Drag site icon to your taskbar to pin site. Learn More

2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Comparison Street

Monday, May 17, 2010


Adjustable foot controls on the 2010 Yamaha R1 allow for greater rider customization.
Adjustable foot controls on the 2010 Yamaha R1 allow the rider to customize the riding position a bit.
Last year Yamaha wowed us with its awesomely-different take on the classic Inline Four engine configuration with its new-from-the-wheels-up YZF-R1. Its fresh character and friendlier power delivery made an immediate impression during the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Ride test from Australia. We spent more time with it on the street last summer during the 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 Touring Ride and learned how great a machine it can be for sportbike touring. Now for ’10 we’re back in the R1’s saddle for the MotoUSA Superbike Smackdown. And other than new colors and a slight bump in price, the R1 remains unchanged.

ENGINE
 
Like the rest of bikes from Japan it features a liquid-cooled Inline Four engine. Bore/stroke measurements are 78.0 x 52.2mm, nearly identical to the RSV4R, and equate to 998cc. Dual-stage fuel injection and a 16-valve cylinder head are also employed like the other four-cylinders. Intake charge is compressed to a ratio of 12.7:1, which is identical to the Ducati but toward the low end of the pack.

Thumb the starter button and the R1 rumbles to life with a roar unlike any of the other machines. It sounds more like a small block V-8 than a motorcycle. The reason for its awesome sound and soulful performance is the incorporation of crossplane crankshaft technology and an uneven engine firing order founded by Valentino Rossi's MotoGP team. Learn all the juicy technical details in our 2009 Yamaha YZF-R1 First Ride.
 
At idle the R1 registers a decibel reading of 79, making it the second-quietest bike in this group, demonstrating the effectiveness of its two huge titanium undertail mufflers. At speed the levels of noise increase but also remain on the low side of the decibel spectrum cranking out 94 dB at 6750 rpm (half of maximum engine speed). While the measured sound level is modest, inside the cockpit you can still hear a good deal of mechanical sound, which adds to the thrill of the ride.
 
Yamahas R1 dash covers all the bases and adds to the mix a massive adjustable shift-light.
The 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 is the best looking Japanese bike.
Yamahas R1 has long featured under-seat exhaust.
The 2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 is the best looking Japanese bike.

While the engine’s bottom-end performance feels in the same league as the other liter-bikes, looking at the dyno chart proves otherwise. Right off idle performance is decent but then it falls off at 5000 rpm, lagging behind the rest of the field before catching up and eventually topping the Kawi @ 10,300 rpm with 76.55 lb-ft of torque for a moment, before all the bikes surpass it once again.
 
Maximum horsepower is achieved 1200 revs later with 150.89 hp @ 11,500 rpm. Despite having another 2000 rpm left in the rev range, power trails off immediately, steadily dropping to the mid-130s before the rev limiter comes in.
 
While outright power isn’t that outstanding, the engine’s character is. Simply put, the R1’s engine sounds like no other motorcycle on earth— well, besides the Fiat and Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP bikes. Throttle response is also excellent and delivers a more intimate feel of what’s happening at the working end of its Dunlop rear tire. It’s also perfectly balanced and virtually vibration free at all rpm, making it a choice motorcycle for extended time in the saddle.
 
“Without question the R1 engine is an excellent street bike motor,” says Atlas. “It’s got a smooth power curve, the engine doesn’t vibrate, it sounds cool, and it still provides enough get-up-and-go to get the blood pumping. But in this group it just lacks that sheer outright power—especially up top.”
 
Blame it on our heavy throttle hand, but the R1 also registered the poorest fuel mileage of the Inline Fours while trying to keep up with the competition. Good thing the Yamaha has the largest fuel tank of the bunch at 4.8-gallons, because you’re going to need every last drop of gas, the R1 registering only 29.3 mpg, which equates to a range of 140 miles.
 
DRIVETRAIN
 
The R1’s clutch and transmission ranked high on our rider’s note pads. The 6-speed gearbox feels precise offering a short throw and no vague sloppy feel between gears and neutral is easy to find at a stop. Clutch lever pull is light and at a comparable level to all the bikes with the exception of the heavier clutch pull of the BMW and Ducati.

