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2016 Yamaha R1


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The 2016 Yamaha YZF-R1 in Race Blue.

I purchased this in June 2016, new from my local dealer at £15135 including OTR charges.

We have probably all read a fair bit about the latest incarnation of the R1 following its massive redevelopment for the 2015 release. The 2016 model is the more or less the same, but without the gearbox problem which was the subject of a recall for the 2015 model, and slightly updated paintwork.

First Impressions:

First off, the build quality feels, in my books, superb. I have never owned any Italian bikes which are said to have an excellent finish and attention to detail, so I can't compare however the first thing I noticed when picking the bike up is the feel of quality on every component. But then you would expect that, right? after all it is Yamaha's flagship bike.

Prior to purchasing I test rode the BMW S1000RR and was left a bit disappointed. It didn't excite me in the same way the R1 does. The R1 feels like a complete package, all electronic systems working together in harmony. The BMW felt like several different systems cobbled together. Sure, the BMW has amazing brakes and oodles of power, but it feels like just another 1000cc standard inline 4. The R1 feels like a much more focused machine.

What is it like to ride?

Hard. And I don't mean my gentlemans sausage. I mean the ride comfort. The suspension is fantastic from a handling and feedback point of view, but of course, the whole bike is created for the track, not the bumpy backlanes of Somerset, so every ride is sure to include at least one nut-crushing jolt along the way. That said, after almost 4k miles I have got used to the hard ride and notice it a lot less than I used to.

As for other aspects of riding - it is a dream. The electronics package is superb. Allow me to elaborate. On the dash you can choose between 4 pre-set riding modes. Each mode is made up of several factors, all of which are independantly customisable. This means you can change the 4 pre-sets (A, B, C and D) to whatever set up you like. Each pre-set consists of TCS (traction control), SCS (slide control), LIF (anti wheelie), LCS (launch control), PWR (power available from the engine), and QS (quick shifter on/off). Each of these sub-presets so to speak, have different levels they can be set to. For example, TCS can be set between 1 and 9 (of off), while PWR can only be set between 1-4.

There is a huge difference between PWR1 and PWR4. PWR1 is all 200 horses available and sharp throttle response, while all the way down at PWR4 the bike feels more like a moped. Ok not that bad, but it feels more like my wifes Honda CB400F! (CB1).

This is very useful however. It was handy in the wet on the day I collected the bike from the dealers. It is useful if you are feeling tired or really do genuinely fancy a slow pootle around.

Back to the ride; this is my first cross plane crank engine I have ridden and I am impressed, but not quite as impressed as I thought I would be. I thought the bike would feel blisteringly quick, forcing my eyeballs into the back of my head. But it isnt. Don't get me wrong, it is quick as f**k, but it just doesnt feel quick as f**k. The R1 is so well designed, perfectly composed and stable, that it never really feels all that quick. You have to glance at the speedo regularly to remind yourself what speed you are actually doing, as even prison speeds do not feel particularly quick or dangerous. But that's the point of this R1 really isn't it, to be an absolute weapon, and that is how it feels. It feels like a very cold, calculating machine without much soul. But I still love it.

The handling is dead easy for such a powerful bike and very forgiving, especially with the TCS and SCS turned up.

Good Points

-> Electronics are superb, all systems work together in perfect harmony.

-> Looks in my opinion. I appreciate looks are a matter of taste, but I love the "Iron man" look

-> Handling - very easy and forgiving

-> More power than you could possibly want, but very easily tamed thanks to the electronics

Bad Points

-> Fuel consumption doesn't change regardless of riding style or PWR mode selected. I feel like I am forever filling this bike up, plus the tank is small and the reserve doesn't go far, so I am forever seeking out a petrol station. But you don't buy a bike like this for fuel economy do you!

-> The headlights are super bright, to the point where it puts me off riding at night because so many other oncoming drivers flash me thinking I still have my high beam on. Some ***** even go as far as to put theirs on and blind me completely. Also, due to the shape of the headlights you get a black spot when leaning in a corner, right where you want to be looking at the corner exit!

-> Pillion seat is really uncomfortable. The wife hates it. But you don't buy a bike like this for pillion riding do you?! When my written off FZ1 is replaced I will convert the R1 to single seater.

-> Startup always sounds like its struggling. Not sure why. I think some people hear it and think the bike has a problem. Its normal on all of these R1's.

Worst Bad Point: - the stock exhaust sound is pretty shit unless you are hooning it. On tickover it sounds like a family car. Thanks EURO4 you *****.





An absolute track weapon. Well a weapon in general, but its frustrating on the road because you run out of road (or talent) before you can truly appreciate what this bike can do. I almost feel guilty for riding it some times if I am not riding it to the best of my ability i.e just cruising. That said its very forgiving for such a powerful bike. But it is a lot of money, and you can have just as much fun on something a hell of a lot cheaper.

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Thanks :) You wont be disappointed with one of these. Apparently Yamaha manufacture them on a 4 year turn around, meaning there will be a revised model every 4 years. So if you can wait until 2019 then it will be updated again. The new 'Blade does seem pretty awesome too, with more advanced suspension (and other trick bits) than the R1. If you want any more pictures or whatever then let me know! happy bike hunting :cheers:

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