Yamaha unveils new R1

Yamaha has released details of their new YZF-R1 superbike, but they aren’t talking about World Superbike-derived technology – all the talk at the launch is about MotoGP engineering trickling down to the new motorcycle.

Yamaha says everything has changed on the R1, except for the name. The motor makes more power from a lighter, more compact package; the new four-cylinder (still using crossplane technology) has a revised crankshaft, with fracture-split titanium con-rods, new pistons and an offset cylinder.

The engine also gets larger valves (33 mm titanium intake valves, 26.5 mm steel exhaust valves) and finger-follower rocker arms; supposedly, these changes help avoid valve float at high rpm, and valve adjustment intervals are an astounding 40,000 km. A new 10.5-litre airbox and EFI with 45 mm throttle body and twin injectors feeds fuel and air into the motor.

Max torque is 83.2 ft-lbs; peak horsepower is supposed to be 200 hp without ram-air.

The bike also has a titanium 4-2-1 exhaust, with Yamaha’s EXUP system (Exhaust Ultimate Power Valve) to control exhaust pressure waves for optimal performance, while also reducing emissions.

The revised electronics package is perhaps even bigger news than the reworked engine. At the Italian launch for the R1, company officials made much ballyhoo about the origin of the electronic rider aids – supposedly, they’re very similar to what you’d find on their factory MotoGP machine, and they even got Valentino Rossi on-stage to say so. Rossi was supposedly the first test rider for the machine, and had all sorts of nice things to say about it – he told the crowd it “was like (an) M1 with mirrors and number plate.” High praise, indeed!

The electronics package includes an Inertial Measurement Unit that gauges the bike’s speed and direction, then feeds that information to the other management systems. The electronic aids include four-level engine power delivery management (from wet mode to race mode), a traction control system, a slide control system (that automatically cuts in when it detects rear wheel slide), an anti-wheelie system, a launch control system and a quick shifter.

A GPS-enabled data logger is also optional for the standard R1, and optional on the R1M model.

Suspension comes from KYB, with fully adjustable 43 mm forks up front and fully adjustable piggyback rear shock, with spring preload, 17-way rebound and 10-way slow speed compression damping and 3-way high speed compression damping. There’s also an electronic steering damper.

Braking is provided by dual 320 mm discs up front with four-piston radial-mount monobloc calipers, radial master cylinder and stainless Nissin lines, and a 220 mm rear disc with single-piston caliper. Front and rear brakes are linked, and ABS is also standard.

Other frills include LED headlights, cast magnesium wheels and a removable rear magnesium subframe that is easily replaceable in case of damage.

Wet weight is 199 kg. Canadian MSRP for theR1 will be $18,999.


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