Graves AMA SuperStock Yamaha R1 Track Test


Is it just artful suspension tuning, or do the factory and factory support teams really get tires this much better than the rest of the paddock? I don't have time to ponder that question, as the bike squirms over the crest of turn six clawing its way sideways and upright at the same time. I'm not "worried", just busy at the moment. Whatever the trick is; the Graves Motorsports R1 impresses with its well-sorted handling and civil engine tuning. I've ridden stock R1s at a similar pace around the big track at Willow Springs, but I seem to recall working significantly harder and being burdened with a much higher "worry" factor.

To the average person, it seems counter-intuitive to think a 180+ hp factory race bike might be easier to ride than a 150 hp stocker. However, the often mysterious art of suspension setup, chassis prep, engine tuning and tire selection can make any motorcycle far easier to ride than one would assume after glancing at its spec sheet.

Even more difficult to grasp, is the fact that these two factory race bikes have (according to Chuck Graves) a mere $6,000 - $8,000 in additional parts on them. Huh?

some guys spend that much on a paint job. It is the rule structure of AMA Superstock racing that dictates how much hardware can be changed on these bikes. Everything you see on Gobert's & Hacking's bikes is available for purchase from Yamaha, Graves Motorsports, Ohlins, or Dynojet. Does that mean that you can have the same bike for under $20,000? Yes and No.

Sure, you could buy these trick bits and pieces, and then simply bolt them onto your stock R1. What you'd end up with, is about 167 hp worth of tricked-out streetbike. Taking it to the level of preparation and tuning of the Graves bikes would require you to hire the services of several high-paid mechanics and engineers, over a couple hundred man-hours. I probably don't need to tell you that it wouldn't be cheap.

But man would it be fun! Aaron Gobert's championship winning R1 fires-up with a deep, raspy roar, then effortlessly accelerates down pit lane, as I repeat the "it's not a race.... crashes are forbidden!" mantra in my head. Click the next photo, to continue reading my riding impression of each bike in the captions of the slideshow.

In the following table, you'll find some cool videos from our windy day at Willow Springs. We tried to do a narrated walk-around video showing the external modifications on Aaron Gobert's bike, but the wind completely obscured my voice. Therefore, what you'll get is my lame attempt at re-dubbing my voice over the existing "Narration" video. My apologies, if it reminds you of a Milli Vanilli concert.

In the following table, you'll find some cool videos from our windy day at Willow Springs. We tried to do a narrated walk-around video showing the external modifications on Aaron Gobert's bike, but the wind completely obscured my voice. Therefore, what you'll get is my lame attempt at re-dubbing my voice over the existing "Narration" video. My apologies, if it reminds you of a Milli Vanilli concert.



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