Despite utilizing relatively short 17/47 sprockets, the R1’s first gear is still on the tall side necessitating more clutch slippage than the rest of the bikes with exception of the Ducati. In the quarter mile acceleration test the R1 posted a 10.22-second pass with a trap speed of 138.40 mph. Although the time was the slowest of this group, in the grand scheme it’s just over 0.5-seconds slower than the quick-shifter equipped Beemer.

Of all the motorcycles tested,  the one that offers the least amount of engine braking is the R1. Its slipper clutch is well calibrated and feels similar to the Aprilia, Honda, and Suzuki, offering a good balance between available engine braking and free-wheeling effect.

ERGONOMICS / COMFORT
 
Hop into the saddle and you’ll notice that the R-Uno is wider than the rest of the bikes. Seat height measures 32.8-inches off the floor, which is on the high side but still 0.5 inches lower than the Aprilia.
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1
The R1s engine is playful making it more fun to ride.
The R1’s engine is playful, making it enjoyable to ride.

The cockpit is much more open than previous generation R1s and is more aligned with the relaxed controls of the Honda and Suzuki than the racy position of the Ducati and Kawi. The mirrors offer good field of vision and due to the smooth, vibration-free character of the engine they actually work!

Overall the bike feels wide at the rider’s knees and when you consider its tall seat, short riders could have difficulty getting comfortable on the Yammie. One nice touch is the adjustable footpegs—with the R1 one of the only bikes to offer that feature along with the Suzuki and KTM.

One of the benefits of being so wide is the large area of the front fairing. This works with the windscreen to better protect the rider from the elements, making the R1 the bike of choice for those longer rides. While the seat is wide, it’s thin and feels about the same as the Honda’s, which wore us out quicker than the excellent seat employed on the Suzuki.

HANDLING / SUSPENSION

From the moment you lift the R1 off its side stand it’s obvious that it’s a heavy bike. And though at speed its heft doesn’t vanish, as long as you’re not flicking it from side-to-side in a tight series of corners you’ll be hard pressed to notice it. One of our favorite things is how smoothly the R1 rides. Even on rough road the suspension does a fantastic job of soaking up the big bumps and rough, cracked pavement. It does transfer weight fore and aft faster than the other bikes, but once you get used to the feeling it isn’t bad at all.
 
Considering its 474-lb fully-fueled curb weight (highest of the group), the R1 takes a bit more muscle at turn-in, making it the laziest turning motorcycle of the lot. But once leaned over on the side of the Dunlop Sportmax Qualifier rubber the R1 is surefooted and feels like an old friend.
 
Despite its weight-transfer issue it gets off the corner well, no doubt aided by the excellent connection fostered between engine, throttle, and rear tire. While the tires provide average levels of grip they are nowhere close to the awesome Pirellis seen on some of the other machines or even the OE Bridgestones used on the Ninja and GSX-R.

“I really enjoyed the way the Yamaha rides,” noted Gauger. “It felt similar to the Suzuki. The suspension felt soft but it just made it absorb bumps better. I guess it did take more effort to turn than the Honda or KTM but still I’m not Ricky-racer. I just like to ride around and have fun and the R1 is a great bike for that.”
Even with 6-piston front calipers  the Yamaha has never been rated well in terms of brake performance.
Even with six-piston front calipers, the Yamaha has never been rated well in terms of brake performance.

 
BRAKING

In the braking test the Yamaha was at the back of the field recording a stopping distance of 133 feet during a simulated emergency stop from 60 mph. Three factors play into this. First is the extra mass it carries; second is the sum of its braking components; and third is the suspension balance front-to-back.

The front brakes are comprised of a pair of gargantuan six-piston Sumitomo brake calipers that pinch a set of 310mm diameter rotors. The front binders are powered by a radial master cylinder through rubber brake hoses. Rear braking is taken care of by a 220mm disc with a twin-piston caliper.

