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.
Ride and HandlingMCN rating
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.
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.
Quality and ReliabilityMCN rating
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.
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
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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.