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Friday, March 14, 2008

Yamaha YZF R1 - The Legend Revisited

Since the time I've started looking towards bike as machines of passion, Yamaha YZF R1 has always been my bike of fasination. So, just thought to visit the past and see the Lengend in making!!!

Yamaha YZF R1 - The launch - 1998.

Learning it's lessons from it's short lived YZF1000R - The Thunder Ace, Yamaha decided to launche the YZF R1 in 1998. The major change in 1998 R1 as compared to the YZF 1000R was :

A redisigned Genesis Engine with crankshaft, gearbox and input/ouput shafts getting adjusted in order to shorten the engine length.

This redesign yielded the huge benefit of shortening the wheelbase of the machine and which resulted in better and more quicker handling of the bike with an optimized center of gravity.

Launched with color variants of white/red and white/blue, YZF R1 was an instant hit.

Specs - R1 1998

Inspite being an instant hit, earlier models of the R1 were subjected to world wide recalls due to issues with clutch (and we blame only Pulsars!!!). Later on all R1 - 1998 models were recalled.

Yamaha YZF R1 - 1999.The 1999 version of the R1 saw some very minor changes from it's 1998 version apart from the obvious paint/graphics jobs. The pirmary changes that were made included,

  1. a redisigned gear change linkage and the gear shaft lenght was increased to aid better gear change experience.
  2. The fuel reserve capacity was reduced from 5.5 liters to 4 liters. But the total fuel capacity was still kept at 18 liters.

But the earlier 1999 models also were plagued with recalls in order to replace a coolant hose clamp under the fuel tank which had a tendency to come off under hard usage.

Specs - R1 1999

Yamaha YZF R1 - 2000 - 2001.

After having bad taste in mouth from it's experience with the R1 for the past two years, Yamaha went for some major revamps for the machine!!! Not only went for the changing the performance of the bike but also changed the design of the bike in order to make the bike more comfortible for long rides as due to it's quick response and handling, the bike excellent for short spins but proved to be a bit uncomfortible in long rides.In order to achieve it's goal, Yamaha inflicted arround 150 changes. Some of the major amongst those were :

  1. Introduction of the new Air Induction System.
  2. Changes to the engine management system in order to ensure smoother and broader distribution of power.
  3. The body work though resembled the R1 genere, but many alterations were made which resulted in a reduction in the drag coefficient by 3%.
  4. The headlight housing got a sharper profile, the side pannels were made more aerodynamic and slippery and windshield was re-designed for better rider protection.
  5. In order to provide more stability to the machine and produce sharper turn corners, changes to the seating area were also made in order to get a better weight bias. For example, the fuel tank was redesigned and was provided a more relaxed rear angle and deeper leg recesses to provide better rider feel. Again the seat extended further towards the tank and the also the seating angle was made much steeper in order to allow additional weight distribution towards the front.
  6. The carburetors were re-jetted in order to improve the throttle response, right from the lower rpm levels to the high red line make at - 11,750 rpm.
  7. Again re-designed camshafts were introduced which were not only lighter but also used internal oil ways to lubricate journals which in combination to the reduced tapped clearence produced less friction and resulted in less engine noice.
  8. Again the bike got a new gear assembly featuring a tall first gear and many other changes aimed towards resolving the tranmission issues faced the previous years.

But unfortunately enough, inspite of implementing so many changes to the bike, the bike lost in performance numbers to Suzuki GSX-R1000, which had the arround the same weight as the R1 but produced more power and torque. Again, this was the last year when Yamaha used carburetors in R1!!!

Specs - R1 2000

Yamaha YZF R1 - 2002 - 2003.

In the year 2002 the bike for the first time got Fuel Injection replacing the Carbeurator. Though the power was kept the same as that of 2001, but the engine was developed to have a larger bore and shorter strokes to provide high, fast and longer running revs.

Also, this year Yamaha introduced the revolutionary Deltabox III frame, which drastically reduced the total number of frame welds with the help if it's hydroformed construction which resulted in better frame strength and torsional rigidity. Again the rear end of the bike was made more streamlined and LED tail lights were introduced. The bike also got high definition head lamps and parking lamps.

As otherwise the technical specs remained the same as the ones introduced in 2001.

Yamaha YZF R1 - 2004 - 2005.

The market was responding the growing hunger for more and more powerfull and macho bikes and Yamaha responded very smartly withe the 2004-2005 version of the R1.

Not only Yamaha implemented style ques like underseat exhaust, but also adopted technology like Ram-air intake, which is to use the dynamic air pressure created by vehicle's motion to increase the static air pressure inside of the intake manifold of the engine, thus allowing greater mass flow through the engine and hence increasing the engine power. The all new engine now produced 172 hp at crankshaft (exlcuding RamAir) giving the machine a 1:1 power-to-weight ratio. The bike also featured a factory fitted Steering Damper. The biggest advantage of Steering-Dampers comes to light in providing stability to handle bar under heavy accleration/braking.
Yamaha YZF R1 - 2006.

In 2006, the R1 didn't see much of a change except for astounding 180 hp at flywheel and swing arm extended by 20mm. Apart from this there was a Limited Edition Release which included different paint jobs, Öhlins suspension units developed by people working for the YZR-M1 MotoGP bike. Again the LE included a back torque-limiting slipper clutch and an integrated lap timer.

Yamaha YZF R1 - 2007-2008.

The year 2007 saw the R1 replacing it's 5 valve per cylinder Genesis Engine model getting replaced with the inline 4 valve per cylinder model. Other new features included, Yamaha Chip Control Intake electronic variable length intake funnel system, Yamaha Chip Control Throttle fly-by-wire throttle system, slipper-type clutch, aluminium Detalbox frame and swingarm, six-piston radial-mount front brake calipers with 310 mm discs, a wider radiator, and M1 styling on the new large ram-air ports in the front fairing

The Legend has come across a long way................................ a real long way indeed, considering the global call back of the 1998 model of the bike and presently a global craze!!!!
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  1. Alas.. but this will be my most futile dream.

  2. Payeng Dude!!!

    What I learnt while writing this post is that, we have always been cursing the build and quality of bikes like Puslar and praising bikes like R1, but we never look deep and try to find out that if R1 is praise worthy, the how it became so!!!!

  3. I know bro.. But these is the beginning for our bikes..

    Can't wait for 2010 when Bajaj-KTM bikes will roll off from the Bajaj Plant..!!

  4. I really like the 07 -08 all black with the red pinstripe model of the R1, they have an R6 like that too that my neighbors son had. When he was over I would just stare at it in the driveway. Yo should go Ducati 1099/1098 dreaming next! You could always dream about the 1984 Ninja 900 that started the revolution.

  5. Doug!!!

    I'll surely check the 1984 Ninja 900 out!!! It's always good to know about blade runners


Item Reviewed: Yamaha YZF R1 - The Legend Revisited Description: Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Sajal
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