Lean on the front brake lever and the stoppers lack initial bite as compared to the rest of the bikes. As you pull back deeper on the lever the brakes are effective at slowing the bike down but it’s hard to get that necessary level of feel to really use them assertively. Lastly, as we mentioned previously the chassis balance of the bike isn’t perfect, making it transfer weight forward or rearward aggressively, which restricts how hard you can load the front brake.

INSTRUMENTATION / ELECTRONICS

The R1 uses a snazzy white-backlit instrument display with a huge swept tachometer and big LCD speedo that is bright and easy to read. It gives the rider everything he needs to know and nothing he doesn’t. Plus it offers instant and average MPG figures and the programmable shift-light is massive and easy to notice even if your eyes aren’t staring directly at it.

In term of electronics the R1 offers a neat throttle adjustment system they term D-MODE. This allows the rider to select between three different throttle-response settings via a right-side handlebar-mounted switch.

Unlike Suzuki’s S-DMS system and BMW’s DTC, both which limit actual power production, the R1’s system merely modifies the sensitivity of the throttle. When you start the R1 it defaults in standard mode. By selecting A-mode the engine becomes more responsive to throttle input. Conversely, B-mode reduces engine response.

The difference between each of the modes is noticeable. Most of our testers settled on standard mode but I preferred B-mode as it allows for a greater margin of error during delicate throttle application scenarios such as lane-splitting in heavy traffic or when thrashing around your favorite twisty back road.
The R1s suspension absorbs bumps well delivering a plush ride on the street.
The R1’s suspension absorbs bumps well delivering a plush ride on the street.

 
Overall the R1’s instruments and electronics were well received by our testers with it ranking toward the front of the group. But in the end it was bested by the $25,000 Ducati and its 8-stage traction control system and the sophisticated multi-mode traction control and ABS of the Beemer.
 
FINAL THOUGHTS
 
Make no mistake: the $13,290 Yamaha R1 is a fantastic street bike. Sure, its styling didn’t receive unanimous praise like the Aprilia, Ducati and KTM, nor could it match the acceleration, braking and handling performance of the other bikes. But what it does deliver is heaps of character and real world comfort. And as long as you’re not riding the bike at the absolute limit you’d never really notice its performance deficiencies anyway. Still if Yamaha could infuse 10% more outright performance there is no doubt in my mind that they would have a winner. But until they do, the Yamaha R1 will be relegated to fifth position.
 


VideosOur Sponsor
2010 Superbike Smackdown: Street Video - Part 1
Click to view video
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Street Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Gallery
View Slideshow
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Specs
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 changes: Bold New Graphics.

Engine: Liquid-cooled 998cc Inline Four; 16-valves
Bore and Stroke: 78.0 x 52.2mm
Compression Ratio: 12.7:1
Fuel Delivery: Electronic fuel-injection with YCC-T and YCC-I
Clutch: Wet, multi-plate slipper clutch, cable actuation
Transmission: 6-speed
Final Drive: Chain 17F/47R
Frame: Twin spar aluminum
Front Suspension: 43mm Soqi inverted fork; 3-way adjustable for preload, compression and rebound; 4.7 in. travel
Rear Suspension: Soqi gas-charge shock; 3-way adjustable for preload, compression, rebound; 4.7 in. travel
Front Brakes: 310mm discs with radial-mount Sumitomo six-piston calipers
Rear Brake: 220mm disc with double-piston caliper
Tires: Dunlop Qualifier; 120/70R17, 190/55R17
Curb Weight: 474 lbs.
Wheelbase: 55.7 in.
Rake: 24 deg. Trail: 4.0 in.
Seat Height: 32.8 in.
Fuel Capacity: 4.8 gal. Average MPG: 29.3
MSRP: $13,290
Colors: Team Yamaha Blue/White; Raven; Pearl White
Warranty: One year unlimited mileage

