2012 Yamaha R1 Gets Traction Control

September 14, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Yamahas 2012 R1 will face its Superbike foes with the aid of traction control.
Yamaha hails the R1 traction control system as a direct byproduct of its title-winning MotoGP racing program.

The 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 features a new seven-level traction control system. The Yamaha literbike will also be offered in a World GP 50th Anniversary Edition seen above.

Yamaha’s 2012 YZF-R1 will face its Superbike foes with the aid of traction control. The Tuning Fork brand has revealed its 2012 sportbike lineup, with the flagship literbike not a ground-up redesign, but instead a carryover of the 2011 bike with its feature electronic assist. An indiscernible styling refresh to the R1 is bolstered by a special-edition 50th GP Anniversary colorway. 

Yamaha hails the R1 traction control system as a direct byproduct of its title-winning MotoGP racing program. The system offers seven levels of TC. A total of 21 settings will be available when combined with the returning three-level D-Mode “Drive Mode” system.

Technical details on how the R1 TC system works are still forthcoming. Yamaha press materials only state: “The system has been developed so the rider does not feel any unnatural or harsh intervention from the system. In addition, traction control can aid in reducing tire wear due to less wheel spin.”

The 998cc Inline Four powering the R1 retains the crossplane crankshaft that first debuted on the 2009 model. The YCC-I (Yamaha Chip Controlled Intake) and YCC-T (Yamaha Chip Controlled Throttle) systems also return. While a new ECU setting does promise “excellent drivability during low and mid rpm acceleration,” the Yamaha will not get any extra oomph to challenge power production offered by the class-leading BMW S1000RR or HP beast of the Big Four, the Kawasaki Ninja. (The 2011 R1 turned the MotoUSA dyno to 152 horsepower and 75.65 lb-ft, ranking sixth in both categories during our 2011 Superbike Track Comparison)

Significant R1 updates are all internal, as the “re-styled” headlight cowl appears different from the predecessor only in a bold new graphics sort of way. Same goes for the heat guards and exhaust end caps. Other minor refreshes include new top triple clamps, styled after the M1 GP racebike. The adjustable footpegs have been tweaked  as well, to enhance boot contact and improve rider interface.

The R1 chassis is unaltered. Spec sheets of the 2012 and 2011 models are identical, from steering geometry to length, width and height dimensions (excepting a nominal 0.1-inch lift in seat height). Fully adjustable Soqi suspension components return, along with the dual six-piston Sumitomo caliper braking configuration up front.

Most notable for the 2012 Yamaha Superbike is what hasn’t been changed (similar to the still-carbureted 2012 YZ250F motocrosser). No ABS system was introduced, and there has been zero weight reduction. Claimed wet weight remains 454 pounds, with the ’11 R1 notable as the heaviest bike in our annual Superbike Shootout – its 473-pound measured curb weight a full 34 pounds more than the class-leading Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Traction control jacks up MSRP by a modest $400, the base models (black and traditional Yamaha blue/white colorways) retailing for $13,990. A white/red paint scheme raises the price another 200 shekels, while the World GP 50th Anniversary Edition livery rings in at $14,490. The special anniversary edition will be limited to a 2000-unit production run worldwide.

Check out the complete 2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specifications in our Buyers guide.

Yamaha expects its 2012 R1 to arrive at dealers in October.

The standard R1 blue/white and raven colorways will cost $13,990, with a white/red livery $14,190 and the Anniversary Ed. $14,490.

2012 Yamaha R6 Unchanged

2012 Yamaha R6
The 2012 Yamaha R6 is unchanged for the new model year, though it will also be available in 50th Anniversary livery.

Yamaha’s Supersport entry goes another year without a major overhaul. It’s been since the 2008 model since a significant redesign, when the 600 benefited from the YCC-T and YCC-I technology of its larger-bore kin. The only notable change for 2012 is a $200 price increase, $10,890 for black and Yamaha blue/white, and $11,090 for white/red colorway. The R6 will also be offered up in a World GP 50th Anniversary Edition for $11,390 – the special edition limited to 1500 worldwide.

Check out the 2012 Yamaha YZF-R6 Specifications in our Buyers Guide.

The base model R6 will show up on dealer floors in October, with the special anniversary edition expected in January.