2004 Yamaha R1 Street Test

My only complaint for everyday use in traffic or hot weather, is that there are some extremely high localized temperatures, near the rider's right knee. This is caused by heat from the catalyst leaking through the seam where the subframe bolts to the chassis.

The problem was most pronounced, when making U-Turns and trolling slowly around the photo points. I nearly melted the Cordura on the inside of my right knee. Today 24 hrs after the ride, I still have a bit of a sore spot where my knee was mildly burnt. It was an annoyance that I quickly learned to cope with, by riding with my right knee pointed   outward at speeds below 45Mph. Once I was aware of the issue and adjusted my leg position, the heat didn't really bother me for the rest of the ride.

A nice feature of the R1, is that the low beams stay on, when the high beams are in use and the four beam layout means you never have that "burnt out headlight" look. After a thorough re-think of the new R1, Yamaha has given us a bike armed with far more racing potential than the old R1, while clothing it in an Armani suit and fitting it with real world ergos. The new color choices are stunning and the sound tuning of the stock intake and exhaust are spot-on. The bike sounds exceptionally good from the front, when it's on the cam and the intake is playing its race-bike soundtrack. I'm mighty impressed with all three of the new 1000cc superbikes from Kawasaki, Honda and Yamaha. If my memory serves me (it rarely does), the Suzuki GSX-R 1000 is going to have a tough time defending it's honor on the racetrack. Luckily for you, you don't have to rely on my memory, you can just wait another month or two and read the full-on open class shootout right here on MO. For roadside sound and racer road curb-appeal off the racetrack, it's safe to say the new 2004 Yamaha R1 has them all covered. 

2004 YZF-R1 Specifications
Features & Benefits

New for 2004:

  • New from the ground-up design is lighter and incredibly powerful--as well as more beautiful aesthetically, aerodynamically and ergonomically.
  • Lay-down cylinder block and resulting narrow frame produce a 4-cylinder bike that's slimmer and more compact than ever.

  • Completely redesigned short-stroke 998cc, DOHC, 20-valve, liquid-cooled, inline 4-cylinder engine now produces 180 horsepower at an amazing 12,500 rpm (with Ram-Air).
  • All-new, 27mm narrower, fuel injection system uses motor-driven secondary throttle valves and 32-bit ECU for super-responsive, instantaneous power delivery.
  • Two-piece ergonomically designed fuel tank carries fuel in the rear section, for good centralization of mass, while the front half contains a new, Ram-Air-fed airbox for increased power.
  • Re-angled cylinder head-- 40 degrees forward instead of 30-- optimizes weight distribution, straightens intake tracts for improved cylinder filling, and allows frame to pass over instead of around the engine for great strength.
  • Radical new closed-deck cylinder block reduces cylinder pitch, allowing an engine with 3mm wider bores to grow only 2.8mm wider instead of 12mm.
  • Narrower-angle 5-valve combustion chambers produce a highly efficient 12.3:1 compression ratio. Bigger valves and intake cams with more lift and duration flow more air.
  • 16-percent lighter crankshaft, 3-percent lighter forged pistons, and 9-percent-lighter, 7.5mm shorter carburized connecting rods with perfectly mated big ends add up to a quicker-revving engine with excellent high-rpm durability.
  • High silicon-content ceramic-composite cylinder sleeves ensure greater heat dissipation for consistent power delivery and reduced friction.
  • Strong, yet lightweight clutch and close-ratio 6-speed gearbox with triangulated shaft layout for increased strength, compactness and quicker acceleration.
  • Titanium underseat exhaust system (except for stainless steel midpipe with catalyst) contains a new titanium EXUP valve for a broad, seamless powerband.
  • High-efficiency curved radiator and an aluminum liquid-cooled oil cooler maintain stable operating temperature.
  • Direct ignition coils, new dual-electrode spark plugs and high-output magneto deliver more reliable firing.
  • AC generator moves behind cylinder block for a narrow engine with excellent cornering clearance.

