A major evolution of the Yamaha hypersport, which appeared in 98, the YZF 1000 R1 is undoubtedly one of the finest achievements in the history of the manufacturer in tuning fork. The YZF offers for 2002 a new Deltabox III frame whose geometry and rigidity are almost similar to those of the R7. A new EXUP valve, injection, a new airbox, new reduced travel fork, new aluminum brake calipers (previously steel), and a slightly revised driving position … Aggressive, tense, sharp, exciting, the R1 takes you to the guts with its silhouette. Its black frame, its openwork fairing, its beautiful aluminum parts, this magnificent front axle with its inverted fork and its arrogant brake calipers, this finish, this magnificent reinforced swingarm…. What a delicious torture to the eye – a real bitch who seems to invite you in with a striptease. To tease you even more, she seems ready to pounce, to chase the first time that passes before it has had time to beep.
One turn of the key and the beautiful instrument panel comes to life as the tachometer needle flies back and forth, sweeping through the 13 graduation digits. Before you even set off, the R1 will inspire you "racing". You are not aboard a nice sportswoman; you are in control of a racing machine. Impression confirmed and reinforced as soon as the hands reach the half-handlebars. Name of…., How low! The riding position is completely tilted to the front, with legs well folded and back, and wrists that taste after 5 km. Have you ever done push-ups? Get into position and stay static at the top; it’s the same. Add to that a tank that spreads your legs well and you immediately realize that the R1 is without compromise. Is the beauty worth it? We will see.
Astonishednt like a motorbike can distill so many contradictions in a few km of pleasant ride. We let ourselves be carried away by the flexibility of the 4 cylinder with 20 valves while noting that it delivers a slight roughness at very low revs. Coupled from 3000 laps, it gradually takes us into the dance as we discover the non-exclusive firmness of the bike. Firm, like the saddle which, however, is not stingy in foam and which does not destroy your bottom; Firm, like the suspensions, which nevertheless demonstrate an elegant comfort, processing the information transmitted by the road and softening the roughness of the latter. Be careful, this has nothing to do with road depreciation. But the R1 does not reward you with severe racket hits like you can find on the Italians. However, broken in 2 and after a series of bumps in the road, the driver begins to suffer after ¼ hour of use. But a little worm towards the roads of the Ain will quickly turn to almost carnal passion.
Stabilized speed – 5000 rpm. The motor begins to rumble and seems to be causing you through its hoarse and vibrations: "But what the hell are you doing? Send the watts and get away !". Okay, okay. Exiting a slow corner, drop a gear and turn the grip. Now is the time for the boiler to lift the veil. Without a moment’s hesitation, the motorcycle takes off as if pushed by a slingshot. We really feel the couple "carry the motorbike", like a jet crashing out of the ground. Then, at around 6-7000 revs, it is the power that takes over and transforms the external environment into a Space Mountain. Fairly linear in its revving, the mill lacks a bit of character but no power. It pushes hard, very hard, the front end stops negotiating with the road and the digital speed figures are scrolling as it is not allowed. In high revs, the 4 legs flies away with rage, does not weaken at any time and becomes downright furious after 10,000 revs. A shot of the (programmable) shiflight warns that it’s time to give a little boot neck. The reports pass almost by themselves and the gearbox locks without worry. It is only on the first gears at low speed that the selection can be slightly finicky..
With the potato that is in the cylinders, there is enough to quickly melt a lead. Caution is advised when starting to seriously tease her. Agile (and it’s much better with a 180 at the rear instead of the original 190), the R1 does ask for cornering, however. She descends gradually (but not instinctively) then wedges in a very secure rail. Watch out, we arrive quickly…. A bit of a disaster entering a corner, a badly managed brake catch and the steering locks as the bike gets up. Damn, be careful! A few passes and you have to face the facts: the Yamaha is not that easy. Fortunately, the revelation will be made a few days later, on the Lèdenon circuit..
First session, it rolls okay but it’s not it. The machine is not giving itself completely and my trajectories are not very good. That’s weird, for a track beast. The day passes, I wonder, and suddenly, in the triple left, the revelation. Entry into force, stern gaze, iron fist and authoritarian conduct. The R1 coils into the turn, holds the rope and exits smoothly. I screw on the handle, the rear tire tears off a few pieces of asphalt and the nose takes off. Then the machine and I send big with top notch obviousness and ease. Here is the thing: you have to go there frankly and without hesitation. To perform at its best, the R1 demands a commanding, muscular, fast and energetic drive. From then on, it becomes a treat of precision and sportiness. It now stands alone on the corner and becomes a real tool, sharp as a razor and purely enjoyable in its sporting developments. The position of the pilot, untenable on a Sunday ride, then takes on its full meaning. In arsouille or on the circuit, you feel completely at ease, totally in the spirit "race" and as indicative as the motorcycle. Re-adapted to the road, muscular driving is also efficient, the bike fishing only by its very lively front end that only needs to be guided. A steering damper is really essential, and even with it, you feel that the front is as sharp as it is hot.
Braking, so famous, is also very strong.
A little marvel, with a remarkable feeling coupled with impressive and perfectly dosable power. Whether it’s the throttle grip or the brake lever, the connection between the right hand and the machine is stunning. Driven with beating speed, the R1 is a concentrate of adrenaline and endorphin.
Okay, think about going home. Night is falling and the road is long. The R1 will charge for its exclusivity. The bubble is pretty and its design bleeding to perfection, but the protection is lousy. Pressed to the point of rolling very quickly, we will not hold for long at a speed above 240 km / h. The cervicals have been at maximum tension for a long time, but the problem is that the front of the full-face helmet is beginning to sink into the jaw. No need to insist.
A refueling break after 170 km and it starts to float a bit. Smart, I had the presence of mind to pack rain pants. But with a mini U and a box of condoms, that’s all you can fit in the trunk. When leaving, a motorcycle hitchhiker would like to cut a stretch of road with me. Why not. She climbs the saddle, finds herself with the kneecaps at the chin level…. and calls me a bastard after 15 km, she finds the seat so uncomfortable.
Demanding, exclusive, generous and beautiful to die for, the Yamaha R1 is one of the most beautiful masters of the sport. Some motorcycles appeal to you; others challenge you; a few, rare, inhabit your dreams and sometimes give you the shivers before you even start it. The slightest ride quickly turns into a qualifying session, and in the evening, after a good ride, you come home smashed, but happy..
What you must remember
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YZF-R1 1000 2001
Model marketed in
about 275 km / h
The technical aspect
Yamaha YZF-R1 1000 2003
- Tank: 17 liters
- Width: 705 mm
- Height: 1,105 mm
- Wheelbase: 1395 mm
- Dry weight: 174 kg
- Weight in running order: 202 kg
- Train before
- Final chain drive
- Rear axle
(74 x 58 mm)
at 10,500 rpm
at 8,500 rpm