2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike

January 11, 2013
Adam Waheed
By Adam Waheed
Road Test Editor|Articles|Articles RSS|Blog|Blog Posts|Blog RSS

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.

The raised Yamaha accessory windscreen reduces wind buffeting and makes the cockpit of the R1 more quiet and comfortable.
The raised Yamaha accessory windscreen reduces wind buffeting and makes the cockpit of the R1 more quiet and comfortable.

In a showroom of ordinary Yamaha has set itself apart in the liter-class sportbike market with its YZF-R1. A distinct exhaust note and smooth and punchy powerband courtesy its YZR-M1 derived Inline-Four engine deliver an unparalleled riding experience. We spent quite a few miles behind the windscreen this past summer and although it isn’t the most talked about sportbike it still captivates us with every ride.

In stock form the R1 is a fairly comfortable mount on the street considering its MotoGP DNA. But comfort can always be improved so we sourced two key components from Yamaha’s accessory catalog. First up was a Raised Bubble Windscreen ($123.95). This windshield features a higher top lip thereby directing air up and over the rider’s torso and head. This helps reduce annoying wind buffeting and blast at highway speeds.

The windscreen comes in two different colors, clear and tint, and has a simple, but clean R1 logo etched at its base. We chose to run the tinted screen as it better complements the aesthetics of our limited edition World GP 50th Anniversary bike. However if you wish to be able to actually see through the windscreen, say when you’re tucked in behind it at the track, then a clear screen is the only way to go. The fit and finish of the windscreen is excellent and at a level you’d expect from a premium Japanese brand like Yamaha. Installation is a snap and can be accomplished in under 10 minutes with a basic set of hand tools.

By adding a few pieces from the Yamaha accessory catalog the R1 becomes an even more versatile sportbike and now allows for cross country touring escapades.
By adding a few pieces from the Yamaha accessory catalog the R1 becomes an even more versatile sportbike and now allows for cross country touring escapades.

Next on the to-do list was to swap out the stock rider’s seat for one with added cushion and support. Although it carries a pretty hefty price ($250.92), the Comfort Seat is an must-have for riders that spend much of their day riding. Compared to stock the seat, the accessory piece is thicker and has a firm yet more forgiving feel to it.

The stitching is top notch and we love the embossed R1 logo on the seat cover. Installation is perhaps even simpler than the windscreen requiring nothing more than removing two Allen-head bolts underneath the rear part of the saddle.
On the road the difference compared to stock is night-and-day. Back and butt discomfort is mitigated on lengthy eight-plus hour rides so your more refreshed when you arrive at your destination. It’s clearly one of the better accessory seats we’ve ever sampled.

Tires are the most consumable components on a sportbike. And since we’re not the biggest fans of the R1’s OE-fitted rubber we spooned on a set of hoops from Bridgestone. The Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S-20 Front Tire and Bridgestone Battlax Hypersport S-20 Rear Tire are the Japanese companies latest high-performance road rubber. It’s designed to provide better durability and performance on both wet and dry roads. It does this by using two different compounds—a harder more durable center material flanked by softer rubber mixtures which better adhere to the pavement at lean.

As always the Bridgestone’s build heat quickly allowing you to ride off faster than you could on some other brands. The tires also have a neutral steering feel and don’t take much time to “acclimate” when switching from another brand.
On the street the tires had plenty of grip but didn’t offer as much road feel as we remembered from some of the other Bridgestone sport tires we’ve tested recently, including the BT-016s and BT-003RSs. Added feel would have allowed us to ride the bike harder and better exploit available traction. Track riding would also allow for a more accurate analysis of the tires true potential but we didn’t get an opportunity this time As far as durability goes, we logged upwards of 1200 miles on the set and the rear tire still had more than half of the tread remaining. The front had two-thirds available with zero cupping or unusual wear characteristics.

The Bridgestone S20 tires offered ample grip on the street but the level of feel wasnt as good as we recalled with some of its other hypersport tires.
Exploring all of what the world has to offer is one of the joys of motorcycling.
(Above) The Bridgestone S20 tires offered ample grip on the street but the level of feel wasn’t as good as we recalled with some of its other hypersport tires. (Below) Exploring all of what the world has to offer is one of the joys of motorcycling.

Touring on a sportbike can be challenging. But with the Cortech Super 2.0 24-Liter Tailbag it becomes much simpler (in our test we used the older generation bag that has been replaced by the Super 2.0). The bag is secured to the tail section of the motorcycle using four elastic hooks that are wrapped around the passenger foot pegs or the base of the license plate bracket. This keeps it in place no matter how many wheelies you pop or speed limit signs you exceed. The main compartment offers 24 liters of capacity, which equals roughly two complete wardrobe changes. The bag also features neoprene material on the bottom side to prevent scratching the bodywork. Another nice touch is the water-resistant cover for use in the wet. If you do any type of sportbike-related traveling the $98.99 Cortech luggage is well worth the cost.

The money we doled out on accessories proved to make a good street bike like the R1 even better. Although it didn’t increase the speed or handling performance of the motorcycle it did make it make it friendlier and more accommodating to ride—especially on long trips.

Facebook comments