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YAMAHA R1 - 08

Guest Phil Young

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Having done sufficient miles on my R1 (7k at the time of writing this), I feel I can write a good solid review of it.

Firstly, bear in mind that I'm a 5' 5" rider, so a lot of things will be more comfortable to me that it would do to a taller person.


Thought I'd start of with what everyone wants to know about...

Although I haven't done THAT many miles to comment on the engine build quality, I haven't had any problems whatsoever. I have done 2 oil changes in the time I've owned it and it sounds exactly the same as it did when I bought it, and I ride mine hard on the weekends so I do stress the engine. In terms of power, everything on mine is standard minus a few cosmetic changes and from around 4-5k RPM, it is an absolute beast. The power is very smooth and very controllable (i.e, it won't wheelie on you just because you've opened up the throttle a bit). Accelerating from 8-9k shows the R1's true power - it will throw you to the back of your seat if opened up. It isn't as huge a beast as others may exaggerate in the lower RPM's, 2-3k doesn't give enough power or engine braking to cruise around town in but is comparable to most 600's at around their 4-5k RPM range. Rarely will you move out of 2nd gear if driving around town where limits are 30/40mph. As expected, it does have a good amount of engine breaking and rarely will you need to touch your brakes if ridden around town (unless traffic lights etc. make you). Fuel is a very rubbish 27-29mpg for me. I have accepted I have no reason to believe it should be getting any more than that.


It has a rock hard seat and a slanted ledge for a pillion. It is NOT built for comfort. Having said that, I find it quite comfortable due to my height I guess, but for long journeys (3hrs+) I will put the air hawk cushion on. Handling is obviously different with each tyre but on my PR2's, it just falls into corners with little effort. The stock steering damper means that the ride is smooth and well controlled. Tested to 170mph and the bike didn't scare me at all due to the damper which makes it feel more like 100 without. I came from an R6 and when you sit on the R1, it is noticibly bigger, heavier and just generally more "tankish".


The 6 piston front calipers are great - plenty of stopping power and some!


The tank cover doesn't really stand up to manual handling of the bike and probably will snap at the bolt (where it's secured to the tank). This isn't a problem and it won't fly off, but it will make the most annoying rattle when riding at slow speeds. I glued some foam on to the air filter box which eliminates it.

On mine, I removed the baffles to the stock exhaust. Sounds like a real nice akro or similar for £40 and 5hrs work.

Stem mounts are dangerously low for these sports bikes so what I did, was superglue a suction phone mount to the inside left of the screen (black). You can't see it but works very well if you use sat nav and becomes just part of the dash.


Fantastic bike. Starts first time every time, even in the cold. It does run very warm - the fan will kick in if you're in traffic for a few mins and in the summer, the catalytic converter will make the ride very warm. You'll be lucky to get more than 120 miles from a tank but you will enjoy every single one of them. Insane power from mid - high, will overtake most cars with ease in the low range and just a real pleasure to ride. Going to be using the R1 for 2up touring this March so will update my review after that.



I adjusted my gearing to -1 at the front and +2 at the back and have been riding it like that for about 1200 miles at the time of writing this update.

Best modification to date! The adjusted gearing is now in favour of acceleration and takes about 20mph off the top end in favour of climbing through the gears faster, giving the feel of more low down and mid range power.

Now it has power from about 3k RPM and pulls hard in 6th (I always think I'm in 4th!). It is not uncontrollable and 1st, although quite twitchy, is more than rideable. Instead of driving around town in 1st gear, I am usually in 2 or 3 now and from the lights, the clutch is straight out and accelerates much faster. On a spirited ride, I can now access the RPM's where the R1 produces it's max power (10k+) much easier and have a lot more control over acceleration and braking. IMO, this is exactly how liter bikes should leave the factory. I will not go back to stock gearing which quite frankly, sucks.

FUEL ECONOMY: Around town, it is the same (24mpg). There is a slight drop (2mpg) in spirited riding and I am yet to test on the motorway.

Edited by Anonymous
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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 year later...
Phil, Could I ask you a question? In your honest opinion, is the R1 more fun to ride than the R6?

Great review btw :thumb:

Thanks :)

It depends on the year you buy TBH... the 4C8 (07-08) R1 is a high revver and doesn't come alive until 8k or so. It's a bit bland before then... in order to utilize it properly on road you either need to flash tune the ECU or a adjust the gearing like I did, then, it's fun! The later model with it's crossplane engine has a lot more low down grunt and will pull harder at lower RPM's but lacks that inline 4 scream and stupid high power that the 4C8 has.

My R1 is very powerful with the mods I've done. It's scary to ride around town because it requires such a delicate touch. The R6 is A LOT more forgiving. I prefer the R1 because of the sheer power of it and let's be honest, it does have a certain ring to it vs R6 :wink:

I personally think the R6 is the best of both worlds. Power, fun, buzzy and economical at the same time. If you want to be king of the jungle, get the R1.

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