  • All-new, aluminum Deltabox main frame rails pass over the engine instead of around it, resulting in a structure that's 200-percent more rigid vertically, 50-percent stiffer laterally, and 30-percent stiffer torsionally.
  • Overall frame width is reduced from 464 to 395.6mm, which produces more comfortable ergonomics as well as more efficient aerodynamic penetration.
  • All-new, Controlled Fill die cast, truss-type swingarm is 30-percent stronger, and long for optimal traction and feedback.
  • Front-end geometry with 5mm more fork offset and reduced trail from 103mm to 97mm, for increased maneuverability; transverse steering damper mounts below steering head for excellent high-speed tracking.
  • The rider is repositioned for greater comfort: Clip-on handlebars are 10mm higher, footpegs are 2.5mm forward and 7.5mm lower, and the fuel tank is narrower.
  • Controlled Fill die cast, detachable aluminum subframe is light, strong and allows easy rear shock access.
  • Rear brake caliper is 12% lighter and rear disk is 10 grams lighter.
  • Dual 320mm front disc brakes, lighter/stronger, forged one-piece radial-mount calipers and Brembo radial-pump front master cylinder with adjustable lever delivers great braking controllability.
  • Fully adjustable KYB inverted telescopic front fork gets stiffer springs, 4.7" of travel and rigid, 43mm tubes.
  • Piggyback rear shock gets a stiffer spring, 5.1" of wheel travel, full adjustability and a lightweight, accessible aluminum preload adjustment collar.
  • New, 5-spoke wheels are 10% lighter in front 7.5% lighter in rear, for improved acceleration, deceleration, handling and suspension action.
  • Underseat titanium exhaust system is lightweight, reduces drag, enhances mass centralization, allows 56-degrees of cornering clearance--and adds to R1's predatory appearance.

Additional Features:

  • Two multi-reflector and two projector "Gatling-beam" headlights provide great illumination and distinctive style.
  • New instrument panel with adjustable LCD illumination and multi-function digital gauges: odometer, dual tripmeters, water temperature, air temperature, full-time clock and lap timer. Large 15,000 rpm analog tachometer with adjustable shift light.
  • Aggressive new bodywork for improved aerodynamics, with twin Ram-Air intakes for increased engine performance.
  • LED taillight is light, bright and highly efficient.
  • Sticky 120/70-ZR17 and 190/50-ZR17 radial tires for incredible grip and precise handling.
  • Forged footpegs are extra durable and light.
  • Extensive use of hollow bolts and lightweight fasteners help trim overall weight.
  • 8.2 AH battery is more compact and 25-percent lighter.
  • EU2 and California emission compliant.
  • Durable #530 O-ring-sealed drive chain.
  • Standard toolkit located in convenient storage compartment under passenger seat.
MSRP $10,599



998cc, liquid-cooled, 20-valve, DOHC, in-line four-cylinder
Bore x Stroke 77 x 53.6mm
Compression Ratio 12.4:1
Carburetion Fuel injection, dual-valve throttle bodies with motor-driven secondary valves
Ignition Digital TCI
Transmission 6-speed w/multi-plate clutch
Final Drive #530 O-ring chain


43mm inverted telescopic fork w/adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping; 4.7" travel
Suspension/Rear Single shock w/piggyback reservoir and adjustable preload, compression and rebound damping; 5.1" travel
Brakes/Front Dual 320mm discs; radial-mount forged 4-piston calipers
Brakes/Rear 220mm disc w/single-piston pin-slide caliper
Tires/Front 120/70-ZR17
Tires/Rear 190-50-ZR17


Width 28.3"
Height 43.5"
Seat Height 32.8"
Wheelbase 54.9"
Rake (Caster Angle) 24.0°
Trail 3.8"
Fuel Capacity 4.85 gallons
Dry Weight 379 lbs.


Primary Reduction Ratio

65/43 (1.512)
Secondary Reduction Ratio 45/17 (2.647)
Color Team Yamaha Blue/White; Liquid Silver/Cerulean Silver; Shift Red
Warranty 1 Year (Limited Factory Warranty)


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