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2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike

Friday, January 11, 2013
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.

2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Photos
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kamalparvez1993   February 18, 2014 03:03 PM
i need this :'(
neo1piv014   August 19, 2013 09:59 AM
How is this setup on the wrists? That was probably the hardest part of doing any "touring" on my old Ninja. The seat can help out with butt soreness, but having my wrists aching at the end of the day was the worst part. Have you guys considered doing something like bar risers or heli-bars on a future sportbike-touring build?
pacman52   March 5, 2013 02:18 PM
@ jfc1, I guess we've got your point... lolllllllll Basically, your real choices would be: 1- Yamaha FZ8, 2- Yamaha FZ1, 3- Kawasaki ZX14. Just forget about the R1, it's not your type of bike... you have to get over it even though it's really difficult! lollllll
pacman52   February 26, 2013 09:27 AM
The R1 is a very good streetbike that doesn’t necessarily produce great lap times at the track. But it has one of the smoothest sportbike engines, it has very comfortable seat and a great riding position. Yes it's noticeably heavier than some others but I just love the great exhaust note, its look and the feel of it!
pacman52   February 20, 2013 06:03 AM
To get back on the topic ''2012 Yamaha YZF-R1 Project Bike''. I think I will get a new windshield similar to the one in this topic. This should help in reducing minor wind buffeting at speeds over 120 kms/hre.
pacman52   February 18, 2013 04:49 PM
@ jfc1... ''how can you continue to do it safely...in a way that is still worthwhile? '' My answer: it's worthwhile because riding motorcycle is my passion. By the way, I'm a cop who put an average of 200 kms/day when working and I've never had and accident yet (at work), maybe I'm fortunate or lucky. I understand the fact that the more miles I put on the road, more chances I have to get involved in a crash. I understand it so well, that is why I keep up my abilities to ride as well as riding safely. To conclude, I love driving (cars/bikes/trucks/tractors etc...). By the way, I know many many people who put an average of 20,000 kms/year on a bike.
pacman52   February 17, 2013 02:13 PM
@ jfc1... I'm kind of surprised of your comment ''the average rider, you don't need to race on the road and you're not worried about putting 500,000miles on your bike. To me most of that experience is just not relevant. No insult intended but if I were you I'd stop pushing my luck and get a nice car and put the bike away.'' I've always thought that my experience would serve me well to anticipate a situation or react faster & better but you seem to believe that is irrelevant as you said... By the way, I've never raced but only did fast school riding & track days just to improve my abilities to properly ride & control a motorcycle as well as knowing better my own limits so I don't put myself in danger. You have to understand that I don't ride on the road as I ride on the track... As far as my 500,000 miles experience on motorcycles, what can I say, I love riding, it's my passion. Thank you for telling an old fart like me (53 y.o.) that I should stop pushing my luck and get a nice car and put the bike away...I, personnally, would never tell anyone, that I don't know at all, this type of comment/suggestion. To conclude, keep writing, you're really good at it. Sincerely.
pacman52   February 15, 2013 12:06 PM
@ jfc1, when I said " I've never care about having the top contender of its class (superbike) as I can't use that power on the road or track. " , I meant top speed/HP's is less important than how I feel on the bike (ergos), the look and the pleasure I have riding it (engine/handling/sound etc...). I have to say you have a real advantage on me as far as writing in english as I am french (québécois). However, my point is that you should buy a bike which would make a smile on your face every time you ride it or look at it. That's why there are so many makes & models to insure that every one will find the bike he likes for what ever reason... Also, I would like to take the opportunity to say that I am a very experience street rider with many track days and many days at fast riding schools. By the way, I had an FJ1100 back in 1985 which was considered a sport bike back then like these bikes: GS1150/Ninja900/Interceptor1000(the FJ1100 was already my 6th sport bike). On the street, I've put well over 500,000 miles on motorcycles. @ jfc1, it would be nice if you could answer that question ''motogpnut January 30, 2013 03:02 PM What is your background jfc1? '' so we, other motorcyclists, could know a little more about your background with motorcycles. Just to mention that I'm not here to compare myself with others but more like learning from others and sharing experience with other motorcyclists. Sincerely.
