caliper on 220mm rotor, wboth featuring ABS and including Yamaha’s Unified Braking System. In conjunction with the IMU this determines braking force distribution between front and rear.

Other standard features include an Up-Down quickshift system as standard fitment, along with LED headlights and a TFT instrument panel.

Yamaha YZF R Team Yamaha Blue
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Tech Blue

The 2019 YZF-R1 is now available at Yamaha dealers for an RRP of $23,999 +ORC, in Yamaha Blue or Tech Black.

A range of Genuine Yamaha Accessories also enable every R-Series rider to transform their Yamaha. The range of components for the Yamaha R-Series models includes titanium exhausts and slip-on mufflers, billet covers, protectors and more.

Yamaha YZF R Tech Black
2019 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Tech Black

Visit your local Yamaha Motorcycle dealer for more information, or see the Yamaha Motor Australia website (link).

Source: MCNews.com.au