An example from the moto-centric world that comes to mind is Yoshimura. It’s become something of a household name with motorcyclists, especially sportbikers and motocrossers. An enthusiast could be forgiven for thinking the company makes all sorts of aftermarket goodies, as the ubiquity of the decades-old brand is undeniable.
With the exception of a few case savers here or a racing ECU there, Yoshimura Research and Development of America, Inc., made few products (at least where streetbikes are concerned) beyond its world-renowned exhaust canisters and full exhaust systems available on a consumer level. Almost seems weird when we think about it in light of how big Yoshi’s presence is in motorcycling.
The company recently unveiled what it’s calling the Yoshimura Race Shop, or YRS for short. YRS is a new line of aftermarket “hard parts,” engine components and a Showa shock kit for your sportbike. “The super secret days of racing are over,” said Yoshimura’s Brant Russell during the press launch.
The kicker at this time is that virtually all of the YRS products are almost exclusively for the 2007 through 2009 Suzuki GSX-R line (primarily the 600 and 1000), with a few token parts for late-model R1 and R6 Yamahas, and the odd CBR item. As for why YRS goodies are biased toward the Gixxer, Ryan Raymond, Marketing Director of Yoshimura put it plainly when he commented, “that’s what we’re [Yoshimura] racing right now.” Rest assured though that YRS is working feverishly to pump out parts for other brand sportbikes as fast as they can.
In addition to the numerous race-ready and street-legal parts, YRS also provides “engine services for all Single and Mutli-cyclinder” bikes, and to a lesser degree, some suspension services. Engine Services include the Yoshimura ISF Process for transmissions. This process is said to reduce friction allowing internal reciprocating parts to run freer and cooler, reducing operating costs and DNFs. Other engine services include blueprinting, cylinder head service (three levels), machine gasket service and a complete race spec engine service.
Something of surprise was the announcement that a smattering of YRS parts are also available for Suzuki’s DR-Z400SM. Russell cited strong sales of the production supermoto machine as a motivator for continued product development. Yoshi continues to make exhausts for the DR-Z as well as a stroker engine kit.
So why now and not, say, five or ten years ago for such a flood of the good stuff?
Regardless of what you may think of them, it seems we have Daytona Motorsports Group (DMG) to thank – at least indirectly – for YRS. “The fact that we are now racing production based Superbikes makes it a good time to open our doors and offer parts and services to the general public. Yoshimura is the undisputed 'Leader in Performance' with the highest number of wins, poles and pages in record books. It's time to share our success and lineage with our customers. That is why YRS was created,” Russell said.
Think of the new YRS as a little bit like those large warehouses along the interstate with huge banner signs that proudly proclaim, “Open to the Public!”
Now you have access to the products developed for Mat Mladin, Blake Young and Tommy Hayden, and you’ll have the confidence that the race-proven products “are mostly moderate in price, and very accessible,” and are manufactured in the U.S. or at Yoshimura in Japan. To boot, most of the external hard parts come in a deep bronze color that Yoshimura dubbed the "Magnasonian” finish. Not only will the parts be easily identifiable as purely Yoshi, their presence on your bike won’t scream, “Hey, look at me on Average Joe’s bike!” The finish was chosen to blend in as unobtrusively as possible with the bike’s cosmetics.
This news of so much Yoshi racing kit now available to the average racer or rider begs the question: “With all the stuff in the catalog, my Gixxer Thou and a full checking account, how close can I come to Mladin’s superbike?” According to Russell, “pretty close.”
Buell recently unveiled its turnkey AMA American Superbike “race only” 2010 1125RR with a tag of $39,995. Though prices for a YRS-built engine are forthcoming, we’d estimate building a fully kitted YRS American Superbike spec Suzuki GSX-R1000, including the MSRP of the bike, to be around $50K.
To get a sense of what this fantasy-turned-reality street Gixxer might look like, YRS has built what it calls a GSX-R1000RR. Various images of this slick Suzuki can be found at Gixxer.com
Though most, if not all, YRS parts are tailored to comply with American Superbike rules, according to Yoshimura’s David Tsai, the company is working to create a list detailing what YRS parts will or will not be allowed in various racing organizations.
Yohsimura is in the process of designing a dedicated website for the YRS line. However, many products are available through many Yoshimura dealers, or can be accessed by going to http://www.yoshimura-rd.com/ and clicking on the YRS logo on the bottom of the homepage. Contact YRS directly for engine services.
(Check out the photo gallery for a full selection of the new stuff from Yoshimura Race Shop.)
2010 Buell 1125RR introduced