pacman52   February 1, 2013 05:23 PM
motogpnut... I've always thought that choosing a bike is very personal. I've had so many bikes since (1979) I ride street bikes and most of the time I pick a bike for its look, the feeling I have sitting on it (ergos)and finally, the deal $$$. I've never care about having the top contender of its class (superbike) as I can't use that power on the road or track. For some, it's really important. As far as jfc1, if I'm not mistaken, he rides an older FJ1200 if I remember reading correctly one of his post. I'm sure he'll reply to your post... lollllllllll
motogpnut   February 1, 2013 11:42 AM
Yes, I understand that he likes to write as evidenced by the multiple paragraphs of posts that are solely his. I wanted to know what background he has with motorcycles. Did he race, own a motorcycle shop, or grow up around them? I want to know how and why he is a reputable and reliable source for motorcycle information, specifically sport bike information. This isn't like a forum where people have a profile that can be viewed. Profiles can be fabricated too but at least it provides a small sense of what the person is about. I guess I just need to know why I should care what he thinks and if it is worth taking the time to read all of his posts on the subject matter. Are his posts based on experience in the field or are they merely the opinions of someone who appears to have a lot of time on his hands? I'm not trying to be rude, I just would rather read posts that have some kind of merit.
pacman52   January 31, 2013 05:35 PM
motogpnut, I think jfc1 is a writer... lolll
motogpnut   January 30, 2013 03:02 PM
What is your background jfc1?
neo1piv014   January 28, 2013 07:07 AM
Wow, JFC, you took my comment completely the wrong way. My entire point was that because I cannot ride to the potential of either the R1 or the S1000RR, they're functionally the same, so why spend the extra cash for the extra performance? I never meant that I might as well get the BMW because it's all the same to me. Hell, I probably couldn't fully ride a 600cc supersport to it's limits, so a liter bike of any brand would be more than I'd need.
pacman52   January 18, 2013 10:19 AM
@jfc1 I know what you're saying. I have a 2012 R1 and a 2012 FZ1 (had a 2007 FZ1). I know the ZX14 as I had a 2007 (2012 is way better)and put 18000 kms on it. Talking about the VFR1200, I had a 2010 VFR1200 and I must say, I regret selling it. I put 20000 kms on the VFR1200 and it's a wonderful SPORT touring bike (fast/good handling/powerful/great ergos/love the look)! I agree with your comments on the R1 but what can I say, I like it...
pacman52   January 17, 2013 10:11 AM
@ jfc1 ''why anyone would want to go with the R1 over the Gixxer. '' Maybe for the look, for the ergos, for the deal ($$$) or for the brand (Yamaha guys/girls). For me, it was for the look, ergos and fit & finish. I've always believed that Yamaha & Honda build more reliable products so I've always had a tebdacy to lokk at Honda & Yamaha first. Ps. I don't want to create a debate on whose brand is more reliable, it's just my personal believe/taste.
pacman52   January 16, 2013 07:35 AM
jfc1, what do you ride? I'm just curious... These are my picks in order for the one iter bikes: 1- Yamaha R1 2- Honda CBR1000RR 3- BMW S1000R 4- Suzuki GSXR1000 5- Aprilia RSV4 6- Kawasaki ZX10 7- KTM RC8 8- Ducati 1199 9- MV Augusta F4 I'm sure everybody else's picks would be different, no?
pacman52   January 16, 2013 07:23 AM
jfc1 January 15, 2013 02:27 PM "For someone like me, there's essentially no appreciable difference between an R1 and an S1000RR" sorry, Mr. Gates, but I don't think that you're representative of most of the motorcycling community. Well, having been in the motorcycling community for over 35 years, I can say that 50% of people buy sport bikes based on numbers (hp's, top speed, weights etc...) that are found on motorcycle magasines, on the net etc... There is the other 50% who buy a sport bike for its look, its ergo or the brand... The majority of us (sport bike riders)cannot use the full potential of a 1 liter sport bike, this is why I pick a sport bike for its look, its ergo and its value as opposed to its performance numbers... The truth is, there are so many bikes out there to please all of us!
neo1piv014   January 15, 2013 07:09 AM
pacman52: that is a very valid point. For someone like me, there's essentially no appreciable difference between an R1 and an S1000RR, and I'm guessing that's the case for 99% of your regular riders. Might as well get whatever you like the best.
pacman52   January 14, 2013 03:03 PM
I have a 2012 R1 and I find it pretty comfortable for street riding. There are two negative things to mention though, a tall first gear and the heat from the under seat exhaust! I know I know it isn't the fastest, the lightest, the most powerful but I don't care as I can't use the full potentiel of it so why get the top contender??? I bought for its look... did I say I like its look? lolllllllllll
neo1piv014   January 14, 2013 08:59 AM
Any particular reason you guys picked an R1 over one of the other liter bikes you guys rated significantly higher in the comfort category? I remember one or two of the reviewers commenting that the GSXR1000 was a bike they could see themselves taking on a highway trip, and the S1000RR took top marks in comfort. Was there any particular reason you didn't pick one of the more comfortable bikes as a starting point?
RENDELL   January 12, 2013 08:35 AM
Great pictures, makes me feel like riding right now.