2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike Review

September 29, 2010
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
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His insatiable thirst for life is only surpassed by his monthly fuel bill. Whether rocketing on land, flying through the air, or jumping the seas, our Road Test Editor does it all and has the scars to prove it.

With the price of a brand-new street bike creeping higher every year, many folks don’t have the luxury of owning multiple motorcycles. So, for those who ride sportbikes, quite often you’re going to have to rack up considerable “touring” mileage getting to coveted stretches of twisty pavement. To ease the pain we fitted some accessories on our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 that made it more comfortable and fun to ride on the street. To see how the modifications performed we made the pilgrimage to Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for the 2010 Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Check out our Laguna Seca USGP page to see all the action from this summer’s California MotoGP race.
We began our project by hitting our R1 with some genuine accessories from the Yamaha GYTR accessory catalog. While these bolt-on parts carry a premium in terms of price, their high level of engineering, not to mention exceptional fit and finish make these parts worth the cost. It’s also important to note that Yamaha genuine accessories carry a full warranty.

We love the shape  finish  and of course the exhaust note emitted from FMFs Apex mufflers. Even better is that the price has dropped by  100 for 10.
(Above) The $84.95 Raised Bubble Windscreen deflects wind up and over the rider’s torso. It’s easy to mount and works much better than the stock windshield. (Below) We love the shape, finish, and of course the exhaust note emitted from FMF’s Apex mufflers. Even better is that the price has dropped by $100 for ’10.

The first order of business was to swap the stock windshield for a Raised Bubble Windscreen ($84.95). This windshield reduces wind buffeting at speed by directing air up and over the rider. This makes straight-line highway stints far more bearable. We chose the clear screen as opposed to the tinted version because it is easier to see through when you’re riding full tuck. Installation is a snap and can be accomplished in a few minutes by removing both mirrors then swapping out the screen.
Next we replaced the stock seat with a thicker, more comfortable saddle. The new Comfort Seat ($239.95) provides a higher level of support so you’re body isn’t as fatigued after a full day at the controls. It uses a dual-density foam core as opposed to the gel design used on the previous generation seat which we tested on our 2008 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike. Installation is a snap, requiring the removal of two bolts tucked away under the rear part of the seat.
Having wished to carry along some gear on cross-country street rides we fitted an Axio Tank Bag ($189.95) and Cortech Sport Saddlebags ($125.99). The Axio bag is affixed to the fuel tank via magnetic flaps on both sides. Despite my initial apprehension the system works perfectly keeping the bag in place even when riding at triple-digit speeds or doing wheelies or stoppies. The Cortech bag uses conventional double Velcro straps that are neatly tucked in underneath the rider and passenger seat. It’s important to note that the bags need to be fitted carefully to prevent the exhaust from burning through the bags.
Lastly, to increase the overall thrill factor we mounted a pair of FMF Apex Slip-on Exhaust mufflers ($899.99). The FMF pipes uncork the R1 and give it a nearly identical sound to the M1 MotoGP bike piloted by Valentino Rossi, plus each muffler is a work of art. We love the shape and mixed carbon fiber and titanium construction of each can with it complementing the design of the R1 perfectly. Even better is that the price of the pipes has dropped $100 from last year. Since you’re only swapping out the mufflers, installation is straightforward and can be accomplished with a basic set of tools. 


With the addition of Yamahas accessory seat  windshield  AXIO tank bag  and Cortech Saddlebags the R1 becomes an capable sportbike to tour on.

Our September girl of the month  Amanda poses with our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 project bike.
(Above) With the addition of Yamaha’s accessory seat, windshield, AXIO tank bag, and Cortech Saddlebags the R1 becomes an capable sportbike to tour on. (Below)  Our September girl of the month, Amanda poses with our 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 project bike.

Fire up the engine and you’ll be amazed at how much louder the R1 sounds with FMF cans. If you’re not looking to attract extra attention then these pipes aren’t for you. However if you looking to be the center of attention everywhere you travel then a brand-new, piped-out R1 is the answer.
In our sound test, at idle, the R1 registered a whopping 11 decibel increase over stock. At speed it was six decibels higher which can attract unwanted interest from the police when riding through urban areas. The tone of the exhaust note is also much deeper and sounds more akin to that of a Chevy V8 than a four-cylinder sportbike. It’s so loud that even guys in exotic sports cars take notice when you pull up at a stop sign, no joke.
We also noticed that the pipes reduce the amount of exhaust heat that radiates on the riders legs which makes it more comfortable to ride in warmer climates. It still might be uncomfortable for some, but overall it’s a big improvement over stock.
Twist the throttle and the R1 feels like it drives forward with a bit more stomp. On the dyno the Apex mufflers freed up some power through its 13,500 rev range. Most notably is the increase above 10,000 rpm with five extra horsepower compared to stock at 11,900 rpm. 
Engine fueling and overall carburetion was never an issue before and continued to be well-sorted even with the additional flow of the pipes. In terms of fuel mileage, we didn’t notice any significant variation over stock. Fast-paced sport riding continued to net us right around 30 mpg. However if you restrict top speed to under 90 mph and try and short-shift the engine as much as possible it is possible to attain up to almost 40 mpg.
Nearly five pounds were dropped off the weight of the bike, however our luggage and 20-plus pounds of cargo negated the weight savings. The extra weight also forced us to add spring preload and damping on both the fork and the shock. Our final settings were near the maximum range of adjustment so for the next phase we’re going to have RG3 Suspension work its magic on the components. We’re also going to have Jett Tuning re-flash the ECU and fit a new set of Michelin Pilot Power street tires. Stay Tuned.