Test Riding a Yamaha R1

Posted by

Would I like to test ride a Yamaha R1? That was the question I was asked. I didn’t need to think very long before answering yes, I can tell you.

Wow! Was my first reaction when I saw the R1, it looks an awesome piece of kit in the black with touches of carbon here and there. The front end looks mean and I can imagine quite intimidating when you see those front lights in your mirrors. Definitely my kind of bike!

Now as you know, I ride a Z900, a CB1000R and a little old RD200 so we’re not talking race bikes here or sports bikes, more sports tourer or a street fighter as I believe the Z is known as, so I was expecting the riding position to be a little more radical than what I was used to.

This particular R1 has a carbon fuel tank extender which I actually found when riding the bike was good at keeping me in position on the seat but I had just eaten a sandwich before getting on the bike and I found this pressed on my stomach a little. 

If you’re a taller person (I’m 5’6”) you probably wouldn’t notice at all and if you’re short like me, leave the sandwich until you get back from your ride.
The bars are in the normal position you would expect to find a sports bike ie. lower than a touring or sports tourer and your bottom is slightly higher than the bars but when you’re riding the bike, it is surprisingly comfortable, you are sitting on the bike rather than in it.

When I sat on the bike I was immediately struck by how light it was, I was expecting it to to be heavier. As I am a little on the short side, for me personally, it was a little bit on the tall side but I could still reach the ground okay.

There is a TFT LCD instrument display which lights up and looks really cool when you start it up but I can imagine you might have to spend an hour or so working out how to change settings and such like but as I was only test riding it, I didn’t want to fiddle with anything as my relationship with techy stuff is a little on the dubious side.

This bike also has a quickshifter. I have never ridden a bike with one of these so was interested to see how I would find it. Would I want one on my Z?

When I started the bike up, I was struck by how lovely the exhaust note was. This bike has an Akrapovic titanium race can with an Akrapovic carbon heat shield and when you’re riding along it pops and bangs in the right places. 

I found myself pulling on the power only to lift off just to hear the popping but then maybe that’s just me that does that! I really honestly could do that all day, I kept chuckling to myself. I know, I know, I need to get out more!

I found the bike very responsive to what I was asking it to do and although the riding position is extreme for me compared to what I normally ride, I soon felt very comfortable and as though it was completely natural for me to be riding in that position. 

I felt as though I was part of the bike and loved how it handled in the corners and responded to what I was asking it to do. The quickshifter thing was good too and I quickly got used to using it. Maybe I will have to see if I can one on the Z!

I love the look and styling of the bike and it gave me a fantastic riding experience. Hmm… maybe a swap for the CB????

Now for those of you that like techy stuff, here’s some info for you which you may like:

998cc Engine: 4-stroke, liquid-cooled, DOHC, forward-inclined parallel 4-cylinder, 4-valves

ABS with Unified Brake System

Dual 320mm front discs and monoblock calipers

220mm rear disc

Track-developed suspension – 43mm fully adjustable KYB forks using a large diameter 25mm front axle

17” Magnesium wheels

17 litre aluminium fuel tank

Wet weight 200 kg