Recent Yamaha Sportbike Reviews
Cheap Track Yamaha R6 Project - Part I
MotoUSA contributing editor Neale Bayly happens on a lightly crashed 2005 Yamaha R6 - an ideal platform upon which to build into an affordable, real-world trackday bike.
2013 Yamaha YZF-R6 Street Comparison
The 2013 Yamaha YZF-R6 takes on its Supersport rivals on the street in MotoUSA's Supersport Street Comparison.
2013 Yamaha YZF-R6 Supersport Comparison
Yamaha’s racy YZF-R6 chases another win in the tenth edition of our Supersport Shootout.
2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike
By adding some components from Yamaha’s accessories catalog, the YZF-R1 proves to be more than just a one trick pony allowing for cross-country touring escapades as Motorcycle-USA discovers.
Yamaha YZF-R1 Traction Control Comparison
Yamaha is the latest brand to fit traction control to its YZF-R1 sportbike. Read to find out how it compares to other systems in this traction control comparison review.
2012 Yamaha FZ6R Comparison
Find out how the 2012 Yamaha FZ6R compared to the other rides in the 2012 Women's Streetbike Shootout.
2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Track Comparison
Yamaha’s YZF-R1 has seen plenty of success in AMA racing. Can it transfer its winning pedigree over to our liter-bike comparison?
Yamaha Sportbike Dealer Locator
2010 Yamaha YZF-R1 Highs & Lows
Highs
  • Sounds identical to the MotoGP M1 prototype
  • Smooth and vibration-free engine
  • Comfortable and adjustable ergos
Lows
  • Handles sluggishly
  • Slowest engine of the group
  • Could be lighter
2010 Superbike Smackdown Fuel Specs
2010 Superbike Smackdown Fuel Specs

Login or sign up to comment.

Comments
NINJA DUDE -CORRECTION  September 29, 2010 08:37 PM
THIS IS BUNCH OF CRAP, YOU GUYS SAYING R1 IS BETTER ON THE ROAD BECAUSE IT GOT BETTER TORQUE THAN THE NINJA ZX10, LOOKING AT THE TORQUE CURVE, NINJA BEATS THE R1 THROUGH OUT THE TORQUE CURVE UNTIL 9200 RPM THROUGH 10500 RPM AND THEN MORE UNTIL REDLINE.
Adeysworld -Sound  August 27, 2010 06:06 PM
forgot link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgKumRx8_Ms my buddy with Graves low mount exhaust @00:19 Me with Full Evo Akra @00:57
adeysworld -The sound!  August 27, 2010 06:05 PM
I don't think I'll ever get tired of this bike! Thanks to Vale for making Yamaha think outside the box. Have a listen for yourself: http://www.youtube.com/user/Adeysworld More: my buddy with Graves low mount exhaust @00:19 Me with Full Evo Akra @00:57
Brian -looks of bikes  June 5, 2010 10:09 AM
KTM attractive? that is the ugliest bike in existence!
Ken -Termignoni  May 30, 2010 06:45 PM
Termignoni, that should be the answer to this bikes problems, if it has one! i still think this bike is unique, the other day seeing one in the street blast past i cant help to think, dammit Valentino! cuz the engine note is almost identical to the one i hear when Valentino passes me after exiting Turn 11 at Laguna every year!
jay heldman -rookie inline four driver  May 27, 2010 08:30 AM
i too am surprised that our reviewing team hasn't mentioned the high tail exhaust location.
MR-ROBOTO -no vacillation  May 20, 2010 03:29 AM
Ok, I read your test (or at least some of it)! Low level. You vacillate from one side to the other. Basically, you make a solid point, then a paragraph later you neutralize it. Case and point, the Kawasaki power band. I could go on and on but, you TIRED ME OUT! If your riding motorcycles is equivalent to your writing, I would be surprised that you keep these things on two wheels. After page 5, I stopped reading. By the way, you telegraphed the obvious winner. . . . not much creativity.
Prashant -Some queries MotoUSA should respond  May 19, 2010 09:46 PM
Hey MotoUSA, last year you guys rated YZF-R1 behind kawasaki. Although both bikes are same this year you have put R1 ahead of ZX-10.
Then 2nd point - Last year on this R1, your butts got roasted due to excessive heat from those underseat pipes. And this year you've not even mentioned about it!
I mean, you guys change colors like chameleons, dont' you?

Ben-o -YZF-R1 superleggera  May 18, 2010 12:29 PM
Yamaha Please put this bike on a diet. Don't spend more money on go fast stickers. New computer map maybe?