My Yamaha R1
I ran a Yamaha YZF1000R1 in 1998 as a long term test for Motor Cycle News. It is undoubtedly the best sports bike in the world and, as it has come down at price (at least in the UK) offers astounding value for money. This was the bike that won the MCN Machine of the Year award in 1998 by a mile.
Below you'll find details of its interesting life in my charge.
Check at the bottom of the page for links to other long term test bikes I have run for MCN, and to my Suzuki Hayabusa owners page.
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This is the red and white 1998 R1 I ran, fitted with a Yoshimura end carbon end can. It also had a dynojet kit and K&N air filter. I added the Yamaha single seat conversion, too.
My R1 was thrashed around the Paul Ricard French GP circuit by MCN British superbike champion and ex-GP racer Niall Mackenzie. He said he felt like he could get the bars down. During that test it lapped within eight seconds of Yamaha's YZR500 GP bike and wasn't far behind a full production race version of the R1. IN short. A stock R1 is a helluva beast.
Mackenzie and other riders tried it on slicks, too. They also tried it on a very flat back tyre and didn't notice apart from saying the handling hadn't been quite up to par!


Oh yes, it certainly eats tyres. While other big-bore sports bikes I've run have managed to struggle to 4000 miles between new tyres the R1 went through them at least twice as fast, sometimes less. I tried six sets during its year with me and the best combination of grip and life I found were the Metzeler MEZ3 Racing tyres. They have a little red "racing" written on them and have the kind of grip you'd expect from that. Yet they don't seem to wear a great deal faster than the stock MEZ3s on the road.


A lot of people feel the bucking bronco up and down motion you get from acceleration and brakes is a bad thing and try to remedy it. Best not to. It's there to replicate the features of a GP bike and makes perfect sense on a track (I'm told).
My rear shock died after about 8000 miles. Many others have gone earlier. It is rumoured Yamaha has upgrade them on later R1s and that would seem to make sense.
Some people add steering dampers. I never had a tankslapper on it. If you do, you'll want to add one.


The R1 was recalled before it got out of the factory gates for attention to its clutch. Then it was recalled again for attention to its clutch. Some had blown up in intense situations. Shouldn't be a problem any more.
The rear sprocket hanger was also replaced in general servicing, even though, according to Yamaha UK, the cracks in mine were the only ones they had heard of actually happening. The risk was there and Yamaha sorted it, which is fair enough.


In stock trim my R1 made 145.5bhp at the crank around 136 at the back wheel.
The addition of a Yoshimura end can, K&N air filter and dynojet kit added around 3-5bhp across the rev range. You may not think that particularly good value for the best part of 650. If you're going to use your bike for road riding I'd recommend you avoid a full race system because you'll lose the flexibility of the bike's EXUP exhaust valve which means you'll have a bike less smooth at low revs.


Yamaha does a sweet little bit of plastic which slots straight in where your pillion seat went to give you that single-seat racer look. It costs 120 but let's face it, that pillion seat isn't worth doing much else with!

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