2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 Preview
Full report to follow on Sunday, Sunday, Sunday!
After spilling the beans on the much anticipated R1 back in September, Motorcycle.com finally got some time in the saddle to see if all of the hype surrounding the new literbike was justified.
After learning that the new Yamaha shared technology and innovation found on Valentino Rossi’s MotoGP bike, we couldn’t help but be excited to test it out. That chance finally came in Eastern Creek International Raceway in Australia, a track that offers ample opportunity to test acceleration, handling and braking capabilities - all of which have been updated on the latest numero uno.
Yamaha pulled out all the stops with a ground-up reno of its iconic literbike. Styling has been revamped, as well as the chassis and most other components. Most notable are the MotoGP-derived changes to its innovative new powerplant. Back in ‘04, Yamaha’s GP engineers developed an innovative firing interval for the inline four-cylinder M1. It created an uneven firing order and utilized a cross-plane crankshaft. Normally, the two outer and two inner pistons rise and fall together, whereas the R1’s engine has individual cylinders firing 90 degrees apart from each other. The benefits of such a change, aside from sounding like Valentino Rossi’s racebike, are that torque is more linear and power is more manageable.
The engine displacement and rev limit remain unchanged, but do so with a larger bore and a shorter stroke. New for ’09 is the addition of three throttle control maps similar to the Suzuki Drive Mode Selector (S-DMS) system. Other updates include the inverted dual-circuit front forks, aluminum swingarm, adjustable footpegs and gear position indicator, among others.
As the old adage goes, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” so while many components have been updated and improved on the bike, there are also a host of unchanged elements of the R1. The goal was to ensure that the essence of the literbike formula stayed in check, which was assisted by mimicking the existing rake, trail and wheelbase. For a more detailed look into the inner workings of the latest and greatest R1, come on back to Motorcycle.com Sunday evening for a full ride report from Editor-in-Chief Kevin Duke.